A Touch of Humor

Carol A. Hand

Do you ever want change something that annoys you? I don’t mean people, you know. I mean something like a moldy, funky bathroom.

Ah, no,” you may tell yourself. “I wouldn’t know where to start.” So you make a few superficial changes and learn how to ignore the things that bother you. The things that you know will ultimately create problems.

Then one day you look closely. Who knows why now, but suddenly you can no longer screen out the dirty yellow daisy wallpaper on the ceiling that is sagging ever lower and peeling off. So you pull it off and discover that the glossy green paint underneath is even worse. It’s harder to ignore and you find yourself with a messy project you didn’t plan to tackle at this moment.

It would be easier to simply gut the whole bathroom and start over, but that’s not an option for many reasons. So you reflect on which steps need to be taken first and begin, learning how things are made in the process of deconstructing them, one by one, each in the proper order. You learn to laugh at your limitations and clumsiness.

I need some kind of tool to pull this glued-on rubber baseboard off,” you think to yourself. “Yeah,” you answer, “like longer, stronger arms.” And you laugh and keep trying until you figure out how to work smarter not harder. You learn patience and tenacity.

You still have other work to do. You’ve lived with this mess since you moved here seven years ago. So chill out, but don’t give up.

Remember things can only be done step by step. Remember to take care of yourself and your other responsibilities as best you can for now. Remember to take pictures next time so you can see where you started not just what you know still needs to be done. Remember to have fun and laugh at yourself as you misplace tools, tip over the paint bucket, put curtains on rods backwards, and spend hours figuring out how to put on fancy bathroom fixtures that your guests can figure out how to deconstruct in an instant.

Remember messes are temporary necessities. Living with the constant mess of books, papers, and now, all the stuff related to remodeling means taking some time just to breathe and escape into fantasy now and then.

But most importantly, remember that nothing lasts forever except  –the legacy of the love, laughter, gratitude, and celebratory joy you breathe into what you do.


I apologize for being so slow replying to comments and visiting your blogs. I do want you to know how deeply I appreciate all of you and the important work you share.

This post describes some of the reasons why I have been absent from the blogosphere. Teaching, spending time with my lovely granddaughter, and of course shoveling snow, have also made it difficult to for me to stay up-to-date blogging.

Before the most recent snowstorm – February 24, 2018
Shoveling in process before breakfast – February 25, 2018

Meanwhile, the signs of spring are evident this morning.

Morning view – February 28, 2018











The snow is gradually melting given warmer days, and come May, the class I am teaching will end. Maybe my repair work will be done by then, too, just in time for yard clean up and gardening. Hopefully, I will even have time and space to return to blogging and editing/ revising my book manuscript. In the interim, I send my best wishes to all of you.

36 thoughts on “A Touch of Humor

    1. I would if we lived closer. 🙂 (Just before I retired from the university, I worked during the summer for a contractor who fixed up rental properties. He hired me after he saw the improvements I made in my last house…)

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Rosaliene. 🙂 I’m not sure if it’s courageous or foolhardy, though. Finishing each challenge “right” with repurposed materials on hand is an interesting puzzle to solve,.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. As a part-time renovator, I looked at your pictures and thought, “That’s smart work done there.” Lots of hard work but not so costly in money. Gutting and re-doing an entire bathroom is very costly. You’d need new flooring, new tub-shower, toilet, vanity and probably all the plumbing, if it’s old copper, would have to be ripped out and replaced with Pex pipe. New fixtures. Probably new electrical and new lighting… It adds up very fast. Your way is the smart, ecologically sound way to go. I try to talk people around here to do just that but they get that bug: all new! So they go remortgaging the house, get another loan and a “contractor” with all the “right” connections to high-end outfitters. I was raised on a homestead: we had an outhouse!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your expertise and critical eye, Sha’Tara. It is a lot of work, even on the ceiling – cleaning off old wall paper, scraping out joints and caulking every seam. I do need to hire someone to remove the toilet but it will be put back in after the sub flooring is evened-out and covered with better flooring. I am preserving the existing sink and vanity without removing them, using leftover paneling to repair the cheap sides of the vanity, and then painting it. I have a thing about preserving things as long as possible and minimizing wastefulness. The ceiling, walls, and floor needed to be better protected from water damage and repaired but everything else still works.

