Welcome to Surviving the Details!

My name is Marilyn. I am an idea person, a go-getter, and a dreamer. Ask my husband and he will say, fiercely independent.  I like to think I am always rooting for the little guy, the underdog, and the fixer upper. I LOVE houses in need of TLC. In my mind I would have a dozen to play with. In reality the one I have overwhelms me most days.

I am the product of two amazing DIYers. My dad, a former shop teacher is the ultimate handyman and my mom, no stranger to the workshop, is known in our home as the painter. Back in 1974 our family built a two-story addition on our small suburban bungalow. We did everything in the construction process from digging the trenches for the new foundation to nailing the last shingle on the roof. I was four years old at the time, but consider this experience the beginning of my addiction.

Did someone call a plumber!

Recently I earned myself a bachelor’s degree in Family, Home and Social Sciences which I completed part-time while tearing down walls, installing a new kitchen and introducing overhead lighting throughout our home. (My school courses were such a distraction!)  Oh, and I have also had the opportunity to raise five awesome boys with my husband Steven, whom I will refer to from here on out as the Professor. He earns that title due to the fact that when he is not coaching our sons in football or basketball you will find him in his office completing his third degree in Art, Design and Philosophy. Pretty soon I will get to call him Dr.

In the early days of our relationship it caught the Professor off guard when I insisted that some of our wedding money needed to go towards the purchase of power tools. I didn’t know much about home improvement then. I just knew I wanted to tackle it. My first big project was replacing faux wood panels with drywall in our Toronto basement apartment. I was seven months pregnant with our first son and I have never looked back. Each year I learn something new. I’ve added framing, plumbing, tiling, electrical, and trim work to my resume. Occasionally, we hire a contractor to do a job I won’t tackle on my own. Nine times out of ten they turn to the Professor for the final approval. He shrugs his shoulders and laughs, “you best ask my wife, she’s the one with all the tools in this house!”

Watching Dad and dreaming of future renovations —age 4