A Complete Idiot's Guide Written by an Actual Idiot

The thing about renovations is that nobody ever tells you the thing about renovations until it is too late. Someone should write a book entitled The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Renovations for people like me who have no business renovating anything in the first place. I could put everything my husband and I know about renovations inside a pecan shell and still have room left over.

That being said, I’d like to pitch my latest idea for the book (see above) that is going to make me a gazillionaire. Please bear with me as I’m still learning about the subject while laboring through the tedious process of trying to re-create a Better Homes and Garden magazine page right here in my own home. Actually it is a Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine page, but it doesn’t really matter whose magazine page I am using as my guide. I am still a complete idiot when it comes to renovations. I’ve just decided to write a book about it and get rich so I don’t ever, ever, ever have to do this again.

Chapter 1: Getting Ready

Counting the cost before beginning a project is imperative. You will continue counting the cost throughout the entire project. But counting before beginning is what the experts advise. It is simply one of those things that should be done just because they said so. In reality, the figure you arrive at is merely an idea, which is what got you in this mess to start with. Somebody had an idea. Am I confusing you? Embrace that feeling because it will be with you for a long time. Here is the bottom line for complete idiots: To estimate the cost means you are coming up with an approximate cost which is nearly correct which is to say it is almost correct but not quite. It’s the not quite part that’s going to get you. But wait—there’s more!

Chapter 2: Getting Set

Any idiot knows that the job will be easier if all the necessary tools and supplies are readily at hand. So write out a list, check it twice and make sure the gas tank is full. The most important part of this step is topping off the gas tank. This is because you will not in a million years get everything you need in the first trip or by visiting one store. Make up your mind right now: this is going to require the equivalent of a road trip around the entire world to secure every last item on the list. A lot of gas will be required for this step, so maybe I should have called it “Fill ‘er Up”. Oh, and don’t forget to add the cost of gas to the estimate you created in Chapter 1.

Chapter 3: Getting Started

“Any task is hard when you do it by the yard, but it becomes a cinch when you do it by the inch”. This quote is a lie from the pits of hell. It should read “This is hard”. You will, in fact, get started about 623 times. This is because the first 622 times you are just learning how not to do it. It is true that by the time you are finished you will be an expert, but only on this particular step. Trust me when I tell you that there are many, many steps which must be started, learned and accomplished. This becomes a time issue and should also be figured into the estimate equation. By now, you should have thrown away a minimum of two estimates, if you even still care what it’s going to cost.

Chapter 4 Getting Mad

This is the most important chapter in the book. I say this because everyone has anger lurking just beneath the surface. Forget going to a counselor. All you really need to bring the anger issues out into the open is a good home renovations project. One day the final straw will be laid on the camel’s back, the other shoe will drop, or the red will fall right off your candy. And just like that, you will find out what you are mad about and so will the rest of the world. The money you saved by not going to the counselor will come in handy as you will now have to replace what you have broken during your ranting rave. This does not need to be included in the estimate (chapter 1) because you didn’t see this one coming. Also, you used money that you had never spent in the first place by not going to the counselor. If you work it just right, you might be able to count this in the plus column. But what do I know. I am an angry idiot.

Chapter 5 Getting Help

When you reach this point in the book you are almost finished with your renovations project. I know this is true because as soon as the professionals arrive, you can stop working and let them do the job the way it was supposed to have been done in the first place. They are professionals because they have done this before which means they have already completed the 622 step learning process and that is why they are called professionals. It is also why they charge three times the amount of the estimate you created in Chapters 1, 2 and 3. However you will not begrudge paying them three times the amount of your original estimate because you now realize the complete value of their services.

Chapter 6 Getting Over It

The project is complete and now it is time to kick back and enjoy the fruit of your efforts. Yes, it’s time for a much needed vacation. So pack up your paper plates and head to the back yard for a picnic because that is all you can afford for the next five years. Be sure and take a magazine along for entertainment. You never know when a good idea will make itself known, and who am I to stand in the way of a complete idiot and her dream?

If you enjoyed this book idea you will be happy to know I have other Idiot Guide ideas in process. Which means I'm trying things I've never tried before. You know...as in "honey, I have an idea". See Chapter 1 for more information.


  1. I think you have a bestseller on your hands. Of course, only women will buy the book, and then it will only be because they want proof in writing when they call their husbands an idiot.

    As if they need a guide.

  2. All I can say is that I was glad I wasn't anywhere within a hundred miles of you and Danny when the aforementioned project was taking place.

    Steve and I DO offer marriage counseling though, if the renovation project pushes you over the edge. :-)

    Funny stuff!

  3. Waiting. Still waiting. Waiting yet again. But waiting.

    'Cause you're worth waiting for.