Author Topic: Your biggest DIY project so far?  (Read 12559 times)

Two9A

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Your biggest DIY project so far?
« on: February 29, 2012, 10:02:57 AM »
I'm renovating a house at the moment, and have been doing various medium-sized DIY projects in the process: rewiring, partition walls, plumbing in a new bathroom etc. The biggest job, though, was probably the extension into the attic, since it required:

  • Removal of a partition wall, to make space for...
  • The new staircase, DIY'd out of windowsills;
  • A set of beams in the attic, running perpendicular to the ceiling beams;
  • A cheap pine floor, screwed down;
  • Hacking at the roof beams to fit a skylight.

The next big project I have on the cards is to extend the kitchen, which will involve brickwork, I-beams and all that fun. What's your biggest piece of work so far?

TLV

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 10:21:10 AM »
I don't have any carpentry DIY experience yet, as I'm still in apartment. The smaller projects I'm most proud of:

* Matting and framing a picture for my wife (The frame was from a store, but I cut the mat myself and saved at least $50 over having the store do it)
* Using the leftover mat-board, some thread, and a wire coat hanger to make a mobile for our baby.
* Replacing the knock sensor in our car (saved over $150 compared to having the mechanic do it).
* Replacing the rusted brake cables/noodles on my freecycle bike. Now I can stop on a downhill!

velocistar237

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 10:28:17 AM »
I air-sealed our ducts with mastic. I'm in the process of insulating them. I also put up some French doors, though that's also not quite done. I don't have many projects in the past tense, which is bad considering how long ago I started those.

Eventually, I want to do our own kitchen renovation. I'll have to knock out some walls, take up the tile, install new cabinets, new floor, etc. (Not to hijack the thread, but what's a good way to learn this stuff without putting my kitchen out of commission for months on end?)

adam

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 10:33:39 AM »
My biggest DIY so far isn't very big compared to houses.

I completely re-wired the entire accessory circuit on my boat along with a new panel and switches.  At the same time I replaced the throttle cables and re-wired the trailer lights and put on new LED trailer lights.  Of course I say I, but I had a lot of help from my friend and his shop where he installs lights on cars (to make a long story short).

So we took out the motor gauges (motor power circuit stayed the same, it is separate), removed the old switch panel, put the new panel in (which was already assembled with the switches), pulled the old wiring harness out, pulled the new one through from the console to the bilge, put in a kill switch, hooked everything up, and now all my accessories actually work! Lights, horn, bilge, livewell, radio, fishfinder.  Its kinda nice having things work the way they are supposed to.

One of the original throttle cables was definitely bad so we replaced them as well and now its as smooth as butter.

It doesn't sound so bad but it was fairly difficult.  Very tight spaces to work in.

arebelspy

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 09:34:40 PM »
One winter I built a small house out of graham crackers, marshmallows, frosting, and gum drops.

It was delicious.

Oh, and I was like six.
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Two9A

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 05:05:09 AM »
Eventually, I want to do our own kitchen renovation. I'll have to knock out some walls, take up the tile, install new cabinets, new floor, etc. (Not to hijack the thread, but what's a good way to learn this stuff without putting my kitchen out of commission for months on end?)
There isn't really a way that doesn't involve having your kitchen out of commission for a long while. Since you'll be tearing just about everything out, and starting over from the walls and floor, it'll be some time before you have units and appliances back in.

So it's either take a few months, or take an extended vacation from work to focus on it exclusively.

orangeclocker

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 11:39:23 AM »
Basement finish. I subcontracted the electrical (to avoid the zap), plumbing (don't want shit in the basement), HVAC (cheaper than diy) and drywall (I did that once - never again) but the rest was me. We put in a wet bar area for entertaining/wine making that I did myself; the bar top is beer bottle caps embedded in epoxy - ~2000 of them.  I have good advice for working with bar top epoxy for anyone that needs it.

I also built a workbench and storage shelves/solutions in the garage.

