How to Fix a Hole in the Wall (… with a bigger hole… also, I need your help again…)

Six years ago, Greg was really angry, so he kicked a hole in the wall because that’s how we handle our anger around here. Through violence to walls.

(Psst… Greg wants me to note he wasn’t angry, nor did he kick a hole in the wall. He tripped over the baby gate which punched a hole in the wall for him. He tells the story his way. I tell it mine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever.)

Long story short, I fixed it because I am a genius with drywall repair.

All you need is a permanent marker and zero compunction about drawing on the walls in front of your children. One Sharpie decoration later, and voila!, problem solved.

Which is how we’ve had a hole in the wall and a Mouse House in our hallway lo these many years. In other words, I AM SO PINTERESTY, FRIENDS!

Now hold that story in your head while we return to the present.

Greg left me home for the past 10 days while he went to Mexico to build houses, and, because our oldest kid is struggling mightily right now, I was pretty much housebound.

Housebound.

Minus grown-up supervision.

Which usually leads to acquiring farm animals.

But not this time.

This time I decided to do house projects. Even though I wasn’t finished with the last house project. Or the 12 house projects before that. All of those = irrelevant! Because doing house projects means one is productive, and completing said projects is definitely not required in order to check off the productivity box. Did you work on a project? Yes? HOW PRODUCTIVE OF YOU. <– It works like that, friends. The definition of productivity, after all, is the act of producing something. Did you produce an unfinished project? GOOD FOR YOU; YOU ARE SO PRODUCTIVE!

However, because I am both productive and responsible, I decided to check in with you first to be sure I was on the right track.

“Quick question,” I wrote on Facebook, “Ripping up the carpet on the stairs while Greg is away in Mexico building houses for those is need is a) a perfectly reasonable choice which has the added bonus of saving $$$ on renting a carpet cleaner to clean that which is basically unsalvageable anyway, b) a perfectly reasonable choice which will speed along the plan to convert to wood stairs which I say should happen last year and Greg believes is more in the “never” timeframe for house improvements, c) likely to mean walking up/down unfinished particle board for the next 10 years, and/or d) likely to lead to divorce?

“Please answer with whichever letters you believe best apply. You may choose more than one.

“Bonus question: Do I have to actually finish painting my bedroom before buying paint for my entryway, hallways and living room? Greg might say yes, but Greg is away so I can’t ask him. I feel like maybe starting 12 simultaneous projects and actually finishing zero of them isn’t irresponsible; it’s more like being true to myself. Yes? Yes, that’s what I thought.”

And you, because you are People Who Get It, responded with A, B, and a whole lot of C. Not so much worry about D. And only, like, two of you — who are, I assume, like my father the Marine who believes in Doing Things Right the First Time, and Measure Twice, Cut Once, and Do You Want to Know a Better Way to Do That, Beth?? — thought I needed to finish painting my room before destroying carpet. You really are SO my people. The Do Things Right Eventually and/or Possibly Never People. The Measure Never, Cut Till It Looks OK People. The NO I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW A BETTER WAY TO DO THAT People. Hallelujah and AMEN.

So.

I set about finding a box cutter, a mallet, and a tire iron to remove the carpet. I don’t know if that’s what one uses for such a project, but I figured they were the best way to start. I dunno. But on my way to procure said items from the garage, I found a dog who shall remain nameless…

…this dog…

…this sweet, muddy, baby, puppy dog…

…eating the Mouse House.

She figured out how to get juuust enough of her teeth inside the hole to pry off bits of drywall,

… and swallow them.

You know why?

Because she is PRODUCTIVE, and she was producing a mess.

Now, I get that some people might be dismayed by such an event. Baby Puppy Dog’s owner was horrified when I shared the news with her, for example.

I am not some people.

I looked at Baby Puppy Dog, and I looked at the new, improved hole in the wall, and I immediately discarded the stairs project so I could make the hole even bigger.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, Baby Puppy Dog.

We can disappoint Greg with the stairs later. Let’s disappoint him with GIANT WALL HOLES first.

I concocted a plan.

I bought paint.

I borrowed a drywall saw from the neighbor.

And BEHOLD, the new and improved mouse house:

Which fits a shadow box exactly:

And, after wall paint and another trip to the neighbor, who’s a set designer, is now a bare-bones outline for our brand new Fairy House:

I have hereby officially decided all future holes in my walls shall become fairy houses. Within 10 years, I anticipate the ENTIRE HOUSE will be a giant fairy haven. A fairy sanctuary. All fairies all the time.

Greg is home from Mexico now, and he’s ecstatic about this plan; ecstasy expressed the usual way, via eye rolling and a slight uptick to the upper lip some may take as disdain but I know to be Greg’s special way of thanking his Heavenly Father for gifting him with such a productive wife.

Thus we have solved one problem but created a new one. As usual. I now have the structure for a fairy house and must decorate it, except we all know I am barred from decorating alone.

This is where you come in, friends.

How do I decorate a fairy house??

