If you’re a Kiwi who’s not into DIY, then people look at you a bit funny, since this is a skill set assumed to be compulsory in the curriculum vitae of your New Zealand citizenship. And you’re hopelessly out of fashion if you’re like me and you prefer internal walls in your home, and the comfort of a small room or dependable nook. I’ll say: “Let’s get a trade professional to take a look at that.” Everyone else will say: “Tradies cost money, and are so busy you’d be lucky to get hold of one.” (But you know what also costs money? Doing it yourself and getting it wrong.)
It’s not that I’m entirely bereft of practical skills – although my wife Vic will claim as much. I just fear the point of no return, journeying to an indeterminate point of home deconstruction from which I will no longer be able to construct my way back from. So I just prefer to keep the walls where they are, the wallpaper on, the pipes transporting their goods, and the glass just doing its primary job of being inconspicuous.
Vic recently shared the Instagram account “Honey I pulled a wall down” with me. She joked that maybe one day I might just come home and she would have partway done the work (tearing down some walls to make a new open-plan kitchen), just like Nikki Kettle did with her house in Greytown. Vic is incredibly practical and either instinctively knows how to do things, or is unafraid to find out in the doing.
Vic and I both know that for me to come home to a partially deconstructed house would be the spark for me to spontaneously combust, so the joke stopped there. But I have been wondering: If I were to pursue a more practical occupation (Words? Writing? Where will that take you?), what would my trade be?