All homes come with a ‘to-do’ list

In my defense, “turn on” and “tighten” sound an awful lot alike when heard through an open drain pipe. I’ll leave you to guess which one I chose. Hint: it was not the correct one. 

We were in the midst of yet another plumbing project. I was in the bathroom and Mr. Wonderful was in the basement below. We were installing a drain pipe. By “we” I mean he was in the basement working underneath the shower, and I was kneeling over the open drain hole looking at him looking up at me from the basement. Ah, romance. 

Apparently, my job was to “tighten” the drain cover and not to “turn on” the water. I know that now. 

Running a face full of cold water directly on top of your spouse’s head is probably one of those “for worse” moments wedding vows are referring to. Fortunately, he has an amazing sense of humor — although it may have taken him a moment to recover it among all the sputtering. 

We did eventually get that new shower pan installed. Again “we” means he did, and I helped in the way that I hand off tools and turn the water on at inopportune times. What would he do without me? 

We look back and laugh about it now. At least I do. Now you can. He can join us later. 

Small leak

Recently I began to fear that we may have a small plumbing leak in another bathroom. Every time I take a shower, I find a puddle of water at the end of our large clawfoot tub. 

Now, it is entirely possible that I’m just splashing water out of the shower curtain as if I’m an overly enthusiastic small child. I’m kind of hoping for that one. The other possibility is that one of the water lines may not be tight. 

I have to figure out how to approach this with Mr. Wonderful. We are still recovering from our last joint plumbing venture. 

I’m legitimately trying to figure out if it’s possible to sneak a plumber in when he’s away. It would probably feel like cheating: “No, honey, there wasn’t another man touching these pipes.” 

Grown up

Meanwhile, BoyWonder has grown up to the point where he might like to buy a house. In this market, most houses are basically a stick balanced atop one brick and they call cost about seven million dollars. Also, the interest rates are rising. So we have clearly given Gen Z an excellent economy to work with. 

Nonetheless, he is stomping around basements and staring at load-bearing walls these days. So far, he appears to think every house he tours is “trashed.” 

He grew up in a century home, and from an early age, I wrote of the love, and learning experiences, inherent in old house living. I have photos of him as a toddler on his knees with a small but very real hammer “helping” daddy.

By the time he hit double digits, he was actually quite a big help on some projects. In his teens, he was jackhammering old tile off the many layers of kitchen floor, hanging drywall, running plumbing and so on. Bonus point: even as a young child, he never flooded his father’s face with water. I cannot say the same. 

I thought, surely, we were building character and valuable do-it-yourself skills. Instead, it appears we may have broken him. He keeps stating, unequivocally, that he does not want a “project house.” 

I don’t even know what that means. Aren’t all houses just an endless “to-do” list away from chaos? Bless our boy’s heart that he thinks there is an effortless house out there. 

In light of this, I now have two people to hide potential leaks from. 

I’m hiding the truth from Mr. Wonderful because he just doesn’t need the stress, and from Boywonder because he doesn’t need one more ounce of ammunition against old houses.  

Picture me, hissing at my house: “Not now! Act right!” 


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All homes come with a ‘to-do’ list