Monday, December 11, 2006

On Carpenters, Babysitters and Good Intentions

In more ways than one, our home and household items seem to be falling apart lately. Not sure what is going on. It's like there's some kind of disease going around in our walls, roof and interior.

We have a very able bodied carpenter that resides in our home but his schedule is booked into the next year. So, as his own house falls apart more everyday as he leaves for work, he continues to faithfully repair his well paying customer's homes. Mrs. Carpenter has had to make some rearrangements for the time being considering her better half is not able to occupy his position as chief fixer-upper at home.

Several of the following items in the tips section are already my responsibility but I thought I'd include the whole scope of projects needing to be done around here to give the reader the whole perspective.

First off, I'll start with the most urgent agenda:

Our kitchen table has a perpetual disability. More than once, we've had to interrupt our supper time in order to reposition one of the legs. It may get bumped by a toddler's foot or just decide it's too tired to stand on its own anymore. Once a small infant was placed on top of the table in a small bed and suddenly the table decided to fall. Thankfully, there were no injuries. The baby was miraculously caught in midair by her angel aunt.

Despite good intentions, there have never been permanent repairs on the table since then so you can imagine the continued excitement our table brings us. As it begins it's assent to the floor during a meal, a diner will balance the table until Mr. Carpenter brings his lousy little screw driver and a plastic cup assortment of screws, nails and left over window hardware. The jack-of-all-trades-except-for-table-repair, will empty half of the screws on the floor while Landon and Janae snatch the rest and run off with it for further inspection.

A ping and pop will be heard as the stubborn dry wall screw will refuse to enter the oak wood and would rather continue dropping on the floor. Eventually several folks will be coerced into volunteering their time into table repair so that the whole family can resume their dinner.

One person will hold the leg, another will balance the table top and the two of them will keep the toddlers from running and jumping directly on their dad's stomach as he vulnerably lays under the table in an attempt to get the screw to go through the leg into the table frame. It ends up being quite an endeavor for all those involved.

At last, Mr. Carpenter will deem the table "safe" but not totally fixed. Chairs will pull back up to the table, splashes of water from the recent quake will be wiped up and the toddlers will be fastened back into their chairs. Everyone seems to trust the carpenter's semi-repair by the way they fearlessly sit at the table. The evening's event is soon forgotten as we resume our meal.

A few nights later, the scene is repeated. I finally asked Toby the other evening if he thought we should maybe get a new table. He thought that was probably a good idea. But, since we have two tables and only use one on a daily basis, I think it almost seems foolish to replace a table that we really don't need anymore. Still, we continue to grapple with our toppling table instead of replacing it with another one we have or getting a new one.

Stupid, I know. But when this table is the one Toby bought for us before we were even married, it's hard to throw away something of such sentimental value.

I guess we'll just have to continue screwing screws in it or else send it to it's well worth retirement.

Today I finally decided something needed to be done -- I'm sure we're running out of screws by now. I observed the full layout of our house in the living/dining and kitchen area and decided that we could indeed send the kitchen table to it's eternity and put the dining room table in the kitchenette area. Our dining table is mostly used for storage anyway and I thought that maybe if we eliminated that from the living/dining area, we could have a cleaner looking house.

So, here's tip #1:

  • Eliminate any unnecessary clutter traps: furniture, tables, baskets, chairs and kitchen cupboards if necessary

For tip #2, I found this out today:

  • If you want to make your kitchen feel new, clean out the fridge.

Tip #3 only works if you have an open floor plan:

  • If your living room can only be arranged one way and you're tired of shuffling your furniture around in hopes of finding a new niche for one of the items, retire your kitchen table, move the dining table into the kitchen and spread your living room out into your dining room.

Tip #4 is difficult for me because I know how much this might step on toes for my local carpenter:

  • If your son's sock drawer continually leaves the bottom of the drawer in the dresser every time you pull the drawer out and all the socks fall through the gap onto the floor and the drawer isn't getting repaired by a professional (ie. husband), get a new dresser. I haven't tried this tip yet but I'm sure it would work.

Tip #5:

  • When you leave to run errands, leave specific instructions with your children's babysitter (ie. their dad) that the wallpaper is not allowed to come off the bedroom walls. Suggest checking on the children every 2 minutes in order to eliminate the inconvenient destruction. Remind your babysitter that wallpaper peels fast even if the kids are being checked on every 15 minutes.

For tip #6, I would have to recommend this:

  • If you notice that you're suddenly putting "underwear" and "socks" and "clothes" on your shopping list, do laundry. You may be able to save a little bit of money on your yearly clothing budget.

Unfortunately, I know tip #7 too well:

  • If your children suddenly look like they're coming down with chicken pox, do not be alarmed. Instead, thoroughly wash all their bedding, vacuum their rooms very well and wipe straight tea tree oil all over their bodies. Then, bomb your house for fleas and leave for two hours. In three weeks, repeat the entire process. And the next three weeks, repeat. Repeat that several times for several months. If your fleas disappear, let me know how long it took so that I can have an idea how long we're in for this.

And finally, I wish I would've known tip #8 before it was too late:

  • NEVER ever buy a house that has fleas in it. You can eliminate tip #7 if you follow this tip's advice.

Other than a leaky roof, broken windows and a rotting deck, we should have a pretty good handle on our household upkeep and repairs. By this spring, we are talking of getting another fixer-upper in the form of an old house (not a double wide like we currently have) so are enjoying the minimal repair work we have now.

For now, I need to get back to that kitchen table before somebody crashes it on their toes.


Anthony said...

Very Funny! AT least you don't have to worry about having to many dull moments around there. And it sounds like you really have your work cut out for you. I guess you'll have to become the carpenter!

Bethany said...

O-o-o-oh poor Courtney! Sounds like you are keeping very busy! Praying for you (and that those nasty fleas depart quickly!)

Coeur d'Court said...

No carpentership for me Anthony! I'm not that desperate. And Toby does a wonderful job of it when he does get the chance. :) There are definitely no dull moments around here lately.

Yes, the fleas do make it hard to enjoy this house Bethany. Especially when we've done so much to get rid of them and they keep coming back. But, eventually we'll get 'em!

Thanks guys for the comments.