Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The Think Tank came through again. As I was in there, I remembered a fellow blogger sharing her concern about all of the time that her teenage son spends in the shower. It occurred to me that I get my best writing ideas in the shower, and maybe I should take three or four a day. However, my mother would also be concerned ~ about her gas and water bill going through the roof. It must be tough to be a mom.

And that was when inspiration struck. I started thinking about mom. My mom spent her day applying static cling privacy film to the windows on each side of our front door, technically known as sidelights. It is a bamboo pattern, looks really nice, and it has eliminated the need for blinds. That got me to thinking about my mom and housing projects in general. I can't think of a single house that she's lived in that she hasn't "fixed." Our first Florida house got the least amount of attention from her, but that was only because she designed it. She and my dad had that one built, so she had a say-so on that one from the launch. However, when we lived there our garage was full of antiques that she bought at estate sales. She bought them and fixed them and resold them. My mom is a fixer-upper.

When we moved to Ohio she got her dream house. That thing was a nightmare. There was nothing good there. It was so bad that Tim and I got recruited into scraping wallpaper with putty knives and water. It was a two story with a basement and attic, though the attic and basement weren't livable. But all the wallpaper had to go. After that, we even got to paint as high as we could reach. Mom learned how to put up wallpaper. She put up the molding that ran around the middle of the wall. Eventually the room off of the kitchen was turned into a bathroom. She designed and had someone build a room on the front of the house to be a coat closet/storage area/book depository/ umbrella drop/boot storage area. Basically, it was for everything that used to get scattered around the living room. It also prevented us from tracking dirty snow into the house. The wood on the outside of the house was replaced with aluminum siding. The carpeting was replaced. I am fairly convinced that if she could have figured out how to do the aluminum siding herself, she would have done it.

Every time she moved mom wasn't happy until she "fixed" that house. I am convinced that it didn't feel like it was hers until she painted it, wallpapered it, or in some other permanent way made her mark. I watched it happen time and again. She got another really big opportunity when she moved into what we now call "the peach house" in Aiken, SC, about ten years ago. The whole house was painted peach, which was why it was on the market so long, and why my mom and stepdad got it for a good price. It was a nice house. It was just overwhelmingly peach. Every time I'd come to visit, more and more of the peach would be gone. By the time they sold it, it really had turned into a lovely home.

Mom never was a TV watcher. In Florida, mom discovered HGTV. That was a game changer. Mom likes HGTV. Mom can watch HGTV for hours. Mom gets ideas on HGTV. When we moved into this house, I knew we were in for it. It is overwhelmingly white. White walls everywhere. We were only here a few months when mom painted the master bedroom. It really is beautiful now.

Mom's favorite show on HGTV is Holmes on Holmes. I am wondering what would our lives have been like if HGTV had been around thirty years ago and Holmes Sr. had his show? Oh dear. What if Holmes Sr. had been a real go-getter and wanted to teach the viewers at home how to put down their own hardwood floor? It boggles the mind. Before we even moved into this house, my parents agreed that eventually the carpeting in the living room was going to have to go because the dogs are hell on the carpet. When that day comes, hardwood floor is going down. I am so thankful that there was no HGTV thirty years ago and Holmes Sr. didn't have his own show, because I have no doubt that if he did, and he'd taught his viewers how to put down hardwood flooring, it wouldn't matter to my mom that her back and knees give her grief.

What would I do then? I would be stuck sending a desperate letter to Mike Holmes at HGTV that went something like this:

"Dear Mr. Holmes,

My mother started watching your dad thirty years ago and thought he was the bees knees. He taught her to do everything from fixing the kitchen sink to putting down hardwood flooring. That was awesome when she was thirty, but not so great now. You see, she has trouble bending over, getting up and down, and her back goes out sometimes. She does okay with normal stuff, but I don't think she's up to the task of putting down hardwood flooring any longer. Unfortunately, she doesn't trust anyone else to do the job, and she's already ordered the wood. This situation has become dire. We really need a rescue. By the way, she also thinks you're the bees knees. Please help!!!!"

~Desperate in Georgia


  1. Wish I was more like your mum...and my mum for that matter!

  2. You mum sounds a little like my Craig... He's a builder by trade and evenings/weekends are a busman's holiday for him - he's forever stripping out rooms and rebuilding/redecorating them... The quality of his work is so good that the flat we're living in now has outpriced the area (or so we've been told by several estate agents). This weekend he was laying wooden floor in the hallway and tonight (after he's fitted a new hob at his parents', who live a few blocks away) he'll be working on the architrave around the doors... It's neverending and once he's finished that, he reckons every wall needs repainting... *sigh*

  3. LOL this blog cracked me up. I'm not a home-fixer-upper, to be sure, so it always astounds me that there are people on this planet who do their own plumbing and electrical wiring. I'm good buying a rug at Ikea, thanks.

    And thank you so, so very much for the award. You have been so kind to me and I'm gonna make sure the award (and your blog) gets the proper attention it deserves as I dive back into blogging. Thanks for all your hugs from afar, love, support, advice, and for just being an all around generally awesome human being.

    Hugs right back at ya. :)


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