Sloping sentiment

Kym Seabolt's house

It is no secret that I am house proud. I love our old house as if I built her myself. She’s basically a member of the family. I’ve researched her history. I will lovingly point to a circa 1899 patented piece of hardware as if I personally created it. I marvel at the workmanship, and love seeing how things were built. Nonetheless, I swear if I have to renovate this bathroom one more time I am tearing it all down.


The first time we opened up the bathroom wall to renovate exposing the lathe and plaster was 15 or so years ago. At the time, I absolutely nerded out over the whole thing. I forced the family to listen as I waxed rhapsodic about how it’s very likely that the last time this portion of our home had seen the light of day was in or around 1910. The hands that last touched this surface were long gone, but had left their mark. It was so moving.

When we renovated again a few years later, we had to open up that wall yet again. At that point, the c. 2009 time capsule sweet little GirlWonder had installed was a mere six years older. Still, I showed interest, updated the notes, tucked them back in the wall and looked forward to seeing inside that wall again — never.


Now here we are again running electric wiring. This means, you guessed it, opening up the wall. Mr. Wonderful broke the news to me when he called me into the bathroom to make a decision on where a new outlet should be placed. Being a man who has zero opinion on outlet design, he knows that I, being picky, would have strong opinions about that. Imagine his surprise when all I did was glance, shrug and say “whatever.”

Look, we all know that it’s highly likely we will be opening this wall again at some point. If I don’t like it now, we can change it later, am I right? Any time capsule will henceforth be written in chalk so we can just wipe it off and update the date.

This is the part where I always say these aren’t “old house problems.” Most issues arise from newer items and products installed. Let’s just say there’s a lot of DIY that should never have been DIY-done. Honestly, home improvement stores should be required to ask you to pass a basic test of understanding of measurements and plumbing connections before you’re allowed to shop there. Granted, we had a perfectly installed bidet go full-on fountain last month, so even good installation cannot overcome bad technology.

I imagine that other people spend long holiday weekends boating, golfing or entertaining. We prefer to make a mess and tear things up. What is a long weekend if not a perfect opportunity to work harder than you do at your actual day job? We love to round up the family and just dig into some big project. On that note, I have found that when I have friends and family helping with projects, I feel that you should feed them as if I’m an old Amish farm wife. We will have fried chicken, potato salad, cookies, fruit and sweet tea. On the other hand, when it’s just Mr. Wonderful and me, I shrug at some point and say, “I don’t know. I guess we have some Fritos. Do you want ice with your water?”

This weekend’s project was a two-person-and-chips endeavor — that’s me and Mr. Wonderful, alone.

The deck

After 18 years of valiant service, the old deck, now nicknamed “the death deck” due to the appearance of imminent collapse, needs to be removed. Since I’m now pretending I live in the Hamptons instead of rural Ohio, I decided that a pea gravel patio was my choice for an authentic, “old fashioned” paving option. I have told Mr. Wonderful about this plan for at LEAST six months. I have sketched plans. I have sent photos of things I like online. I created an entire Photoshop I helpfully titled “The Plan” and shared with him — twice.

Thus it makes perfect sense that this man waited until 24 hours before the gravel was to be delivered to explain to me that in order to grade the yard properly every single part of my pea gravel patio was going to be on a slope. Why is gravity always giving me a hard time? Mr. Wonderful was incredulous that I didn’t inherently know that my plan was going downhill, literally. I assure you sir, I did not.

I was incredulous that he didn’t see this coming from a mile away. “Babe, in our entire life together have you ever caught yourself saying “what my wife is really good at is physics?!”

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