Project Total Makeover

Another of the “cost saving” events that took place in our small household during the summer, instead of going to Florida for two weeks, was a house makeover project.

The project was perfectly timed with IKEA’s opening in Dublin and not to mention the perfect DIY (indoor) weather in Ireland; windy and rainy.

“Project Total Makeover” was another of these family projects to engage and gather the family, doing something together other than watching movies.  It’s always more fun to do stuff together, laugh and cry, so building stuff was the perfect thing.  The kids would be laughing when I cry, after hitting my fingers with the hammer!

The changes and updates to the interior of the house were meant to create happiness and make the environment much more feng shui – which it did.  However, at what cost?  I personally have patience like the Tasmanian Devil and I like to do things a certain way – often the opposite to my wife or kids.  This in itself causes some minor pillow fights, throwing of stuffed (and live) animals and a few tantrums or hissy fits – mostly performed by me.

Our experience of IKEA has already been explored in previous blogs, so I’m not going into that trauma again – it’s not good, according to my psychiatrist.  So, below are some of the activities we undertook during the summer, as a family; wife and kids looking at daddy loosing 20lbs working. 🙂

In fairness, my wife has a fantastic eye for detail and can easily tell me if I missed a spot. My son is brilliant at re-organising/demolishing anything and my daughter sings while I’m sweating.  What more can a husband/father ask for?

Tiles ‘R Us;
The bathroom had, since the extension was done, been looking awful, with bare plasterboards and grouting all over.  I had on several occasions offered to tile the bathroom, but my wife lacked evidence and trust in my tiling abilities.  However, she did permit me to buy the tiles and get somebody else to do the job.  End result, we now have a beautiful shitter under the stairs.

The Fields of Barley;
…or should I say, our not landscaped garden.  Actually, it has been taken over so well by Mother Nature that we can’t find the kids’ swing anymore.  One of the dogs went missing in the garden last month, for two days, so my wife “persuaded” me to get petrol for the lawnmower and run out between rain showers to cut the grass.  I was totally amazed with the stuff I found while cutting grass; chairs, balls, garden tools, our lost dog, the swing, etc.  It was something out of Jurassic Park (Costa Rica memories).  And, don’t step into the tall grass as that means the dogs have fertilised the soil there!  I’m certain that I discovered unknown plants and species, unfortunately these felt the pain of my lawnmower.  At one point, standing in the back, I thought I was lost too, but then I discovered my homemade fence and followed it back to the house.  Ray Mears or Bear Gills, can you survive 48 hours in my garden?

Fruit of the Loom;
This was a pure family (kids) project.  I build a small vegetable garden with my daughter so the kids could choose the stuff to put in it, i.e. vegetables.  We went to the garden centre, where my daughter quickly picked 11 flowers, different shades of pink and new wellies. The garden centre didn’t have any vegetables, other than leeks and Brussels sprouts – but they taste nice too.  Now we have a beautiful vegetable/flower/weed bed, and have absolutely no idea when we can eat the Brussels sprouts.  The joys of being DIY gardener.

The Learning and Breathing Room;
My wife and I have worked on the kids rooms for the past year, trying to give the rooms a kiddy look.  We (my wife) has painted characters on the walls and wardrobes, replaced the floor and installed blinds.  Phase 2 of the plan, was to give them each their room.  IKEA was sneaking back into the picture.  So, we bought the furniture and I assembled it, while my eagle eye wife directed, my daughter sang and my son threw screws down the stairs!  The result is that my daughter has a gorgeous HC Andersen bed, nightstand, office desk and a shelving unit in her room.
…and we did finish his room as promised too.

Da Vinci master piece;
My proudest moment was building a fence from scratch and the fact that it is still standing.  I made a dog run from scratch, protecting my kids from stepping in dog poh every second step they took.  A mate of mine volunteered to help, so while the kids and wives were inside, we ener DIY territory.  Armed with gloves, goggles, tool belt and saw, we attacked the challenge.  Two MBA graduates building a fence, how hard could it be!  We carefully measured, dug holes for the poles, cut boards and drilled in screws. I don’t know who were more surprised or amazed, our wives or us.  The real fence test was if it could withstand the dogs, so we let the dogs out into their new dog run and they instantly started to chew their way through the fence….aaaaarrrrrggghhhh!  Oh well, it was fun building it and I still find the odd splinter in my fingers.

We had a very productive summer, as you can see, and it was worthwhile, not doubt.  I really enjoyed spending time with my family and friends, and would rather do gardening than go to Florida!!

Was it cost effective?  Of course not!

We’ve spend a fair bit of money on getting the house in order, but the house is so much nicer now.  We can actually use the garden again and have friends over for BBQ as well.  It was a nice feeling spending money on your own place rather than spending it on drinks, food and activities in an exotic location.  Overall, we didn’t spend as much money as we did on our holidays abroad, which is good.


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