To DIY or Not to DIY: That is the Question

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When should you Do It Yourself, and when should you leave it to a professional? After all, if we never tried to do things ourself, we would probably still be toddling around naked drinking juice from a sippie cup and waiting for our mom to dress us (which doesn't sound half bad, but still...).

I never try to DIY when it comes to automotive repair, dental or medical situations, and most electrical repairs. Now that I'm a homeowner, I'm pretty brave about DIY plumbing, and a few good books will tell you whether or not you're looking at a simple repair (patching plaster, changing a plug or fuse, or changing out the guts of a toilet), or a major job requiring more tools than you own and a certification from a State Board. But how else do you know when to DIY and when to GAP (Get a Professional)?

There's degree of difficulty, and then there's degree of mystery: I have no idea how to do this, I have no idea what that noise is, I have no idea where the leak is located, or I have no idea why there is no water pressure or even how to begin checking. Yikes.

Degree of difficulty is one thing, but it can't be the only criteria, or we'd never try to do things that were difficult. I also go with experience: has anyone done this before? It helps to have a few handy friends that can give you advice like, "man, that's a bitch, you'd better call a plumber" or the famous last words: "I think we can fix it."

On the other hand, I have friends that are much more adventurous than I am when it comes to all things DIY: cooking, clothing, auto repair, and hair styling are a few areas that come to mind. And while I've colored/bleached/cut my hair for more years than you've probably been alive, I currently prefer to leave the mess to a professional, as I'm busy DIYing in other areas of my life.

What brought it all home to me was a recent encounter with a friend that started me thinking about when we should DIY and when we should consult a professional. Recently, I ran into a (formerly brunette) friend that was a new blonde. "Wow! I almost didn't recognize you!" I said. Translated; you look so different I don't know what to say. "Yeah," she sighed. "It seemed like a good idea, but I should've used a professional."

Famous last words.

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