The Tell Tale Twitch

by Jennifer Caddell

Get down. Get funky.
It all began the moment we walked through the house for the first time. As the realtor led us from room to room, our minds wandered around fantasies of what the house COULD look like. The bones of the house were perfect. But our wallets were hollering at all the 1970s touches: Dark faux wood paneling, mirrored walls, green shag carpet…

“We’ll take it.” My husband said. We were both in such a hurry to get out of our temporary apartment; we completely ignored all of those rose-colored warning signs. (And that slight hint of cat urine.)

During those first few months, we hired painting contractors, carpet installers, counter top installers and the fire department to put out the flames on our smoking wallets. Three years later we had our mustard-colored broom closet (aka master bathroom) demolished and rebuilt while we slept in the same room with the children for over a month. A year after that, my husband’s foot fell through the floor of our balcony. Twenty thousand dollars later, it was rebuilt with a patio cover to protect it from our cold and wet winters. Fortunately the bank promised to return our arms and legs once the loan was paid off.

Each project was a test in our own relationship, from fights over linoleum floors to the threat of a legal battle with a pilfering contractor. But with each completed room, we were able to look at our house with some amount of pride.

That was, until we looked at our kitchen. Dark blue walls and darker wood paneling made the room look like a cave. So, last month, we rolled up our sleeves, grabbed the paint rollers and made the decision to paint every square inch. The walls were given four coats paint and the dark brown cabinets received six coats to make them white. It was major ‘sweat equity’.

It was nearly my last straw.

On the day we evacuated our cabinets and piled up the food and cookware in the middle of the kitchen, my eye began to twitch. It was a small twitch and one I didn’t notice until I looked in the mirror. But it was there, *twitch*, dancing right under my eye. *twitch*

The week continued with more painting and more cooking from storage boxes. The twitch didn’t go away. Another week came and went, and the twitch was still there. I was almost ready to call the doctor and get a Botox injection to relax that muscle when suddenly it stopped. I realized that it was no coincidence it stopped twitching on the day we put our kitchen supplies back into the cabinets.

I think it was a sign. That twitch was a little ticking time bomb ready to explode the next time we start remodeling a room. I haven’t discussed this with my husband yet, but I think it would be best if I go on vacation before he picks up a paintbrush.

Jennifer L. Caddell is a published science fiction short story writer. She is currently writing her first book in a space trilogy. Jennifer lives in the wet and wonderful Pacific Northwest with her superhero husband and stellar children. You can read about her writing adventures at www.jcaddell.wordpress.com.

Image credit: thekitchendesigner.org


  1. Oh my, that doesn't sound good at all! I know the twitching thing, and i just doesn't feel right!

    I hope you are more happy with your Kitchen now and i would love to see a pic...?


  2. Eeeek! I know how you feel. My husband and I have completely renovated two houses, doing all the labor ourselves. It's enough to give a person more than an eye twich. Be careful before you go into full-body muscle spams. ;-)

  3. LOL! Thanks Leontien and Fringe. It is much better now that this last project is finished. Hopefully everything else that needs to be done is cosmetic and not structural.. But one never knows about the surprises a house has in store. Thanks again!

  4. I also want to thank Stace. That is an awesome kitchen picture!! Perhaps I should redo mine again to look like that one!! :D

  5. Yep. I can sympathize. Not only do I get the eye twitch, but during floor demo this weekend, a blood vessel in my eye burst. My left eye is a bloody mess, but the kitchen will be worth it, right? RIGHT?!?!

  6. I know that twitch! I've seen it in my own mirror.

    Many say it, and I believe it: If you can survive a remodel with your spouse, you can survive anything.

    (I love Stacey's caption for that photo, too.)

  7. Oh no Sara! I hope your eye is better soon!! Yes, the kitchen will be worth it. It is the heart of the house. :D

    Janna - That saying is very true!

  8. I can't believe I've been along for all your remodeling. How long have we known each other? ;)

    Also, I had an eye twitch for MONTHS!! It's only recently stopped. Twins!


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