Picky people


I’m not going to get any smarter — ever. I know this because I went ahead and picked at the wallpaper. That is always a bad idea. There is never a moment when you peel off a little bit of wallpaper and that improves a situation is there? Any rookie knows this.

You don’t “just” pick a little at the corner of a piece of wallpaper. You start down that path and in a blink you will be repainting, repairing or just plain looking at a messed up wall. You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you this, just a modicum of common sense.

The latter is what I tend to lack — as evidenced by my commitment to completely destroying a perfectly functioning room.


As best I recall I was just putting away some laundry (lie) when a little piece of peeling wallpaper caught my eye. I reached up and bent it with my fingernail, ever so gently, and the next thing I know an entire 8-foot sheet came rolling down off the wall.

I then had no choice but to continue that process all the way around the entire room until the walls were scabby with torn scraps of wallpaper that had been layered on over the years. In more than 100 years, that is a fair amount of wallpaper. True story.


The room in question is technically a sewing room or some other quaint incarnation of service that ceased to exist sometime after 1902. We prefer to call it the “dressing room” since I’ve never sewn a thing in my life. That’s fancy talk for “closet.”

Since our actual closets are all smaller than your average hanger, we need more closet space. “We” being our children. Mr. Wonderful and I could keep all our clothing in a laundry basket — and sometimes do. Such is our commitment to dressing well.

The room functions as a large walk-in closet and, as such, we don’t expect much. Still, it was nice when it had racks, dressers, a bench and anything resembling civilized living actually. Having torn all the covering from the wall, dragged all the furniture and clothing into adjacent rooms, and removing the rug, GirlWonder and I did the only responsible thing: went shopping, grabbed some lunch, and caught a movie. We remain stalwart in our convictions that despite all evidence to the contrary, this is going to be a small project.


I have no intention of replacing the ceiling (except maybe where it will have to be cut to install an overhead light fixture). We have no intention of making major repairs to the walls (I’m sure the paint and primer will cover those holes, no?) Drywall, paper, paint, wiring? Meh. Our input to the project was to purchase a mirror so large we weren’t sure we could get it home in the car.

In my defense, things never look as massive in your average warehouse store environment as they do when you are forcing them into the backseat. During this process a bemused store associate shakes his head and calls coworkers over to mock your optimism.


The last paragraph illustrates my approach to home improvement. Decide on a project with no more planning that most people put toward dinner. Dive into said project and make a huge mess. Immediately realize that you are into things that are dirty, complicated and sheer hard work. Let Mr. Wonderful take over. Go shopping.

Eventually the mess and sheer chaos gives way to beauty, calm and order once again. We will stand in the door and admire our efforts. This while simultaneously swearing, with the good Lord as our witness, we will never undertake such a project again.

We will promptly ignore that last part and undertake another home repair project because we never get any smarter.

We haven’t even properly started on that dressing room and already a little tiny piece of peeling wallpaper in the foyer has caught my eye. I know I shouldn’t touch it. I swore I wouldn’t touch it. I really don’t want to touch it, but let’s be honest here. I probably will.

Wise people pick their battles. I pick my way into one.

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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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