Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why I Don't Do DIY

     Inspired by all of you fabulous bloggers out there, I recently attempted a DIY project...and guess what, it was a total FLOP! I know. I know. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. But the problem is that you don't usually share your failures with us, so I was expecting this to work. I still think the general idea was sound, but other factors intervened. How many times did I hear that song and dance from my kiddos when they were growing up and had been part of a situation that turned into a fiasco? "But Mom, you don't understand. Everything started out great, and then...then it went South..."
     So here I am. In my right (or so I thought) mind I purchased four drapery rods at TJMaxx for the low price of $12.99. That's cheap folks. For TJ Maxx and for Target. I had been looking everywhere and could not find the gold/bronze rods I needed for my living room, and when I did find them, they were at places like Calico Corners. Great store. But not cheap. Especially not for curtain rods. So..I picked up a bottle of Aztec Gold metallic outdoor paint (water based of course) and decided to do my little DIY project. No bronze/gold rods? I would paint some. Everything was going according to plan. I painted my first rod and was quite pleased with the results. Just a subtle hint of gold, but enough to tie in with the look that I was trying to achieve.
    Now comes the hard part. I am up on a ladder next to my ten foot ceilings trying to hang the brackets for the curtain rod. I have my trusty electric drill in hand, but I should already suspect that I am in trouble because I have had a hard time finding the correct Phillips head bit to fit my screws. At last, I think I have finally found something that might work. So picture this not too agile on a good day person up on this ladder with a bracket, a drill, and lots of hope. When I am up there, I realize that the rods are a bit lighter in weight that I had realized and with a 108" length on the curtains, they are going to be carrying a good bit of weight. Uh oh. I am also extending the rod to its maximum length of 48" which is also never a good idea. But 48" is not that long and I should be able to get by without putting a support bracket in the center (which by the way, was not included with the curtain rod anyway.) If they don't include it, you don't need it, right?
   When I am up there, I notice that the previous owners of the house (we have lived here 24 years, by the way) must have had some curtain rod up there in the same location because there are those little anchors in the wall that have just been painted over (not visible from 10 feet down I can assure you). I will just use those. It will save me time, energy, and labor.
    I get my drill ready. I am 10 feet up in the air. Candace Olson doesn't have anything on me. I am the new aging DIY babe, in my hard-bottom Ugg slippers, no less. Then I begin to drill. You are supposed to insert the drill bit into the end of the screw and press. Ooops. I have the drill turned on in the counterclockwise position. I do this like two times, having to get down the ladder to retrieve my screw (they did not package any extras) both times. My legs are quivering. Okay, I understand now. That Vanderbilt degree in History and English with a concentration in Slavic Studies is not totally wasted.
    Then I proceed to drill my screw into the little anchor. RRRRRR. My drill is not happy. RRRRRR. I persist. Suddenly the drill stops about one-eighth of an inch from the desired point and gives up. It simply will not go any further. Why? The drill bit is spinning needlessly in the screw head which has now been completely stripped. I sigh. Problem solving skills come into play. This thing is ten feet in the air. How many people are going to see that it is not totally flush with the wall and has a slight sag in it? It's basically undetectable, or so I tell myself. I pretend that there is not a second hole for a second screw. I am leaving well enough alone.
     I get down from the ladder, leaving the first bracket in its place and move to the second bracket. I am in trouble now. If the drill bit did not work well on the first screw, how am I going to expect it to work on the second? No problem. I will go get my Phillip's head screwdriver and rely on that good old elbow grease. Problem. My elbows are old. Really. But if I get the right angle, I think I can apply enough pressure to screw one little screw into the wall. I begin. Ten minutes later I am sweating like a pig and the screw has stopped moving. This time I am 1/4 of an inch from the bracket. Too much space. Too much sag. What's a girl to do. When all else fails, go get the hammer.
   I go get the hammer. You DIY folks are going to cringe here. I can't help it. I decide to just hammer the screw the rest of the way into the bracket. I pound and pound and end up totally defacing the screwhead but it is not budging much at all. The question is will the sag on this side match the sag on the other side? I am hoping. I forget the second screw on this side as well. Too much trouble. And just how much stability is one tiny little screw going to add anyway?
    I climb down and begin to run my lovely cream silk linen curtains on the rods. Wow. With the lining and interfacing and weights, they are really heavy. I dismiss this thought. I am only thinking positive thoughts at this point. I climb up the ladder with the curtain laden rod balanced carefully across my shoulders. Yes, I do look like an ancient water bearer. Forget the babe part. I was just kidding about that anyway.
   Like a weightlifter I lift the rod up over my head and onto the rod. I am worried that I can't play around too much up here or I might fall. I do a little repositioning and think to myself that the sag (the gap between the bracket and the wall) is about the same on both sides, so the rod doesn't look too whoppyjawed. I climb down off the ladder to admire my handiwork.
   I even have some of those clothespins that the other DIY girls have mentioned that will give my curtains an even more finished look. I step back to admire my handiwork. Not too shabby. I move forward and begin to slide over and clip little sections together. The draperies are not sliding too well. I give a little tug. Bad move. The next thing I know that right bracket has pulled completely out of the wall, flown behind the English chest and the lovely silk linen curtain panels are sliding down down down to the floor. While I stand there aghast, the rod pole tumbles. Complete disaster. I feel like the Titanic has just sunk in my living room. However, there is one bracket hanging on for dear life and it is the one that I pounded into the wall with the hammer. But there is no way I am getting back up on that ladder again. It is just going to have to dangle there...forever, maybe.
   I want to cry. But I begin to laugh hysterically. My brain starts turning. I think I still have the receipt from TJ Maxx. I will return the other three rods that I did not paint with my little DIY treatment. The glimmer of hope fades. This exercise is suddenly getting much more costly. I am starting to see Calico Corner rods in my eyes along with dollar signs. And I know without a doubt that I am NOT getting back up ten feet on that ladder again.That would be pushing it. I am going to call my trusty handyman and let him ride to the rescue. I am already waving a cream colored silk linen curtain in surrender. One that is 108" long.bloggers


  1. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. I'm so glad that someone does DIY just like me. I was beginning to get a complex. They (DIY's)make it look it so easy, and by the time I find and move a ladder, get the tools, etc. I'm already frustrated and ready to quit and I'm always needing a tool I don't have, or one is broken, etc. Oh yea, check out JCPenny's for curtain rods, I was impressed the last time I needed one, and they're much cheaper.

  2. Be sure to stop by my blog to see the latest post on the Orlando trip!
    Have a great weekend!


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