Five Reasons D.I.Y. Is Really A Four-letter Word

by Beth Bartlett

Editor's note: I seriously have no idea what this is.
Hold me.

Whenever my husband and I go out to a restaurant or retail store, he will take me by the hand, lean over and whisper in my ear, “We can make this stuff at home, you know.” 

What he doesn’t realize, even after twenty-plus years of marriage, is that I go out so I don’t have to make stuff at home. Not making it is a big part of the appeal, but he comes from a family that makes their own mayonnaise, so he never quite understands I’m domestically challenged. It’s cute, in a what-are-those-fire-engines-doing-here kind of way.
There are many projects we’ve tried together, but these are the top five I should never be allowed near again:

Broccoli salad
After performing a CSI-worthy autopsy of deli salad, he gave me the ingredient list: chopped broccoli, golden raisins, normal raisins, bacon and dressing. Sounds simple, right? Except that golden raisins are apparently made from real gold, considering the price. I’m thrifty, so I set out regular raisins to bleach in the sun. Maybe I should have dunked them in lemon juice, because they didn’t go blonde; they shrank into rabbit pellets. I also tried blending the broccoli; it looked like someone had massacred a herd of Chia Pets. Oh, the Ch-ch-chiamanity.

Dehydrated snacks
“If we make our own dried fruit, we can have snacks any time!” he said as he carried in a dehydrator. “It’s easy! Slice up fruit, slap it on some trays,flip the switch and walk away.”

 A crucial part of this recipe involves remembering to remove the fruit before the conga line of ants dances through the kitchen.  The fruit stuck to the plastic, the ants stuck to the fruit, and the entire colony had the full-on UFO experience as I flung the discs into the yard. I’m pretty sure I heard “Wheeeeee!” with each Frisbee toss.

Helpful hint: forgetting the wicks and trying to insert them later with a hammer and screwdriver will give you a lovely basket of vanilla-scented firestarters. The wood stove smelled delicious for a month, and every time I stoked the fire I had vivid hallucinations of crème-filled donuts. Good times.

Tiger Balm
Yes, the stinky, tingly stuff you slather on sore muscles can be made at home.  When you tire of the hair currently growing in your nose, you can find a recipe for this online; I assume it’s listed on Bachelor Quarterly. Among other things, it requires crushed red peppers, petroleum jelly and a firm discipline of never rubbing your eyes when they start streaming like a garden hose. We now have a 55-gallon drum of stinky, tingly stuff and a corner of the kitchen that makes the cat twitch.

Actually, he does this very well, because I’m opposed to hunter-induced male pattern baldness in deer and I have no part in this whatsoever. While he doesn’t hunt, he does tan an occasional deer hide for a clueless buddy, I’m assuming so the guy can make an adorable pair of high-heeled boots.  My participation is limited to running in small circles shrieking “Eeek! Bambi!” and gagging at the trail of un-deered hair around the worktable, which is located away from the house. Far away. In fact, if I call him for dinner, there may be roaming charges. 

Freelancer and humor writer Beth Bartlett calls her sponsor every time she feels the need to make something from scratch. No animals were harmed in the making of this article, except for one unfortunate deer, and we’re sure he’s in a better place now. At least that’s what he said when we did a séance with the new boots. Delve deeper into Beth’s twisted world with her sites at www.wisecrackzodiac.com, and at www.puregeek.me.


  1. Wow. I am so not a DIY person! Even cooking - my husband does most of that (though I make a yummy broccoli salad. Let me know if you want the recipe! The hardest part is microwaving the bacon!). My husband can make anything out of wood himself and prefers to do so over buying something, if possible. But as far as anything else goes, I'd rather buy than try to make!

    BTW, I LOL'd at the candle wicks you tried to hammer into the hardened wax, and I can't believe your husband makes leather! My great-great-grandfather did, and I wish I still had the little purse and the belt he made me when I was little before he passed - with my name etched in it and everything.

  2. Good stuff, Beth. My version of hell would be the combination of Extreme DIY-ers and a JoAnn Fabrics store. I shudder...

  3. DIY in my house is actually DII - Divorce Is Imminent.

  4. I can just about handle putting together the desk-that-comes-in-a-kit from Walmart. And forget culinary things - if I can successfully microwave a frozen dinner, I'm doing well. Totally with you on this one. ;)

  5. Beth - reading this made me laugh so hard I think I cracked a rib. Hmm . . . I think I have some superglue around here . . .

  6. Bwaahaahaa! Terri and I really need to host a DIY getaway for the challenged folks among us.

  7. Also, I've got a great recipe and method for tanning hides with brains. It's just as gross as it sounds, but makes a very supple hide.


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