Fool on the Hill

by Stacey Graham

I started it.

I take total blame for planting the seed that blossomed into a five-year house-building spree that started with a bulge. A leak in our rented townhouse's bathtub wall took my husband to Lowe's, telling me before he departed, "I have turned on all the faucets to drain water from the pipes so I can fix the leak. Do. Not. Touch. Them." Ten minutes later, I touched them.

Why are all the faucets on? 

What is wrong with that man?  

Completing the task of being very careful to twist every faucet into the "off" position, I resumed my perch at the computer and went back to work on a story, its deadline looming. Thirty minutes later, around 11p, my toddler came downstairs for a drink, switched on the light in the kitchen and there it was. The kitchen ceiling, bloated and discolored, hovered over her head. I believe I may have squeed a little. A quick trip next door for a neighbor's help and a sharp pointed stick relieved the ceiling of its burden but left a bigger problem. A giant, gaping hole -- but after I shut my mouth I assessed the situation dispassionately. Then ran in small circles trying to figure out how I was going to explain this to my husband.

Drywall led to a love affair with Home Depot, its orange-aproned handymen the siren call to a man trapped in a cubicle daily.

"Stace, I'm going to build us a house."

"Don't get excited, Tiger. You've only replaced a ceiling panel, you may want to pace yourself." Handing over the bucket of drywall mud I could see the light in his eyes. I knew I was doomed. "How long is this going to take?" Resisting the urge to roll my eyes, I waited for his usual answer to the honey-do list.

"Months, tops."

Five years, multiple thousands of dollars, 43 windows, 5.5 acres, five kids and two dogs later we moved in. We have two doors for two out of four bathrooms. My kitchen counters are painted black wood of questionable heritage and the geothermal unit that was going to save our power bill shuts off in the middle of the coldest nights, leaving us to huddle under blankets until I stumble downstairs and beat it with a stick. 

But he's happy.

Home sweet home.

Stacey runs the joint, enjoys Ermas danceoffs, and has been known to bite the heads of rabbits. Okay, they were chocolate but they totally had it coming. Please visit her blog, check out zombie dating tips, and see what mischief she gets into on Tuesdays at The Austen Project on Twitter (hashtag #A4T) - a running novel conceived and written on Twitter by a merry band of Janeites. Follow her on Twitter: @staceyigraham


  1. You are a woman after my own heart. I love this post! And it looks like he did an awesome job. After all, what's life about if you don't have to beat some mechanical equipment?

  2. Love the part about Home Depot being a siren call to a man stuck in a cubicle all day!

    ...But never could figure out who the fool is...

  3. Love it, love it, Stacey!! This has been our married life (only 30 years)...remodel, remodel, build. 1 dreamer + 1 architect = 30 years of salvage stores, Home Depot, Lowe's (we shoulda bought stock earlier), and endless projects in various stages of almost-doneness. But it's been grand, in spite of the seasonal stacks of lumber decorating the hallway, swirls of sheetrock dust, falling stone wall in the dining room, etc.

    Your house is Gorgeous! Windows, trees, land, pets and family. What more could you ask? (Except for maybe a back-up space-heater for your geothermal unit.) ;)

  4. Congratulations on your home. It is beautiful. Does it have a "sun" room?

  5. No, I have all girls. *ba dum dum*

    Thank you! In the summer, the entire back of the house becomes a sun room.

  6. Great post!! Smiling all the way, and what a beautiful home!!

  7. I remember when you finally got to move in! It's byootieful!


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