Home Improvement 101

We have lived here for 23 years. Paul has done quite a lot of home improvement over those years, albeit very slowly, like the “Slowski’s” might do. But in every room in this (small) house, there are signs of his handiwork. It’s not something he’s natural at, or even something he’s fond of doing – woodwork, carpentry, etc. He does do a nice painting job though. He is very patient and goes at his own slow pace. At first that used to drive me nuts, being impatient and wanting to see results now!

He built some built-in china-type cabinets on either side of the fireplace in the dining room a long time ago. He had been saving some nice pine wood that was leftover from when he built his first full-sized lobster boat with his grandfather back in his high school days. There are deep shelves on the bottom and more shallow shelves up top (where I now keep books, not china). I’ve stored a lot of our “stuff” in the bottom parts because he made doors to cover the openings down there, all except for the far right hand cabinet door, which he never made. So there has been one empty spot where a cabinet door should be lo these many, many years.

When we were cleaning out the basement (somewhat) a few weeks ago, we came across a pine coffee table that we just had no room for anymore. It had a nice big piece of pine as its top, and Paul said “I know! I can make that 4th cabinet door out of this wood!”

I didn’t dare hope. So I forgot all about it.

Then the door started taking shape down in the basement in his work area. I saw it sitting on his work table, and each day it looked a little different – more finished looking.

Then it got a coat of nice white paint, and I started to have hope. But still, hope is not in my nature in this regard… home improvements have to be DONE for me to sit back and smile.

I saw that cabinet door sitting down there, all painted white, for quite a while. Finally, Paul mentioned that he couldn’t find the last set of hardware to match the rest, and I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind if he changed all the hardware because the black wrought iron that we have used all these years is a bit dated….

Then yesterday he told me that he’d found the last set of hinges and pull for the door so I abandoned the idea of “new” hardware and just said he could use the old… it was fine.

Now I was having hope.

He was busily working away down there when he came in from lobstering, and I had the sneaking feeling the door was about to become part of the house soon.

Up he came from the depths of the basement, with the door, with the black wrought iron hinges, albeit dated, but done and ready to install.

I usually leave him alone to install things like this. A hovering wife I never wish to be.

Then from the quiet of the house came a rumbling from deep inside the dining room.

“YOU STUPID IDIOT! (and a few more things I won’t share here, but you can use your imagination).

I waited.

Again, “WHAT AN IDIOT!” (quite loud this time, scaring me and dogs almost).

I meekly chimed in, “What’s the matter, sweetie?”


I went in to see if maybe we could salvage it, maybe it was only a half-inch too short, and I’d accept that… It would go well with the quirkiness of our house anyway.

But alas, it was not a half-inch short. It was, oh, a good 4 inches short.

Don’t ask.

I know, I know.

Measure TWICE – cut ONCE.

Paul must have dyslexia or something, but as many times as I’ve tried to drill that saying into his head, something like this always happens to him.

I went easy on him. I had let myself hope, you see, before I saw the finished product.

I wanted that door finished by Thanksgiving, but it’s no big deal. Our company has seen that hole there for many many years, one more won’t hurt.

He was so mad at himself, I just hugged him and gave him a kiss on the neck, and asked him please not to do anything stupid over this, it was only a PIECE OF WOOD!

He said, hell no. I know. I’ll just jump off the boat tomorrow.

So he’s been out lobstering all day and it’s almost time for him to be wrapping up his day and coming home. I really can’t wait to hear the basement door slam shut when he comes in. I cleaned out under one of those cabinets yesterday (the one he was working on) and today I cleaned out the other side, as well.

Now I wonder if he plans to actually go up and buy a piece of wood and make a new door.

I’m not putting my money on it, though. I’m not a betting woman.



(P.s. Please see the very next entry following this one for pictures)

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5 Responses to Home Improvement 101

  1. Reenie says:

    I really enjoyed your telling of the missing door. Charming.


  2. Bex says:

    Yes, Sandy, he came home. Now he’s on the lookout for a piece of wood big enough to make the new door, preferably free somewhere. I am married to a rather frugal man!


  3. sandy from iowa says:

    It is just a bit of wood and not worth a life leaving over it


  4. sandy from iowa says:

    poor paul…you know when i was there for a visit i didnt even see there was no door … so dont worry to much over it.


  5. John Bailey says:

    I don’t know which of you to sympathise with! It’s only a perishin’ door!


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