DIY king? Or pay someone else to do it?

MATT CALMAN
Last updated 08:52 27/02/2013
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DIY MASTERPIECE
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MATT CALMAN
DIY MASTERPIECE: Kahutaiki standing in front of the gate that Matt built.
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"Are you the chuck up a fence, assemble a barbeque, never owned a bottle opener, do it yourself kind of guy? Or are you the pay someone else to do it kind of guy? You don't want to be THAT guy!"

Those familiar lines from a TV advert put out by a prominent hardware store are powerful... especially if you're the second guy!

Lets just say, especially when I was a day-job guy, I was quite happy to pay someone else to do stuff around the house, without even thinking first if I could D(o) I(t) M(yself).

I've painted nearly every square inch of our home, inside and out (to the point where I never want to paint again), but anything structural scared the hell out of me.

However, since becoming a stay-at-home-dad, I've had more time at home to do stuff and no really good excuse not to. Money is tighter and DIY (as long as you don't stuff it up completely, lose a finger, or fall off the ladder) is much cheaper. My lovely wife also encouraged me over the course of several years to put up some gates at each end of our property.

While writing this post, I reminded her about the "constant nagging I endured" to become the build-your-own-gate guy and she said:

"It took you two and a half years to get some gates up to save our children!"
 
Ouch! Low blow! But lets face it, fair enough.

My reasons for procrastinating were:

1.    If I wait long enough we might be able to afford to pay someone else to do it.
2.    When I first got asked to build the gates I reasoned "Kahutaiki can't walk yet or climb up steps to the road so she'll be right".
3.    Concreting posts and building the gate from scratch seemed too hard.
4.    I couldn't be bothered (shamefully the most accurate I'm afraid).

My reasons for just doing it:

1.    Call me a cheapskate but I looked into how much it would cost and got a bit of a shock.
2.    The making a gate video on the Bunnings website actually looked achievable.
3.    Miss K was nearly three and was now able to escape the house by herself, and I actually started to worry she might go for a wander (not that she's a bolter).
4.    I got sick of being asked and I knew it wouldn't stop till I just did it!

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I've now built the gates, concreted in a new clothesline, installed a sprinkler system for our vege garden for my wife's Christmas present (it only took 12 months of asking for me to do that one), seeded a lawn (which grew beautifully till Miss K and I stopped watering it ... then it died. Notice how I offloaded some of the blame there), and built Miss K her dream playhouse for her third birthday.

Each project has had its share of triumphs, bruises and scrapes, headaches, and technical issues. But each has lead to some degree of satisfaction.

Am I happier being the DIY guy? Hell no! I'd still rather pay someone else to do it in all honesty (and I couldn't give a crap if Mitre10 thinks that makes me less of a man or not!).

Does being a stay-at-home-dad make me feel less manly at times? More on that in my next post...

- Essential Mums

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