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What’s the Most Embarrassing Thing That’s Happened to You in a DIY Project?

8/24/2009 9:31:02 AM

Tags: question to readers, DIY projects

Working on new projects around the house or farm is a perfect opportunity for dangerous — or potentially dangerous — situations to arise. Let me give you an example: Many years ago (about 50) my father was checking out the shingles on our tall Victorian house. He had a rope wrapped around his waist and around the chimney — just in case. On the ground, three stories below, a small group of elderly neighbors had gathered, ooing and ahhing about how he might fall and what would happen to him and our family if such a terrible thing were to occur.

Now, my dad was known for his mischievous ways. He gloried in April Fool’s Day and jumping out of dark closets scaring the you-know-what out of me. So, it was no surprise to my mother when she heard a blood-curdling scream from the knot of neighbors. Since Dad was so far up, the rope around his waist was not quite visible from the ground. He got a good grip on the rope, fell backwards and yelled as he “fell” off the roof. Needless to say, the knot of neighbors disbursed quickly, if not happily, after discovering they were the butt of his joke.

So, back to the original premise that DIY projects set the stage for potentially dangerous or embarassing condtions — what is the most embarrassing situation you have found yourself in while working on a DIY project? Share your tale in the comments section below.



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GEORGE MERGENER
9/10/2009 12:18:57 PM
I was stationed with the Air Force as a site commander in Turkey......it was a remote area and we did our own security and housekeeping details. Our push lawnmower had a plastic housing and I felt I could do the repairs of the cracks by myself. Thank heavens for Super Glue!! I proceeded to perform my "patch and repair".........but unknowingly had slobbered excess drips onto my fatigue pants right above the knee! I placed my elbow on my knee and admired my workmanship... whereupon I had GLUED my elbow to my pants and subequently to my skin under the knee material!! After much cussing and tearing off my elbow skin I unsecured myself!! Today I am very careful with the power of SUPER GLUE!!!

Scott_48
9/3/2009 12:04:37 PM
I tried composting for a year and was complaining to my neighbor about how I was burying the kitchen scraps and was only getting rotten food out of it and no compost. She asked me about what I was composting- peels, melon rinds, uneaten fruit and vegetable pieces- all the right things. I told her about how my wife would collect the materials and put them in a zip-loc bag for me each evening and I would go out in the garden and bury it. My neighbor offered to come over and look at my compost area to see if maybe there was too much moisture, not enough "browns", whatever. After 30 seconds of silence, she explained to me through bursts of laughter that I had to dump the contents of the plastic bags into the ground and NOT BURY the bags themselves. Apparently composting doesn't work in an airtight plastic bag no matter how far down you bury it.

Scott_48
9/3/2009 11:49:34 AM
I tried composting for a year and was complaining to my neighbor about how I was burying the kitchen scraps and was only getting rotten food out of it and no compost. She asked me about what I was composting- peels, melon rinds, uneaten fruit and vegetable pieces- all the right things. I told her about how my wife would collect the materials and put them in a zip-loc bag for me each evening and I would go out in the garden and bury it. My neighbor offered to come over and look at my compost area to see if maybe there was too much moisture, not enough "browns", whatever. After 30 seconds of silence, she explained to me through bursts of laughter that I had to dump the contents of the plastic bags into the ground and NOT BURY the bags themselves. Apparently composting doesn't work in an airtight plastic bag no matter how far down you bury it.

Bob R
8/28/2009 6:03:47 PM
I was painting the trim on my parents' Swiss chalet-style home. To reach a window on the third floor, I set up an extension ladder on the second floor deck, and leaned it against the narrow shed roof over the doors to the deck. Once I got up there, I realized I was going to have to stand on this steep, cedar shake roof. Precariously perched, I painted in unpleasant positions, until I needed to take a break. With one hand grasping the ladder, I attempted to turn and step on to a rung. Of course, I slipped and my right leg went between the rungs and I fell backwards, the feet of the ladder kicked out and it began sliding across the deck. I was pretty sure it was all over for me, but luckily the deck railing stopped the ladder, and I was just hanging there upside down by one leg. It put quite a bind on my thigh bone. It wasn't easy getting down, and no one else was there to help.

