Never Say Never

Written on August 10, 2012 by Ellen and Joel – a joint effort

You know all of those times when you say something that is outside your current realm of possibility and someone warns, “Well, never say never”? Sometimes you can reply with complete confidence that it will indeed never ever EVER happen. For example, “I, Ellen, will never sky dive.” Trust me. It will never happen. It takes a few minutes off my life every time I even think about it. I try not to.

And then there are times when you have to eat a little crow with the more adamant, naïve statements you’ve made in the past. This seems to happen a lot with promises and plans made before kids entered your life as you very judgmentally watched other parents parent. Things like, “WE will never open up a box of cookies in the grocery store before paying for them no matter how loud our kid cries” or “We will never rescind a punishment” or “We will never allow body piercings, hair dyeing, or tattooing of any kind” or …honestly, with kids it’s an absolute mess of never-say-never situations.

Well, this old house is providing us with umpteen opportunities to retract all sorts of ridiculously confident statements made in earlier more arrogant times. Things like:

“Thank goodness WE will never have to deal with asbestos in OUR living space.” We know some of you are just like we used to be, gasping at the thought of asbestos, but seriously, it’s not that bad. There are people who know exactly what to do and they do it well. Thank goodness for those people. We now find ourselves saying things like, “Hey, did you see the awesome gas mask and steel suit that Jerry had to wear when he came to get our asbestos? Do you want more salad?”

Let’s also add, “We will never have to deal with lead paint.” Phew! That’s a relief. Just cross it off the list. Here is a picture of the master window craftsmen burning and scraping lead paint off of one of our windows (only 64 more to go!!)

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And while we’re on the topic of lead, why not, “Lead pipes don’t even exist anymore so we’re certain that we can safely say that we will never have to deal with them. Right?” Again, ha! We’re serious…lead pipes! Some of them, as you know, encased in a bed of cement serving as the base for the bathroom floor. AND, when our neighborhood enthusiasts declared that the water lines in from the city are still made of lead, they answered our astonished looks with, “Don’t worry. There are several layers of deposit in them so no lead shows up in the water.”  OK, so moving on…

There are several other things we never thought we’d hear ourselves say presented here in rapid-fire fashion.

“Can’t you just cut the paint line below the drywall seam so it looks straight even though it isn’t?”

“So what’s the R factor of that foam insulation? We only want R-19 or higher.”

“That’s going to be how much to fix?!” “Otherwise I could just caulk the hell out of it.” “Yeah, let’s go that route.” (This is a daily exchange.)

“Please don’t use duct butter on our pipes. I’m dairy free.” Ba dum bum.

“It’s cheaper to do it now than it will be later.” Then nod head, write a check, repeat.

“Steve, please put the toilet back in place so we can get rid of the orange pee bucket.”

“Hey, has anyone seen my Wonderbar?” (Hollered out to a group of miscellaneous contractors.)

“Hey Ellen, do you want me to hold your purse while you use the pee bucket?” (The pee bucket has been a definite point of discussion, as you can see.)

“Oh yes, I’m absolutely, positively, almost certain, pretty sure, fairly hopeful that this investment will pay off in the long run.” (Said with nearly a straight face to a skeptical banker.)

“Let’s just run the drain pipe on the east side of the split timber joist in the basement and outside of the toe kick rather than west of the joist where we’d have to insulate it.” (Seriously, we know what this means and Ellen is the one who said it, thank you very much. Steve is so proud of us.)

And the wildest thing we’ve heard ourselves say in the past few months is…

“Hey, you know what would be a blast? Let’s buy a 110-year-old house and spend the next year of our lives figuring out how to restore it!”

*Disclaimer #1: There has never been a man named Jerry in our house cleaning out asbestos, nor does asbestos present a problem in our new home. This was simply a statement of hyperbole and attempted humor. Also, all comments about lead paint are strictly for humor’s sake and the proper means of handling it have been diligently researched and adhered to.

**Disclaimer #2: Ellen has never used the orange pee bucket.


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