Category Archives: home improvement

Promised Photos



Greg has been wanting a pond for YEARS. Back when we lived in northern Wisconsin, we used to love canoeing through the quiet channels of the lakes, and the water plants were always so peaceful and beautiful. We have many beautiful memories from those times.

Sunday, he came driving home with the back of the van filled with a pond liner and a BUNCH of rocks. He had been to our favorite water garden store and purchased a pond kit. I could tell he was pretty motivated, because when he got home after work on Monday, he dug the entire hole for the liner, went to Lowe’s to buy sand, put the sand under the liner, and partially filled the liner with water. By this time, he was having to use the car headlights to see what he was doing, so he dragged himself inside and fell into bed. Tuesday, he finished filling the pond and got the pump placed and hooked up. And Wednesday, he stopped by the water garden on his way home from work and picked up the plants that came with the kit. By the time I got home Wednesday evening, he was sitting next to the pond, reading a book, and enjoying his little oasis. When I took the photos this morning, I noticed that the big rock in the second picture looks exactly like a heart. To me, that heart represents Greg’s love for nature, for beauty, for me and the kids, and for God. So, when I go out the front door, not only do I smile at the beautiful pond, but when I come home, I am reminded of his loving heart. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Bill and Al — The Guys You Don’t Want to Hire

So, we had this funky window in our living room until last September. Sorry, oh visual ones, I can’t find a picture of it. Anyway, it was quite unique, with 9 nearly square panels (about 18″ squares) and was nearly floor-to-ceiling. As much as I liked the openness of this window, we had only one wall in the living room that wasn’t taken up by fireplace or window, so we decided to have the window replaced when we sided the house.

Enter “Bill” (his real name but not exactly his real photo – the eyes are pretty close though — I found this through googling “hillbilly guy”). He is the window “specialist” for the siding company. Now, granted, this was an unusual job. But after he removed the old window, he began to frame in the lower section of the new wall. PROBLEM WAS, Bill didn’t think he needed to leave any allowance for the drywall to be mounted later. Now, even I know that you have to have room for the drywall, but Bill was just sure that his boss had told him to do it this way. Now that I understand better about taking care of myself, what I would do if I could do it over is to say, “Bill, until we get visual contact and approval from either your boss or my dad (a builder), we shall not proceed.” Because, well, Bill was wrong. As my dad said, he was a “dumb bunny.” Dad and his cohort went to the trouble to fit small panels of drywall between these stupid studs, and nail them specially — it was a lot of work.

Enter “Al” (also his real name; also not his real picture, but I have no doubt he enjoyed counting all that dough we gave him). Al is a fine plasterer with whom my dad has worked for many years. He does know how to plaster, but he is the messiest worked I have ever seen. He said he could plaster over the messed-up window job, which he did. Let me just say, Bill + Al = Mess. The drywall mud cracked and some of the tape is visible. Plus you can see the stupid studs if you even glance at the wall.

Enter “Siouxsie” (close to her real name). I figured OK, I’m Pioneer Woman, I can fix this. Now, nine months later, here’s what I decided. I’m not fixing the drywall mud. I’m not covering up the barely visible tape. I’m not going to try to make it all smooth. I am going to live with it. So, I got out my paint and paintbrush today and painted over the whole mess. And I can’t help but think that it’s actually in better shape being a mess and being painted than it is being a mess and being a mess.

So, if “Bill” shows up at your door to install your new window, BEWARE. I COULD make all kinds of derogatory, albeit funny, comments about Bill and his intelligence, because he surely seemed like he maybe had done a few too many drugs in his younger days, but I think I will just leave it at this. You don’t want Bill to do your work.

And that’s all I have to say about that.