Saturday, May 10, 2014

Orange Swan's Laws of Home Renovation

You've heard about Murphy's Law, of course. Well, here are Orange Swan's Laws of Home Renovation, as written by me:

• If you carefully cover your entire floor with a number of drop cloths and one of them shifts about to expose an inch of floor, that inch will immediately acquire a paint splotch, apparently through sheer magnetic force.

• When trying to install a light fixture, there will be a moment when you’re standing on a chair, the fixture is wired but not secured with screws and so still needs support from you, and you drop the screw you need to complete the installation on the floor, six feet below you. There will be no one around to hand you said screw.

• Things always cost at least twice as much and take twice as long as you ever would have thought possible.

• A task that you thought would be simple and take two minutes can more often than not end up being insanely complicated and involve a power outage, panicked bewilderment, hours of research, an emergency trip to Home Depot for supplies, and hundreds of dollars. I'm thinking specifically of a time when I tried to replace a plastic electrical outlet cover.

• You won't really know how to do a specific repair until you've completed 80 to 100% percent of the repair and it's too late for the information to do you any good.

• While working on renovations, you will find yourself muttering a) much profanity b) phrases common to porn movies, and c) bizarre word association/stream of consciousness verbal creations (i.e., singing “fuckity fuck fuck, fuckity fuck fuck” to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”.)

• You will constantly make declarations about the laziness, incompetent maintenance, atrocious housekeeping, and bad taste of the previous occupants. Subsequent occupants will say similar things about you and systematically undo/redo all your hard and painstaking work.

• You will have “oh for CRYING OUT LOUD” moments when you discover some ridiculous attempted fix or incomprehensible mistake made by the former occupant of your place, such as finding a working electrical outlet under some wallpaper, or an excellent-condition hardwood floor under green shag carpeting, or the ruination of an antique detail via a botched attempt at retro fitting it.

• You will be hampered in your attempts to do something reasonable by some heretofore unsuspected and nonsensical city ordinances, and declare your municipality to be a) a Banana Republic or b) a fascist state.

• You will occasionally find out that you have unwittingly been running some health and safety risks, such as those occasioned by mold, lead paint, faulty wiring, a dryer vent that has not been cleaned out in decades, or smoke detectors sans batteries.

• You will find very old coins in unexpected places, such as a ventilation grill or under an appliance, check the date on them, and note that it’s been decades since that specific location was cleaned or maintained.

• You will occasionally make a discovery of something charming, such as finding old momentos tucked away in a hidey hole or an antique wallpaper behind a wall.

• The occasional utter disaster is inevitable. Quite often this disaster can involve a large quantity of water in places other than those in which you would desire it, i.e., not in a hot tub. These disasters are all the more likely to strike at especially inopportune times, such as the morning of your housewarming party, or while you're away on vacation for two weeks.

• Home renovations workers you hire will occasionally make comments you did not expect, such as compliments about the duvet on your bed.

• You will fondly reminisce about your days as a renter.

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