Here’s what we’re going for… EASY and cheap, then cute. (This is why I’m barred from decorating alone — this is always my list, in priority order — easy, cheap, cute.)

Like this one from Beneath the Ferns:

Pretty sure I can duplicate those roof shingles.

And I’m pretty sure I can create a hinged front to the house with windows and a door. That way the entire front of the house opens so we can get to the box inside.

From there, though, I’m stuck. How do I decorate the inside? How do I light it with some kind of battery-operated gadget that doesn’t look clunky? Most importantly, how do we create the kind of environment that will lure cleaning fairies to my house??

In conclusion, I’m living into my areas of spiritual giftedness: 1) Starting projects and not finishing them, and 2) Creating problems for other people to solve.

Help me, Obi Wan; you’re my only hope.

Sincerely,

 

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
28 comments
  1. I know I pretty much have zero business writing what I’m about to, but thankfully I know enough about shoving my foot into my mouth than I do just about anything, so no fear, I’m an expert. Plus, the righteous anger in me to protect & defend those who might not be able to protect & defend themselves is making me nauseous. It’s either that or Love () gently nudging me that I most probably shouldn’t write anything….but who REALLY knows these things? I digress…
    Beth, I am an adoring fan. You are perfectly imperfect. Just like me. Therefore, because you are my newfound sister, it is my familial obligation to stand up for the injustice on this response feed.
    This particular response goes out to “Webb” – whomever you are.
    1. I believe you are rude. (Beth, I am sorry.) I also believe you are struggling. (Webb, I am sorry.)
    2. Response “D” was for “divorce” & not “particle board” – so though I didn’t read any of your comments to be particularly helpful, I thought I’d point that out for the sake of accuracy. (I appreciate precision, much like Papa Marine. ) Unless, you were hexing her with a divorce from hypothetically walking on the particle board for 10 years…either way….
    3. Since we’re on the subject of accuracy (& for those of you who may have also been confused by the use of the phrase Webb penned above), I’d like to take the time to point out the definition of “passive aggressive”: denoting or pertaining to a personality type or behavior marked by the expression of negative emotions in passive, indirect ways, as through manipulation or noncooperation.
    That said, YOU, Webb, seem to suffer more from this sad predicament than our lovely Beth. Though I do not live inside her home or her head to witness the day-to-day madness wrapped joy of it all (as a “neighbor” I’m going to take a stab at guessing that you don’t either?!), her words of unabashed transparency have given me breath & solace. And until her therapeutic way of handling the struggle, with which we ALL deal inside our own little heads & lives, leads to divorce or a Third World War, may I suggest making your comments a little more “concerned, yet ENCOURAGING citizen” as opposed to the “surly, cynical, unhelpful one”?!
    4. We…that includes you too, Webb…are all trying to do the best we can. Sometimes we screw up. Ok, most days we screw up. Sometimes we spend money we don’t have attempting to beautify SOMETHING. Anything. One darn thing (or maybe a baker’s dozen) in this sad & scary world that gives us the illusion we’re actually in control for that glorious moment. So, let’s pick our battles eh, Webb?
    5. I do not always agree with 100% of what Beth writes, or with what the majority of my family & world do on a daily basis, but the truth is, I don’t have to. They neither agree with 100% of what I do. Perhaps we could look to these faithful old adages to help guide us along this murky path: “You Catch More Flies with Honey than Vinegar” or “Pot Calling the Kettle Black” or “Rid Yourself of the Plank in your Own Eye before Pointing out the Speck in Someone Else’s” or my favorite “Love Your NEIGHBOR as Yourself” – just some things to consider. In other words, let’s be kind. Let’s lift up. If we must offer criticism, let it be constructive & in love. Let’s give more mercy & grace than we do criticism & condemnation. Let’s try & remember we’re all on the same team at the end the end of the day & if we burn all of our bridges, there’ll be nothing left to cross when we want to enter the Promised Land.

    PS Beth, you are a conqueror. And one heckuva starter!!! Both. And. Victory dance for knowing your “spiritual giftedness”!

    Affectionately cheering you on in the chaos,
    Tricia

  2. Re: the stairs. My sister in law pulled all the carpet (what was left after the dog chewed it up), sanded the plywood & painted them lime green. I believe my brother has also perfected the “eye rolling and a slight uptick to the upper lip” as a signal to others that he has the most creative, wonderful wife ever to walk this earth.

  3. I’m not sure if you have a Big Lots near you, but they have tons and tons of fairy garden accessories… not that I spent way too much money on fairies and gnomes and decorating all my window boxes…no sir.. not me

  4. OOOH! Great idea for the holes in my wall where the thermostat was moved from. I have so many ideas running now! I have a shelf I can put under for a deck for the fairies, beads and rocks to decorate with, thin pieces of wood that I was going to make into small chalkboards, but I don’t need that many of them. Popsicle sticks for the roof and eave. But I have so many crochet things I want done now and Easter is coming. Not to mention the 5 no 6 other projects I have started. Thanks, Beth! 😀

  5. I’m sending Greg a large pan of brownies by the next post.

    LOL

    Love you and your creativity, Beth! <3

    1. It’s Oregon, so consider making them ‘special’ brownies. Might help mellow Greg’s mood.

  6. There’s so much to respond to here, and I was away in Michigan not keeping up with Chez Woolsey, but here is my input:

    1) Regarding the stairs (which may be moot for the moment), but formerly I would have chosen D (i.e. 10 years of walking on particle board) except that you’ve been on a real home-improvement tear lately (change of meds?).

