Vickie Fee

Liv and D.I.Y. in Dixie

In my Liv and Di in Dixie series, Liv’s husband is always at work on never-ending renovations to their Victorian home. Larry Joe insists on being a do-it-yourselfer despite being not-so-handy.

Since the first book came out, a number of friends and acquaintances have asked if Larry Joe is based on my husband, and is he really that hopeless with repairs. No and yes. Hubs truly is not handy with most handyman jobs around the house. But unlike Larry Joe, he knows it, and wisely seeks out professionals to do the job – something Larry Joe is loathe to do.


D.I.Y. LESSON: If only I’d used a hammer, the hole would have been much smaller.

This week, a friend hit closer to the truth when she asked if I’d ever actually knocked a hole in the ceiling and tried to hide it from my spouse. (SPOILER: something like this may have happened in Death Crashes the Party). No, I’ve never cut a hole in the ceiling. But my husband still teases me about knocking a big hole in the wall when I used his boot in lieu of a hammer to drive a nail. And I didn’t exactly try to hide it from him. But, the framed print I hung on the wall – when I finally managed to position a nail above the hole – thankfully covered the less than subtle opening in the wall. And since I may have accidentally forgotten to mention it, hubs didn’t see it until we were packing up to move. I’d like to be able to say that was the only time I ever knocked a hole in a wall, or a door, but that wouldn’t be completely honest.

My husband may beg to differ, but I’d say all my D.I.Y. fails around the house have been minor. A hole here and there. A shelf that may not have been precisely level. Some wood refinishing and paint touch-ups that were less than a perfect match. A very small fire. Just that ONCE.

Being a very patient man, my husband has rarely complained about these kinds of mishaps. In fact, he usually applauds my efforts, flawed as they may be. But he did finally take away my hot glue gun after I got what appeared to be second-degree burns on my hand. And that had happened more than once. If you’re in the market for one and I can ever find where he hid it, you may see a listing for a like-new glue gun on eBay.

So, actually one could posit that Liv’s unhandy husband’s character is based on me. But like Larry Joe, I’d be loathe to admit it.

(NOTE: If my landlord happens to be reading this, none of the mishaps mentioned above happened in my current residence. Honest).

So readers, have you had any do-it-yourself triumphs or disasters? Please share in comments below.

32 thoughts on “Liv and D.I.Y. in Dixie

  1. Great first post. The ceiling scene is one of my favorites in Death Crashes A Party. No DIY but my sister once punched a hole in the wall of our house growing up and a family friend stepped in the wrong place in the attic and put a whole in the ceiling.


  2. Very funny, Vickie! Hubby and I are both pretty handy. We pretty much do everything ourselves. We’ve been building a log cabin since 2012 that we hope to move to one of these days. We had contractors do the foundation, plumbing, electric, and construct the cabin (ie stack the logs, install windows, doors, and roof, etc.) We’ve been doing all the interior work and some exterior work (staining logs, porch, deck, etc.) ourselves. It’s a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Joyce! That’s the kind of project I’d fantasize about doing but would never be able to pull off — it would look like a hillbilly hovel if I built it! BTW, I’d LOVE to be invited to a writer’s retreat at a cabin like yours one day (shameless hint)!


    • Mark, we’re currently renting. This means the landlord handles the tough stuff, like the snow blowing — which honestly was one of the biggest attractions of this place for my husband! And I’m seriously bad at DIY, too — but I’ve never let that deter me! (Sounds like you’re smarter than me!)


    • Ellen, my crafting ability is even less refined than my picture-hanging ability! I LOVE your needlepoint Cajun Country logo, BTW. You have mad skills 🙂


  4. I really enjoyed your post — I think a boot is a perfectly good substitute for a hammer (or at least I did)! This wasn’t a DIY project, but my husband was up in my in-laws attic getting some Christmas decorations, and suddenly his leg came through the ceiling — believe it or not, this has happened twice. Fortunately, my in-laws had a wonderful handyman ~


  5. I applaud your efforts, even the ones that didn’t work out so well. I have zero DIY skill and am envious of anyone who CAN do it yourself.


