A Catastrophe Narrowly Averted

The day started off so benignly, I took Mitch to work, walked the dogs, went to see my grandchildren and picked Mitch up from work. Boring stuff. After we got home from picking Mitch up, I started to fix us some lunch. Mitch was in the process of changing out of his work clothes to his grubbies so he could finish installing a step to the passenger side of the pickup truck. It’s a real challenge for me to climb into the truck, since I’m vertically challenged. Yesterday he installed the driver’s side and today it will be the passenger side.

I had set the table and finished making the salad, filling the salad bowls when I heard a weird noise coming from the third bedroom. I turned to look and saw both of the dogs lying on the floor in the dining room not the least bit interested in the noise. Because of their lack of interest I thought that Mitch was looking for something there.

We are in the midst of ripping up the hardwood floor and replacing it with bamboo. Because of the age of the house there has been some settling and the back corner of the room has sunk a few inches. Mitch is tearing out the floor and the subfloor to assess what will need to be done. This has left a small hole in the floor opening up to the basement on the old side of the house. The basement on the old side is made up of shelf rock, limestone, I believe. It’s very primitive and if I had a way down there without going outside first, I would have the perfect place for a wine cellar, cool and dark. Otherwise, it’s just creepy down there.

I called out to Mitch to ask what he was looking for and there was no response, but I could still hear the rustling sound. So I walked to the bedroom stepping over two sleeping dogs and started to walk in the room to ask Mitch again what he was looking for. Imagine my shock and surprise when I walked in on one large panicked squirrel running around in the room jumping up and down on each window looking for a way out. How he got in there I have no idea, but the last thing I wanted was the dogs to wake up and discover him in the bedroom. There would have been mayhem and carnage unimaginable. I’m not sure the house would have survived.

I quickly stepped out of the room and started yelling for Mitch. I had no idea where he was, so I ran to the door and shouted for him out in the garage, luckily he was still in the house and I didn’t have to search for him, leaving the squirrel and the dogs alone together. I told him we have a squirrel in the house, to which he didn’t believe me. I told him where it was and grabbed the dogs to take them to the master bedroom for the squirrel’s safety. Of course the panicked squirrel didn’t stay in the bedroom; no he ran to the kitchen and starting running around under the kitchen table. All I could see in my future was it jumping up on the table destroying dishes and scattering food everywhere. At that point I probably would have just burned the house down.

Mitch stood there watching the squirrel run around with a silly grin on his face. I could see the ten year old boy very close to the surface just when I needed a superhero and not a ten year old boy. Mitch regained control of himself and told me to open the kitchen door, close the bedroom door and hand him a broom. I thought oh please don’t start whacking things. I don’t want squirrel parts everywhere and in the course of killing the squirrel destroying the kitchen. I know most men resort to the caveman inside when an opportunity to be the tough guy comes along and I didn’t want to have to clean up the mess.

Thankfully Mitch just used the broom to point the terrified animal in the direction of the open kitchen door. The squirrel couldn’t get out of the house fast enough; he raced across the yard and fled up a tree. I still am not sure how the dogs missed the sound of the squirrel running around in the bedroom or didn’t catch a whiff of him either. But one thing’s for sure, I am really glad they didn’t.

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The Calm Before the Storm

It’s too quiet here.  It’s been almost two months since Mitch finished installing the dishwasher.  He has been busy with work and local city demands and hasn’t had a chance to cut the cabinet that will install next to the dishwasher filling the gaping hole left when we removed the existing cabinet to install the dishwasher.  I have not bugged him about filling the space because I know how busy he has been

I think part of his reticence to start the project is that there will be multiple “Mitch Fit” watches that can quickly go to “Mitch Fit” warnings and even “Mitch Fit” imminent crises.   Cutting down a thirty-six inch cabinet to a twelve inch cabinet is probably a bit of a challenge, especially shrinking the cabinet door, but I have faith that Mitch will figure it out.  (If not, I know where I can buy a twelve inch cabinet brand new in the box.)  That’s what scares him the most.  If I buy a new cabinet, I will have to re-stain or paint all of the cabinets so all will match and look the same.   Painting wood is sacrilege to him.  Wood only comes in stained colors if you ask him.

Finally this afternoon after a consultation with a seasoned cabinetmaker Mitch is finally de-constructing the cabinet and preparing it to become a third of its’ original size.  WooHoo.  What’s the worst that can happen?  It looks really sad and we go buy a new one.  Mitch doesn’t look at it that way, though.  He thinks it has to be perfect.

The de-constructing is the easy part; it’s the reconstructing part that will be tricky.  But it’s okay, I have my ear plugs.  I am definitely a glutton for punishment.

