Herald and Journal Herald & Journal, April 7, 1997

How many outlets do you need?

By ANDREA VARGO

I firmly believe that anyone can do just about anything if you have the right tools, learn as much as you can from others before you start, and follow the directions your wife reads from the book.

My husband and I built our first home together, and we are still married.

We hired someone to do the block work on the basement. When the first wall was off about two feet in the first day, we sent the blocklayer and his bottle packing.

After doing some belated research, we hired a sober blocklayer with a good reputation. The basement looked a lot straighter, too.

When the time came, we poured the basement floor ourselves, and this is where I learned to dread the word "screed."

It is an awful, hot, backbreaking word. It means "to get down on your knees in the gravel and push a two by four board back and forth across the top of a pile of wet cement, while your husband loudly proclaims your lack of speed."

It seems we poured most of the cement in Wright County by the time we left that house. I hate cement! It makes your skin itch and fall off.

Once the basement was closed up, we proceeded to live in it until we could afford to finish the top part.

The idea was great, except the neighbor's big dogs would come over every morning when he went out to milk and do their "business" on the flat asphalt roof.

It was early, and they were noisy. Even though I tried to keep up with the mess, I had a lot to clean up in the spring.

I digress. I frequently do.

Well, when we built the top of the house, I got to pound nails in lots of things. That was fun.

Sheetrock wasn't fun. There are three words a man should never say to his five foot three wife, who is on the other end of a 12 foot sheet of sheetrock. They are "hold it higher."

Sheetrock dust can stay with you for years, just like Christmas tree needles.

It gets in your hair and is slimy when you try to wash it out. It makes you itch and break out in a rash.

Fiberglass insulation particles get under any clothes you wear and you itch until your skin falls off.

With the cement, sheetrock dust, and insulation, I didn't look so good for a few years.

Decisions were a big thing. I never in my life thought they could pose such a problem.

My husband always looks to the future when he does things.

"How do you know you will never want an outlet above the window? Maybe you will want to plug something in and there won't be one handy. I don't think it will look all that bad."

On the other hand, I will say, "Why do you always have to overdo things."

We all know I will never have use for twelve outlets in one room. Not only that, I will never have twelve things to plug into those sockets. Unless I hit a really good garage sale next month and buy a lot of curling irons and clocks.

Of course, there is more to the story, but I have to stop now or I will have to go back to the therapist for a while.



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