My husband and I try to be do-it-yourselfers as much as possible. It saves us some money and gives us a chance to work together on something.

Painting is one thing we do ourselves. In both our old house and the house we currently live in, we’ve repainted several interior walls — nearly all of the rooms, minus two smaller ones with paneled walls in our old house — and about half the rooms in the house we live in now. Jason even took it upon himself to paint the exterior of our old house. I have my eye on our foyer, stairway and upstairs hallway next.

One exception: We’re looking at hiring somebody to paint the exterior of the house either this fall or early next spring, at least the second floor. The height of the house, the peaks and the landscaping require the abilities and equipment of a professional.

We’ve also been doing a bunch of our own work on our front deck. Jason and Logan put in a new set of stairs, and they did a bunch of caulking and staining. Jason’s currently got a new outdoor carpet configured to go over it; he just needs to work on securing it down now. However, before all that started, we did bring in professionals to reinforce the deck.

We spent plenty of days one summer out in our driveway, patching its potholes with quickcrete and covering it with a thin layer of asphalt-like paint.

Jason and Logan even took out an old toilet and installed a new one, replaced the kitchen faucet and installed a new dishwasher. Jason’s also been doing some flooring in our bathrooms.

But despite all these home projects, there’s some things I just can’t seem to get the handle of.

Colin often asks me to play video games with him. If it’s something involving Mario, I’m usually game (except for Mario baseball). But these newer games, I just can’t get the hang of them. I’ve tried Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies and a couple of others. I can’t even seem to get down how to look at what I want to look at. And if I need to go through doors in Minecraft, forget about it. Colin needs to stop what he’s doing and help me through.

Then there’s the finer art of self-manicures. For some reason, I just can’t seem to get the nail polish to go on smoothly and stay on — without smudging — for more than a few minutes. The other day I even managed to get some nail polish on a shirt I had been planning to wear a lot this fall and winter. Fingers crossed I can get it to come up.

I guess it’s worth spending the money on having a professional do it for me. That way at least it will last for a little while and be applied properly. And it’s relaxing to get pampered a little bit.

I guess there’s value in knowing what you can do and knowing when to call in the professionals.

— Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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