I come from a "sweat equity" type of family and have helped with all sorts of things over the years. Painting and deck refinishing for hire with my grandpa in high school; various building projects with my dad: most recently helped frame and roof an addition to their cabin and come spring I'll help them put up a garage.

For you sailing enthusiasts out there: I recently made/installed lazy jacks, replaced a deck hatch, recovered the interior cushions (with a lot of help), fixed the Kenyon alcohol stove, upgraded some electrical, and more.  Owning a sailboat basically means you do things yourself or go broke....something about a boat being a hole in which to throw money. Totally worth it though.

chrissyo

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 04:32:54 AM »
One winter I built a small house out of graham crackers, marshmallows, frosting, and gum drops.

It was delicious.

Oh, and I was like six.

LOL!

I'm drooling over all the DIY projects other Mustichians have taken on. DH and his dad gutted and remodelled our bathroom, and my contributions to our flat have been limited to stripping wallpaper, painting, sanding/refinishing trim and windowsills, removing and replacing a storage radiator, and re-wiring a timing switch for our hot water heater. For our next purchase, we intend to get a place that needs even more work and doing as much of it on our own as possible.

Parizade

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 05:26:37 AM »
Built a garden shed once, with shingles and windows even. That was pretty fun.

Finished my basement (like orangeclocker, I subcontracted some things, but put the heated floor in the bathroom myself). Now my son and future DIL are living there while she finishes grad school.

Next big project I'm contemplating is a tiny home on wheels, but it scares me a little. Haven't to work up my courage to start that one.

Physics

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2012, 06:34:02 AM »
I'm in the planning phases of doing a complete demolition and build out of a master suite, bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet and library/anteroom on the entire second floor of my house.

I'm hoping to maintain a thread here with all of the gotchas and fun times.  Should take place over the next year.  It will be as much DIY as I possibly can handle.

Mirwen

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 10:22:05 AM »
My biggest projects so far have been laying bamboo floors and a bathroom remodel.  I replaced a bathtub and refinished cabinets!

I grew up living in small apartments with my mother who wouldn't let me hang things on the wall with a nail because she was afraid of putting holes in the wall.  I've come a long way.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 03:27:09 PM »
We are currently in the middle of renovating our computer room after gutting it. Between Mr. Lilac and I, we are doing everything ourselves. I'm currently mudding the living room wall we gutted so we could have the whole east wall insulated. I hate mudding, but it is going better this time. Thumbs up to "How-to" YouTube videos.

After we are done putting everything back together, we are ripping up the carpet and putting down laminate. Mr. Lilac also wants to do the bathroom this year too. I'll be doing the electrical, he and his friend will be doing the plumbing.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 03:45:52 PM »
-Gutted two bathrooms donw to framing, one of them required relocating plumbing.
-built a large deck and flagstone patio
-reno'd a kitchen (new cabinets, flooring, etc.)
-Brick chimney was pulling away from house (due to dumb a** neighbor gutters) so had to demo and rebuild wall - tore down to framing, reframed and added two large windows, and framed out area for future gas fire place (wasn't willing to spend the dough but thought I would in the future - never did), new siding. 

Yet for some reason i still don't have the confidence to build a shed, although i think it is because I can settle in on a design.

I am not a tradesman and figured it out along the way.  Some of the stuff would have been cheaper/quicker to pay someone but the learning and working with your hands was so rewarding plus the ego boost you get when people would say "wow, you did that, it looks awesome, I wouldn't know where to begin"  Makes you feel smart and powerful. 

rosarugosa

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 05:13:16 PM »
We are a couple of white-collar types who installed hardwood floors throughout our home.  Careful research and intense desire, coupled with not having enough money to hire someone, but just enough to buy the materials!

