Totally Killer DIY

I love reclaimed stuff. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is one of my favorite hangouts. It’s a great way to find cool vintage-looking stuff with oodles more character than the off-the-rack stuff at the big box stores. And it’s environmentally sound, right? But mostly I’m such a cheapo that I love getting a $100 box of tiles for $5. That just lights me up.

Even better, though: I love taking something off of my house and using it again. That way it’s free, and it goes with my house.

But here’s  my free door that turned into a $1,000 door. studio door 1

I took it off of my garage. And then I cut a really big opening and built these doors garage door one (with cool vintage glass blocks from the ReStore, of course). garage door twoThat way I can drive in the front of my garage, through the back of the garage, and bring my trailer into the backyard. That’s great for moving mulch and compost and whatnot.

So then I took the old door and put it on my soon-to-be writing studio – the one I’m converting from a greenhouse. And it was all going beautifully. I was just putting the last few pieces of trim on it and ready to come take a shower and eat something and celebrate a job well done. And – BAM!

nailed finger

I love using the nail gun. Rawr! Such power! I was zipping right through that trim – pop, pop, pop…a nail here; a nail there…pop, pop, pop. And I was done. See, that’s the thing. The job was done. Done! And I saw one little crooked piece around the window inside the door. It’s hard plastic trim. On a metal door. Blame it on dehydration or exhaustion or bold stupidity, but I though, yeah, the nail probably won’t penetrate that stuff, but it sure would be a nice fast fix if it did, so I’ll just hold this trim in place and…


My first reaction: run to the garage, grab the needle-nose pliers, and yank that sucker out. But it wouldn’t budge. It had bent when it hit the hard plastic, and then it curved into my finger. So I got my husband. I walked calmly into the house and said, um, hey, hon. I need you to drive me to the urgent care for something. All calm like. But that did little good. He does not handle emergencies.

The x-rays (dang, I wish I had those to post here) sort of looked like the nail went through the bone, but then in another angle it looked like it hadn’t. Either way, it hadn’t shattered a bone. The doctor used needle-nose pliers just like mine, only a whole lot cleaner and probably 32 times the cost. He put his weight behind it, and he got that sucker out. Then I just needed some antibiotics.

It really didn’t hurt the next day. I was so impressed. It healed quickly. And then the bill came.


A grand. For a free door. A thousand bucks for “surgery” that amounted to a numbing injection (which hurts like a mutha, by the way, and was a lot more painful than the nail, thank you very much) and a yank with the pliers. Such is our modern medical system.

And such is the life of a DIY nut. Sometimes there are unforeseen expenses. Dammit anyway.

I am a bit accident prone, it seems. I’m starting to get a bit of teasing about that. But there’s a real bright spot here. If I’m ever bleeding out in my backyard, an ambulance will be able to get to me in a hurry, now that I have that fancy drive-through garage.