Lists, Personal, Reviews


I’m not a professional home renovator. I’m not even a particularly good DIY-er. So please don’t get the wrong idea by any of the following. It’s all in good fun, to slog along with my slow house progress, see here, here, and here.

If there is one thing I’ve learned about home renovation it’s that you don’t own the house, the house owns you. And that one little project you think will be done in a weekend…? Well, that will take a year. And a half. During such projects, you often waver between absurd optimism at the beginning of said project and overwhelming despair once the full scope of the project has become patently clear. This awareness usually occurs when the room is fully gutted, fun surprises are revealed (oops, rotten subfloor!), and you realize that you’re supposed to wake up in three hours and go to work, but you need to shower and you just ripped out the tile to the only working shower in the house. Because how tacky (and/or unprofessional) is it to tape plastic sheets around the whole shower so that you can turn on the water without ruining the tile board…?*

The next thing you know you’re sobbing your little heart out, sitting in moldy filth, sounding like Darth Vader because you have a face mask on so that you don’t breathe in the moldy filth while you’re nearly hyperventilating with despair. Because renovation is never easy, surprises are never fun, and in all likelihood you’re not as good as math as you might think. So go get a frigging calculator, it’s 3am in the morning and your brain stopped working two hours ago, you will not be able to calculate the square footage of tile correctly.

The previous story notwithstanding, I am not one to cry. Well, not really… Okay, so I now realize I’ve cried twice in the past two months*, so maybe I’m just fooling myself. But aside from home renovation, there is not much that brings me to tears. Never fear, I’m sure I’ll be able to bring together some sort of list to favorably waste your time with. This week’s prompt (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish): books that made me cry. I’m altering the topic a bit to issues/events that make me cry.

Sad and Late

Truly, in no particular order:

10. Broken Appliances. I cried when my dishwasher caught on fire and I couldn’t figure out how to use a fire extinguisher to extinguish a fire inside the frame of a stainless steel dishwasher. Whether the tears are from the noxious smoke or one’s inherent failure to best an appliance is uncertain…

09. Stripping Wallpaper. There might be no home task more tedious… It’ll bore a person to tears.

08. Failure to Properly Strip Wallpaper. When you try to remove 3 layers of hideous wallpaper and all that you accomplish is butchering the drywall. You then realize you hate skim coating.

07. Money Pits. It’s all fun and games until you own it (and fail to look as cute as Shelley Long while enduring it).

06. The Lies of HGTV. If you can overlook the fact that people on House Hunters still use phrases like “man cave”, you might realize how glossy and oversimplified they make home renovation look. Regardless, Sarah Richardson is my hero.

To be serious, here are a few topics and titles that have caused more than a few tears:

05. Child Abandonment. I actively avoid any books that cover this topic, although oddly enough one of my favorite books covers this topic in detail. Example book: White Oleander.

04. Airplane Crashes/Anything Encompassing 9/11. I’ve never read a book on this topic and I doubt I ever will, but I sobbed when I heard the news that Air France Flight 447 had crashed and I get choked up at the mere hint of a 9/11 documentary.

03. Unexpected Loss (of a spouse). Not all books that cover this topic make me cry. It very much depends on the book’s character development. What I find most affecting is when an author covers the nuances of a relationship – not just lust or physical beauty, but the quiet moments in between. Stephen King is the master of this. Example book: Bag of Bones by Stephen King.

02. Suicide. Example book: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.

01. Unresolved Loneliness. I think everyone fears ending up alone, so when books end this way I’ve been known to get a little weepy.

So what makes you cry? Is it The Book Thief? I haven’t read it yet, but 2014 is the year. Maybe.

*Full disclosure: that’s a true story. And it’s a really tacky thing to do. But innovative too, right?
**So as not to vaguebook(blog): The first incident was out of frustration (overwhelmed with the state of my home renovation) and the second was for the loss of potential and was only a tear or two (turned down an intriguing professional opportunity).


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