JJ

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 06:21:20 PM »
Eventually, I want to do our own kitchen renovation. I'll have to knock out some walls, take up the tile, install new cabinets, new floor, etc. (Not to hijack the thread, but what's a good way to learn this stuff without putting my kitchen out of commission for months on end?)
There isn't really a way that doesn't involve having your kitchen out of commission for a long while. Since you'll be tearing just about everything out, and starting over from the walls and floor, it'll be some time before you have units and appliances back in.

So it's either take a few months, or take an extended vacation from work to focus on it exclusively.
Or have fun with a kitchen garden.  We cooked on a BBQ and a gas hotplate outside for a couple of months while the kitchen was in bits.  It was actually a really good experience - I do think we tend to get over excited about big, fancy kitchens when a something much more simple works well. 

gooki

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2012, 06:54:19 PM »
Nothing major, but a new deck is the biggest I've done.

James

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2012, 07:35:28 PM »
I got to thinking about this question, and I can't think of any part of constructing a house I haven't done.  I haven't build a whole house, but I've done every part of building a house, most of them many times over.  As my salary has grown I've cut back on doing a lot of things, I wouldn't shingle my own house now due to knee and back issues, but I could if needed.  My most recent big project was two years ago adding on a room.  I sectioned off an area in the garage, built a wall, added all the electrical, modified and added duct work, did the sheetrock, put in the exterior door, etc.  I hired out the carpet install, and hired a kid in church who needed work to do the painting since I just can't stand painting.  It's been a huge benefit in the winter having a mud room for all the jackest, boots, etc.


My biggest DIY project of all time was the job of remodeling much of our first house.  I remodeled two bathrooms, the kitchen, and finished the entire basement.  That house is still my favorite, I'd go back there if I could.  I also did a shingle tear-off and re-shingle on that house, that was the hardest job I've ever done on my own house simply because it's non-stop backbreaking work until it's finished.  There's no taking your time or spreading it out.


Having said all that, my dream is to have a very small house and not having projects going on in my own house.  I don't like the stress, I'm too much of a perfectionist, and it's just not as much fun working on my house as it once was.  I'd actually prefer working on other people's house, I don't mind the work, I just don't want to live with the stress or mess of doing it on my own house...  :)

4_shore

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2012, 04:19:19 PM »
I've always been mechanically inclined; car motor swaps, building decks and furniture all kind of came naturally from a farm raising. SO I decided to take things up a notch and build my own motorbike from the frame up, loved the whole construction experience - even though it took far longer than expected as I changed design ideas in mid project, but it kept me out of the pub.
Now to the Stash-Shrinkingly crappy part. I started the project expecting to have a bad ass chopper at a bargain price (Use donor parts found at extreme discount). My build quality was more than up to par to pass an inspection $150 cost for that - which was expected. But the unexpected part was having a new V.I.N. number assigned cost me $540 for a 3" plate with some numbers on it - AKA 25% of my build cost on government nicknaks.
I know I know should have done more homework, and if I did I still would have done the project - it is a bad ass bike at super cheap cost, just would have saved my self the near-stroke I had.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 04:23:13 PM by 4_shore »

arebelspy

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2012, 07:05:12 PM »
That thing is amazing, and it only cost you 2 grand to build!?

Well done!
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ShavinItForLater

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2012, 10:32:11 PM »
Eventually, I want to do our own kitchen renovation. I'll have to knock out some walls, take up the tile, install new cabinets, new floor, etc. (Not to hijack the thread, but what's a good way to learn this stuff without putting my kitchen out of commission for months on end?)
There isn't really a way that doesn't involve having your kitchen out of commission for a long while. Since you'll be tearing just about everything out, and starting over from the walls and floor, it'll be some time before you have units and appliances back in.

So it's either take a few months, or take an extended vacation from work to focus on it exclusively.
Or have fun with a kitchen garden.  We cooked on a BBQ and a gas hotplate outside for a couple of months while the kitchen was in bits.  It was actually a really good experience - I do think we tend to get over excited about big, fancy kitchens when a something much more simple works well.

