Lessons and construction confusion

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boy wonder

We are in year 22 of a five-year home renovation project and things are going about as expected.

I decreed that this is the spring we will get the yard whipped into shape. This isn’t as monumental as you might think.

I’ve been declaring that since the early 2000s. Hasn’t really happened yet, but a girl can dream.

I’ve have been counting the days to the pressure washer coming to spray the entire house clean in anticipation of all the painting. Yet Mr. Wonderful still had to remind me to close the windows when the man arrived. So that should tell you how on top of things I am.

Everything around me is on the fritz. Everything.

The dishwasher is running even when the door is open. I’m no expert but that can’t be right.

I spent an evening opening and closing the door to no avail, pushing buttons forcefully to tell the machine I definitely meant business. I’m guessing it’s probably the alternator.

I painstakingly applied a few million gallons (only a slight exaggeration) of paint to the wrap around porch on the home place. I carefully planned for post-pressure wash days (so it had time to dry) but before rain was predicted.

Within hours it rained on my gorgeous and glossy poly porch because, of course, it did. Ohio is out here trying to beat Seattle for annual rainfall.

Childhood

In honor of Boywonder’s birthday, I shared a charming photo of Boywonder recently on social media.

In the photo, he’s 2 1/2 years old and stands barefoot amidst an array of tools and construction debris as we renovated the third floor of the house.

In this photo, he is also wearing a lampshade on his head, as you do. I feel that no photo captures his childhood quite so beautifully. Chaos, construction debris, and a few laughs.

Age

Now he is at the age where some friends are pioneering out into the world of homeownership or renting places so rundown that landlords are neither seen nor heard.

This tends to lead to these young folks deciding to take on repairs themselves. Now if Boywonder even overhears a conversation about doing something crazy like, say, hiring a plumber to replace the inner workings of a toilet, he is powerless to stop himself from speaking up.

Borne of years of first hand “constant construction project” life experience he will confidently assure them that what they need to do is go purchase the ball-cock supply valve replacement.

Once they all get done falling over and guffawing because everyone is just a 12-year-old boy at heart, they learn the entire thing can be handled for a few dollars.

I am told Boywonder tends to trail off at this point as all eyes turn toward him — a 20-something savant in the world of home construction.

He is learning that at this point in life when it comes to owning a pickup truck, a strong back to help move, and a working knowledge of tools and trades, he has already said too much.

The good news is that no one ever truly knows too much.

I’m decades in and still manage to turn simple projects into a learning experience (or column fodder) on an almost daily basis.

Faced with the aforementioned spring paint project and something like 999 balusters and 12 miles of porch rail (give or take) I thought an electric paint sprayer would be just the ticket.

Speaking of which tickets — or a permit of some sort — should be required to purchase and/or operate a paint sprayer.

The first rule of using a paint sprayer being: do not let it see your fear.

I tried it for less than a half hour and I feel confident in saying I hate it. I do not dislike it. I do not think it’s kind of not cool. I loathe it. Loathe. It. Zero out of 5 stars.

Suffice to say that the paint sprayer is, in fact, the devil. A wasteful devil.

Also, I may have sprayed myself. And some windows (glass, not trim). I tried to be fancy and as with most things, I am not fancy.

A paintbrush and a bucket of paint were good enough when this house was built 120 years ago. As far as I am concerned, they are good enough now.

The dishwasher is currently in pieces on the kitchen floor as Boywonder learns another useful life skill.

As for myself, I painted from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. I bent and stretched and squatted for hours. Now everything hurts and I’m dying.

All I can say is that if this is how it ends, please come back to the house after my services. I would hate to have died in vain.

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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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