Spotting a DIYer in the wild

Kit Stansley

July 11, 2012

By: Kit Stansley, DIY Diva

In: General RemodelingBathroom Remodeling

Like many do-it-yourselfers, I have a secret identity -- a Clark Kent-like alter ego that shows up to her day job every morning in a somewhat presentable fashion. If you look closely enough, on some days you may spot a smattering of white freckles across my forehead from a late-night ceiling painting session, or a couple of scraped knuckles from a bathroom remodeling faucet-removal gone wrong. On the weekends though? That's when the mask comes off, the ripped jeans come out, and I can often be found out in public -- sporting a filthy, and probably unflattering, white tank top -- sweaty and generally with some mystery tar-like substance smeared across my face and arms.

I couldn't get stranger looks from people if I was actually wearing a cape and tights. But every once in a while someone catches my eye and gives me a smile or a nod; someone you know has spent a weekend or two putting in a fence, tearing a roof off a shed, or painting the entire exterior of their house. Someone who knows. DIY is awesome, but sometimes it ain't pretty.

If you're looking to show a little solidarity with the DIYers out there -- to fist-bump the person who just rebuilt the stairs on their deck, or spent their Saturday drywalling a new closet -- here are a couple of tips on spotting those crazy, paint-covered do-it-yourselfers in the wild.

The after-hours painter

This DIYer is difficult to spot, and may be mistaken for your average Joe. However, the AHP can be accurately identified by splatters of paint in odd places. Keep a sharp eye out for these characteristics:

  • Unusually colored elbows and other places that are hard to see while washing
  • Rapidly appearing gray hair (Hint: It's probably primer.)
  • Bonus find: Foot-long piece of painters tape stuck to shoe

The sawdust junkie

While harder to identify among the general population, the typical sawdust junkie is easy to spot in the lumber aisle of the hardware store and is characterized by a blissful expression and a propensity to stand idly in the middle of the walkway while breathing deeply. Look also for these indicators:

  • Gets edgy when it's been a few days since the last sawdust "fix"
  • May have a penchant for buying various types of saws or other sharp implements
  • Bonus find: tape measure still clipped to belt

The weekend warrior

It's rare to spot these types of DIYers often, but when they're out and about, they are difficult to miss. They are most active during weekends and warm weather, and can often be found trying to strap a full bundle of lumber to the top of a mid-sized sedan. Weekend warriors can be identified by the following behavior:

  • Complete lack of concern about appearance, as evidenced by dirty, torn clothing
  • Alternating expressions of elation, exhaustion, and no-I-don't-care-that-I'm-tracking-dirt-everywhere
  • Purchasing cases of beer and/or bottled water

If you're lucky enough to spot one of these species in the wild, my advice is to give them a high-five and make friends immediately, because, hey -- you never know when you might need a hand installing a new toilet.


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