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How Hard Could It Be?

A few years ago, I made the very courageous decision to cancel my cable. 

On the weekends, when I had a break from my stressful job, I found myself camped out the entire weekend watching annoying housewives and mouthy celebrities. Enough was enough – cable was gone. Now I only watch cable when I’m at my parents’ house. 


And since I was a refugee in their house for three weeks during the Sandy debacle, I watched a lot of it. Mostly, I watched HGTV. I love that channel. In fact, that channel is the only aspect of cable that tempts me. 

Having watched hours upon hours of HGTV, I am confident I’ve become an expert on many subjects pertaining to the home. I can tell you the average cost of a home in Toronto or how much it would cost you to have a vacation home in the Caribbean (right after I judge you due to my jealousy.) 

I can walk into an old home and tell you my expert opinion on the reno. That’s renovation to you laymen, needed to transform the home and drive up its value.

Renos are my absolute favorite. The ability to transform a home in an hour excites me. That’s how long it takes on Property Brothers. Correction: that’s how long it takes them to buy and renovate a new home. 

The renovation always look so tempting to me. Assuming I can actually lift a sledge hammer, I would love the opportunity to demolish a kitchen with it. The other part, the making-a-house-pretty part, doesn’t interest me. 


Laying tile, taking measurements, cutting wood (I could lose a finger), putting in a new floor, painting… all things I’d rather leave up to the handsome HGTV hosts that will renovate my imaginary apartment. It took me eight months to paint my first apartment. I had to sign another year lease just to enjoy my painted apartment. 

The labor and skill entailed in prettying up a house is my idea of a nightmare, but demolishing one is my idea of a workout. I got my opportunity to make my muscles scream a couple of weeks ago when my sister organized a Sandy relief work day in Staten Island for her church. 

I was told I might get to tear down sheetrock, so I was game. I assumed there would be a training of sorts to get us started. There wasn’t. We were there to lend a helping hand and it was a jump in and learn-as-you-go situation. I was excited.

My first task was to fill spray bottles with bleach. Easy! Next, I sprayed a garage with bleach to get rid of mold residue. Easy enough…until bleach ricocheted off the wall into my eye. 

I then spent the majority of the day tearing down sheetrock in a house where water had soared onto the second floor. I took a few seconds to watch others obliterate the wet sheetrock, then I started swinging my crowbar. We were told to wear masks, work gloves and goggles. I didn’t look my best, but I was prepared to work.

A few minutes with my mask, and I had had enough. I worked the rest of the days without one. Of course I inhaled a lot of dust. An older gentleman reprimanded me for not wearing my mask. I was tempted to test my crowbar on his hard hat. Instead, I concentrated all my angst at the sheetrock. 

I found that I was good at it…piece of cake when dealing with damp sheetrock. I was loving my workout. I was feeling pretty good about myself until I cut my wrist on a piece of metal. I recovered with some first aid attention from a nurse. I got back to work only to have a huge piece of sheetrock fall from above my head onto my nose. 


I thought I had broken my nose, but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I was surrounded by hard-working men and didn’t want them to think I would sissy out. So I kept on working and prayed my nose would be ok. It is…just a cut.

Later I stubbed my toe, but kept on working. In fact, I would have kept working well past 4pm, but we were told to stop. I had so much fun demolishing, but mostly, the fun was knowing I was part of a massive team helping a family in dire need. The family we assisted deserved every bit of our attention. 

Featured Image by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

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