We’re in the middle of painting our house, but thanks to my family we’re a lot closer to the end of the project than we were two days ago. We’re painting because the HOA told us we had to – as they did with about half the neighborhood, from the looks of the semi-finished painting projects going on all around us this month. My husband and I spent the last two weekends working on it, and it was pretty slow going. I was having to stop every couple hours to feed the baby, and a house just seems to get larger and larger as you paint. (man am I ever glad that we don’t live in a 3000 square foot house!!).
Then a few days ago, my parents called and said that they were rounding up the family and everyone would be coming to our house on Friday to paint. They showed up yesterday morning at about 7:30 – my parents, my sister, both my brothers, and one even brought his girlfriend along for the project. So all of a sudden, things started to get done on a much more grand scale than before. My parents brought ladders, scrapers, a paint sprayer and brushes, so there were plenty of tools, and lots of hands working them. We worked until after 5pm, and what’s left of the project suddenly seems much more doable – we’re no longer facing another month of painting. We have about 90% of the body of the house painted, and a good start on the trim. My little brother did a lot of work on the highest sections of the house, which was a huge help. My mother spent the whole day working on the miles of trim on the front of the house and the porch, so the house is starting to look really nice from the front. My sister got so into her section that we had to drag her off the ladder to come inside for lunch.
As a huge bonus to the day, my dad fixed my muffler. My boxer shorts fix was good enough to get home the day the pipe broke, but probably not much of a permanent solution. But for $25 in supplies from the auto parts store, and a wire coat hanger, my dad got everything ship-shape in about an hour. Feeling very grateful that I have a whole family full of frugal DIYers.
My family is very good at pitching in and helping each other out. My parents move every few years to a new fixer-upper house, and whenever they do, the whole family gathers for the weekend to pack everything up and clean out the old house. When my brother bought a fixer-upper house a couple years ago, he had to do several projects before the closing in order to get his mortgage approved (things like a new roof and wiring – not small projects). My parents and sister spent a whole week at his house, helping him meet the deadline for the closing. They also spent several weekends at our house earlier this year helping us with our kitchen remodel. And on the days when my mother and I have been working on diapers and various sewing projects, my husband has spent the day doing yardwork at my parents’ house. We all work together very well, and everyone comes out ahead. Although admittedly my husband and I have come out a bit further ahead this year, since we’ve been the beneficiaries now of two major group projects – the kitchen and the house painting. Hugely grateful for that. My brother and his girlfriend might be buying a condo soon, so we’ll be able to help them move and fix up the new place. Taking care of each other – with each person bringing unique talents to the table – is one of the best ways to maintain a frugal lifestyle. Maintaining strong family and friend ties, and pitching in with whatever help you can provide, makes DIY projects much more doable and enjoyable.
We’re taking today off from painting, in order to catch up on all the other stuff we need to do. Then we’ll be back at it tomorrow. But now that so much of it is finished, it feels much more manageable. A huge thank you to my family!