WHY I DIY: Verizon

Each of these “Why I DIY” posts is about one thing: Pride in workmanship.

So when I say “Verizon,” well, I probably don’t have to say anything more.

But what fun would that be?

When my over-the-air internet provider was purchased by Sprint and its towers coverted to support the growing demand for mobile, I was faced with the choice: Comcast Xfinity or Verizon FiOS. Verizon made me a slightly better deal, so Verizon it was.

The installer was only slightly late and seemed pleasant enough.  However, she refused to use the existing cable lines running through the walls and attic (installed by the previous homeowner), saying “We’re not allowed to go into attics.”

So, here’s what I got:




Yes, Verizon can’t go into attics, but they have no compunction about drilling into exterior walls within two feet of PLUMBING.



That shingle the installer cracked? Made from asbestos.  You know, that stuff you don’t want to be friable (cracking with airborne dust)?

Wondering what we got on the inside?


This is the corner with the favorite dog bed in the entire house. There’s nearly always someone curled up here.  So–of COURSE this would be where we’d logically put a splitter.


Check out how the installer had to carve the round thing so it would fit against my custom wainscoting!

And I’m saving the best for last–how the wiring was run from the corner to the TV location.  (Installer comment: “Just move the TV to the corner.” To the corner–behind my couch?  To the corner–where my dogs sleep out of the way?)

You can bet there will be more about this one tomorrow–with happy results.


My friend E Marie Robertson told me I should have a show on HGTV–with my three dogs as co-stars, it would be 75% home renovation, 20% life lessons and 5% comedy.

If I had a show on HGTV, it would be 75% comedy, 20% tragedy and 5% somebody bailing me out of jail after an idiot contractor did another half-baked job.

Ventilation by Dr. Seuss
Ventilation by Dr. Seuss

Pride of Workmanship–about as common as common sense

Being proud of the work I do is who I am–whether it’s analyzing marketing campaigns (which is what they pay me for) or writing a blog or cleaning up dog poop. If I’m going to spend the time, I’m going to do the best job job I’m capable of doing and be proud of my effort.

Let’s face it: No one will ever care about the finished product of our home improvement project as much as we will. That’s because we’re the only ones who have to live with the results.

Each time I’m burned by hiring out work I can’t do myself–despite Angie’s List–the more resolute I become to do the work myself.  I may end up a licensed electrician before this is all over.

So–this “WHY I DIY” feature is going to be where I–and, I hope, you–share stories of the home improvement experiences that drove you to tackle your own renovations.  I’ll try to spin them in a funny way, to make them enjoyable to read, maybe teach you something to do or avoid–and to lessen the urges that will require somebody to bail me out of jail.

Catch a Contractor

BTW–someone already had something like this “bail me out of jail” idea. Adam Carolla, of “The Man Show” and “Loveline” fame, now hosts a show called Catch a Contractor on Spike. It was an entertaining hour of a team of private investigators and contractors chasing down, shaming, then teaching an unscrupulous contractor to do the job right. I found it oddly comforting to know that many people have suffered Stupid Contractor Tricks worse than mine.

Why do you DIY?

What’s the worst contractor experience you’ve ever had?  What pushed you into DIY? I look forward to reading your comments (and hope none of you had to be bailed out of jail.)