To: Crazy Person (or Current Resident)

I bought my house from a crazy person.

Ok, that might not be entirely accurate. Yes, I do frequently wonder what the previous owner was thinking, but at some point, doesn’t everyone question the sanity of the person who had lived there before? I have moved a bunch of times and it seems like there was something crazy at each place. Some examples:

–Two houses with carpeting on the stairs only. I assume it is a safety thing. It’s not likely to have been a fad since the houses were built about thirty years apart.

–A house with a sump pump that didn’t kick on until there was two feet of water in the crawl space.

–A house built with the laundry room in a shed in the carport. By the time I moved in the laundry hookups had been moved into the house and the shed was just a shed with weird plumbing remnants, but it was still a weird idea to do laundry in the driveway.

–A different house with the laundry room outside. It was attached to the house, but you had to go outside to get to it. Why?

–Two consecutive houses with doors installed to isolate the dining rooms. Did I follow the same person from house to house, or does everyone do this to their dining rooms now?

–A house where all the addresses on the street (it was new construction) had been flipped sometime between when the addresses were assigned and when people moved in. Everyone in the complex had to exchange mail for a few weeks, and we kept inadvertently canceling each other’s cable installation.

–A house with a baby nursery. This doesn’t seem bad at first, does it? My son’s bunk bed, dresser, and toy box all fit in it, with enough room left over for a play space. It had its own window. You could only get to his room via his sister’s bedroom, but otherwise a nice little room, right? Wrong. At some point in the preceding fifty years, someone had put a small clothes bar in one corner. So now my son likes to get all “Cupboard Under the Stairs” about it and complain that we made him live in a closet. Why did someone hang that clothes bar? A dresser isn’t good enough for a baby?*

Of course, it might not have been the immediate previous occupants who did all of those things. The crazy person might have been three occupants past. Some of the decisions could even be blamed on landlords, architects, or bureaucrats.

This is not to say that I’m innocent in this—I’m part of the crazy, too. By now, someone must have discovered that their baseboards were stuck to the walls with poster putty.** Someone else had to wonder why there was an old–fashioned schoolroom pencil sharpener mounted in the garage.***

I haven’t gotten around to doing anything crazy in this house yet—I’m still dealing with unusual decisions the previous occupant made. This time it’s the flooring in the dining room. It’s a large vinyl sheet that doesn’t reach the walls in one corner of the room. Because of that it is curling up. I considered just putting a piece of furniture over it and forgetting about it—who doesn’t need another bookshelf, right? But there’s another problem; when the heat pump comes on the air from the vent blows under the vinyl, lifting it several inches. It looks as if something is trying to break into this dimension through the dining room floor.  Are vinyl sheets supposed to be glued down? I don’t know. But I’m tired of heating the space between worlds, and if I have to pull the vinyl up to fix that, I might as well put down flooring that fits the room better. The internet assures me that even I, Queen Sort of Good at Home Repairs, can handle this.

It didn’t get off to a great start. Five minutes after I brought the boxes of flooring in, I realized that I had stacked them on the floor that I needed to tear up. As I was dragging the boxes to another room it hit me–this project needs a bingo card! It will be good for my morale when I inevitably screw something else up. Also, why work on a project when you can write about it instead? (This is the opposite of what usually happens. Usually, I plan on writing then suddenly find the need to do something else entirely.)

My list for the bingo squares:

  • Avoid an injury
  • Wonder why I have so many books–likely to happen while I am moving them out of the room and then back in. The sad part is that the bookshelf has been in there less than a month. Planning is clearly not my strong suit (see: stacking boxes, above).
  • Discover some other crazy thing about the house–I suspect this will involve finding out that half the vinyl is glued down and I’ll have trouble pulling it off of the floor.
  • Fit all of the old flooring in the trash bin
  • Make fewer than three trips to Lowe’s during the project
  • Get “help” from dogs–they tend to think they are supervisors.
  • Stop to dance when a good song comes on
  • Finish
  • Not break anything–damage is always a possibility. I broke a lamp moving the bookshelf to the dining room.
  • Question my sanity about starting such a project–I could check this box already, but the project hasn’t technically started yet, so I’ll wait.
  • Search the internet for help
  • Talk to myself about my shortcomings
  • Have enough flooring
  • Finish in three days or less
  • Work after midnight
  • Experience project rage–yell, cuss, etc.

It’s a mixture of things that will likely happen no matter what; things I will try to make happen; and things that I might not want to happen, but I won’t be too sad if they do since they will help me get to bingo.

Send good vibes. I’ll need them!


UPDATE: Two weeks later

I intended to publish the above before I started the project, and then post the bingo results afterwards. But the writing was taking longer than I anticipated (no surprise) so I set it aside to get the floor finished before my vacation was over.  Hey, at least you get the bingo results immediately!

Items in blue are the things that happened. Bingo! Yay!

Notes on results:

–I cut my finger. Nothing major, but it did bleed so it qualifies as an injury.

–While moving the books back, I decided I probably did have too many, so I added some to the donate pile.

–I had plenty of flooring—not because I’m efficient (I wasted about a box) but because I bought a lot. I’m fine with that. Queen Sort of Good knows her limitations.

–The surprise was a random piece of metal screwed into the floor. It was where a door used to be, so it might have been a threshold, though that seems odd for an interior door. Also, the metal strip was under wooden flooring, so it wasn’t helping keep the door closed. Maybe it was just part of the frame? Whatever it was, it took forever to remove it because the walls on either side had been built over it. I ended up cutting it with tin snips. The entire situation was insane, and it contributed significantly to project rage.  A bingo two-fer!

–I got all the flooring down in two days, but the project isn’t finished because I still have to do the trim. That requires at least one trip to Lowes, so I left that box blank too, just in case.

Though I still have some work to do, I am happy with the results. The floor looks nice and I’m no longer paying to heat/cool the alternate dimension under the dining room. I even have space on my bookshelf for some new books! It’s an all-around win.

I recommend you make a bingo card for your next project around the house. It might help you feel less crazy!


* My kids are insisting it was a walk-in closet with a window. They have no explanation as to why there were no shelves and only one small clothes bar, but fine, whatever—I made my son live in a gigantic closet for a few months. Can’t wait for his Hogwarts letter to get here. Also, now I have to question the crazy person who took down all the shelves and clothes hanging bars.

**There was disagreement about the baseboards, so we used poster putty as a temporary fix, then moved away before remembering we had never attached them permanently.

***I like pencils, ok? And you have to attach those sharpeners to a wall stud, so the garage seemed like a perfect place.

Picture of dog
My supervisor

Have you ever doubted the sanity of the person who lived in your place before you? Have you ever been the crazy one, leaving the results of questionable decisions behind when you moved? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll stick with my strengths

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! You can sign up here.

The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Olga Godim, Michelle Wallace, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

September 7 question – What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle and why?

Horror is the genre I’d have the most trouble with.  I haven’t read a horror book since high school. It wasn’t required reading of course, but a group of us went through a phase of reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I guess some of those are classified as thrillers, but I wouldn’t be any good at writing thrillers either. I don’t remember how horror/thriller books work, and even if I did, I just don’t have the writing skills to maintain that level of suspense.

Supernatural is cool though—just not the “vengeful demon ripping out throats and entrails” type. I’m currently trying to write a ghost story, but the ghost is mainly annoyed and sarcastic. For some reason I don’t seem to have much trouble with sarcasm.  ( __ <— This space for your shock.)

Peace and love (and sarcasm!)