    • Thanks, Annette! I keep trying to tackle DIY projects, despite my disastrous track record. I’m living proof ineptness and enthusiasm can coexist!


  6. Vickie, I’d say you’re about one project away from your own DIY reality show!!! In our house, there are only DIYDs–Do It Yourself Disasters. I burned my forehead with a curling iron (and then picked it up by the hot end from where I dropped it in the sink) back in the Farrah Fawcett era, so I’m not even allowed to look at a glue gun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa, don’t encourage me — my husband will kill you! Curling irons were just a disaster waiting to happen, weren’t they? I can smugly say I never burned my forehead. But I burned my neck with a curling iron and my high school friends insisted it was a hickey. If only.


  7. Loved your post! I’ve never had a DIY disaster because I know I’m not handy and don’t try. My dad was usually very good with his hands–worked on our cars, odd jobs around the house, etc., but for some reason, it seems that every job he started took two or three times longer than it should!


  8. Thanks, Christi! Your dad sounds a lot like mine! My DIY projects never seem to take that long. I always manage to mess things up in a hurry 🙂


  9. Vicki, I really hate to admit this. A hostess asked me to make the coffee…easy peasy. I forgot to put water in the pot, and those grounds shot right up to the ceiling. Made a nasty brown smudge and then dripped off. Not good. I loved your post.


      • My ex would say the same about me 😛 But then again, he’s usually the one trying to do DIY stuff. It’s not that he doesn’t know how, it’s that he refuses to admit that getting older means he now has limits, and has to be a lot more careful than he used to 20 years ago. He was in the garage a couple years ago, trying to change the light bulbs overhead (they’re all regular bulbs, not the florescent kind) and he fell off the ladder onto the concrete floor. The stubborn fool refused to go to the ER to have it checked out, insisted he was fine, until about a week and a half later when he could barely walk and finally hobbled across the street to the hospital. They told him he had a hairline fracture in his left hip, the exact same thing we told him had probably happened and why he needed to go get checked out right after it happened. But did he listen to us? Noooo, of course not! Has it taught him to be more careful? Naturally not! 😛


  10. Oh wow, I just read your post about the coffee. That actually sounds like something I did not that long ago. I was making tea in the microwave (don’t have a coffee pot to just make a pot at a time anymore, so I have to make it one cup at a time) and what I normally do is, I put the tea bag in the microwave-safe plastic mug (my mug with a lid is made out of metal, so can’t use that) and fill it with water, put it in the microwave for four minutes, and hit start. By the time it comes out, it’s already steeped long enough and I can toss the tea bag and doctor it with sugar before pouring it into my metal mug with lid to take upstairs. Well guess which step I forgot this time? Actually, everything but putting the mug in the microwave and pressing start. 😛 I not only forgot the water, I forgot to put the tea bag in, too! So my mug was rotating on the plate for four minutes with nothing in it, and I had no idea till I took it out! I’ve had some major blonde moments before (most of them just as hilarious), but it’s been a while since I’ve pulled one that bad!


    • Oh, Christine — we all have those *lapses*, right?! I have such dense brain fog before my morning caffeine fix, I mess up making the coffee pretty often. No coffee. No water. Dump whole coffee beans in without grinding. Pot unplugged…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve started to put the coffee pot in the cupboard instead of back on its burner…in the middle of the day, so I don’t even have the excuse of not being awake yet. I’ve also started to put it in the fridge, apparently thinking it was the milk jug, because I sure wasn’t trying to make iced coffee! Then I’ve tried to put the milk in the cupboard before, or the bread….I have had so many of these that at times I start to worry about my own mental state. I’ve always had problems with my memory, but some days it seems to be way worse than others. There are days I’m doing good to remember my own name let alone anything else I’m supposed to be doing…makes holding down a job kind of difficult, especially when I was doing inventory and had to constantly recount what I’d just finished counting because the total left my head before I could write it down… the one good thing about being unemployed most of the time is, if I forget to do something it’s not going to get me in trouble (usually) or possibly cost me my job…my furbabies might not be too happy though, if what I’m forgetting is to feed them, give them water, clean out the litter boxes or the guinea pig’s cage… 😛


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