Morris Gemberling
8/28/2009 9:22:12 AM
Living in Houston, builders often put water heaters in ridiculous places. Ours was located in a storage closet located in our dining room. (Yes, I did say ridiculous, didn’t I?) Well, since it was electric and was in a place that I wanted to use for other purposes, I decided to relocate the water heater to the garage. (Future project) Problem was, one night after getting home from a long day out in the Texas sun, when I opened the door, I saw a note from my wife stating the water heater was leaking so she shut off the water and went to a friends home. She said she would come home when I had the water cleaned up. Sure enough, when I stepped into the dining room, a large area of our new carpet had soaked up all the water. I went back to the garage, got my wet vac and started vacuuming up the water. I would put the end of the hose on a spot and just let it "draw". Well that wet vac just about drove me nuts with its high pitched motor so I put in earplugs to quiet the sound. Also, after the long day, I had a beer since I was thirsty. This made me very sleepy so I laid down on the floor in a dry area and let that ol vacuum do its job. I was sound asleep when my wife got home. Can you imagine here reaction when she got home? First, she closed the kitchen door when she came in, she saw I didn’t move. (Couldn’t hear her with ear plugs in and fast asleep.) Second she yelled to me, “How’s it going?...still no reaction. At this she realized, “Omigosh, he’s been electrocuted because he’s not responding!” She ran over to me and started shaking me and yelling “Jake, Jake, wake up!” She was frantic. Well, not knowing that she was scared half to death that I had been electrocuted, I rolled over and just said, “What?” I pulled out my earplugs to hear her. Seeing that I was okay, she burst into tears and it took about 15 minutes for her to calm down. We still laugh about the day I “died.”

Morris Gemberling
8/28/2009 9:21:45 AM
Living in Houston, builders often put water heaters in ridiculous places. Ours was located in a storage closet located in our dining room. (Yes, I did say ridiculous, didn’t I?) Well, since it was electric and was in a place that I wanted to use for other purposes, I decided to relocate the water heater to the garage. (Future project) Problem was, one night after getting home from a long day out in the Texas sun, when I opened the door, I saw a note from my wife stating the water heater was leaking so she shut off the water and went to a friends home. She said she would come home when I had the water cleaned up. Sure enough, when I stepped into the dining room, a large area of our new carpet had soaked up all the water. I went back to the garage, got my wet vac and started vacuuming up the water. I would put the end of the hose on a spot and just let it "draw". Well that wet vac just about drove me nuts with its high pitched motor so I put in earplugs to quiet the sound. Also, after the long day, I had a beer since I was thirsty. This made me very sleepy so I laid down on the floor in a dry area and let that ol vacuum do its job. I was sound asleep when my wife got home. Can you imagine here reaction when she got home? First, she closed the kitchen door when she came in, she saw I didn’t move. (Couldn’t hear her with ear plugs in and fast asleep.) Second she yelled to me, “How’s it going?...still no reaction. At this she realized, “Omigosh, he’s been electrocuted because he’s not responding!” She ran over to me and started shaking me and yelling “Jake, Jake, wake up!” She was frantic. Well, not knowing that she was scared half to death that I had been electrocuted, I rolled over and just said, “What?” I pulled out my earplugs to hear her. Seeing that I was okay, she burst into tears and it took about 15 minutes for her to calm down. We still laugh about the day I “died.”

Faith_6
8/27/2009 12:28:08 AM
Well, now, I personally have NEVER done anything embarassing, *ahem*. But let me tell you what my husband did. One winter an unexpected severe freeze left us with no electricity or heat. My enterprising hubby hung heavy blankets over the windows & doors of the living room, to cut down on the area to try to keep warm. He then hustled out to the shed, dug out a small heater, and cleaned it up nicely before bringing it inside. His look of confusion and shock was priceless when he plugged the heater into the wall socket AND IT WOULDN'T TURN ON.

