For anyone who has a do-it-yourselfer living in their home, you know the kind of pain their self-fortitude can inflict.
I am not what you’d call handy. The hammer is not my friend, but a weapon used to bash fingers into submission.
But my partner in life and crime thinks he can do it all, and he’s been testing it out lately.
Three years ago, he took an AutoCAD drafting course so he could draw up the plans for our dream home. Those plans were shelved soon after due to work situations, but more recently were unearthed and revised and are now in full fruition.
The result? We’re renovating our existing mansion —actually a one-level, one-bathroom bungalow— into something a little more accommodating for our four-person family.
And I have been living through some of the early renovation hell experienced by Walter Fielding and Anna Crowley, the characters Tom Hanks and Shelley Long played in the 1986 film The Money Pit.
(Luckily I haven’t had to open my medicine cabinet to find a builder handing me my meds just yet as we’ve only just begun.)
Although we haven’t dipped too deep into the money pit, as this is only a partial fix ‘er-up-‘er, I have one heckuva mud pit to wade through every time I leave and arrive home these days.
Typical that the day they started digging to install the drain pipe and foundation, the sky opened and sent down its wrath.
The result has been four inches of East Hill’s notorious clay caked on just about every boot and shoe, up one pant leg and down the other.
Of course the kids are loving it.
My boy even has his very own hard hat to wear every time the cool man with the big digger comes into our yard.
The other kid in our household, besides our daughter, has been the grown man.
He’s already been out there ripping off the vinyl siding and stucco from the side of our house with the giddy enthusiasm of Bob the Builder. And he keeps beckoning me to come check out the latest tool and toy of the trade.
Yes, he’s Red Green and my home is now Possum Lodge.
Speaking about Red Green — that gravelly voiced Canadian dude who was on TV with the fishing hat and red and green suspenders and spoke on the virtues of duct tape to fix just about anything — thanks to my job, I was able to interview him the other day. (He’s coming to Vernon on the 23rd.) When I told him of my renovation dilemma, he had some rather good advice for me: “Get out while you’re still alive!”
Well, not exactly.
He told me to look at the core of our relationship – and hold my husband accountable for everything that goes wrong.
“Get him to do what he says he is going to do and get it in writing!”
That Red Green is actually a genius in my opinion and his words of wisdom came at a crucial time — when the excavator decided to slice through both my phone and cable lines the other day. (An honest mistake as you never know where those dastardly lines are going to end up, despite the fact we received blueprints for both.)
I marched right up to my husband and said, “you better get this fixed, the semi-finalists of MasterChef are about to be announced. And you don’t want me to go all Gordon Ramsay on you.”
The cable guy was at our door the very next morning showing that although I may not be able to wield a hammer, I can come down like Thor when I want to.
So as I brace myself for what is to come – the noise, the dust, the collapse of sanity – I have to continually keep my eye on the prize.
That new roof over our heads, extra bathroom and bedroom, and hopefully new flower bed, which the man with the big machine also ripped out, will all be worth it.
I can get a little muddy over that.