A Klutz Like Me Should Never Attempt Self-Home Improvement

Or why I might be buying a brand new stove after just having a brand new sparkling white stove installed. Yes, you read that right. Two brand new stoves in the space of a month.

My husband and I recently made a longtime dream a reality and we are also hoping it was a better investment than anything we could have put in the stock market.

We bought a cute little getaway condo in our favorite summer vacation spot -Margate NJ, an oceanside town.

Lucy the Elephant

Image by Shawn Perez via FlickrCity, NJ. We are both from the east coast originally and have lots of family and friends there. The real estate market in resort areas took a huge hit during the economy downturn, and we took advantage of lowest prices.

It was not cute when we bought it, so we came on vacation to make it adorable. We will probably rent it out for a while. Transforming spaces is my forte – ask anyone, especially Sharon B., a Realtor.

My husband is very handy and he had a punch list of minor repairs. I cleaned and decorated. That included painting and freshening up spaces.

That’s where my trouble begins.

I do a great job painting, but I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants type, whereas my husband is methodical and plans things out. I make a mess, but darn, it looks pretty after the mess is cleaned up.

paint roller beside paint brush at paint reservoir

Image via Wikipedia

So I was painting the inside of the glass cabinets in the kitchen to match the white exterior color. It just looked better and made sense to have inside and outside match if you could see straight through with the glass fronts.

It was a tough job, requiring elbow grease and lots of coats. I was exhausted while doing

Lifetime Products folding chair

Image via Wikipedia

the high-up one. I didn’t have a step-stool, so I took a folding chair to stand on.

When I finished the THREE coats while standing on the folding chair, I must have stepped back slightly, with paint can in-hand. This caused the seat to fold up, tossing me backwards and I came crashing down – with an open one-gallon paint can 3/4 full. Paint poured out, especially the closest object – our brand new stove. The paint also went flying everywhere – the linoleum floor, the pots that were out, the coffee maker, the walls, the fire extinguisher, the formica counters. The result was an unfashionable white splattered and splashed kitchen.

In a panic, with my husband cursing my carelessness (after he saw I didn’t have a broken back or neck) we mopped up the stove first. We took off the top layer, and saw it was pooled below on the grease tray. Unfortunately that darn grease tray has many holes, which the great quantity of paint promptly poured through. When my husband unscrewed that layer, we found a paint-pooled mess on the insulation and wiring.

We spent the next six hours cleaning paint off of every single thing in the kitchen. Afterward, the linoleum was white speckled when it wasn’t before. The teal-colored walls were back to teal-colored instead of with white splatter streaks.

The stove was clean on the outside, but the hardened mess inside was still intact.

Next, I called appliance repair places. When I told them the story, no one would touch it. They told me to call the manufacturer. One guy told me, bye-bye new stove.

We have to wait two days for the verdict, but I am thinking worst-case scenario at this point – we will pay the service call and then go shopping for the second brand new stove. In the meantime, I could have spent 100 bucks to get the cabinets painted.

Super-klutz strikes again. Remind me NEVER to undertake another home-improvement project. Besides, I don’t think my heart can take it.

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  • I feel your pain….the non-joy of home remodeling. A story to laugh about and kick yourself at the same time. Next year remind me to tell you 2 fab April Fools jokes for your Apr 1st column.

  • Stove is clean, put back together and in good working order. Whew!


  • So thankful you didn’t break anything on your body!!! I do that kind of stuff all the time and it drives my husband crazy!

  • Arlene, That is really what I call a “fu-k me” moment! Thank goodness u didn’t break any bones or worse. Ovens r so replaceable and u r not!

  • So after the cleanup and dinner, two friends gave me two opposite replies to what I should have done. One said, the only thing to do is hug her. The other asked me if I smacked her around but good. Actually, neither were my reaction. While I’d like to say I did the first, my boiling blood over another time not thinking through how best to do something led to a bit of admonishment. I like that word, admonishment. It sounds so much nicer than cursing. The bottom line! No bodily harm, anything can be cleaned and we have a wonderful bit of the beach in a town and place we love.

  • what a terrible thing to happen! Glad you’re OK

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