The Holy Grail Of DIY Dodgers Is The DIY Free Week-End, Holiday, Life
Use these techniques at your own risk. The potential for discovery is high - mix and match techniques, don't get repetitive, and keep your story straight. You have been warned - the Wife WILL suss you out if you're not careful.
The Sicky. First refuge for the amateur DIY Dodger. Colds, Flu, Hang-Overs, migraines, etc. Easily detectable by the switched on and suspicious spouse. Use with caution. This simple technique, although effective in the short-term, does not really help our long term goals. You can't be ill every week-end, plus if you're meant to be ill you can't do what you want to do - and isn't that the whole point of avoiding DIY? For a more sustainable use of the Sicky, we have to develop a long-term strategy, which would be:
The Physical Impairment. (PI). A great tool for Dodging Do It Yourself is the development of a believable, sustainable, long term illness or disability that we'll call a Physical Impairment. Incurable, but likely to strike you down as soon as home improvements rear their ugly head, the PI in its most common form is the "bad back". I myself have one. No, really I do. I can work all week lifting heavy objects but then the smallest of jolts at the week-end render bending impossible, but walking around does seem to help, as does sitting in front of the TV or computer, but not hammering, gluing, fixing or building. I can call on my bad back whenever I want, but as with all our techniques here, it is best used sparingly unless you wished to be dragged to the Doctors by a caring spouse, where it all gets a bit serious when a professional starts asking questions. Use your Bad Back as your Joker to be played at times of greatest need, do not wear it out. Other great PI's could be flat feet, temporary blindness, Parkinsons, MS, Arthritis or Angina, but I have to admit that I have had only limited success with those PI's. Back is best.
The Incompetent Fool or "I'm Just No Good With My Hands" Technique. A dangerous and difficult path to follow, but this tactic can lead to great rewards, but also some very big pitfalls, such as great expense or divorce. To instigate this technique properly you must do everything DIY related badly, from hammering nails into water-pipes, blowing fuses, snapping kitchen work-tops by standing on them, cutting carpet wrong, etc. A basic rule of thumb is that when you're trying to cut something to size just think
"If I cut it too big I'll have to cut it again and do it right. . If I cut it too small, job done, 'cos you can't put it back."
It helps if most of the damage is done to yourself not the house or contents. Bruised thumbs, splinters, etc, often can generate sympathy from your spouse, rather than having to explain why you've just dropped that£250 mirror that your wife just brought from Debenhams.
If you're lucky your better half will give up on you as a DIYer, but this could either lead to her doing the job herself (unlikely) hiring people to do the job (expensive), or getting rid of you for a better model (game-over).
My final word on this technique is that it is all or nothing - any sign of skill or competence will render it null and void, and there is no going back.
The Bodger. Variation on the above technique. Do your DIY YOUR WAY, the BAD WAY. We're talking matchsticks for raw-plugs, no-more-nails to stick thinks up, plenty of Araldite to fix broken fixings, wonky shelves, leaking taps and plenty of chunks out of the plaster work of your house. Again a short term fix, you'll either have to pay for someone else to do the job or end up on your own.
Blame It On The Tools. "Sorry darling, you need a Black and Phillips KD-45 Diamond Tipped Rotary Drill Sander to put a screw in that wall, and I just haven't got one, nor do I know anyone who has one that I can borrow." Successful in the short-term, but the savvy spouse could call your bluff, or even worse you could wake up on your Birthday or Christmas to find your presents are all from B&Q. Not nice, I've been there.
The Family Hobby. A great "Stealth" technique for DIY dodging. Think out of the box, or at least away from it. What things can you and your family, (you know the ones, they live in the same house and stop you getting in the bathroom) do together that will get you out and about enjoying yourselves and away from your tool-box? Sports is a great one, taking the kids to clubs or watching. Get down to that car boot sale every Sunday to keep that morning free for a start. Go for Family Bike Rides, walks in the countryside, Geocaching, Ice-Skating, Go To The Cinema, you know, the fun things you can do together. Your relationship with your Wife and Kids will improve and you can't build a new wall while looking round the Zoo!
The Moody Bastard. Be very, very careful when attempting this technique. Make sure you've got a believable excuse as to why you've got a face like thunder when asked to get your drill and hammer. You are trying to make life a misery for your other half while doing DIY so that she'll give up on the idea entirely, but she might also give up on you. You have been warned.
Turbo DIY. Seen by many an apprentice Dodger as a cop out, the experienced master of avoiding Home Improvements realises that sometimes you just have to do it, so do it quick, and first right time. Plan, start early, and surprise your wife by exceeding her expectations, giving you the free time to do what you want to do. Turbo DIY can only be achieved if you have the right tools to work quickly and efficiently, so some cost is involved, but the longer term gains are worth it.
Girl Power. Oh yes, this is one of the best tactics for cutting down or eliminating the amount of DIY you have to do. It's a long-term strategy and easily sustainable, but takes a lot of ground-work in the early days. When doing DIY make sure you do it as a team with your partner, sharing tips and skills. Although nervous at first, most women grow to love the feeling of using Power-Tools, and as they think they're better than you anyway's, eventually you can get your spouse to take over the main tasks. So you're combining Turbo DIY with a bit of PI to delegate the task of DIY away from your valuable time. Combine it with a Family Hobby that gets you out of the house with the kids and you're laughing. Make them the DIY addict who thinks their skills exceed yours. This strategy can have an unfortunate side-effect, where you get sidelined into the role of tea-maker, ladder holder or general builders lackey, so a sprinkling of Moody Bastard and Incompetent fool can help.
So there we have it. I've shared some of my basic DIY Dodging techniques. Add your own in the comments box below, practice, enjoy and Go For It!
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