Posted by: charityliz | December 22, 2010

DIY or die

the finished product...DIY at its finest!

I am a die hard DIY girl–and I especially get intense about it whenever I have some time off, like this week.  My sewing machine is out and I’ve started several projects (presumably to be finished by Christmas), all strewn across my kitchen table at the moment.  Meanwhile, I’ve experimented with a few new holiday baking recipes–all the pans and ingredients I seldom use are also presently cluttering my kitchen.  As much as I hate the side-effect of clutter in my home, I really love the creative outlet that DIY projects give me.  But as if I haven’t had enough of a release, I decided to finally mount my surfboard racks in my carport this afternoon. However, this particular DIY project deserves noting in detail because it captures the stubborn, futile and downright inefficient nature that some DIY projects tend to bring out in me…

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Background: After several months of having it on my “To Do” list, I decided to get it over with so my beloved Stand Up Paddle board would no longer have to sit outside, exposed to the harsh elements of the Bay Area winter (OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic…but it’s true that it’s high time to give the SUP board a real place to stay).
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Though this DIY project should have been quite straight-forward (I mean, how hard could it be to screw in a couple of brackets to the wall), in the end, it tapped into some of the most asinine and stubbornly “creative” recesses in my brain, which I will now prove as I recall the steps I took to complete this “simple” task:
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STEP 1:  Take out power drill (yes, thanks to my Dad–who sometimes has more confidence in me than what is warranted, I actually own a power drill…and it’s cordless!).  In my mind, this is the secret weapon for my project–I should be done in no time–just drill 6 screws in a matter of seconds and be done!!!
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STEP 2:  Find screws.  Done.
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STEP 3.  Make sure screws fit the size of bit that is in the drill.
Problem:  They don’t fit.
Bigger Problem:  I can’t seem to remember how to change the bit on the drill, so I can change to a different bit that will fit the screws I have.
Attempted solution: See if I have any other screws that will fit the bit that is currently “stuck” in the drill.  Fail.
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STEP 4: Google it.  There’s an answer for everything online.  “How to Change a Drill Bit”.  Several articles later, I still can’t solve my problem.
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STEP 5:  Call Dad for help.  Dad attempts to help me change the drill bit remotely, and really does quite a thorough job at explaining how I should change the bit…but it’s just not working.
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STEP 6: Send Dad a picture of my drill so he knows exactly how to direct me. Done.
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STEP 7: Dad tries once again to explain, now in much more vivid detail, but in the end, I still can’t do it and he concludes that perhaps I’m just “not strong enough” to twist the drill the right way.  And he says it in the most matter-of-fact, no-offense way possible.  Of course, I feel like, “Oh, Great.  How am I supposed to deal with that?  Well, I won’t let it stop me…” (this is Women’s Lib at it’s finest)
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STEP 8:  Say goodbye to Dad, thank him for his valiant attempts to help…and then spend several more minutes messing with the drill to try to change the bit on my own. (to no avail)
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STEP 9:  Assess the situation.  Should I wait until I see Dad in two days so he can actually show me the trick with the drill? No–that’s too far away if I want to get this done today.  Should I go to a nearby hardware store to purchase screws that will fit the bit that is currently in the drill?  No–that’s ridiculous when I already have plenty of perfectly good screws.  Should I give up and try again tomorrow?  No!  Never!  Should I find another way–ANY way–to finish the project today?  YES, of course.
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STEP 10:  Proceed.  (i.e. figure out how to finish the project despite the obstacles).
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STEP 11: Decide to use another tool.   hmmmm…… Ah, yes –the old fashioned screw driver!!!  Who needs a power drill anyway?!  Yes. Victory. I have a screw driver that will work on any screw, powered by my own hands!
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STEP 12. Determine where to screw the surf rack brackets into the wall by using a Stud Finder (yes, I actually own one —and no, it has not improved my dating life. Haha). Anyways… I attempt to find studs in the carport wall so the brackets can be attached to a solid anchor. (Note: I’m feeling quite proud of myself at this point, for determining that screwing into a random spot on the dry wall would not be appropriate for something as heavy as my paddle board.)
Problem:  Stud finder doesn’t seem to be working properly…light blinks all the time.
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STEP 13: Ditch stupid stud finder and start putting screws in wall at random points to test to see if there’s a stud there. (This is the point where I think I start to go crazy…and was probably the stupidest thing I did all day– besides actually admitting it over the internet, so everyone can see how stupid I can get).  It took me about 5 attempts at screwing the screws in random spots before I realized the futility of it.
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STEP 14: Try to be smarter. Knock on the wall in a horizontal fashion and listen for sound changes to determine where the studs might be (hollow sound= no stud).  As old fashioned as this sounds, it actually worked!  I found studs!
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STEP 15: Determine exactly how wide each stud is, so I know where exactly the screws can go. This proved to be difficult using the method in Step 14, so I decided to put some random screws in the general vicinity of each stud (very inefficient–much like step 13), but the only thing I found to work.  I semi-quickly determined that those studs were no more than 1.5″ wide! (What kinda shanty am I living in?!  Suddenly I’m not so excited about the fact that I live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building that has been built with toothpicks for a frame!)
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STEP 15: After finally determining where the studs are and how wide of space I have to work with, I carefully mark and measure where to screw in each bracket.
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STEP 16: Begin drilling…I mean, screwing…by hand…with an old fashioned screw driver.
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Six screws, lots of twisting and an hour later, I’ve mounted my SUP board rack to the wall.  DIY victory!!!….sorta.
Now that I’m thinking about it, my big brother mounted the same racks for me at my old place in about 5 minutes.  No joke.  He also used a power drill.  And he probably even changed the bit.
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I’d love to say that I’ve learned a good lesson here today…like sometimes it would be better to leave the “Y” out of DIY.  But to be honest, I think a true DIYer is often in it for the process and experience, more than anything else–which is exactly what I got!   Plus I got to check something off the ole “To Do List”…which almost makes up for how grossly inefficient this entire process was!
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Responses

  1. oh charity, i can just feel the determination thru your words and i love it! hope that you have a great christmas with your family this year. miss you!

  2. That’s MY GIRL!

    Proud Papa


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