Home » Home Improvement And The Five Stages of Grief

Home Improvement And The Five Stages of Grief

I’m still alive!!!!

It was touch and go a couple of times last week.

You know how you think you’ll just paint a room and organize a few things. . .and then 6 hours later, you’ve decided to basically overhaul the entire house?


Normal people don’t do that?

Well it happened.  So now I have nearly every room in the house in some state of disaster.

However, thanks to my Mom and eventually my Husband, the basement is well on its way to being so, so much better that it was even after the first re-do a couple of years ago.

I snark about my Husband because I find his approach to home improvement tasks infuriating.  He clearly has an extreme aversion to anything that involves a power tool and convincing him to pick one up requires me to use a several month’s long succession of vocalizing wishes, followed by complaints and nagging, then bribes of sexual favors, and ultimately threats.  My request process culminates with my declaration that I’m drafting divorce documents in which I get full custody of his beloved fat cat.

Allister, the Big Fluffs

Allister, the Big Fluffs


And that’s just to get a project STARTED!

Once the projects starts, there is a bunch of bitter bickering about how things should be done. . .and how quickly.

In fact, 99% of the time, we can’t even agree on what constitutes “done.”  He’s perfectly happy to call a project complete even if it lacks the certain “polish” I desire.  Complete to him apparently means, things aren’t leaking or on the verge of catching fire.  Complete to me means there aren’t still holes in the walls or flooring and gasp, the molding properly caulked and painted.

Now, our basement needed more than just paint.  It needed more help than even my own very capable, tireless Mother could offer it.  It needed trim replaced and bookshelves built-in.  It needed a man with power tools.  Luckily, my Husband is a man with power tools.

Not as lucky?  When asked to use said power tools, my Husband essentially goes through the FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF.

It’s just as fun as you might imagine. . .

It all begins with DENIAL.

Me:  “We really need to get rid of that hole in the basement floor.  It’s been there for nearly two years.”

Husband:  “It’s not that big.  It’s not even a hole.  It’s a sump pump system.  It’s a basement, it doesn’t need to be ‘finished.’  Can’t you just put something over it?”

Me:  “No.  Not acceptable.  We have to put the flooring over it and it needs to get done ASAP.  Please?”


Very dark, poor shot of our dungeon before. . .

Very dark, poor shot of our dungeon before. . .

My demand is quickly met with ANGER. . .a stage that lasts a LONG time.

Husband:  “I don’t have time to put down flooring.  I’m always at work or with Mac.  If you’d give me some time to get things done, I could do them.”

Me:  “Well, you’re in luck, we aren’t doing anything on the weekends until the basement is done.  We could make arrangements for help with Mac.  I can help you.  Or I’ll take care of Mac.  It has to get done.”

Husband:  Sigh.  Mumble.  Cursing.  Aggressively slamming dishes into the sink.

Me:  “I know it sucks.  But we just have to bite the bullet and get it addressed.  It won’t take that long will it?  Can’t you go measure some things now?”

Husband:  “I don’t need you to be a smart ass.  It’s not funny, Deni.”

Me:  What?  

Three days to three months of anger later, the BARGAINING begins:

Husband:  “Do you think it would look ok if we just made some sort of plywood box to cover this hole?  It won’t look too bad.”

Me:  Jaw on floor, speechless.

Husband:  “I mean, it would be easier.  Hey, what are we doing today?  You want to take Mac birding or do something fun for a few hours?  I could pick up some plywood while we are out.”

Me:  “No.  No.  No.  No plywood box.  No procrastinating.  No fun of any sort until you patch that drywall and lay some flooring down there.”

Husband:  “Come on baby. . .You know, Mac’s still asleep, maybe I could lay something else real quick?  Give me some incentive?”

Me:  Frustrated, dry heaving.

Once it becomes abundantly clear no amount of bargaining is going to work, he settles into a still-angry, DEPRESSED state:

Me:  “What do you want for lunch?”

Husband:  Sigh.  “Nothing.  You don’t need to worry about me.  I’m just going to work down here on this stupid dump of a basement.  I don’t deserve to eat.”

Me:  “Stop being so dramatic.”

Husband:  Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.

Me:  “Really?  It’s not that bad.  We’re lucky to have a nice house to live in.  It’s good to take care of it.  Just think how nice it will be to have this all finished. . .getting ready for the next baby. . .It will be all done soon and we can enjoy our time with Mac later this summer and fall.”

Husband:  “If I don’t die down here. . .working on this basement like some kind of troll. . .”

Me:  Goes to the grocery store.  Sits in the parking lot eating a bag of  potato chips just to get away from his pathetic whining.

But when the whining ceases, typically ACCEPTANCE sets in.  And acceptance is glorious.

Me:  “What’s going on down here?”

Husband:  Sporting safety glasses, ear plugs, wielding a pencil, paper, and tape measure.  “I’m drawing out the diagrams for all the trim work.  I’ll go to the hardware store as soon as I’m done to get the trim.”

Me:  Yesssssss. . .FINALLY!  “Well, that’s awesome.  Show me what you’ve got.”

Husband:  Offering up a very impressive sketch.  “Now do you want the door trim this way or this way?”

With ACCEPTANCE, comes ACCEPTABLE work product.

With ACCEPTANCE, comes ACCEPTABLE work product.


Me:  “Which is easier?”

Husband:  “It doesn’t matter which is easier.  What counts is that I get this finished the way you want it.”

Me:  I’d so let you lay more than flooring right now. . .

He made these built ins!  Obviously, we still have work to do, but he did awesome!

He made these built ins! Obviously, we still have work to do, but he did awesome!








4 Responses to “Home Improvement And The Five Stages of Grief”

  1. He and my husband would be great friends- they could wallow in the misery of the pushy wife who expects projects done in under a year.

    Anita @ Losing Austin recently posted…To The Class of 2013My Profile

    • admin says:

      WE ARE EVIL HOME IMPROVEMENT OPPRESSORS!!!! I’d say I’d encourage their friendship but we wouldn’t want them comparing notes and organizing a revolt. 🙂

  2. Dani Ryan says:

    I just logged into Bloglovin’ and was all, “where has Deni been, anyway?!” and then there you were. Glad you had a productive visit with your mother, and hopefully she didn’t lock you out as many times as mine has been doing to me. 🙂

    • admin says:

      My Mother didn’t lock me out, mainly because I didn’t let her leave the house! Ha. I trapped her in the basement with a bunch of paint and told her not to emerge until it was finished. 🙂