House of Horrors: Home Improvement Hell

There are two words – just two – that can put fear in the heart of men and women:  home improvement. The worst situations we bring upon ourselves always sound so innocent. You have been warned.

 Today, home improvement means cleaning up the house. But it was not always so. About 10-12 moons ago,  a fragrant combo of potato peelings, coffee grounds, chopped onion and a massive amount of water erupted from my washing machine, via the garbage disposal. Don’t ask. The “flood” did a bit of damage. After a flurry of Rhodes Scholars, insurance adjusters, brain surgeons,  leak detectives, structural engineers, and plumbers tramped through our territory, it was determined that a broken pipe under the kitchen would require some repair and redo. Duh.

Thus began the hostage situation starring my family. At the time, I had a husband and two young children – but they went to work and school – leaving me to deal with the service gods. There are two words to keep in mind when waiting on the fixers: chain reaction.

A couldn’t do his job until B arrived, but he was having lunch with C, who was real mad at D. Now D was the plumber appointed by the insurance company to start this hair ball rolling. He had a little home-based business (out of a city two hours away) and his Mama did all his phone answerin’ and fetchin’. please turn up Deliverance banjo tune as loud as possible>.

D wreaked havoc all over our property, digging sink holes, disappearing into them, and fist-fighting with his team of stooges plumberettes over missing tools. But he did accidentally fix the leak. Leaving the house torn to shreds with debris everywhere.

The parade of magicians thus began their march. The “professionals”, the fixer-uppers who swore they’d make the house “real purty”. I looked into the dazed and confused eyes of every repairman who entered my house and asked the question, “How long will this project take?”. The answer was always the same, “A year or so”. Kill me first.

Our house had always had a mind of its own, deciding when and how hard to hit our bank account. In order to collect the insurance money to fix the house, we had to lower the backyard four inches. Grass begone. Giant mud pie. Don’t ask. There was a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow so we did it. I said, “Don’t ask”. Emergency phone call for unlimited amounts of anti-anxiety meds.

When remodeling, the journeyman working on the house know more about you than your gynecologist, parents, and the government combined. Because they live with you. The husband, kids, and I were relegated to one king sized bed(temporary living room) and one bathroom (the pee-and-tea which doubled as kitchen). Call me a curmudgeon, but the warm, fuzzy experience of enjoying that first cup of coffee in the morning is considerably diminished when surrounded by cold tile and a toilet. Am obviously not cut out for a real prison stint.

When the kids would ask if friends could come over, I had a cheery reply. “Sure, if you all want to sit in the middle of my bed and stare at each other.” Nipped in bud.

When you redo the homestead – paint, floors, lighting – your old furniture no longer works with the new and improved interior. My then-husband only uttered one phrase during the entire debacle … “How much is all this going to cost?”. He lost all battles and the war, leaving him a shell of a man. Made of sterner stuff, I pressed on.

I did try to cut a few corners. Wrong move. I hired my own upholsterer to recover the sofa. When it was returned three months later, I sat on it and closed my eyes. It felt like I was sitting in an airport lobby. The cushions were as soft as a basket of stale sandwiches. <very sad face>

After a year of this nonsense, “the perfect thing” kept cropping up, extending our deadline. I’d thrown in the towel by this time, directing all questions to A, B, C, D, or his Momma. Would have lived under a bridge during this nightmare, but all bridge property was already occupied by home improvement hostages.

Believe it or not, I’ve made this long story short. If you want a divorce, no privacy whatsoever for eternity, and like to be heavily medicated, then by all means, consider home improvement. For the rest of you considering a “redo”, DON’T GO THERE. Really. You’re welcome.



27 thoughts on “House of Horrors: Home Improvement Hell

  1. Funny that I should be reading this post today, as I sit waiting for the carpenter to come to put in the new drywall and tub surround in the downstairs bathroom…at least the landlord is paying for it!


  2. I’ve been at it for almost four years now, medication no longer works …

  3. Oh my goodness, sounds like a nightmare. It was, right? We renovated our house (our choice, mind you!) a few years ago and next time I’m going to opt for root canal.
    Another fab post, iz.
    Sunshine xx

  4. I feel your pain my friend – once I have one thing fixed it seems as if something else instantly explodes – as if my household machines have a lottery on who gets to blow up first. Fantastic post – I needed that giggle!

  5. Oh, I am in the fetal position sucking my thumb. . . . you just brought me back to a year ago when we started our remodel on a foreclosure we bought. We only contracted one area of the house (the counters and the cabinets in the kitchen) and trying to babysit those idiots was worse than taking care of a 20-month old and a 3 month old. I drank a lot more during that time 😉 If you need some good meds, I think I still have some left over!

  6. That’s ok, that project is over and done with! Wasn’t that the absolute worst? Punishment we pay for … how stupid is that? 🙂

  7. I a do-it-yourself kind of gal, but sometimes I get right in the middle and realize I’m in way over my head. Then I cry.

  8. Holy cow. I mean … wow.

  9. OK…I got it…..”when house starts falling apart….SELL!…SELL!…SELL!…Quickly! Anything to avoid these Home Improvement nightmares! Thanks Izzie 🙂

  10. Blahhahahahaha a friend of mine had saved for several years to have her carpet pulled up and the floorboards sealed in her house. She was so excited when the final coat was being applied. Hmm, excitement dissipated rather quickly when she viewed the finished floor the next day only to discover the biggest friggin moth in the history of mankind had landed in the center of the floor and sunk into the gloss coating. The entire floor had to be redone 😦

  11. That is the worst, your poor friend! Of course, it was the biggest friggin moth… 🙂

  12. Nightmare like story, can’t visualize what must have kicked this off but I’ve remodeled enough to remember the chaos. Last little bits on our house were done by the contractor’s helper, who’d chopped his finger off on a different job the day before. As a result his last drug-enhanced day with us left 2 sets of shelving on an angle, and a door ‘trimmed’ enough for snakes to slither under. Yikes, indeed…

  13. That sounds awful.

    We survived some remodeling work done last year–I hope we are done with for a long time.

  14. come to think of it we re-did our master bath right before he left…hmmmm

  15. Medication is still work for me 😀 Regards, John

  16. You hit the nail on the head when you described the horrors of home improvement projects.

    I grew up on a construction site because my dad decided to build a house, then two houses. When I moved to the Netherlands, my then husband was in charge of the team that remodeled an eight-story building. My present husband regularly looks around mumbling, “I think we need to make some changes.”

    I empathize with your frustration over such madcap adventures. I think men are not completely happy without a home improvement project in process. Men, am I off base with that statement?

  17. It’s just a funny thing that remain us our last home-improvement. So terrrrriiiiiible. My wife loves your article anyway.

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