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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    188

    Default Tell us YOUR holiday DIY disasters



    If you have a cautionary tale that you can file under "Holiday DIY Disaster" we'd like to hear about it. Tell us your story, and you could be featured in a special holiday Web gallery at thisoldhouse.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Tell us YOUR holiday DIY disasters

    Our holiday disaster was just last year, 2008. We drove through snowstorms from Seattle to Salt Lake City to get to our small 600 sq ft., 1-bedroom condo there. The condo was previously being used by my Mother-in-Law, who had recently gone into a living assisted home. This meant my husband and I would drive with all our tools and begin to renovate the kitchen and bathroom at the same time around the holidays. We had one week to do it.

    We got there about a week before Christmas and the first thing we did was dissemble the kitchen cabinetry which had been there since the 70s and was in disrepair. Our routine was go-to-dump, visit with mom. Go to Home Depot-visit with mom. Go back to Home-Depot, visit with Mom. It was insane. We were not going to spend a fortune on this place but wanted it to look nice and be functional before we tried to sell it. We opted to go the IKEA route.

    Now it should be said that when one opts to go the IKEA route, it is not just one trip to IKEA, it is always several. (Which as it happens is always located somewhere out in the sticks and takes about and hour to get to get to each way.) So we measured everything, ordered all the cabinets, picked up everything we could and what didn't fit inside went on top of the racks on our Toyota RAV. There were about 4 trips made and the last one had us in a blizzard trying to get home via back streets as the top of the car was piled high. The straps were whistling and the noise of the ends flapping was maddening.

    Now since we had torn everything out, we really had no place to sleep. Our bed was one small rectangle of clear space on the floor of the living room with the back of the refrigerator at our heads, and the stove at our feet since we had moved them out of the kitchen. We were boxed in on all sides with IKEA cabinet packaging.

    In all the commotion, we wound up working on Christmas Day and had completely forgotten to go shopping for food the day before. (It's not like we had any place to cook it or even store it.) Now Salt Lake is an interesting place to be on Christmas. With a mostly Mormon population, the entire city shuts down. No open grocery stores, mini-marts, nothing. Except a Thai and a couple of Chinese places. Unfortunately, I am supremely allergic to peanuts so that was not going to work.

    We spent about an hour looking for open places to eat. We finally found the only place open that catered to all the heathens. A Kentucky Fried Chicken downtown. It was snowing pretty hard by the time we got down there and we thought, well how long could it take to get a bucket of chicken? Well apparently on X-Mas Day it takes almost 1 hour and they just couldn't keep up with the orders fast enough. The merry sounds of screaming children, whining parents and every new hand held gaming device complete with obnoxious sound effects would send the likes of Perry Como over the edge. By the time we got out of there, there were 3 inches of snow on top of the car and the roads were icing up terribly.

    When we got back to the condo, we sat on the floor with a table made from an upside down bucket and just looked at each other and shook our heads. I think I may have even cried. It was then we made the vow, not to ever do this again.

    So here we are a year later, in the process of building a house and all we want for Christmas is a roof. However this year we'll probably take a couple days off from building. The monkey learns just a little bit.

    Jen Pennington

    For more muddy green adventures visit our journal under the category of Green Building at: www.ecozome.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Tell us YOUR holiday DIY disasters

    Quote Originally Posted by jenpen View Post
    Our holiday disaster was just last year, 2008. We drove through snowstorms from Seattle to Salt Lake City to get to our small 600 sq ft., 1-bedroom condo there. The condo was previously being used by my Mother-in-Law, who had recently gone into a living assisted home. This meant my husband and I would drive with all our tools and begin to renovate the kitchen and bathroom at the same time around the holidays. We had one week to do it.

    We got there about a week before Christmas and the first thing we did was dissemble the kitchen cabinetry which had been there since the 70s and was in disrepair. Our routine was go-to-dump, visit with mom. Go to Home Depot-visit with mom. Go back to Home-Depot, visit with Mom. It was insane. We were not going to spend a fortune on this place but wanted it to look nice and be functional before we tried to sell it. We opted to go the IKEA route.

    Now it should be said that when one opts to go the IKEA route, it is not just one trip to IKEA, it is always several. (Which as it happens is always located somewhere out in the sticks and takes about and hour to get to get to each way.) So we measured everything, ordered all the cabinets, picked up everything we could and what didn't fit inside went on top of the racks on our Toyota RAV. There were about 4 trips made and the last one had us in a blizzard trying to get home via back streets as the top of the car was piled high. The straps were whistling and the noise of the ends flapping was maddening.

    Now since we had torn everything out, we really had no place to sleep. Our bed was one small rectangle of clear space on the floor of the living room with the back of the refrigerator at our heads, and the stove at our feet since we had moved them out of the kitchen. We were boxed in on all sides with IKEA cabinet packaging.

    In all the commotion, we wound up working on Christmas Day and had completely forgotten to go shopping for food the day before. (It's not like we had any place to cook it or even store it.) Now Salt Lake is an interesting place to be on Christmas. With a mostly Mormon population, the entire city shuts down. No open grocery stores, mini-marts, nothing. Except a Thai and a couple of Chinese places. Unfortunately, I am supremely allergic to peanuts so that was not going to work.

    We spent about an hour looking for open places to eat. We finally found the only place open that catered to all the heathens. A Kentucky Fried Chicken downtown. It was snowing pretty hard by the time we got down there and we thought, well how long could it take to get a bucket of chicken? Well apparently on X-Mas Day it takes almost 1 hour and they just couldn't keep up with the orders fast enough. The merry sounds of screaming children, whining parents and every new hand held gaming device complete with obnoxious sound effects would send the likes of Perry Como over the edge. By the time we got out of there, there were 3 inches of snow on top of the car and the roads were icing up terribly.

    When we got back to the condo, we sat on the floor with a table made from an upside down bucket and just looked at each other and shook our heads. I think I may have even cried. It was then we made the vow, not to ever do this again.

    So here we are a year later, in the process of building a house and all we want for Christmas is a roof. However this year we'll probably take a couple days off from building. The monkey learns just a little bit.

    Jen Pennington

    For more muddy green adventures visit our journal under the category of Green Building at: www.ecozome.com
    A self absorbed Christmas and a self absorbed woman........ I love these tales. Rubbing hands over candles to stay warm.... Keep them coming! They warm my heart!
    Last edited by NEC; 12-08-2009 at 08:45 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    188

    Smile Re: Tell us YOUR holiday DIY disasters

    Thanks, Jen! Does anyone else have disaster stories to share? Respond to this thread or e-mail us at tohwebmaster@timeinc.com for a chance to be featured on ThisOldHouse.com!

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