Mitch Hates Me

Mitch hates me.  He told me.  That this revelation came after spending an hour and a half at Lowes and another forty-five minutes at Home Depot in search of plumbing parts for the new dishwasher is a moot point.  I can’t help it that I have no idea what plumbing parts, elbows and tees, shut offs and hoses and whatnot are required to install the new dishwasher.  I don’t do plumbing or electrical for that matter.  But Mitch can stand for hours and does, staring at the vast assortment of whosidossals and create a masterful linkage of plumbing parts to connect the existing water lines and drains to the new dishwasher.

For the most part while Mitch rummaged through PVC pipes, elbows and tees I wandered through Lowes looking for stuff I just couldn’t live without.  I found all sorts of cool stuff too.  I bought a storage holder for the aluminum foil and plastic wrap.  I found two twelve inch cabinets to slide in next to the dishwasher to take up the empty space we made removing the large cabinet for the spot to install the dishwasher, one with a drawer and one without to choose from.  I looked at paint chips to paint the cabinets after the dishwasher installation is complete.  The idea of painting the cabinets just makes Mitch cringe.  I bought basil seeds to plant.  I found a mirror I liked.  All this while Plumbing Man was mesmerized by PVC whatnots.

Frustrated Lowes didn’t have something he needed even though we spent $85 on plumbing connectors and things; Mitch wanted to run to Home Depot to check out their plumbing section.  Once again while Plumbing Man listened to sound of the Plumbing Siren, I went off in search of much more interesting stuff.  The Siren doesn’t call to women evidently.   I found more paint chips and checked out their selection of house plants. 

I wandered back to find Mitch mumbling to himself still in search of the perfect plumbing concoction to magically make plumbing nirvana.  I started yawning from the stifling heat in Home Depot and sheer boredom.  In order to entertain myself and help pass the time I looked at the wall of gizmos opposite from where Mitch was standing.  I looked down and saw a package with a hose and an assortment of plumbing connectors that said “Universal Dishwasher Connection Kit”.  For the bargain price of $14.98 it contained everything Mitch needed to connect the dishwasher to the existing water lines and drains.  I showed it to him and asked if it would work.  He stared at it for a few minutes, then looked at me and said, “I hate you.”

Guess who will be taking all of the unneeded plumbing parts back?

One Day Two Countertops and Only Three Meltdowns

One more project down and only a gazillion to go.  I gave Mitch two weeks off from home improvement projects and threw in a weekend hunting trip to boot to relax him before tackling the latest project, new kitchen countertops.  Should have been a cakewalk right, especially since both countertops were only six feet long and no corners.  Wrong, never is in this house. 

First surprise of the day was when I just pulled the one side off by myself, shocking Mitch that the old countertop was not anchored to the cabinets.  Not surprising to me, by now nothing surprises me about this house.  We switched out the old countertop for the new one, done easy peasy.  I thought that the second would be almost as quick, unhook the drains, garbage disposal and faucet, and lift off.  That part went fairly fast so things were looking hopeful. 

Cutting the new hole and fitting the sink was a bit more challenging.  Many measurements with the tape measure were taken, just to be sure that the hole wasn’t cut too big.  You can always make a hole bigger, but you can’t make a hole smaller.  I walked into the kitchen to find Mitch drawing the outline of the sink in permanent marker on the top of the new countertop.  I rubbed the center line he had drawn to the edge of the countertop that would be exposed, it didn’t come off.  I looked at him and said that this will not work having a black line across my new countertop, oh no.  He turned and left to find something that would remove the marker and thus would get to reside on the planet another day.  Luckily, Windex worked like a champ.  Mitch is off the endangered species list for now.

The jigsaw wouldn’t get quite close enough to the back splash to make the back side cut, so that took different blades, cutting angles and eventually a different saw to get a close cut.  Next came the fitting of the sink into the new hole.  It didn’t, surprise.  How can you measure, measure and measure again and then it doesn’t fit?  That caused Meltdown number one.  Out came the rubber mallet, at least it wasn’t the sledgehammer.  Two new dents to the stainless steel sink and it fit.  Woo hoo. 

The container of plumbers putty was dried up and hard, so Mitch had to add water to soften it up.  Meltdown number two came when he asked for my help holding the sink in the hole so he could attach the fasteners that clamp onto the underside of the sink and secure it to the countertop.  I walked to the backside of the countertop which was sitting on blocks in the dining room and waited for direction.  Evidently I had turned off my mental telepathy switch and didn’t know that I was to immediately grab the countertop and sink in a death grip to hold it in place.  Mitch bent down and flipped up the front side causing the sink to slip.  Huge meltdown.  I told him he needed to use his words.  Not very smart on my part, using sarcasm in the face of unmitigated rage.  At least he didn’t toss me across the room, just sent the dust brush flying.  Second attempt and this time I grabbed the sink but it slipped again, causing Mitch to say that he would just secure the sink to the countertop on his back in the kitchen with the countertop supported by the cabinets, among other more colorful words.