    2) While you’ve been urging Greg to get out of the house on his own lately, may I just point out LOOK WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HE DOES. He may never leave the house again.

    3) When you ‘couldn’t afford’ to replace your former stove with a new one, you bought a vintage one and ended up with a FIVE-FIGURE KITCHEN REMODEL.

    4) So many of these decisions have been ‘crowd-sourced’ to enlist your friendly audience. I would be interested in allowing Greg to crowd-source a response from the spouses of your readers, just out of curiosity.

    5) I mentioned this already, but you’ve become a world-class passive aggressive. With some training, I think you could represent the nation if the passive-aggression ever becomes an Olympic event.

  7. Firefly lights or Rice lights! Craft Warehouse is a local chain and has both in battery-run strings if you have time for a trip to Beaverton or Salem. For example: http://craftwarehouse.com/product/firefly-lights-15-count/

    As far as the rest, I vote for the found object decor – all the way.

  8. GENIUS.

    I am a big believer, personally, in spending no money ever on fairy possessions.

    I use free things I find outside (pebbles, acorn caps, horse chestnuts, etc.) and bits of garbage and recycling (bottle caps, empty thread spools, old house keys, paperclips) for our fairy dwellings. I mean, it’s not like there’s a fairy Wal-Mart, right? They have to creatively re-purpose things and DIY. Obviously.

    Or maybe I’m just incredibly cheap.

    1. YES. Cheap! Exactly. See? This is the kind of advice I need. I just realized I have a ton of my grandmother’s thread — there are bound to be wood spools I can make into a table and chairs. And I may strip some pinecones for roof shingles. LOVE!

      1. those things that hold a pizza up make good end tables.

  9. I’m terrible at decorating, but I think you should get one of those battery operated tea lights and hang it from the ceiling for lighting!

      1. You should run all such aesthetic decisions by Melissa.

      2. You just replied “Good idea!” to a suggestion from someone who prefaced her comment with the phrase ‘I’m terrible at decorating.’ Interesting. And maybe enlightening…?

        You should run all such aesthetic decisions by Melissa. She rarely steers you wrong.

  10. Just let me come to your house and hang out for a week and I’ll do the fairy house for you. So what if my only experience is with fairy gardens? I think I can totally do it. And I will even rip up the carpeting while I’m there.

  11. You are certainly and definitely my kind of people 🙂 my 6 year old daughter is a fairy expert, and she approves wholeheartedly!

    Also, tonite we are treating out the drywall around the fireplace in a half baked frenzy because I realized yesterday that IS AN ORIGINAL BRICK WALL IN THERE!

    you are an inspiration to us all.

  12. I love this so much. I don’t know how to decorate it, but I look forward to seeing your progress. In 2-17 years.

  13. A Fairy House! OMG I love reading your posts. That was productive AND creative. In fact, I think HGTV should consider giving you your own home improvement show. Like maybe called “Bust It Out With Beth” or “Woolsey Wonderful”.

    And you are far more patient with that baby puppy dog than anyone I know would have been. Lucky dog!

    Thank for a dose of your reality today!
    Jen T

    1. OMG. Can you even IMAGINE the Woolsey Home Unimprovement Show?? We would be the LEADERS in the What Not to Do category. At least we’d be entertaining. 😉

  14. JoAnn’s (which shall hereafter be referred to as “The Mother Ship”) has all sorts of fairy house accessories. They tend to be around the flower aisles. Not only dos The Mother Ship have snazzy things that can pretty much just be hot glued to that sucker, Michaels and Hobby Lobby do as well. Go crazy.

    You are welcome. 🙂

    1. What Anne says! As for cheap lighting, I have found the led imitation votive candles at the dollar tree. Can’t wait to see pics!

  15. SIGH.

    [sighed/signed]

    The Old Marine

    1. I know, Papa. I also didn’t balance my checkbook again. This is the 306th month in a row. And I didn’t make my bed this morning. Or the last 9,297 mornings, either. It’s all basically gone to hell since I moved out of your house. On the bright side, I actually did the math on the above # of months/days. So at least I learned something from you about precision. 😀

    2. LOL
      It’s ok, Dad. We know you tried. And she turned out ok in the end, honest. 😉

    3. To the Old Marine:

      Sigh duly noted. But as a neighbor, it’s a helluva spectator sport.

  16. I read this aloud to my husband as we were driving down 5 and I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face as my husband started yelling “NO NO NO!!!!! Let me answer for Greg. NO to ALL. OF. THOSE. THINGS!” And I’ve now been banned from ever reading your blog again because you only encourage me. 😀

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