Bob R
8/26/2009 9:43:48 PM
I have too many embarrassing screw-ups to admit to. But I will tell one on my uncle. About 30 years ago my Uncle Chris asked me to give him a hand with pouring a concrete parking pad next to his house. It was a tight location with the house on one side and a row of overgrown deciduous shrubbery on the other. The ready-mix truck showed up and we started placing the concrete. As Uncle Chris worked, he came up under a stray branch of shrubbery, which snatched his toupee off his head, whereupon it immediately fell into the wet concrete. Whoa! How embarrassing! I didn't even know Uncle Chris wore a toupee. The truck driver and I pretended not to notice, as Uncle Chris slid his hairpiece into a jacket pocket.

len buckholtz
8/26/2009 10:16:34 AM
i was a /professional handyman/ and DIY'er back decades ago. worst thing that ever happened was taking on a job and finding out the people were nudists. sorry, i can tolerate LOTS of stuff, but even _I_ have limits. and that was one of em. bizarre.

mark_63
8/26/2009 8:17:04 AM
I decided to try out new electric powered pruning saw (chainsaw on a stick). No one was home but me and my wife said she wasn't going to be available to take calls at work, so don't call her - so why bother bringing cell with me? set up the generator and threw a rope over a limb (18' feet high) that i desired to prune on first. Climbed a ladder to the back side of tree, and climbed limbs to the goal and climbed out. Inching across the limb (about 20" diameter)while sitting down. well this limb was not flat and level - it peaked up and then more steeply down and at the highest spot there was a dead stob i had to go over, the way it was shaped i knew i could go out further on the limb but not come back till i cut it off with the saw. And i had to go further out on the limb to get to the rope to pull the saw up. Well anyway once i got to the saw i couldn't turn around readily and cut the stob off, so decided to place on back burner and started prunning in earnest. Doing a great job, Till a branch came down, hit the ground , bounced up just enough to tug the electric cord and have it unplug from the generator. I was up there for 45 minutes comptemplating how to get down while suffereing the least amount of broken bones when i saw a neighbor (150' away) and she heard "something" over the din of the generator. She came over and couldn't find me - even though i yelled for a bit. then she saw my legs swinging from the limb. I told her what i needed her to do, She dutifully plugged me back in laughing all the way to her car. I cut that stob off right then. And then thinking i was good continued trimming till i dropped a limb that fell on the closeline - breaking it. That evening i didn't say anything to my wife - but you know who did. And my wife was happy with her new clothes line poles. I haven't pulled that saw out again and it has been 2 years now.

Sam_27
8/25/2009 5:18:45 PM
I'm not much of a build it yourselfer, but the first time I tried to sew anything by hand I sewed the garment, my pant leg and the comforter I was sitting on together by accident... I didn't realize how many layers I was going through! I didn't have any scissors nearby because my brother had borrowed them, so I had to scoot down the stairs and across the living room dragging a half sewn shirt and winter blanket behind me.

Michael Hilliker
8/24/2009 10:26:03 AM
When I was in my late teens, I helped my father tear down an old barn to recycle into a tool shed for his workshop. there happened to be a couple of very good looking young ladies watching the project. I was trying to act "adult like" and was working very hard lifting heavy loads and tearing apart the barn like a mad man. My grandpa happened by and I stopped to talk about how things were going. I was wearing some old overalls and my grandpa told me a mouse just ran up the leg of my pants. Knowing how he like to play jokes on me I just agreed and kept talking. After a few minutes the mouse jumped from the overalls to my leg and began to scurry up and down my leg. I jumped and hollered and danced around like I was possessed. I finally managed to get the overalls pulled down and the moused jumped out. The young ladies laughed till they were rolling on the ground much to my embarrassment. Till the day he died my grandpa never let me forget about it.







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