Monday, February 14, 2011
Living in the swamp, we were also blessed with mosquitoes dabbling in performance enhancing drugs, grouchy water moccasins, alligators, and, of course nutrias, the Louisiana yard dogs. That's right - look it up.
One summer day, suffering in 100% humidity, I watched the reason I got married descending into the woods for Lord knows what....and my mind grew restless. I hatched a scheme to keep the handyman closer to home. I would muse about the possibility of “glassing in” the back porch, attaching it to the interior dining room of our Acadian home. Yes, this was good. I would muse and then deliciously comment that “I was sure it was an impossibility and couldn't be done”.
Bingo! It was too easy. He set my covert plan into motion immediately! The handyman began the sexy dance of demolition, a dance I’ve learned to appreciate when coupled with desired outcomes.
He took my breath away as he planned every step with precision, exhausting the project and our bank account quickly. The day the exterior tempered glass walls arrived and the French doors were attached “really iced my teacakes”.
Within weeks, I lavished in central air conditioning, beautiful teacups and scones keeping me company. I think the handyman felt good about it, too, because he secured my safety from dangerous predators and shielded me from the oppressive Louisiana heat!
But, I have to admit, through this home improvement project I learned an important lesson - that heat is always a necessary component...
Because even after I got my climate controlled tearoom, I curled up in my favorite chair to watch my DIY celebrity descend into the woods - my own sweaty beefcake who always turned around and winked at me because he knew I was watching...and you know I was!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
But as a therapist I must ask questions – can everybody handle having a hammer in the home? Does your handyman have impulse issues or unresolved stress and anxiety? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then take my word for it – NEVER….EVER Let your handyman keep a sledge hammer in the house!
The following is the story of my own home invasion! I remember it clearly as if it happened yesterday. I was holding my 2 year old on my hip, stirring our supper on the stove. He came into the kitchen, eyes fixed, cold and calculating, staring at the breakfast nook wall next to me. It was as if I wasn't even there…
My instinct served me well as I slowly asked him to move away from the wall. When I saw that he was unresponsive, I begged for cover….
that is to say, I begged the handyman for time to cover my furniture! AND THEN I SAW IT – the handyman's weapon of mass destruction - a sledge hammer!
I said a prayer as I covered my toddler’s eyes………………….and afterwards calmly dusted off his Pampers. Now only an eerie silence and a heck of a lot of dust EVERYTHING, there was no respite from my circumstance – there was no place to hide.
The wall to my breakfast nook now lay in shambles, left only with random shards of wood begging to be put out of their misery. Within minutes, every surface in my house and I groaned with the burden of dust particles.
Then the handyman offered a maniacal grin of deep satisfaction – a job well done but not yet completed! The dust only parted as he climbed into his truck on a mission toward Lowes or Home Depot….I was sure hoping he’d bring back a bucket of chicken that night...
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
After years of hard work and a meaningful cause as an Advancement Director, I left my job of 7 years. It was certainly time, maybe overdue. Even in difficult transitions one can experience an epiphany of sorts. I had some time between jobs and decided to do all of the things I used to say I'd do "if I didn't work". So I traveled with the Handyman, my friends, and in the process made new friends. Bonus. Instead of advancing a business I finally advanced my own interests - working with a major manufacturer on an invention I had nurtured for 3 years, pitching a unique concept for a reality show to a group in New York, and in between intentionally reconnecting with people who had invested in me over the years, expressing my love for them.
Last year, the Renovator Wife blog began with 1 teaspoon of sugar but the cream was soured. This year I made it to the store, took my time shopping, and rediscovered what had always made my coffee delightful - fresh ingredients!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Oh well, I plan to celebrate 50 and beyond! Celebrate with the Saints, the City of New Orleans, and anyone who wants me to celebrate with them...anytime!!! And on the eve of Superbowl 44 it was good to know that SOMEBODY remembered my birthday.....and I love them all!
Oh, and FYI... though the video below reinforcing my post just happens to plug the tiny FloTV, forget it....The Handyman has just finished another expensive project - installing a 60 inch TV in our 64 inch bedroom...now that's another topic for another day! Cha-ching....keep those bonus points coming! I just love Power Tools.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Sometimes it seems like time zooms past you, being no respecter of schedule or what you think is most important and MUST get done. In fact, The Handyman has been at it for more than 5 years, making the most of every weekend, securing our retirement.
And, of course, I have made it my job to constantly remind him of what we are NOT doing because of what he IS DOING. For example, each fall I tell him that I am going to New York City after Thanksgiving to frolic on the ice at Rockefeller Center, bundled in Russian fashion attire. Don't laugh - it's an attempt at getting my Dr. Zhivago ON. After I announce this each year, I tell him I'm going with or without him. He usually pauses, stares at me and offers a smirk as he tells me about how hard he works....yadayadayada. He says that we'll eventually get to NYC and not to discount the good stuff going on around us now - in the present.
