Sunday, February 17, 2019

Matt's Stairwell

[Strangerville Live is THIS FRIDAY. Please get your tickets, if you haven't already!]

I think I may be the victim of the world's most elaborate prank. When Matt bought his house a few years ago I swear he promised me that we were just going to do a little remodeling. Since then, we have gutted so much of the house that I'm not actually sure there is a single original brick or piece of wood left.

The problem with being the silent brooding artistic genius that he is is that he's never satisfied with the way things are. "JUST LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE" I want to scream at him every time he lets me know that he's torn down another wall or ripped out another light fixture or demolished his entire yard.

He knows what he's doing, so he's able to do most of the projects himself, which is good because he is satisfied with no contractor ever. I want to call and issue a warning to anyone he hires to help him.

"You can't get away with woefully sub-par work at his house like you can at mine," I would like to tell these people. "Matt's not the pushover you're talking to right now."

It's true. I've hired contractors before. They could literally burn my house to the ground and accidentally bring in a colony of rats and I would be like "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE HERE'S 12 MILLION DOLLARS."

Not Matt. He's not afraid to call the contractor up and tell him he needs to redo something that wasn't done well. I wish I could hire Matt to represent me in contractor situations for this exact reason. But if I did hire him and he did a very poor job I would be like "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE MATT HERE'S 12 MILLION DOLLARS."

Several months ago Matt called me and said he ripped out the stairs in his house.

Like, ripped them out.

As in, he no longer had stairs.

As in, there's just a giant hole where stairs used to be.

He has to use a ladder to get to his basement, where his laundry is. He climbs a ladder while holding a laundry basket. I don't know anything about the law, but I'm pretty sure he's violating like a thousand safety codes plus some of the Constitution.

I don't know what was wrong with the stairs before, exactly. Something about "too narrow" or "too wide" or "uneven" or "they were actually fine the way they were but I like projects so you can now kiss several of your weekends goodbye because I need help."

The stair project has been on the to do list so long now that Matt has earned like fifteen merit badges in ladder climbing.

A good portion of the delay is because he keeps starting other projects before finishing this one. "YOU NEED STAIRS" we screamed at him when he informed us that he had demolished the entire facade of the front of his house so he could rebuild it to make it prettier.

For real, though. He has transformed the front of his house. It used to look like this:

That covered front porch was FULL of scary dolls and porcelain animals.

Now his house looks like this:

He did that. I know him, and he did that.

But I really need to him to get back to the stairs now.

Mostly I'm just worried that I'm going to have to take care of him if he falls off the ladder and breaks a hip, which would ruin my life plan of him taking care of me if I fall off a ladder and break a hip.

Today we spent a couple hours sawing something and measuring sheet-rock and doing calculus and I think black magic to frame out the walls of the stairwell so we can finally add stairs.

Pray for us.

If you aren't following it already, you should find broomebungalow on Instagram to see updates on his ten trillion house projects.

Also, please enjoy this week's Strangerville.

This time in Strangerville, Eli and Meg discuss what it’s like to be a BYU student. Also, a woman explains how her struggle with eating disorders inspired her to take on a whole system.
SoulPowerby Tileah Patterson
Music: Adventure, Darling by Gillicuddy
Produced by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I had a dream last night that while with my family for a family reunion, we ran into you, Eli, and my whole family swept you up and brought you along with us (we are rather like a tornado when we get together) and I confessed that the comment about honesty from two posts ago was me- the one you said made me sound like a lawyer. So my weird honesty issues plague me even in my sleep. AMY ROSE- confessing. And I do follow Matt on Instagram and his posts are always excellent and I see nothing wrong with tearing out stairs and I wish I lived that fearlessly to build my life the way I like it. In fact, I chose to call this year the year of “mistakes” so that I could do more of that kind of thing- living without fear of mistakes, but rather pursuing dreams and goals even if they may end up with me carrying baskets of laundry up a ladder- to use a common metaphor.

  2. Matt reminds me of my Dad, who once decided to take out the carpet in his new house, realized after peeling up 1" square of carpet that all of the walls and all of the floors were rotten, spent five years systematically tearing down and rebuilding every single piece of wood, and then promptly sold the whole brand-new house for about $4.

  3. My dad does the same thing. He always needs a project to be working on. But the catch is, he complains about the project the ENTIRE time he’s doing it. And how much he just wants to finish. But then he IMMEDIATELY starts another one. Is there a club for people like this?

  4. Really really good Strangerville this week. Tileah's story was mindblowing for me. I've had family members struggle with eating disorders and I've never really understood how or why. It was so helpful to hear someone talk about it the way she did. What an amazing person and how I wish any one of my family members who struggled would have met someone with her perspective when they were getting treatment.

    Strangerville is perfect. That is all.

  5. Okay - I need to know how y'all spell that z word you're calling students . . . zoobie? Zube? Zewbie? Zuby?

    My maiden name is Zurbrick and my dad's nickname at work was Zube. And in grade school I developed before anyone else - like a lot - and kids started calling me Zoobie Boobie (I'm traumatized).

    1. I think the z word you're looking for is zombie, perhaps? Because so many of the students in my first class of the day resemble zombies....

    2. I’m also in need of a spelling. And a definition! Next Strangerville episode? ;)

  6. Matt must have read this, I just saw his weekend instagram post about finally getting the stairs in. Public shaming works! Who knew?