When we did our massive addition (not DIY), the contractor took our old kitchen stove/oven and hooked it up with a temporary utility line run to our dining room.  Not ideal by any means, still had to wash dishes by hand, went to the laundromat for a long while as well since the washer/dryer were also out, but we did eat at home most of the time.  If your project is going to take a while, setting up a temporary kitchen elsewhere could make it bearable.

nevinera

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2012, 05:54:40 AM »
We replaced crappy carpet with bamboo throughout our main living area before moving in - it was a lot more work than expected, because the original contractors used particle board for the underlayment.. you can't really nail things to that.

Aside from that (and I had a lot of help there), I've done some significant renovation of our kitchen on the cheap; mostly removing cabinets, replacing countertops, and putting up shelving. Ikea is awesome for that stuff!

4_shore

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2012, 04:37:20 PM »
That thing is amazing, and it only cost you 2 grand to build!?

Well done!

It's easy to do if you watch Kijiji (Ebay Classifieds in the US of A) or Craig's list for an older bike that had a wreck and was written off, especially one that had high way pegs because they save the motor from road rash. I spend $500 on the donor and another approx $1000 on fender blanks, tubing to build the frame and some shiny nic-naks for good measure.

Plus, welders are tools of the type that if you get a good second hand one and keep it clean you can sell it for what you bought it for when your done. (I kept mine because I found all kinds of things to do with it)

Petruchio

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2012, 02:33:37 PM »
biggest project thus far has been putting a metal roof on my parent's lake house. Between tearing off the old roof, replacing the wooden beams, putting down new plywood and putting on the metal, it took eight weekends of 14 hour days. It will last 40 years I suspect.

Landor n Stella

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2012, 07:18:42 AM »
www.heartlandhouse.wordpress.com

My biggest DIY used to be gutting a bathroom and replacing the fixtures. Now that seems tame compared to the house we bought for $7k. :-)

MsSindy

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2012, 08:24:57 PM »
Our biggest DIY project - our f'ing McMansion.  We've done (almost) everything ourselves from clearing the land with a chain saw and weed wacker (more energy and less money back then), to installing the electric, plumbing, all interior stuff - we hired out the basement foundation, roofing and the framing.  The only catch.... we're still building the sukka.... 10 years and counting!  It's the thing that stands between us and being FIRE.  Since it's not finished, we can't sell it, but we can't refinance it either (5.75% ouch!).  DH has a lot of pride in his workmanship and knows that he should just contract out the rest of the work...but can't bring himself to do it yet.  ...I think he's getting close though (fingers crossed).  It's a beautiful home, but I realize I want FIRE more than I want a big house - just got to get DH on the same page.  sigh.

Nords

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 11:18:47 PM »
Photovoltaic array and solar hot water.

We had to contract an electrician to do the final inverter connection (for the contractor's license number on the net-metering agreement with HECO) but drilling holes in a perfectly good roof turned out to be a lot easier than I expected.

Zaga

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2012, 07:39:11 AM »
I think our biggest project was patching the roof.  It had leaked for several years in that spot so we had to remove and replace boards and splice in at least one new support.

Then, once the roof was no longer leaking, the bathroom underneath that had to be redone, including gutting the end by the leak and replacing studs and drywall in the wall and ceiling.

I was extremely proud of us for doing all of that on our own!

Tom Reingold

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2012, 04:26:21 PM »
I've built several bikes for myself, using a bare frame and bike components. I built the wheels myself, too. I enjoy doing this immensely.

bo_knows

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2012, 07:14:47 AM »
I'm not that skilled with DIY projects, and we bought a relatively move-in-ready home, so I haven't had the chance to do a lot. Here are my basic projects:

* Changing out outlets and switches
* Replacing the innards of 2 toilets
* Re-insulated my attic
* Built my own Olympic Lifting Platform, similar to this:
 

1tolivesimply

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2012, 01:31:14 AM »
Remodeled my kitchen last month:

- Removed old laminate floor (just to find out there was linoleum under it).
- 4 days removing linoleum - newer house so no asbestos.
- Laid new 18 x 18 porcelain tile floors.
- Custom Built a new center island from lowes cabinets/trims.
- Re stained cabinets (this makes a HUGE difference).
- New granite counter tops (paid someone else to do it - expensive but worth it IMO).
- Installed new tile backsplash
- New baseboards
- Removed old light fixtures, installed new recessed lights.
- Installed new pendant lights on top of the c-island.
- New cabinet hardware.

