Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Projects

Mommy, it hurts! Make the pink cabinets go away!

From the day we bought our first house (a trailer house, actually) until this very moment, I have been involved in some sort of home improvement project. Often no improvement is needed. Projects just happen. I don’t know why. The projects team consists of two people: the project conceptualizer and the grunt. When friends ask why we’ve jumped into yet another project, Mrs. Poynor is quick to answer, “We like projects.” However, I’ve noticed she never asks for confirmation from the grunt half of the “we.”

Fact of the matter is, I’m not that enthusiastic about projects simply for project’s sake. However, I am a certifiable tool slut, and every good project “demands” at least one new tool to get the job done. Replace the deck? Need a Sawzall. Paint the house? Have to get a paint sprayer. Put in oak stair treads? Need a bigger chop saw. Build some deck furniture? Gotta have a biscuit cutter. Build a carport? Here’s the list. 

Home improvement projects are educational. Over the years I’ve gained skills in wiring, plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying, sheetrocking and first aid. The educational benefits have not been restricted to just the grunt half of the team.

Like many guys, I’ve learned over the years that projects just work out better, and go more smoothly, if the swearing starts right away. There is no point in putting it off until things have gone awry. That philosophy has served me well. It also expanded our children’s vocabulary. 

It was a cold October day and I was putting up the last of the siding on our carport some twenty years ago. The temperature was well below freezing as I stood on the ladder at the top of the roof peak. I’d pulled off my gloves because they made holding the short nails all but impossible. The profanity jumped several levels after the first glancing blow from the hammer clipped my cold, stiff fingers. By the third solid hit, I was engaged in prodigious invention of F-bomb variants. I glanced down and saw my eleven-year-old daughter  standing at the bottom of the ladder, mouth agape.

“How long you been there?” I asked through clenched teeth, tears of pain welling in my eyes. 

“Long enough to know I have to promise not to ever say that, or tell Mom.”

A pink chandelier? Really?

Projects promote education. She turned out to be valedictorian of her high school class and is working towards her master’s in speech therapy. Our boy keeps helicopters from dropping out of the sky. (I can’t prove any relationship, but it’s worth a shot to try and take some of the credit.)

When we bought this house a year ago it was readily evident it was a long list of projects waiting to happen. The previous owners were either color-blind, or really fond of pink. Carpet, walls and even the kitchen cabinets had a pinkish tint. There’s even a pink chandelier in the master bedroom for Pete’s sake! 

Pink walls are not an issue; a little painting. The carpet was toned down with brown furniture and an area rug. Even the chandelier isn’t that big of an issue, since when it’s lit the pink isn’t visible. The kitchen cabinets, on the other hand, have proven to be an issue. They are in good shape, just butt-ugly, so the project conceptualizer came up with a plan: paint the island cabinets red and install dark countertops to make the remaining cabinets look white.


It was a brilliant plan. It was a bold plan. It was an inspired plan. It didn’t work. It’s a good thing the kids are grown and gone.

Shameless plug: If you’d like to read about more home projects gone awry, check out Of Moose and Men II: Home is Where the Harm Is. Available as an e-book from Amazon at this link.

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