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Home improvement? No thanks

Home improvement? No thanks

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

Home improvement projects can be fun. Or that’s what people tell me. Personally, I’ve never had one moment of fun while doing a home improvement project. Not once. People who enjoy home improvement projects are the same people who enjoy doing their taxes and washing their car. Their enthusiastic conversation sounds like a foreign language to me. “Guess what we did this weekend? We pulled up all the flooring in the guest bathroom and laid tiny little expensive handmade Brazilian porcelain floor tiles … individually, one by one. It looks fantastic!” Puzzled, I want to scream at the top of my lungs, “What is wrong with you people? What in the world was wrong with your old bathroom floor? It was perfectly fine! In fact, it was so fine that in all the times I’ve used your guest bathroom, I never even NOTICED the floor!”  
But people who love home improvement projects don’t understand the joys of accepting mediocrity.They love the idea of releasing money and sweat to make things even better. One of my goals in life is to convince people that when it comes to a home, there is great joy in just leaving things alone. That’s why I have 1987 wallpaper in the hall bathroom. It’s why our bedroom has been the same color since the house was built. It’s all to prove a point. Home improvement mediocrity provides folks like me with more time and money for fun and frolic. But I had a weak moment last week. It must have been the protein bar I ate for breakfast.
My boys and I started a big home improvement project. Notice I said that we started a project. We really need to bring the Brazilian floor tile folks over if we expect to finish it. One fateful morning I decided we would strip the outdated wallpaper off of my younger son’s walls and paint the room. We were all enthusiastic. Evidently, the previous owners were big home improvement folks because that wallpaper was affixed to the wall as though national security was dependent upon it remaining there forever. Eventually we got it all down. Or at least that’s what we thought. The next day we began to paint the white walls a bright blue. Within minutes, the walls began to bubble and bulge and sag. That’s when I wished we had just pulled up the floor in the guest bathroom and installed little Brazilian floor tiles. But, no. Evidently a thin layer of wallpaper residue was remaining and when the wet paint hit the walls, the project went south. Literally.
When the paint dried a little, I pulled the saggy layers of bright blue off of the wall. I popped the little air pockets and ripped and tugged and used my fingernails. The floor was littered with blue paint chips. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. Yeah. I’ve never been good at the “slow and steady” part. I like the “quick and slipshod” method myself. That’s how I get into so much trouble. It’s also why my younger son has unpainted walls right now. But no worries. He’s sleeping in the guest room temporarily. We’re going on a business trip with my husband which hopefully will foster some “home improvement” of a different nature. And while we’re gone, I’m praying our Brazilian floor tile friends will break into our house carrying paint brushes.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 4.11.12