I ended up spending about 6K, tile installers quoted me $1900 just to lay the floor tile...

Edit: it was much less than that, however, I'm including the cost of a new stove & all the tools I had to buy to complete the job, from a couple of hand saws and scrapers to a table saw and hammer drill, I have no idea how much it was without including the tools.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 03:28:26 AM by 1tolivesimply »

ruthiegirl

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2012, 09:21:53 AM »
I removed all of the asbestos from my basement.  Awful, hot job in a chemical suit and respirator, but it saved us $10,000 and our respiratory health. 

Lagom

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2012, 03:54:59 PM »
Mine would have to be a MAME arcade cabinet I built in college. Modified a design I found on the internet to better fit my height (6'4") and to accommodate four players instead of two, cut all of the plywood and MDF using nothing but a jigsaw (not an ideal solution but I feel pretty badass for pulling it off), screwed everything together, wired the joysticks, buttons, trackball, and sound system, and painted it a snazzy blue/orange/yellow scheme. It was a great thing to have when people were over. I was sad that I couldn't' bring it when I moved out of the city, but the thing was enormous and weighed a couple hundred pounds. I definitely want to make another one sometime.

Edit - It occurred to me this might not be considered especially mustachian, and perhaps it wasn't (this was definitely pre mustache days for me), but it sure was a lot of fun and provided many hours of entertainment for literally dozens of people. Total cost to me was maybe $400, including wood, television (to use as the monitor), paint, computer (mostly scrounged from old computers I never bothered to throw out), controls, etc.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 04:15:18 PM by Lagom »

jwystup

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2012, 03:45:54 PM »
This guy. When the house was inspected (last year) the inspector noted the rotting railings (mostly the bottom pieces). I tore down the railings all around, leaving the posts, and pulled off the tops/fronts of the steps. The rest of the porch is in pretty good shape, but needed to be painted. I don't have a good "before" picture, but there was ugly blue carpet on the floor and down the stairs (which was literally falling apart), the railings were white and the lattice/bottom part was the gray-blue that is peeking out from behind the lattice in this picture.

The steps got replaced pretty quickly, as I didn't like leaving a hole there. I really wanted to save money on this, so I reused the spindle pieces and just replaced the horizontal pieces. Painting took *forever*! I painted each piece before putting it together though, so as to not have to cut in, then I just have to touch it up. This was by far my most time-consuming project yet!

There are still a bunch of holes to fill and paint to touch-up, but I angled it so I think all but 4 of the holes are angled downward so they won't collect water anyways. I'm leaving that for the spring since we have below-freezing temperatures at night, I'm using that as an excuse to be done for now! I am a little disappointed because I wanted it to get finished for the trick-or-treaters and I almost made it :\


adam

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2012, 12:54:48 PM »
I just put in 1000 sq ft of laminate flooring, painted the entire interior of the house, and put up 7 new light fixtures.  I paid someone else to build my fence, I was beat.

BPA

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Re: Your biggest DIY project so far?
« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2012, 02:30:22 PM »
One winter I built a small house out of graham crackers, marshmallows, frosting, and gum drops.

It was delicious.

Oh, and I was like six.

ha ha ha ha

I would love to DIM, but I am totally inept and a slow learner.  Have you ever seen work done by Do-It-Yourselfers who shouldn't have?  That would be me.

I used to say they could have a reality tv show about my single mother home ownership called I Should Have Bought a Condo.  But I have done small things like replace toilet seats and fix the toilets and I would never pay anyone to cut my grass or clean my house.