The endless thrill of DIY

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt photo)

I recently caught myself thinking how nice it was that all the rooms in our old house were basically finished. What would I do for a hobby without an endless DIY task list?

I foolishly told Mr. Wonderful that he could probably remove the air compressor and the big step ladder from their month-long storage in our foyer since we were done with them. I was clearly asking for it. Being content with the state of things is clearly the karmic equivalent of inviting chaos.


It started with the laundry. Pulling a load of clean laundry from the dryer, I discovered that a load of clothes and towels had gone through the washer and dryer with a since-broken ballpoint pen. The laundry was liberally splashed in blue ink.

I do not use ballpoint pens of this type nor do I carry them in my pocket. I showed the offending pen to Mr. Wonderful. This sweet, adorable man looked at the battered pen I was holding aloft and said, dryly, “Yeah, I did have one like that in my pocket at work but that can’t be mine. Mine had ink in it.” He’s lucky he’s cute.

Within 12 more hours, a brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box light fixture on the second floor decided to fritz out. Yes, that is my technical term for it. I’m very scientific.

That light was installed for less than four days before it started acting foolish. Meanwhile, four antique fixtures easily each roughly a century old are gleaming along while the brand new just lifted out of the Styrofoam packaging unit is giving us fits? I should know better than to purchase cheap lighting online. I probably deserve everything I get — or don’t.

As part of “why is this light fixture possessed,” Mr. Wonderful decided to say — out loud — that he thinks we need to “open up this bathroom wall to see what we’ve got in here.”

I am not even kidding when I said I felt lightheaded. I think my soul left my body for a moment. Please, tell me you’re kidding. I laughed. To be clear, it was not “ha ha” laughter like “wow, you’re such a kidder.” No, it was maniacal laughter, akin to “I might be having a breakdown.” Fortunately, he doesn’t scare easily.

I have truly lost count of how many times we have worked on this bathroom. It’s a simple design. Early 20th-century classic white tile, clawfoot bathtub, updated toilet (sans bidet since the great flood of last month) and a pedestal sink. I don’t ask for much except that it does not flood, sag, spark or in any way draw undue attention.

Granted, it is exciting living in a home where the electricity could have been installed by Thomas Edison himself. I will note, per usual, that it’s not the old stuff that does me dirty. It was not the four vintage lamps rewired and carefully installed. Those are quality.

It was that $59.99 overseas special that acted up. Honestly, once I look closely at it, I’m ashamed I even own this thing. Fisher Price and Little Tikes make better toy products than this light fixture. Honestly, knowing how some of those toys survive generations, I would welcome fixtures manufactured by either of those companies.

Someone please take note of this and contact them post-haste. I can’t keep buying sketchy fixtures.

One bad apple might not spoil the whole bunch, but one bad fixture has me pricing drywall, bead board, junction boxes and paint once again.

I love a good home improvement project as much as the next gal. There is something exciting about doing a project where you will end up with something bigger and better than before. Example: We are renovating our backyard to replace the rotted mess we have come to call “the death deck,” so named after Mr. Wonderful put his foot clean through it over the winter. It’s not going to be easy but I’m excited about getting a new porch and patio out of the deal.

If I’m going to spend time, money and Mr. Wonderful’s energy to end up with something that looks exactly like it does now, expect a “yay, excuse me while I’m underwhelmed.” There is absolutely no thrill for me in patching drywall.


On the other hand, the day I have long dreamt of finally happened. I was hovering around the wiring project trying to seem helpful when Mr. Wonderful asked, “Do you have anything to label these various wires?”

Do I? I label everything. I’m known for my ownership of not one, two, but THREE labelmakers — two for home, one for work, naturally. I adore making labels. Don’t threaten me with a good time!

The thrill is back baby! In fact, I’m going to label his hammer “hammer.”

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Next step: Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.



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.