This morning, as I walked outside with my hazlenut coffee, I was truly amazed at what I saw. My own Rockefeller Center - I ran to get my babushka and adorn my head. I was overcome with joy. And I snapped the photos on my phone and made the video I included at the top of this post.
The Handyman is right. I am blessed today....right now. And I hope that wherever you are that you catch a glimpse of what I saw this morning....and I hope it's not dependent on seeing snow because weather reports aren't always accurate!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Now that I'm finally committed to exercise, I take a walk in the woods. Serene and peaceful, right? No - truly I was confused, thinking... Mother Nature, why didn't you teach your horse flies common courtesy? They saw me coming in the fast lane bathed in sweat and determination. Why didn't they remain in their designated area, allowing me to pass? After all, I'm not EVER in their neck of the woods because everybody knows that Renovator Wife DOES NOT CAMP! Demoralized as they flew about my head giggling, obviously conspiring for a "kamikaze" assault, they incessantly mocked my aerobic efforts along the ENTIRE path...
Though caught off guard by bad manners and behavior of common horse flies, I had prepared myself in the event of a bear attack - The Handyman advising me since he's had sooooo many. And because of fuzzy morals about firearms, I harbored an ice pick in the cabin in case of a hostile takeover (I've seen that in several movies).
But I marched on - making the choice to accept The Handyman's advice offered last night in a heated debate, of course....."don't borrow trouble, there's enough trouble in one day...FIND A CREATIVE OUTLET and forget what ifs - just do it!"
OK, OK - 1/4 mile to go....keep your head down.
But what if I walk into a tree or step on a snake? or knock myself unconscious with my Home Depot walking stick swatting these X@#%### flies? was that a mosquito I just sniffed up my nose? hope my cell phone works out here... And if a tree falls in this forest - will it make a sound?
Though I pray my bathroom scale disagrees, some things will never change.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
like he is.
And I think it's about the Lincoln Logs....
Was he neglected as a child, never receiving the aromatic green canister containing the logs of life?
or might he have been traumatized by his brothers - logs stolen, broken or worse - used against him?
And then it hit me - it's neither and yet it's both....he is the way he is not for lack of having had Lincoln logs but simply because of The Lincoln Log.
You see, just the other night I asked him why for 28 years when he had the choice to be with me or to busy himself with projects, did he always choose home improvement projects....he declared, and I quote...."it's because I'm a man."
So you can see where I'm headed, right? The handyman says it's about wiring. So Renovator Wife was right - it is definitely always about The Lincoln Log....metaphorically speaking, of course!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
As a responsible citizen of the home improvement community, I would like to bring an issue to your attention. Because I am writing to "Sirs" With Love, my objective is to offer a business suggestion from a feminine viewpoint.
Last time I shopped in the mall, I was amused watching the men laid out in pricey leather recliners smack dab in the center for all shoppers to behold. Though some were snoring - others were simply passing time. And yet others were thoroughly enjoying themselves, dishing up conversations about their wives spending all their money! And I'm thinking....
Why don't the home improvement stores provide this same type of customer service
for the ladies??? Really and truly, it wouldn't cost you a thing. Just haul those outdoor chaise lounges to the front entrance and throw a few of your Martha Stewart magazines on an outdoor occasional table. And, if you really want to get fancy, crack open a big package of bottled water and chill 'em in a cooler! We're not talking beer, just cold water! And, if you need to sell that outdoor chaise, I'm sure we'd get out of it without incident - maybe if you offered a gift card or something....
And then direct that sweet man cooking hot dogs outside the door to come in every once in a while and offer some grub - now that's customer service! And what's in it for you? Well, Renovator Wife will tell ya...
Marriages will improve! Communication between the species will open up! Tempers will be tamed - divas will be cared for, making new friends at the front entrances of your stores while handymen all over America "take their time" in lumber and load up the flatbeds!
P.S. I'm not gonna charge you for this. I consider this memo to be a public service announcement. And you already know I want to be your mascot!
Friday, March 6, 2009
"So Mr. Handyman... for the big one please disregard all my nasty comments and unseemly gestures over the years. And honey, though you've spent every discretionary dime I've ever made and worked my last nerve - I've come to a decision. Since I am unable to buy you the birthday gift I had in mind, (because you used my last paycheck to pay the #%#@** Home Depot bill), the priceless gift of my recent decision is now YOUR BIRTHDAY present......and I know, I know, I know..... you're gonna love me! Click and enjoy.
