DIY diva

So, who wants me to build them a house?

February 6, 2011 | 21 Comments | Doing it For REAL
DIY diva

First of all, you can imagine my surprise when, after a late night of studying followed by an early morning of studying and an hour drive while studying, the first test I had to pass on Saturday was getting my picture taken without breaking the camera looking like a corpse making a stupid face. Things that didn’t help: My slept-on-wet-hair trying to stick straight out from my head, not a lick of makeup on, and really bad lighting. Awesome.

After failing that test I sat down for the The Big One with a calculator, a set of building plans, and the utter lack of ability to recall any of the two hundred building code facts I’d memorized in the last two weeks. The first question was a math problem involving a surveying tool and I rolled my eyes at the computer and was like, “Do you think I live with an Engineer for nothing?”

And since my Own Personal Engineer was sitting three seats down taking his own test, at that point I pretty much figured this was going to be a trial run for me, and I’d be back in a month to take it again. But somewhere around question 2o I remembered how to use the Pythagorean theorem, and I was able to draw enough sketches in the margins of my scrap paper to help me visualize the answers. My math-teacher mother says that’s because I’m a conceptual learner. MysteryMan says UR DOIN’ IT WRONG.

In then end I counted 25 questions that were complete guesses which means I was thisclose to failing. Since they don’t tell you your score, all I know is that the paper they handed me when I was done said: PASS.

And just like that, I’m allowed to build you a house.

MysteryMan also passed, even though he didn’t study half as hard as I did, and I’m guessing will never want to build a house again once we’ve finished this one.

We wrapped up the day with an “hour” drive home that I actually took two and a half hours. After passing 5 people that had skidded off the road and thinking that a great way to end our triumphant test-taking day would be in a ditch, we decided to take the back roads.

Which were obviously way better. My knuckles are still white.

Now What?

Now I’m going to go back to my regularly scheduled activities of house-building, blogging, and my full time job that does not include building houses. But it’s nice to know if I ever want to build one, I can. (And I’ll always know that the maximum height between risers on stairs is 8-1/4″.)

DIY diva


  • Liz @ It's Great To Be Home

    That is AWESOME!!!!! Congratulations. :) And I think it gives you more street cred that your photo is less than perfect – silver lining?

  • Beth

    Sweet! Congrats on passing. Long time reader, but never commented. I suck at the commenting part.

    We drove through that snowy, slippery mess yesterday too because someone just HAD to go to Ann Arbor for a Trader Joe’s fix *cough*me*cough*. We made it home alive, so I guess that equals success.

  • Jacqui

    Congratulations! You put in a lot of effort. I’d hire you to build my dream addition over our garage, except we’re in Alberta.

    I thought I’d mention that I too live with an engineer, who today is putting up some trim work for me in the dining room. I’m on caulking and painting detail (all while cleaning and keeping the children from destroying anything – or each other).

  • Kate R

    CONGRATULATIONS! I have no doubt that most of your readers had more confidence in you passing that test that you did. But I’m sure that’s due to the fact that we haven’t got a bajillion random things floating around in our brains the way that you do. We just knew one thing – that you could do it.

  • Sara @ Russet Street Reno

    Congrats! I would love for you to build me a new kitchen, the rest of the house seems to be doing ok….ha

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener

    That’s awesome! Congrats. I’d hire you in a second! I’ve love to hire a female contractor. So many of the issues we had with our contractor were over things he deemed were stupid or insignificant but they were important to me.

  • Micha

    Woo to the hoo! You did it! Congratulations!

  • The Tiny Homestead

    hey congrats! I knew you were going to do it. I like my house, but there’s no insulation in the walls- any ideas for insulating walls that have no studs (double layer brick)? If you’re stumped, yeah so are we.

  • Yolanda

    Dang, girl, you did it! We had no doubt.

  • Guerrina

    Congratulations! Awesome accomplishment! I’d hire you…except I live in CT!

  • Irina@CanDoGal

    Awesome! Congratulations. I’d hire you, too.

  • Cindy @ The Flipping Couple

    That’s awesome! Congrats. I’m glad all the hard work paid off.

  • kitliz

    Everyone… thank you so much for the good vibes, and the congrats. Its totally awesome to have your support!

  • Joseph

    Told ya, god damn it! No, really, heartiest congratulations on a genuine achievement.

  • Chelsea@ThisFreshFossil

    That’s awesome! Congratulations!!


  • Robin @ 3 acres & 3,000 sf

    Wohoo! Congrats! Now are you stuck with that picture forever because that would be funny. Is it laminated on a card or something? Do you need to retake the test every couple years or have continuous education? I’d love to hire you to build my house but we’d have to tear down our old one first…or just build from scratch on the island.

    • kitliz

      They do give out a pocket card (not sure if it has the picture on it) but the actual license with the picture has to be displayed in your place of business. So that’s completely awesome. Luckily I’m not “doing business” so I can put it away in a drawer somewhere…lol.

      They require 21 hours of continuing ed in the first three years and three hours a year after that. You don’t have to retake the test unless you let your license lapse for more than three years, and I can tell you I won’t be letting that happen!

      • Robin @ 3 acres & 3,000 sf

        Ha! Well if you ever have a place of business you could display it behind something tall. That continuous education requirement can actually be really fun. You can travel to seminars on things your interested in and expense everything. There is always a big conference in March near us about residential renewable energy (like your geo system!) that I’d love to go to but can’t justify spending the money for just my personal curiosity.

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl

    I just did some serious catching up on your blog- holy crap you’ve been busy! Congrats on passing the test- that is awesome!! And your donkeys are so cute and I can’t wait to see your shower and and and… yeah, congratulations!

  • Kate H.

    W00t! w00t! Best damn news I’ve heard all day!

    (And I could use some, believe you me.)

  • jumbo

    Nice keep on posting.

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