By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye
And that’s not a bad thing. Okay, some times it’s not great either—I’ve been living in a construction site for most of my marriage, but when it comes to fixing things, my man excels.
We live in a hundred year old Victorian farmhouse in Maryland, and when we bought it, I was in Idaho trying to sell our place. Stephen had already moved to Maryland to start his new job, so when I saw the ad for a Victorian, I had him go look at it.
Stephen called me right back all excited. “It needs some work,” he told me, “but nothing I can’t handle. It’s got great bones, ten-foot ceilings, and a turret with a big witches peak.”
To be fair, I probably stopped listening after the turret and the witches peak part. What romance writer doesn’t want to live in a house with a turret? When he started talking builerspeak I most likely zoned out.
The house had five bedrooms, two baths, and was on over a half-acre right on Main Street—perfect. It was also within our price range, which should have given me pause. But all I could see were the ten-foot ceilings and the turret—that is, until we moved in.
Yeah, mistake number one was letting my husband, a cross between “Tim The Tool Man” Taylor and Bob the Builder, buy a house before I saw it.
I had expected a fixer-upper but what this place needed was a can of gasoline and a match!
Stephen opened the door, and the smell of mold was so bad I immediately started wheezing—probably from the combination of mold and shock. He had told me the house needed a new roof, but what he failed to mention was that the roof on our hundred-year-old Victorian, like everything but the bathrooms, was original. When it rained, it rained in the house—literally. It’s pretty bad when the dog goes to the five-gallon buckets that are placed all over the house to catch the rainwater before he checks his own water bowl.
Thankfully, he cleaned the place up, and installed all new appliances in the week and a half I was in Florida picking up the kids. He even surprised me by buying a whole house water filter. I’d have been happy to have one that sat below the kitchen sink, but no, he got the big one. The water filter had to be connected to the plumbing—mistake number two.
When Stephen installed the water filter with more power, the pipe it was supposed to connect to broke because it was so old. He replaced that pipe only to have the next break also. On and on it went until, in the span of two weeks, we had all-new plumbing. The electrical system was the same way.
Now I know replacing all the plumbing and wiring in the house is a lot of work, but really, the lights worked before, and all the toilets flushed—usually. But all I could see was that I was still living in a house where, when it rained you needed an umbrella inside—and no, I’m not exaggerating.
Over the next nine years, we raised and replaced the roof, replaced the heating system, installed all new windows and siding, moved and built two new bathrooms, and remodeled three of the five bedrooms. But the turret, the one room I’d been dreaming about since day one, was left unfinished.
I don’t know how many times I suggested he tackle it, and every time he had an excuse not to—until the day his mother called. She told him she was giving us a bunch of family heirlooms and that he’d better get the turret finished. He started it the next day. I spent nine years begging for him to work on the turret, and all it took was one phone call from his mother.
I would complain, but really, I can’t. He did the most amazing job. He built a tray ceiling in a decagon that mirrored the windows, added a chandelier with an ornate medallion, and rebuilt and refinished the pocket door. The room is almost done except for the hardwood floors…maybe when I get my next royalty check. But I have to say that it’s almost worth it.
I wonder if I can get his mother to call about the kitchen and the dining room?
I'm giving away a copy of my latest book, Wild Thing and a $25 Amazon or Barnes And Noble Gift Certificate to a lucky commenter in the US or CAN only who answers the following questions... Are you handy or married to Mr. Fix it? Would you rather remodel a house or have one built?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Congratulations! Winners from Jana DeLeon's drawings are:
Alison - $25 gift card
amf, Sarah S., and Angela Bount have all won autographed copies of my next Intrigue.
Please contact me through my website and we'll work out the mailing/etc.