Toni: Reconstruction Thursdays — The Knob Theory of the Universe

When I first wrote this back in 2007, I thought I had conquered the stall… the ultimate whacked out delay tactics I convince myself must be done before I ____. Have fun, have success, whatever. I have a finely honed stalling technique, let me tell you, so when I came across it today, I thought it might make for a good topic here on Reconstruction Thursdays. Keep in mind when you read this that I am talking mostly to me.


You see, I have a theory of the universe. And that theory is, apparently, that if I change the butt-ugly doorknobs on my kitchen cabinets, the entire universe as I know it will somehow have to be remodeled. I am not exaggerating here. I’ve been knowing this since the year 2000, and I have been killing myself to not change them to save you all time and expense.

You’re welcome.

Here’s how it goes: Every so often, my husband will forget that he’s married to a relatively introverted person and, without warning me ahead of time, he will volunteer our house for a party—usually a big one which entails about sixty or so people all in our living-room and kitchen area. Now, individually, I like all of the people. And, individually, I like having them over. I’m just not so great at the whole crowd thing, though I can do it from practice now. He typically announces that he has already volunteered the house for the time and date (usually within two weeks of his pronouncement—he doesn’t like giving me much warning because the head spinning might get a little intimidating… short notice means I have to suck it up and deal). (After twenty-five years, he’s unreasonably confident that I’m not going to kill him.) Continue reading

Toni: Reconstruction Thursdays — Thinking Outside the Box

One of the things about this apartment we’re in that was annoying was one very very tiny bathroom and a plastic shower with the water pressure of a cracked garden hose. No tub, and I didn’t realize how much that would matter, but I love a deep soaker tub with an unholy fervor. Plus, I’d forgotten what it was like to battle for the one bathroom. We’d always only had the one until we had moved into the house near LSU, and then we had a glorious 2 1/2 baths, and I was in heaven. Stinky boys and husband could have two, and I’d still have one to myself. (Theoretically, at least. That never actually worked out in practice, because stinky boys don’t pay attention to things like “this is my bathroom, go use your own.” They are nefarious like that.)

The stinky boys are now grown and on their own, so I only had to do battle with Carl for the one bathroom we had, which, really, first world problem. Then I was at RWA in NYC and I got a photo text from my husband that he was building something in the apartment. (An apartment we do not own, I need to point out. At all.) Continue reading

Toni: Reconstruction Thursdays: Screw-ups are opportunities to create something better than you’d planned.

One of the hard lessons we learned early in our construction business is that you’re never going to have a project that goes absolutely perfectly. No matter how good you are, no matter how amazing and talented your employees, no matter how wonderful your suppliers, someone, somewhere along the way, is going to have a human moment and make a mistake. Or two. You just pray it’s not ten, and no one gets hurt, and it’s fixable without losing too much money. The days where everyone goes home, especially with all of their fingers and toes intact, is a good day.

But man, those mistakes can make you a little bit batshit crazy. Continue reading

Toni: Reconstruction Thursdays

(Or, how to make almost every wrong decision and it still turns out okay.)

A long long long longlonglong time ago, back in the 80s, when we were young and stupid, we built houses for other people who would, presumably, pay us when the houses were finished. There is nothing more fun than to build houses for people who will scream at each other over things like the choice of a tile backsplash, or mediate couples who will end up getting divorced over bronze vs. nickel finishes. Continue reading