These are a Few of My Favorite D’ohs

Like Mozart and Johnny Knoxville, my genius cannot be stopped.

– Homer Simpson

Recent projects have been a breeze. I’m working ahead on the Apartment Therapy Cure. I kitted out a coat closet using on-hand materials. I replaced the kitchen faucet. It was all effortless, as if the DIY were just flowing out of me. I started to feel that these projects would be my enduring legacy to future owners of our home.

You see where this is headed, right? Last night, I decided to replace an under-cabinet light fixture. Even before I ascended to a higher home improvement plane, I could do these in ten minutes. This time? It’s still not done.

I overtightened the mounting screws. When I loosened them, I found cracked veneer because I didn’t drill pilot holes. I drilled holes in different locations; the screw heads prevented assembly. I came up with a kludge that trapped the ballast cover under screw heads. It popped out. I decided to see if the wiring was even intact, so I turned on the circuit and flipped the fixture-mounted switch. Repeatedly. Nothing. So I disassembled the whole thing. Then I remembered the wall switch for the undercabinet lights.

It was off.



Consider me suitably humbled. Fortunately, the internet offers sweet, sweet balm for all hurts. Here are a few of my favorite DIY “D’OH!” moments experienced by others. Some offer lessons on enjoying the process. Some are just very funny.

  • Even the best and brightest occasionally stumble along the way. Young House Love posted a great mirror makeover. Ultimately, they had a good outcome, but I love how they showed the things that went wrong with good humor and grace.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, I love a This Old House feature from the American Society of Home Inspectors: Home Inspection Nightmares. The most recent edition includes duct tape siding and some very special decks. This column will help you realize how good you’ve got it, even if you screwed part of “it” up.
  • There, I Fixed It is another way to make yourself feel better. No matter what you just did, someone there did it worse.
Sometimes, curling into the fetal position is the best option.

Sometimes, curling into the fetal position is the best option.

  • The comments to this DIY Mistakes post on Apartment Therapy are great. Although largely paint-related, the sheer volume of stories is reassuring.
  • But my hands-down favorite is from Thrifty Decor Chick: When DIY Goes Oh So Wrong. Best use of a repeated photo in a blog post EVER. And I needed it, because the big reveal of the problem had me yelling a disbelieving “NO!” at the screen. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, just click!

Really, when you screw something up, it means you learned something. As my wise mother says, “No experience is wasted.” So proceed fearlessly — just don’t get any delusions of grandeur when things DON’T go wrong.

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