It’s not called Labor Day for nothing

Yesterday was one weird day and it seems like too many strange disconnected things happened all within the 24-hour period. The day started fine and rather productive. We went over to the House to take stock of the attic space and tear down the ceiling that had been dropped sometime in the last 85 years. I think we were both looking forward to some demolition.

Starting any home improvement project with Michael flashes me back to childhood and doing similar things with my dad. Gary and Michael are so painfully alike when it comes to projects. Now don’t get me wrong…I am grateful each and every day that I married someone as meticulous and precise and innovative as my father. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a husband whose home improvement skills amount to nothing more than writing the check out to a contractor. In turn, I know that Michael is grateful to have a wife that is willing and able to contribute sweat equity without TOO many pulls of the girl card. (I average .25-1 every major improvement project, and we’ll get to this one later.)

A typical conversation at the beginning of these things with Michael (Dad) sounds a bit like this:

Me: “What can I do? What can I do? What would you like me to do?”

Michael/Dad: “For now, I just need you to stand there quietly and hold this [insert: tape measure, ladder, pencil, hammer] for me while I do this incredibly important preparation step for the next hour. Only I can do this or the entire project will fail completely.”

Me: “But can’t I start something? Anything, while you take ten times longer than necessary to [insert: measure, tape off, straighten tarp, inspect, pencil mark]?

Michael/Dad: Not yet, as I am not finished being right and important. Please be quiet and stand still until I am finished.”

Me: “Can I go sit somewhere and read a book until you are ready for me?”

Michael/Dad: “No. You must stand here and watch me and learn something.”

Me: “When do I get to use a hammer and hit things?”

Michael/Dad (a little frustrated now): “Why is it that people (meaning me) always think demolition involves a hammer?”

Just in case you were wondering, THIS DEMOLITION DID INVOLVE A HAMMER/MALLET. I win. It also involved a ton of dirt and plaster and old wallpaper and crap dropping on our heads. It was wonderfully fun and it was progress, progress, progress which made me smile through all the dust. We gained 2 1/2 more feet of ceiling height in the foyer AND a hidden window over the front door!


It also involved a RAT falling from the ceiling and landing on my arm. Granted it was a shriveled up, petrified rat that had managed to get into the drop ceiling through a hole in the attic and then realized too late that there was no escape. I don’t even remember getting off the ladder, so I suspect that I jumped and then backpedaled across the room with a grace and speed that a clumsy person only possesses during a crisis. Of course I was screaming and pointing the entire time. The girl card was played loud and clear.

Michael has spent enough time with me and been married to the Neumann’s for almost 14 years, so a bit of irrational emotion no longer fazes him. He did thankfully pick up the rat and put him at the bottom of the trash bin so I wouldn’t have to see him anymore. He also nailed a large piece of plaster over the rat hole so his rat buddies couldn’t find me. If that damn thing had landed on my head we would have had to sell the house. That very, very minute.