      Funny that you mention the outhouse. I was thinking about my years on the commune when we had to use one, too. Smelly in summer and not pleasant to expose one’s butt during cold winters…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow!! 😀 That is a grand job on the bathroom … and that is just one task amongst your busy life! It’s not easy to live with a mess but you’re right, it is only temporary and breathing through it helps! I must remember next time we decorate as I can get into a bit of a state! Snow shovelling here too in the midst of the Beast from the East which has paralysed much of the country. Hugs, my friend. Xxxx❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your always thoughtful comments, Annika, and for sharing the beauty of your winter wonderland despite the havoc “The Best from the East” has wrought. Sending you hugs, too, and congratulations on your successful book debut!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done! We are in the middle of several projects, but the end is in sight. We had our kitchen cupboards restored and painted, had the parquet floors of two rooms and now the hallway restored and the biggest project takes place in April: redecorating the hall, stairs, landing and bathroom, which will be done by a professional as neither of us is capable! Also, all the creaky boards on the stairs and landing will finally be silenced, after 30 years of putting up with them! It’s quirky to begin with, and reassuring when you can tell who is coming upstairs to see you by their particular footfall, but now every board creaks and when you have young children staying who wake at the mere whisper of a sound, those boards are like sirens going off in the night!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have been busy, Chris! It sounds like you have created an almost new house and I can only imagine the messes you had to endure while doing so. But it seems you have created a welcoming space for your family, especially grandchildren. 🙂

      I have no idea how long it is going to take me to finish my relatively small project. Each new discovery leads to yet more steps. The vanity that I originally thought could simply be sanded and refinished will actually test my abilities as a carpenter to address. I hope I can find time before the next snowstorm to give that a try…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I admire your skill at creative-thinking and your tenacity! Hope it works out as you hope, our floor is done. A lesser job than we anticipated, it only took two days. Which was good because we had to have the door open and a blizzard occurred just as he was leaving!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We are in the grip of “The beast from the east.” A huge blast of sub zero wind and blizzard that has blanketed the UK with deep snow. I feel so sorry for the birds, beasts and humans who have to survive on the street. Spring is coming and so is hope. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Nelly, and for keeping me posted about weather in the UK. It has been a brutal winter here, too, for people without shelter and for animals. Even though I live in a city neighborhood, deer have been forced to look for food here, munching the arbor vitae bushes that frame my side porch. Like you, dear friend, I am looking forward to spring. 🙂


  5. I put off doing anything to my bathroom for as long as I could. Then it was time. Like you said, it just annoyed me long enough!
    A great job to tackle while there’s still snow on the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David, thank you so much for your warm wishes. They are much appreciated. Even though we have had above freezing days, tomorrow’s forecast is for yet another snowstorm, but someday spring will come. Sending my best wishes to you. 🙂


  6. Being able to look back and remember where we started allows us to appreciate the progress, and changes that much more. I had to smile when you described what you found behind the wallpaper. I once had an old home with carpet that was faded and worn. After looking under a corner and finding beautiful hardwood floors I proceeded to rip it out. Needless to say beyond the corner the floors were a mess. I being poor but resourceful spent the next month, after work, sanding the floor on my knees with a palm sander and covering it with sheets for protection as I went along. Little projects have a way of growing. Don’t ever forget the wallpaper that started you on this journey. 💖🙂💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and for sharing a wonderful story about your experiences with an old house, Kathy. I can relate. Palm sanders do come in handy when refinishing old floors on one’s own. Perhaps I will remember the wall paper, but there are always other jobs to tackle next. I do know, though, that I will probably remember the moldy tub and toilet when I first moved in.. 🙂 ❤


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