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Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement Advice

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Run. Hide. Cry. You know what, just run.
I have an utter disdain for Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement. Let me sum it up by telling you that I hate it, with the white hot intensity of a 1,000 suns. But most of us wives of the average Joe’s haven’t the funds to hire someone to hang a drop ceiling in the bedroom that was made downstairs. Or we don’t want to rob our husbands from the simple joys of hammering and sawing stuff. Some of us are married to men that like to rip down walls, reconstruct new walls and then paint them. I have that kind of husband and he’s teaching our boys how to turn a house inside out also. They bond while the dog and I hide in my office.
The problem with ripping down walls is that you need to have some basic plumbing and electrical knowledge. These are learning as you go skills. Basically it means they learn by their mistakes and so do I. Depending on the Do It Yourself job my husband is undertaking determines whether I stay in the house or head for the hills. Saturday I should have run. Here’s what happened and remember it is all about me all the time.
Like I said the dog and I were hold up in my office, she is uncomfortable with the loud noises coming from the basement so she sticks to me like glue. Which is fine, having the dog curled up at my feet while I write the next great American novel has always been a dream of mine. I tuned out the hammering as the husband and Boy #3 were installing the ceiling. All was well.
But not for long, the hammering and sawing stopped, there was a pause. I lifted my head from the computer, my brow furrowed in a perplexed but alert state. Something wasn’t right, I could feel it. That is about the time I heard yelling, things dropping and more yelling. I couldn’t make out what they were actually saying but I’m pretty sure it was something my mom would get mad at if I wrote it down. I sprang from my office to see what was the matter.
Down the hall, down the steps, turned the corner and was immediately met with water that sprayed me right smack in the face. I ran right into a chaotic situation. Water was spewing from the wall, they hit a water pipe and water was shooting out of said pipe. The main water shut off valve is in the closet, under our stairs, behind the winter coats, and then behind the boxes of Christmas decorations. In other words, all the way in the back of the closet behind everything. The husband started grabbing winter coats and throwing them to the side, Boy #3, as I peered around the corner, looked liked the little Dutch boy with his finger on the hole in the dike but got there way too late and the town would be lost or our new floor.
They both started to yell out to me for help at the same time, it was like Sophie’s Choice. Do I save the drowning youngest of my three boys or my husband trying to finding the shut off valve in the deep dark closet? I sprang to action, ran back upstairs and grabbed the flashlight I on my nightstand. The bucket was in the bathroom, it was the one I swore I would never, ever let them use because they ruin everyone I buy, I picked that up on my return to the stairs. Back down I went, was met with another spray of water to my face as I threw the bucket at my son, threw it right at him. The husband had now made his way to the shut off valve, he was wedged between suitcases and the boxes of Christmas decorations. He yelled again,
“I need a rag.”
And I produced one immediately after climbing over a few boxes. I shined the flashlight in the general vicinity of the main water valve, I’m not sure it helped. I couldn’t see anything back there but I did hear some bells jingle. After a series of grunts the sound of water gushing into the freshly painted, reconstructed bedroom stopped.
Once the husband and I squeezed ourselves out of the closet we stepped into the bedroom and the three of us froze for just a moment, breathing heavily with only our eyes moving, darting around wildly looking back and forth at each other and the puddles of water where we stood. The husband broke the silence,
“We have to get this water off the floor. Save the floor.”
We sprang into action with towels, buckets and the shop vac. You see the ceiling was the last step in the basement bedroom make-over, if we lost the flooring we were back to step one. Boy #3 has been impatiently waiting behind two older brothers for this room. He wants his stuff down there before one of them comes back. I call it the bachelor pad, the transition room where they gain a little independence, pay a few bills and free an extra room upstairs. I have such wonderful plans for my office, I just need to get some of this junk out of here and into the new empty room. The husband, I know this, has plans for a man cave when we get the last of the birdies out of the nest. We all had our reasons to save the floor and we worked swiftly.
Now it’s a waiting game to see if the floor buckles. The pipe, that shouldn’t even be there, what the hell is it doing there? is fixed. It is now Wednesday and so far so good. There is a hole in the wall that needs to be repaired and then they have to paint again.
So if you should see your husband with a hammer in his hand and it’s the weekend, grab your keys, check to see if your credit cards are present and accounted for in your purse, make sure the dog has food and water, then get the hell out of there. Stay away for hours and pray that when you return you have running water and the lights switches work.

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