Home renovation surprises


I have officially been married too long to undertake home renovation projects with my spouse.

I honestly think this was easier as newlyweds. I seem to recall things were fine and fresh years ago when even mishaps were turned into giggles. Now everything has the capacity to bring back an ugly past.

Now we have 25 years of “oh this is the sidewalk project of 2006 all over again!”

As we undertook a major concrete patio and sidewalk project in the spring of 2006 I had one request, repeatedly, as the project came to fruition. I wanted a certain kind of finished edge.

I bet I mentioned that edge daily, weekly, and sometimes hourly. Nonetheless, due to a miscommunication with our absolutely wonderful volunteer crew, the carefully created edge was unwittingly swept completely clean.

I came back to find my new concrete with the one and only look I had specified neatly brushed away. I can still recall that moment. I froze. Wait. What?

In that moment Mr. wonderful shot me a look that clearly said: “please don’t freak out.”

I turned and walked inside. These were loved ones doing us a favor. I could hardly dock their pay.

Now ten years later I barely notice it. Still, I invoke the memory of the concrete finishing when it suits me to belabor the time I was deeply disappointed in a wholly First World Problem sort of way. I’m versatile like that. High.

This past week as we slogged on through the great kitchen remodel, I came home to the surprise that a section of the upper cabinets had been installed in my absence! Oh, it was a wonderful thing! It should be noted that our home has nearly 10-foot ceilings in most rooms.

As a result, our kitchen cabinets are double stacked, meaning one row of cabinets is stacked atop another. Because we live in an old house, and because our kitchen cabinets go all the way to the 10-foot ceilings, I get a lot of questions about what we keep way up there.

The answer appears to be the 1950s through the 1970s. I found everything from groovy fondue sets with original unpacked skewers, to Cold War era kitchen sets. Still, it’s actually wonderful space. It also holds stock pots and punch bowls and things that are nice to have but not necessary every day.

Big surprise

One other feature of those upper cabinets, former, was a thick crown molding that finished off the top where they meet the ceiling. So imagine my surprise when I came home to find the cabinets now reached all the way to the ceiling, and there was no possible way to add the crown molding back to the top.

I guarantee neither man hanging these cupboards noticed it. When I texted Mr. Wonderful, away at the moment, to ask him what the plan for crown molding was, his answer was silence.

I have found that in most things that is code for ‘oh poop.’ He’s a good guy! I just have to give him grief because Mr. Wonderful will micro worry over something in a subfloor or wall that no one will ever see, then worry himself to a nub over level, and completely forgot to leave room for the crown molding.

I absolutely guarantee as well that until I pointed out with my discerning wifely eye, neither man had noticed this problem.

We have now spent the last week looking at it, puzzled. We tilt our heads this way and that way and sometimes we squint. We discussed lowering the cabinets (possible). This would necessitate taking all the newly installed cabinets BACK down and rehanging each carefully for level.

What this means is that those cabinets aren’t coming down off that wall on our watch. Oh no, they are not. We are now looking at smaller trim, adding crown to the rest of the room, and choosing to find it charming.

In the meantime, we have a new story to add to the archives. When we speak of this incident, and we will, we will refer to it as the time we hung em high.

Meaning, of course, the cabinets and not the handyman husband. Yet.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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