Renovator Wife thinks you are truly a lucky man!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t mention my handyman. I’m glad you asked. The Handyman has a hard time with peace and serenity - he prefers the sweet song of the miter saw to the mockingbird, the obnoxious wail of the air compressor to the chirp of the cricket, refreshing drywall dust to the mountain laurel blooms. Simply put, he’d rather be laying tile than laying in front of a roaring fire. He can’t give up a minute of daylight, afraid he might miss an opportunity to get dirty and play in the dust.
So I lavish and linger alone during the day and the handyman joins me in the evening …there’s another term used in state prisons that comes to mind for this special type of spousal visit. Anyway, we have come to peace about this arrangement as a result of last year’s cabin ordeal…
Last year on my birthday weekend the handyman promised to stay with me during the day. However, he quickly acquiesced and apologized the next morning, declaring he had forgotten an appointment in the city. Of course I was suspicious, surmising he must have forgotten my birthday flowers and cake and smart enough to remedy his treacherous predicament.
Upon his return to the cabin, finally breaking under intense interrogation, he confessed that he’d met a man in dire straits desperately needing to sell a house. The handyman glowed like an ember as he announced that he’d bought me a new, dilapidated house for my birthday! I could barely contain my….well, exuberance. And it was definitely a good thing that I didn’t have access to birthday flowers with sharp stems or a cake slathered with thick, creamy icing…
That evening, after making peace with my new HUD house and enjoying an ice cream sandwich sporting a candle, we sat quietly in front of the roaring fire holding hands. I recounted a day of renovation rehab by myself, now joined by my handyman.
It’s true that he drives me crazy. It’s also true that I can’t live without him. As we listened to the sounds of the fire, I quietly thought about that Serenity Prayer again…Lord help me change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference! We painted that old house Nantucket blue but my handyman…well it’s like turning a year older – can’t do much about him. And even though he's the centerpiece of my midlife angst – I’m really OK with that.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The handyman has deconstructed every structure we’ve ever lived in with the exception of base housing for military officers….well, duh! Even the handyman knows better than to mess with Uncle Sam’s Dream House.
I have never fully understood his compulsion to cut, combust, burn, or drive through hard surfaces with heavy machinery. But more confounding to me is his lack of discretion in, let’s say, changing structural qualities on rental property – particularly when you rent from your boss.
Our boys were 4 and 7 when it happened. He had taken them on a boys’ adventure to the pet store before he left town on business and they had come home with a new love for lizards. Isn't that par for the course for little boys - all 3 of them! Later that night as I was about to say prayers with the oldest in his bedroom, my youngest called out from across the hall that their daddy had not promised to buy them little gecko lizards but trophy reptiles aka “show iguanas”. After pondering a moment, there was no disbelief on my part – the revelation actually rang true. My startle response and my guard were officially activated!
When I tucked the little one in, he whispered in my ear that the handyman told them about his great idea to connect their rooms together so that they could see the reptile tank right through their wall. Really?????
I was sure the little guy was mistaken about that part of the story because of, well, that contractual issue I told you about earlier. But having full parental duty while the handyman was away, I was tired and ready for bed. I let the issue go for the night, as well as the dishes and the laundry.
Two days later, while the boys were at school, I returned home from running errands to find my beloved’s truck in the drive, having returned from his trip! I rushed in to greet him with a “kids are at school kind of kiss” only to be confused at the floor plan in my house that I had only left that same morning. It felt kinda like this... And, amid the sheetrock and smoke emanating from the very large chainsaw dripping oil onto my carpet, I saw an alien with safety goggles smiling at me among the ruins.
I gathered my bearings and wits, trying to assimilate meaning into my situation and then I realized I had other issues….behind me were 2 large cardboard boxes moving erratically when I raised my voice – I WAS NOW UNABLE TO EMANATE AUDIBLE HUMAN SOUNDS as I slowly backed out of the war zone.
In fact, I was unable to speak to the handyman for quite a while after the chainsaw massacre. And I kept a very low profile just in case the landlord caught wind of, let's say, the exotic home improvement project....not really sure how he might react to the exceptional reptile exhibit built right into the wall separating the bedrooms! But I always continued to say prayers with the boys….
for special attention for their future wives that were currently under construction and, of course, for immediate special protection for the handyman!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I'll never forget the day it/she arrived - all the bells and whistles, oh my! She was a beauty all right - halogen lights, warming lights, blue lights....perky and shiny, standing at attention ready to perform her duties. Well, it's a good thing she had plenty of lights! One of the halogen lights went out last weekend. See - all things wear out over time! Of course the handyman wasn't around because it happened on a weekend. He did finally take the little bitty halogen bulb out of its socket, place it in his pocket for procurement at Lowes or Home Depot "when he got a chance".
The next weekend, under dimmer circumstances I asked him about his procurement project - apparently the light had not come on. He had forgotten. But the little bulb in his pocket now had company as I handed him the other halogen bulb that had just bit the dust.
