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Do It Myself

Chitra Parayath

We're looking for a contractor, to redecorate our kitchen and the bathrooms. We're looking, but not very hard, I might add. Poring over glossy home makeover magazines and free handouts from our local DIY stores, we alternate between drooling and gasping. You guessed right, the former reaction is to the 'after' picture and the latter at the damage it'd do to our pocket. The gasps from my husband are audible, so much so that it is an Herculean task to keep from beaning him over the head with the aforesaid makeover magazines.

The battle lines were drawn long before the remodeling layout was. As is customary in my household, we talked this thing to death. I listed my reasons for seeing the project through before year end, while my husband, lets call him V wrote a book on why we don't need new wall paper, bathtub, Jacuzzi or ceramic tiles. A whole chapter was dedicated to the view that we (meaning yours truly and none else) could do most of it ourselves (read myself). I wasn't going to fall for that again, not after spraining my back climbing down the roof after I had cleaned the gutters. We are big on DIY in our family. The husband's policy is just that, DIY. Do it yourself. He is forever encouraging me to climb roofs, ladders, always introducing me to the latest chainsaws and power tools in the market.

Last year he inspired me to move a 15 foot something tree from the neighbor's yard to ours. Don't get me wrong, he did help. He was the one who put batteries in my walkman, the one who kept my thirst quenched with jugs of lime soda. He is also sponsoring my membership at the local gym, which offers an excellent weight-training program.

My son, bless his soul takes after his dad. If there is work to be done, you can't find him. He has brilliant ideas about all projects but is a tad short on execution. His motto has always been 'A friend in need is no friend of mine' and it has held him in good stead so far. There are so many traits common to the menfolk in my household.

Both dad and son are fiercely independent. Even if I cook them a four course meal they will only eat what they like and it has panned out well as I normally cook what they ask for. They also like to choose what they wear out of the clothes I buy them. They have also elevated the practice of giving advice to new heights. The only time they disagreed with each other was about the job at hand. My son, fearing an impending and inevitable invitation from us to participate is urging his dad to hire a professional.

Thank god for daughters, though. My twelve year old, bless her, helps me every way she can. She even tries to talk the men into assisting me at various projects. Coming back to the fore mentioned task at hand, we are still researching. While my spouse interrogates a hapless Home Depot employee about the hidden costs, I walk around picking tiles and industrial glue. My son sulks about scowling, listening to 'System of a down' on his personal CD player while my little girl tries to lift a 50lb bag of cement into the shopping cart.

I can feel the summer already, it's going to be a long one…at least for the two women of the house.

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