Wolves with power tools 

Kym Seabolt's bathtub in the hallway

Have I mentioned (ad nauseam) that we are working on our bathroom? By “working on” I mean pretty much breaking everything, tossing it onto the lawn, and then having to replace it.

The bathroom is “coming along.” This means Mr. Wonderful has zero time to work on it during the week. We did stack plywood and drywall in the foyer so we have that going for us. I now use the clawfoot  “hall tub” to hold a basket of clean towels.

The good news is we have been doing this for so long that it almost seems normal. To anyone on team Seabolt anyway. It’s no mystery why our offspring are so blasé about chaos. Our babies grew up in a hard hat area.

Girlwonder’s Brawny BoyfriendTM has gotten a real glimpse into her childhood. You should know that an air compressor plugged in will randomly emit a loud blast even when not in use? It Will be sitting quietly bothering no one and then suddenly without warning emit a loud, stuttering, blast. It can definitely make one jumpy.

Our kids barely flinch.

Last weekend we were in the living room downstairs and heard a ruckus above us. Brawny Boyfriend looked up in alarm. “Is your dad taking down a whole wall?” Girlwonder, without missing a beat, said “Sawzall, on metal pipe, in the bathroom.” She was spot on. It’s like a DIY kid’s version of the game of Clue.

Boywonder, for his part, stopped home briefly and was immediately pressed into service carrying a very heavy clawfoot tub up two flights of stairs. As you do. Brawny Boyfriend was also part of that caper. Side note if your child is going to date you might want to make “ability to lift 500 pounds” a requirement. Agility and an ability to operate power tools is also a must.

BoyWonder travels often now.  Nonetheless he will check in when he’s nearby to see if we need help lifting anything. I think he worries about us tackling these projects alone. How can we do it without him after all?  He’s been with us for most of it. At 18 months old he peered down through a hole in the first floor that went straight into the basement. By age 8 he could hand off tools like a construction version of a surgical nurse. By age 13 he was actively using power tools in a meaningful way. Throughout it all he grew up aware that he could leave an orderly home in the morning and return later that day to construction chaos.

He once scampered from joint compound bucket to stepladder to countertops to reach an after school snack on the OPPOSITE side of the room because we had removed the kitchen floor while he was gone. The best part: he didn’t even question it. He just took his snack and went to a more intact part of the house.

Intact is relative of course every product starts with me swearing that was God is my witness we will not let the entire house slide into squalor during the process. I have never once in 24 years manage to do this, but hope springs eternal. We tape off doorways, we filter air out open windows, we set up construction zones. After all this, however, we just go ahead and let the whole house go. The second floor bathroom project has taken out the entire first two floors of our home as far as organization goes. It’s likely that the third floor is also involved, but I honestly can’t get up there to check.

Bathtubs in the hallway and sinks in the dining room are only the beginning. There is something about stacks of drywall and power tools everywhere that makes it hard for me to be attentive to things like putting the toaster away, or immediately filing the day’s mail. It’s like we just go ahead and lose our minds. One moment I’m swearing we are ABSOLUTELY going to keep the mess contained and the nnext I am balancing my cup of morning coffee on a stack of paint cans.

The photos we took of our house under renovation when our kids were growing up would convince some that they were raised by wolves. Wolves with power tools. Holes in the floor, scaffolding, drywall dust and more. On the plus side they can both sleep through almost anything. Our 21 year old finds a Sawzall on metal sounds almost soothing.


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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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