The walls come tumbling down

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kitchen

As near as I can recollect, this might be my fault.

I was still on my first cup of coffee when a thought occurred to me. Thoughts are dangerous because they lead to speaking.

The wall

What came out of my mouth was, “Hey, you know that wall between the kitchen and the mudroom. Used to be the exterior wall of the house before the old porch became an enclosed mudroom?”

Mr. Wonderful: “Yes, I’m familiar with it.”

Me: “Well, is it necessary?”

The next part of this story is what separates the men from the boys.

I know nothing about construction. Mr. Wonderful has been using the term “load bearing wall” to dissuade me from any number of hare-brained schemes over the years.

Apparently, I can’t take down the wall between my living room and kitchen due to a massive brick chimney that spans basement through the third floor. Killjoy.

In fact, as far as I know, we can’t even have central air because we already own a load-bearing air conditioning window unit?

Still, he is a good and honest man. That, or he has developed absolutely no instinct for self-preservation.

Due to this shortcoming, Mr. Wonderful told the truth. No. It could come out.

Y’all, I think I heard angels sing.

History

It is important to note that we first renovated the kitchen 20 years ago. If, by renovate one means adding drawers and making sure the ceiling doesn’t fall on the children.

More notable, we just renovated the entire kitchen from floor to ceiling and finished up that massive floor to cabinet replacement project six months ago.

When we were in the midst of it, with no kitchen sink and plywood counters for months, I swore, much like Scarlett in the turnip field, that, with God as my witness, I would never renovate again.

To be fair, when I say we had completed the prior renovation, that isn’t strictly true. We haven’t finished the crown molding.

Leaving a few last-minute things undone is how we end up at this point. Why make a little mess when we could make a big one?

In the space of days, we went from wall removal being something that could happen to rummaging around in our barn for building supplies.

Date night

We supplemented with a trip to the hardware store, a.k.a. middle-aged homeowner date night.

The same night we made eyes at each other over a cart full of plywood, at least three other couples I know celebrated their love with new appliances, a front door, and a garage door, respectively.

(Why these stores don’t capitalize on the trend and host wine nights and a cafe on Saturday nights, I will never understand.)

Day One was a cloud of debris. It rained plaster dust and ancient horsehair (I choose to find that charming).

Unlike all those people who appear on home renovation shows with the charming antiques unearthed during renovations, we didn’t find any treasures in our walls.

I did discover that, as we have long suspected, this big old farmhouse is insulated primarily with squirrel carcasses — and not much else.

You say I can see daylight through that wall. I say well ventilated.

Frustration

Day Two of the renovations is when we were reminded, again, that nothing is easy.

We began to bicker like one of us was personally responsible for the house not being square.

FYI, this is not the time to get to feeling cute and sing “Mr. Big Stuff” at a man. At this point, I’m hissing “fine, beadboard everything. I. Don’t. Care.”

He, for his part, is convinced I am hiding his tools. Then we remember that we are in this together and if we split up, one of us is going to have to take the house.

Bond restored with humor and grim determination, we work together for the benefit of finishing what we started.

Future

Tonight we had fish and rice with a hint of lemon, garlic, and sawdust. The kitchen is in shambles, but boy, is it ever open.

All this proves, as we face our 22nd anniversary, that I have married the most foolish man, or the most patient man, probably a combo of both.

It’s as if he will never learn that when I ask “is this wall important?” The answer should always be “yes, very!”

Here’s to what I hope is decades more. I just know that someday, far in the future God willing, his epitaph will read “so my wife had an idea …”

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. And the new change looks marvelous. BTW, yes, I DO read all your articles, just not always as soon as they are published.

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