DIY or die

Until the weekend, I thought I had grown up. I’ve moved out of home, got married (or was it the other way round?), got a Real Job, and now we’re expecting the first kid. I thought I was truly an adult. But no. For this was the weekend that I truly reached manhood.

For the first time in my life, I found myself doing DIY. I was shopping in the hardware shop. Ever noticed how most of the people in the hardware shops are mild-mannered, middle-aged men with caps, brown raincoats and glasses, who are probably building nuclear missile silos in their backyard? Yes, for the first time, there I was there with them, buying brushes, turpentine and sandpaper.

I’ve stained my first bookshelf.

It’s quite a feeling of accomplishment, I can tell you. Before, it was virgin pine. Now it’s Baltic stained pine. Very nice. In fact, the accomplishment almost covers the embarrassment that we bought the bookshelf a whole three years ago, all the time saying "oh no, we don’t need to pay the extra money to buy it stained – we’ll do it ourselves!!" Yeah – right.

And so the bookshelf was delivered. Gleaming, bright, untreated pine. And we stacked books into it. Just temporarily, of course, until we got time to varnish and stain it. To save space. So the books were stacked. We’ll do it next week, we thought. And the weeks turned to months, and the months into years. And, had a huge spark of urgent embarrassment not raised its ugly head last week, the years could have turned into decades.

So remember kids, if you’re ever shopping for any kind of furniture, and you’re offered the untreated stuff: Refuse. Let them do it for you. It’ll be quicker in the long run. Because the first few minutes of the first coat of varnish can be fun. After that it just gets tedious.

As for me, next I have to do the second bookshelf, bought at the same time. And anything else around that looks like it could do with a varnish and stain. Hmmm… maybe the computer would look good in Baltic? Or the fridge?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.