Life Deconstructed: Harrowing home renovations and when to bring them up


Maria Jiunta Heck - Life Deconstructed


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    I live in a very old house.

    If we don’t (I mean if I don’t) keep up on things, it will fall down around my ears.

    Old houses, like us old women, are historically fabulous, but tweaking layers are a must if we all don’t want to be a wrinkled, decrepit, peeling mess with varicose veins and saggy knees.

    Currently, my attic is begging for a facelift.

    The best time to ask my husband any favors, or tell him about any speeding tickets I’ve incurred, is during a very important televised golf tournament. The Masters was on last week, so I waited for my prey to become transfixed.

    “Nancy,” I said softly, “I want to completely renovate the third floor. My office is up there and it feels like a hot, musty suitcase holding old body parts.”

    Him: “Huh?”

    Me: “I need to paint, put up a wall, and lay down some carpet. We also need air conditioning up there, because it’s hot enough to grow cannabis on the window sill.”

    Him: “Huh?”

    Me: “Awesome! I took the American Express and I’m going to Lowe’s …”

    Him: “Buy me some licorice!”

    The last Heck renovation was a kitchen that almost cost us our marriage. It was worse than giving birth, because at the end of that debacle I didn’t have a baby; I had a husband I hated.

    We fought about everything. From the floor to, literally, the ceiling.

    He’d insist: “I don’t care what kind of floor we put in the kitchen. You choose! Whatever you decide, I’m sure it’ll be fine!”

    Two days and one floor purchase later:

    “What the hell kind of floor is that? What are we building here, a barn? Too rustic!”

    Another day:

    Him: “You choose the faucet … I could care less! Really. I mean, it’s a faucet for God’s sake; it’s not like it’s a putter!”

    Two days and one faucet purchase later:

    “What the hell kind of faucet is that? Ick. If you think that’ll match the stainless-steel appliances, you are   c-r-a-z-y.”

    I like him better when he has no taste and no preferences — except to ask for the mild salsa instead of medium. The fact that he has a viewpoint about something he rarely, if ever, uses — like an oven, dishwasher or attic — astounds and annoys me.

    Lowe’s should have an aisle dedicated to divorce attorneys — between the paint, lumber and power tools that can kill.

    I think with any home improvement project a wife should just plan the whole thing: rent the dumpster, lure the contractors, buy the carpeting, then tell her husband when it’s all over.

    He’ll never even notice; it won’t even register as a blip on his screen, especially if the screen is filled with boring golfers in sherbet-colored shirts, immersed in strange, whispering crowds.

    The US Open is in June. That’s when I plan to tell him about my latest adventure: a new front porch. With a swing. And lights. And ceiling fan. And … I guess that would also be the time to tell him about the big, fat speeding ticket I just received — on the way to Lowe’s.

    Renovation can be painful and expensive.

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    Maria Jiunta Heck

    Life Deconstructed

    Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at [email protected]

    Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at [email protected]

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