When the Cat’s Away the Mice Will Play


Kelly went on a camping trip this past weekend leaving me alone at the Root Simple compound. I took the opportunity to make a slight modification to the homestead. I don’t think she’s noticed yet.

Consider this post an inside challenge. Kelly–I dare you to find what I did. No hints yet.

Readers–have you done any projects while your significant other is out of town?

Kelly’s Response:

So no, I did not notice his “intervention.” Worse, I didn’t even see this post.  Bad blogger, bad. He had to call my attention to it. Then I searched for what he’d done, and could not find it. He laughed cruelly, very amused I could not see it, and would not give me hints. Finally, today (5/23), he gave me a hint and I found it: he’s installed a HAM antenna on our roof.  I guess I just don’t look up at the roof enough!

I have no objections to the antenna, though it is an ugly thing. Yet somehow, it says LA.

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  1. Once when my husband went out of town for three days, I had a little project to do. I wanted an air fern hanging over the claw foot tub. I thought it would be great. I bought the proper hanger.

    I have the reputation of always being able to find studs. So, I got on a ladder with a pencil and yardstick and tape and measured sort of where I wanted to find a stud, somewhere OVER the tub and sort of near the center of length of the tub and maybe centered to the width. I knew that looking up and standing on a ladder, I could never even get one of these right without a mark to hit.

    Then, I started pecking around with a hammer, looking for a stud. I found a stud, and hammered a nail into the spot. Nope, missed the stud. I did this three more times, each time pecking around to find the stud. Three more times I missed. So, I randomly and frantically tried three more times. Are you keeping up? That is seven holes in the ceiling with the plaster falling into the tub.

    One more time, and I accidentally got it right, put in the hanger and hung the fern. Finally, I just put Scotch Tape over the holes to stem the powder falling out. I hoped he would never see it.

    It took my husband two weeks or thereabouts to find the mistakes. He came roaring out of the bathroom, fists clenched, demanding to know what I had done, why, and when. I just laughed because it took him so long to find what I did.

    Although he was angry enough to threaten to hit me, afterward he was mostly dumbfounded that I did not find a stud with the first try like I always did. He spackled the holes and repainted the messes.

  2. Four years ago come June, while my husband was spending 4 weeks in the hospital with open heart surgery and complications I decided to straighten up the garage. Yes, I know, never touch the man’s holy place but since I really wasn’t sure he’d ever come home again and needed something to keep busy I did it anyway. I only put things where they belonged, didn’t throw out anything, swept up, dusted off. It took him exactly the walk thru from the car into the kitchen to know I’d messed with his precious stuff. He still blames me when he can’t find something and I haven’t straightened anything in 4 years. He even complained to his surgeons, cardiologist, wound specialists, infection specialists,his primary and MY primary and dermatologist about what I did!

  3. ALWAYS! Dear husband can’t handle the chaos of a project in progress, he has no vision of what it could be. So when he goes on man camps, I rip out the tile floor, paint the entire house a color (gasp!), remove the kitchen island, etc. etc. etc.

    If he comes home mid-project he freaks and starts putting it back together (unless it’s too far gone) but if he comes home to a finished project, he always love it (or doesn’t notice it for days).

    He just can’t imagine the finished product.

  4. Decluttering and occasional moving around of furniture tend to happen more often when dh and kiddos are away. As JacJac mentioned – because my dh also has a harder time visioning stuff (and with change in general), if I move things to a better spot when he’s not around to naysay/doubt it in the first place, we all have a better time. Decluttering-wise, I don’t touch anybody’s holy of holies, but disappearing excess, unused things into a tucked away bag or box and then quietly removing said bag or box after a judicious period of time is often better. As the kids have gotten older, though, I just have them do more of their own decluttering right before birthdays or other occasions where they are likely to receive presents from relatives etc., as the anticipation of new stuff often takes the sting out of letting something else go. Not exactly “projects” in the sense of hammer, paint, wood and plaster etc, but important nontheless in the scope of keeping one’s house in good order!

  5. I also threw away husband’s clothes when he was not looking. He had a tie with a hole in it that he wore to church. (He was the minister.) Finally, I put it in a paper grocery bag I used for garbage. I rolled it up and put it in the middle of a bag with things like banana peels, potato peelings, sticky packages, popsicle sticks. He came in berating me for throwing away his favorite tie. He said wives should mend ties. Well, the hole was over 1/4 inch across and grew all the time. He wore it to church the next Sunday. I told the elders standing in the vestibule that he rescued that holey tie from a nasty garbage bag, so they were not to think I let him go around scruffy. Obviously, they had all noticed the hole before, or there wives had because they told him to throw it away. So, he did. But, he still searched the garbage to make sure I did not throw out old underwear of his with no elastic left.

    I never threw out his hs letter jacket or his rotten galoshes he had had for 20 years that no longer kept water out. So, I was not just throwing out his treasures.

  6. I would love a picture of the antenna! Seeing as my own foray into Amateur Radio was inspired by Eric’s previous posts on the subject. I recently received my license and have been tiptoeing into it. Mostly from an emergency prep standpoint (CERT / ARES).

    Also, I experienced the “mice playing” while I was on a 2 week business trip out of the country. Because of the time difference it was child’s play for Amy to take on some painting projects without me being able to figure out she was up to something when we spoke on the phone.

    When I came home she had accomplished quite a bit. Whereas, if I had been home, she would have been constantly slowed by my hovering! Also, most likely I would have had something to say about the color, “but I don’t know what I’m talking about.” 🙂

  7. glad to hear the outcome of this post.
    i agree with vince. would love to see a pic of the antenna!

    • Chappell–Will post a pic showing the new antenna in all its glory–hope you are doing well.

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