On the day her husband tore off the roof, Lynnette decided to do something.
He’d been working on the house all summer, various projects to improve the place. After retiring from the factory, he had the time. “Finally a chance to catch up on all the chores,” he said.
What started as minor repairs - a leak in the bathroom sink, a door that squeaked - grew to more ambitious projects.
The first time she noticed it was when he rewired the doorbell, though it rang every time. “The chime’s no good,” he said, ripping the wires from the wall. A week later, when friends came for dinner, the ringer still didn’t work. “I need a part, and the hardware store ran out,” he said. Three months later, guests were still knocking.
Then he began digging in the yard, unearthing the sprinkler system. “Leaks” were his reason, though after several weeks he had failed to discover any, leaving a trench six inches wide and deep.
His next foray was in flooring. The hardwoods needed refinishing after years of scuffs and scrapes. From the discount depot he rented a sander. The machine died halfway through the living room. “Cheapskates wouldn’t replace it,” he said. Since, she has worn slippers in the house to ward off splinters.
“Can’t you finish one project before you start another?” she said after finding the baseboards removed.
“That’s what I’m doing,” he said. “We can’t do the floors with these in the way.”
The moldings disappeared into the workshop he’d created in the garage. “Only temporary,” he said when she asked where they’d park the SUV.
When a hole appeared in the kitchen wall, her suspicions grew. “I’m giving us more room,” he said, as he stapled the plastic sheeting.
“But when will you be done?” she said.
“We’re half way home,” he said, while applying paint thinner to the dining table.
The roof was her breaking point. After he pledged not to begin anything else, she returned from work to find only bare beams where the shingles once lay.
“It’s nothing new,” he said. “This is part of the remodel.”
First she tried hiding his tools, but he bought more. “A much better set.”
Then she called in professionals to assess the damage, quote the cost of repairs. “Too expensive,” he said, waving his hand dismissively. “Those guys prey on people like us.”
She enlisted help from friends whose husbands were more skilled, she thought, only to find them sharing a beer at the site of some new project. “It’s all interconnected,” one explained.
Finally, she took tools in hand herself. A hammer to be precise. Applied it first to his knee while he was napping.
“What are you doing?” he said, as she brought it down with a crack on his elbow.
“Don’t worry, honey,” she said “We’re halfway home.”
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