A long line of lunatics who see potential

kitchen sink

He keeps mentioning hauling drywall. I’m not sure why Boywonder has become convinced that he is going to need endless stacks of drywall. I think he just believes in his heart that people routinely need to bring home drywall. 

To be fair, Mr. Wonderful used to stop and pick up renovation supplies the way other people stop for milk. That changes a child. I imagine, based on his childhood, that he will also come to believe that he needs an unusual amount of ceramic tile, paint and for some inexplicable reason, tape measures. I bet we own over a dozen of those. 


These conversations are happening because Boywonder bought a house. Not a playhouse. An actual house. Excuse me while I update his baby book. I think in my heart he’s six. He is not, however. 

He and his lovely fiance timed it just right to purchase their first home in the worst housing market in four decades. That was every bit as fun as you might imagine. The entire process was best described as “a headache.” 

Paperwork was needed. Septic tanks went missing. No really, they couldn’t find it for an entire week. The listing agent seemed to go into witness protection at the very moment she was needed. Seriously, I was worried about her safety. 

Boywonder hated the whole home buying process. I assured him that we all do. I think I still have some flashbacks to over two decades ago when we went through it. I legitimately didn’t realize I was pregnant with him because I was sure the stress was causing all my issues. 

The good news, I assured him, was that he and the house were both totally worth it. 

I think I can state unequivocally that he had absolutely zero intention of buying a “fixer-upper.” He was adamant on this point, in fact. Then he and his lovely fiance viewed a big white farmhouse on some very pretty rural land just outside an adorable little village and his genetics kicked in. 

In his blood

He was probably powerless to stop it. He comes from a long line of people who are always going to see the “potential” in a property.  He can’t help himself. 

From his great-great-grandparents to today, we are a people who see land with even half a house and get very excited. I call it the “Brick and a stick” fallacy. If we see one of each, we feel like we can pull it together into something special. 

As he and his lovely fiance embark on making this house a home, I know they have a goal in mind. I think it’s two years to completion. I kept a straight face when I heard it. I recall saying something similar to my own grandmother in 1996. 

At that time she said she felt the same about finishing the home she and my grandfather had purchased in 1953. She said, “I’ll let you know when it’s done, honey.” 

I knew then to expect that the process of making a house a home is, if you’re lucky, not ever really over. 

What they have yet to discover is that major renovations are sometimes easier than the finishing touches. 

Recently my own mother sent me the following message: “I finally have all the labels off the spindles! Only took me 21 years!” To which I responded: “Does this mean I have to put on the missing switch plate cover in our mudroom? It’s only been 20 years.” 

Obviously, I don’t want to rush into anything. 

Grew up with it

Boywonder did grow up with big projects: acres of drywall, roofing and paint; laying down flooring, prying up flooring, putting more flooring down once again. He has been instrumental in three full bathroom remodels including gutting to the studs — all before his 21st birthday.  

His preschool toolbox contained a real hammer. We found a tiny pry bar during a recent porch renovation to which he exclaimed, “that’s where that went!”  

His fiance refinished over 2,000 square feet of hardwood flooring in the space of a few days. Fresh paint is being applied almost daily. They have big plans to open up porches and remodel the bathrooms. 

I recently sat down and played an old video of our first viewing of our house. I had forgotten myself how dismal it was. His fiance turned to me and said, aghast, “I knew it was bad but I didn’t know it was that bad.” 

I hope it gives them hope. 

As generations before them have done, with elbow grease, hard work and vision, they will make their house a showplace and a home too. 

After all, when people these days admire our old house, I reply, “thanks. It’s a rescue.” 


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.