Plaster + Thumper = me

I’ve been missing from the blog-o-sphere and the twitter world the last week or so because of an accidental kitchen renovation that has taken most of my attention in addition to just my need to begin slowing down my year and wrapping up this, that and the other professionally.

The kitchen is done now (except for a baseboard I don’t like) and, in hindsight, the way this project started and proceeded was very similar to how some other things in my life, especially, this blog and my relationship with Thumper, started, developed, and continued as well.

In the Thumper case, this all pretty much followed the same path. First, there was a bit of curiosity which was followed by a bit of prying beneath the surface which was then followed by a giant action and lots of wood, drilling, pounding, and the need for many additional showers. Add to that some blood, sweat and a bit of debris while building, shaping and creating, something sentimental and lasting, in whatever final format that happens to be. The outcome turned out to be different than the fantasy, however, the current result is something just as good or even better and one I am proud to say that even our friendship represents me and my kinky life as it’s a great feeling to have someone who knows your deepest secrets.

You follow me here on this analogy?

If not, to tie that back to the kitchen case, last Friday on the third day of working from home and the last day of officially working for the year, I was on a particularly boring conference call and was wandering through the house just looking, touching, and thinking. Our kitchen had been 80 percent remodeled already (including the countertop drama that unfolded here earlier in the year), but there was this one wall that housed the refrigerator that we didn’t really know what to do with nor did we really want to touch because it was original to the 107 year old house and that’s asking for trouble. If you have ever lived in a historic home you know this, but things are never simple when the old plaster walls are involved and once you open a wound, it just keeps bleeding. So, as I wandered, I started looking at the opening of an old pantry that housed our current, smaller than normal sized (in the US) fridge. We had been wanting to get a new one, but knowing what might be involved because of the space limitations, we just put it off until Friday came and that was finally no longer an option. So, like me being me, while on this call I thought to myself, “Drew, wonder what’s behind that trim and if the opening could be any larger?” which then led to me getting a screwdriver to gently pry back the molding, you know, to just peek. The molding came off splendidly, however, with it also came about six feet of plaster from above and beside it (we have 12 foot ceilings downstairs). Luckily the call was still on mute and my now white dust covered self (not the mention the WHOLE house) stood there saying “fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck” over and over again to myself thinking “Axel is so going to kill me“.


Since work was boring me and almost over, to the Lowes, Home Depot, and Five Guys (I was hungry) I went, not mentioning a thing of this to Axel until I had a plan. Arriving home I discovered more had fallen and even more dust was coating everything, including Stella, so I decided to just cast caution into the wind and started stripping the whole wall of the lathe and plaster and creating a giant debris mine that suddenly enveloped my whole weekend. Of course, that old house thing being that, once the walls were clean there was exposed knob and tube wiring still in the walls that needed to be changed, a weird pipe to nowhere – literally, and what appeared to be either a petrified squirrel or a lost pet kitten from 1909 all within the deepest secrets of the house’s bowels.

Still not mentioning this to Axel, once I saw the opening I was able to figure out how to get the extra 10″from the door frame, decided to use barn wood from my grandfather’s rotting barn he built in, coincidently, also built in 1907, and I went to town cleaning and making plans (literally and physically). Axel came home and was remarkably cool about the whole thing and kept saying things like  “you know, things just happen” one too many times before he revealed to me that he had parallel parked into a concrete wall earlier in the day himself, so we each silently released a giant “whew” knowing that neither could really be mad at the other and that neither of us had the right to say things like him, “you knew it was fucking plaster, why did you touch it” or me, “your car has eight or nice cameras and sensors that mean stop when they light up red and beep incessantly”.  Even though neither of us could say it, after we mentally sent those things to each other, we dusted off Stella and had a nice laugh as we each took care of the debris, mine literally and his with a call to State Farm.

Since then, I have kept a steady path of progress and things are finally finished and the wood from the barn looks amazing. But, most importantly, Axel and I are proud to announce the arrival of our new refrigerator, the Samsung, as we call it.

IMG_2665Finally, to tie this back together this is really all just about how my life goes these days, maybe it always has, with the peek and jump versus careful research and consideration. It’s working out well though, so I think I will keep it.

Today I will begin the process of cleaning the dirt from everything else before heading into the depths of Alabama tomorrow for a day with the in-laws. I wonder if I will meet Amy?  (old joke but some will remember).



  1. Looks gorgeous. We had a house with plaster walls. Nice to know that we aren’t the only ones who have just pulled away a little baseboard and basically removed a wall. You definitely made my morning 🙂

    Have a great holiday, my friend.


  2. Looks fantastic. I remember plaster dust well from my previous house, that was a mess. Had to have the whole living room replastered because the old Victorian plaster work had blown in places and crumbled as we removed the wallpaper.

    Merry Christmas and happy new year


  3. Great metaphor and gorgeous kitchen. I grew up in a farmhouse built in 1910 so I know those challenges. I was guessing that was barn wood before you said it; how cool it’s from your grandpa’s barn. I’m a sentimental sap for stuff like that. Merry Christmas to you and Axel!


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