We carried the countertop sans sink to the kitchen and placed it on the cabinets.  He set the sink in the hole in the countertop and I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be very long before this would be finished.  Wrong again, I should be used to being wrong a lot.  I made myself scarce when I heard the comment, “If one more thing goes wrong, I’m lighting a match.”

The third meltdown was almost anticlimactic compared to meltdown number two, sort of like an aftershock.  Mitch decided there weren’t enough sink clips to secure the sink to the countertop.  That set off a string of ranting and raving about why nothing is ever simple and easy about the house.  I wisely chose not to remind him that the house was in his family long before I came into the picture.

Ten o’clock at night and the new countertop project was finally finished.  It only took fourteen hours and three meltdowns, a new record somewhere I’m sure.

A Man and His Home Improvement Store

What is it about a man and a home improvement store?  I love to shop as much as the next person, especially for shoes, but come on, what is the enticement of plumbing parts?  Shoes and boots have a stylish appeal that expresses your personality that you can show the world whenever you step outdoors.  But hose connectors?  Who’s going to see them?  When guests come over you would show off the tile or pedestal sinks in a newly remodeled bath, but no one would point out the shiny new hoses for the hot and cold water.

But yet Mitch will stand and gaze over the plumbing aisle forever with a look of sheer awe at the variety of shapes and sizes of hoses and connectors.  I even asked if he had measured before we got to Lowes and he said yes he knew exactly what he needed.  After ten minutes of watching him stare transfixed at the huge assortment, I said that I was going to go to the tile section to find something that would work for the gap at the top of the shower to the ceiling.  He said, “Okay,” in a faraway dreamy voice like a drug addict that had just gotten a fix.

On my way to the tile section I found the kitchen countertop that I fell in love with instantly and took pictures of it with my phone so I would remember it later.  I wandered through the tile section and came up with all kinds of solutions to the three inch gap.  The guest bathroom is not only small in area but with a very low ceiling, so with the shower on, there would be condensation and back splashing that would cause the sheetrock to get wet.  With having to remodel the remodel, Mitch is extra cautious about moisture in the bathroom. 

After spending a very productive ten minutes finding our new kitchen countertop (this will be Mitch’s next project, although he doesn’t know it yet) and coming up with a number of solutions for the top of the shower I wandered back to find Mitch still in the plumbing section.  He had one two inch section of hose fitting and a tube of sealer in his hand.  I asked what else he needed and he said no he had everything he needed.  So why was he still standing there?  It has to plumbing crack.  I looked skyward for guidance.

I dragged him away to show him the new countertop I wanted and my ideas for the top of the shower.  We made a decision to use porcelain tile at the top and grabbed a couple of pieces to take home to try out.  He then said he needed to get caulk.  Oh no, not caulk, anything but caulk.  I don’t know how many hundreds of tubes of caulk Mitch has bought over the years, but each time he needs to buy caulk, we go through the same process.  He stares at the variety of brands, types and colors for minutes, and then when he finally makes a decision, he stands there and reads the entire back section of the tube.  Why?  What could he possibly learn that he does not already know about caulk having caulked four bathrooms in the last three years?

God help me if the caulk industry ever does invent a new and improved caulk.

An Unproductive Day

It’s just a rainy Saturday, a perfect day to get caught up on cleaning the house, the closet or some other productive household chore.  But I’m just not in the mood.  This is something I’ll regret tomorrow or the next day, but not today.  Today, I just want to relax and do nothing productive.  The dogs aren’t even any fun.  They’re lying curled up on the bed snoozing, enjoying the rainy day too. 

The only one who is getting anything accomplished is Mitch.  He is diligently working on the re-construction of the guest bathroom.   He’s mudding and sanding and re-mudding and re-sanding the sheetrock seams, giving it his best shot, even though applying mud and sanding is not his forte.  Of course this is adding to my guilt level, knowing that I’m being a slug and he’s slaving away. 

I feel like painting something, maybe the kitchen.  Painting is therapeutic for me.  One small problem, I have no paint and haven’t even picked out a color yet.  But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about painting the kitchen; it just adds to the mental guilt list of one more thing I could be doing if I had been more proactive in deciding on a color and buying the paint.  I could run to Lowes and hurriedly pick out a color and just start painting.  Of course we all know how well my painting projects go. 

Good thing it’s a small kitchen.