It's now Thursday and it's dark outside - looks like snow and really, really cold. Oh, did I mention it's completely dark under the hood of my stove, too? No worries. I thought I'd improvise, you know, turn on the warming lights to see the grease popping out of the skillet as I cooked... And low and behold, all the light sockets were now empty under the hood.
That night the handyman confessed that he had borrowed my warming lights to protect the pipes of one of his properties. Darkness has overcome me...and it's too bad the handyman ran out of warming lights - he'll need em' tonight!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
But I am thankful for a good man...a real man that takes steps of faith before it is completely safe to do. And because of personal conviction he isn't afraid of getting dirty in the process. That's the handyman's way. I love him and I'm thankful for him, particularly this morning.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
So you can imagine how delighted renovator wife was when the financially troubled tenant knocked on our door and pleaded his case, asking to move into one of our nearby properties. What a sweet & precious site to see my counselor, social work, minister handyman give the thumbs up to the arrangement.
Our date night @ Lowes and Home Depot was made even more special! Now every Friday night before we got to the home improvement stores, we stopped by our property for the handyman to admonish the particularly colorful tenant for rent. This endearing, persuasive character prolonged his no-rent situation for almost a year.
But all good things do seem to come to an end. Though the handyman received little to no rent for the duration, he actually did have a limit. To my surprise he had also been paying the light bill for almost a year! See - this is proof - his wallet must be as big as his heart!
But last night, the lights went off...and as I squinted to see through the darkness, I thought I saw our former tenant on the front porch next door!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
To his surprise this week, I didn't suggest that he talk to the hand or even roll my eyes and go upstairs toward a very comforting bubble bath to celebrate the end of most sane people's work week. I suited up in warrior attire and bravely went where no woman should have to go on Friday night. And truthfully, I was trying out my new superhero role as "Renovator Wife"! Once we arrived, I ditched my handyman in drywall in pursuit of a higher calling. I strolled down aisles with paper & pen in hand, writing about the disturbing memories of a big fight last year on 4D.
It was late @ Home Depot and many of the department managers, I believe, must have thought I was, at best, a mystery shopper and maybe even a Home Depot corporate spy! I'm sure they were dumbfounded as they witnessed me enjoying aromatherapy on 5C as I sniffed such clothes detergent fragrances as apple, mango, tango and Mountain Breeze. All in all, I actually had a great time and even made a new friend, "Hardware Bill".
My handyman, however, is suspect of my new attitude and has vowed to get to the bottom of it - but all he really has to do is stay home long enough to read "Renovator Wife"! And so it goes....
Friday, January 16, 2009
Knowing that this was his way of not taking responsibility of his own actions and focusing on me instead (I am a therapist, you know), I played with the proposition the next day. And to his credit, he asked me to watch The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on the tube. Apart from Donny being absolute eye candy, Donny tells women that there's an idea in your closet or kitchen. Well, I found mine in my closet. Specifically in my bottom right hand drawer. You can read about what came out of the drawer at The Quiet Cricket. Enjoy!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I'm sure marriage counseling is helpful and in fact, would really appreciate more people obtaining our services! But, for the record, I have an old sweatshirt I wear around our house that says......"This is a Professional. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!" So I guess we're sort of like the cobbler's kids...enjoy the article!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Married people know this language - it's like having enough points in your marriage when your girlfriend calls and says she's going to Vegas on business - can you go?
It' like when he asks which restaurant you'd like to go to when he's 2 hours late.
So many tools..... I know you've got some power tools. We all do. And married folks are soooo lucky to have someone to share them with. Why don't you let me know about yours?
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Enough said - can't define it better than that!
So let me spell this out once again - home improvement is improvement in your own home.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
But years ago, Dr. Phil wasn’t a Dr. He was in college preparing for ministry – so I thought. Yes, he eventually got to seminary but opted for the scenic route. Yes, I married a preacher's kid who was and is the middle child. You know - compliant and predictable. In retrospect, this is where I should have made a little note and paid closer attention.
I know - you’re laughing because of the rebellious stereotypes you have pictured in your heads of preacher’s kids you have all known. But not my Phil….
Ok, Ok – you’re right but it was soooo under the radar at the time!
Phil’s family apologized for the inconvenience as they moved to another city his senior year of college. They asked him to continue living in their beautiful home to oversee the pending sale. Again, here is data I overlooked and seriously underestimated…
As they drove away and he waved goodbye, my sweetheart exchanged the car he had just bought for a motorcycle, dismantled and converted his parent’s high brow master bedroom into a woodworking shop, purchased power tools and began to construct the world's largest solid wood waterbed!
As I arrived at the bus station from college that weekend, the future Dr. Phil appeared on his new bike with sexy sunglasses. And I have only myself to blame – I jumped on the back without a word….because he was sooooo hot! And he still is.