DIY is not so bad

Initially this blog was supposed to be alternating accounts of how we attained and now maintain FIRE (Steve), and what we do in our new life as reasonably young retirees (Tuffy). Steve perseveres with his side of the blog, I fall miserably short of the initial goal. The reason for my failure stems from an initial expectation that I would have heaps of free time, however, my hours fill so quickly that reflection and committing those reflections to a form others would care to read remains elusive. I like to think Steve reads and thinks about so many other blogs during the times I drive kids to school or tennis or swimming, but ultimately I know he is just better at it than I am. So please forgive my lack of consistency in posting blogs and remember that when one retires all that ‘free time’ does not really exist – it fills up more quickly than one can imagine leaving you breathless as to how you coped with it all while working full-time.

DIY has never been one of my fortes. I always desired self-sufficiency, but after the working day I wanted nothing more than hanging out with my family or mindless entertainment. Weekends rapidly filled up with grocery shopping for the week, play dates, sports, and every attempt to get out of the house and see new things. Therefore, home repairs demanded a handyman … except for the time I fixed the toilet with a paperclip, MacGyver-style. Now, however, the requisite $100 fee minimum call-out for any specialist gives us cause for trying to fix things ourselves (which is why I adore google, youtube, and the incredibly wonderful folks down at the local hardware store). This week’s task was identification and repair of a leak in the downstairs shower. Steve (hopefully) identified the cause, cracks in the grouting, and today we (hopefully) repaired it. Total cost to us was about $28;

  • $10 for a can of grout
  • $5 for a grout float (to smooth out the grout without damaging tile)
  • $7 for a tool to remove the old grout
  • $2 for a tool to dig our daughter’s hair out of the drain which was clogged, which pooled up water in the shower, which led to the water leaking through the grout on the side of the shower.
  • $4 for a hairtrap

The grout is now curing and I am feeling particularly smug and wondering why we don’t retile the whole shower ourselves. Steve is my anchor, delicately leading me to understand that this might not even solve the problem and let’s walk before we run. Several large DIY tasks loom before us, all of them seem overwhelming and requiring greater talents than we possess, but I think we need to try them anyway and if we fail, learn and retry, and only in dire straits call someone in to clean up our mess. Confidence seems to be our biggest obstacle to DIY.

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Teufelin TraylenGYMTy888 Recent comment authors
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I am early retired as well, for 10 years. Yup, my days all filled up with stuff that I never spent time on when I was working. Like DIY repairs, analyzing the maze of ACA, and hard-core negotiations with health care providers. Honestly, some of these tasks added together have become a part-time job to me.

Teufelin Traylen
Teufelin Traylen

t really is astonishing how many hours are spent doing these things. Part of working includes paying a premium for others to do this for us since there is no way we could get this all done while maintaining a full-time job!


I’ve been doing a ‘mini’ fire (well, maternity leave) and we are in Hawaii. They days really fill up!
Interesting to know that replacing grout only costs $28! I’ve been meaning to replace my grout but didn’t know how. I’ll have to Youtube the ‘how to’ on this one!

Teufelin Traylen
Teufelin Traylen

Yes – cheap to do but labor-intensive – chipping away the old grout took a little elbow grease but the rest was easy. I used this site as a reference (but the grout we bought was pre-mixed) …