Renovation monkeys

Various DIY Tools on a Wooden Table by Russ Hendricks, Chief Editor of Tools are Home, (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Flickr.

It’s time to face facts about our family’s personal vice.

The monkey on our backs, so to speak.

That monkey? He has a hammer. We are renovation junkies.

Repeatedly, over two decades, we finish a major house project, wrestle our living situation back from squalor, and I swear that with God as my witness I will never, ever renovate again.

Give it a month and I’m stepping over an air compressor and paint cans once again.

I still recall a few years ago asking my Grandmother, a renovation veteran, when I could expect my house to be “done.”

“I moved to my house in 1954. I’ll let you know when it happens” was her reply.


We renovated our kitchen in the spring of last year only to renovate it again within six months time.

On the heels of that project, BoyWonder and Mr. Wonderful finished up the new flooring and closet reno in GirlWonder’s room just a week ago.

The 20-year-old carpet had seen more than its fair share of spilled soda, soccer cleats, nail polish and general living.

A few years earlier, as a preteen, she was offered the chance at new carpet. The tradeoff being she had to give up hosting pizza and pedicure parties on her bedroom floor.

She passed and that carpet continued to soak up lots of spilled secrets and soda pop. A lot of memories were made on that carpet.

Some of them left a mark.


So we peeled out the old carpet, pried out about a million tack nails that held it in place, and rediscovered anew that we had apparently painted the floor blue years ago. I completely forgot about that. How old am I that I don’t recall painting a floor teal blue?

As an aside, what gives with the carpet installers going nuts with nails? It’s a flat item that is going to lay on a flat floor and be covered by heavy furniture.

Why are we securing it like someone is going to try to steal it if we aren’t forever vigilant?

Before the carpet installation lobby barrages me with email it should be noted that I have repeatedly installed carpet with nothing more than an aluminum threshold and heavy chairs to hold it in place and no one died. It worked.

Anyway, my ire at the massive tack attack notwithstanding, we pried out of the floor notwithstanding, GirlWonder’s room renovation went off without (much of) a hitch.

Once finished I reveled in having the debris and tools out and our house put back together. That lasted a week.


Even before the dust had truly settled on GirlWonder’s renovation, I was giving our own master bedroom carpet a hairy eyeball.

At 21 years old it was ancient and, like GirlWonder’s, had seen better days.

I cannot be the only mother who discovered over the years that every sick child in her home beat a path to her bedside solely so they could vomit on the floor by her bed?

Years of work boots welcomed home, spilled tea and lots of living had put the carpet beyond repair of even our regular steam cleanings.

This is where it gets really good.

Knowing how much I love chaotic house projects and how busy his father is this time of year, Boywonder, a fully employed college student, proposed to surprise his dad by taking on a renovation project: he wanted to “surprise” his dad by renovating our bedroom.


While Mr. Wonderful was out of town on business, our son almost single-handedly took apart our entire master bedroom, relocated everything including my bed to another area of the house so I could be comfortable, tore out carpet as old as he is, and oversaw getting the entire room refinished and put back together.

I say “almost single-handedly because he did have some help from the neighbor boy (who I love like my own) who crawled out onto the roof to help shove the old carpet out the window and over the edge (as you do).

It’s probably best this mama doesn’t know exactly how that happened.

He accomplished the entire renovation in three days. All this effort so he could surprise his dad not so much with the newly renovated room (Mr. Wonderful isn’t one to concern himself with paint and patterns).

No, it was all so he could say to his father “now you don’t have to do this dad!”

I am over the moon in love with my new room. I’m more over the moon in love with this not-so-little boy who grew up to be a man who gets things done.

All those years when little ones follow around wanting to “help” and before you know it, you blink and they really do.


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Kymberly Foster Seabolt lives in rural Appalachia with the always popular Mr. Wonderful, two small dogs, one large cat, two wandering goats, and a growing extended family.



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