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Motherf*ing housework

This, I’m sure, is why my friend calls her online home “This D*mn House.”

Always something to do, usually something I don’t quite know how to do until I botch it once. I know that every home project I tackle (i.e. every one that involves a less than 30% chance of maiming or death), I can learn to do it right. In fact, I even like learning stuff. Problem is, an old house like ours gives you plenty of things you only need to have done once a decade or so — and the mistakes that come with the learning process happen during that once.

And by the time they come due again, I’ve forgotten what those lessons were — I just have the vague recollection of, “I’m pretty sure there was something non-intuitive about this, something that made sense only after I screwed up, something I really wanted to remember for next time, something I can’t fucking remember now.”

By virtue of choosing the careers and life that makes us happiest, we don’t have the budget to pay “a guy” (as in, “I know a guy…”) to do every little thing on this ol’ house, so there’s no choice but to teach myself. And humble myself. I mean, can you say Professor’s Son? That is me. The biggest mechanical fix my dad ever did was to unjam my Hot Wheels cars when a wheel got stuck. And that repair — which he would accomplish with the same tobacco-stinky knife he used to clean out his cigarette holder — always cost me a quarter.

Somehow the turn of the weather always brings this crap to the front of mind. Like all summer long, there are weekend parties and trips and weddings and hangovers that make easy excuses: “Oh, I couldn’t possibly do it this weekend, not with the party and the need to nap in this lovely weather.” But now when the air gets that fall chill, I get seasonally agitated, and it’s time to pay the piper.

… Which is why I’m finally replacing the screen in the screen door that Shitpaws tore through while trying to tackle a squirrel that was 200 yards away. Except I want to repaint or stain that crappy door while I’m at it — which was another ready-made excuse for delay. But I want to use an enviro-friendly stripper that also doesn’t melt your brain cells upon inhalation. Which means the stripper is really slow, and harder to scrape off.

… Which is why in the down time waiting for the stripper to work (boy, shouldn’t they spell “stripper” differently for this purpose?), I decide to finish up the final pieces of trim in the sunroom that were always hidden behind the couch. Except those were the pieces I was going to experiment with, and now I have two different styles of molding with no recollection of where I got them. And instead of “measure twice, cut once,” I seem to be prone to “measure thrice, fuck up once.” Which will happen when three different measurements produce three different numbers.

… Which is why I get frustrated and forget — or absent-mindedly forget to register — which direction my 45-degree cut was supposed to go. So the one time I make a nails — and I mean nails-perfect, if I do say so — measure and cut, I come back upstairs to realize that it would be one fine cut … if I hadn’t oriented the angles backwards.

Motherfucking housework. Who needs it?