It was a dream finally come true during lockdown: my husband and I left London to move to an old farmhouse in the country. Our plan has always been to get a loft fix and we’ve been lucky enough to get a little bit of capital for renovations.
We ripped out the old bathroom and kitchen and used all our savings to pay experts of the trade to fit the new bathrooms. We were convinced everything was coming together, but then work started to lag for a longer period, and material prices skyrocketed.
With money dwindling, my husband, inspired by watching countless home renovation shows on TV, began trying to finish the work himself. I soon discovered that despite his college education and successful career in law, he was useless at anything practical.
He loved buying all the equipment, spending a fortune on tools and materials—many of them unnecessary or inappropriate—and from there the comedy of errors began.
Once, I came back from the supermarket to find that not only had he drilled through a gas pipe while trying to fit the cooler into the kitchen wall, he had also drilled through his finger. I spent the rest of that day at A&E while my parents waited at our house for an emergency gas engineer to arrive to fix the ruptured pipe. Fortunately, his finger was stitched up and suffered no long-term damage.
He continued trying to finish the kitchen and bathrooms without worrying, causing quite a mess in the process. He smashed one of the kitchen window panes with a hammer—this time without hurting himself—and prompted countless complaints from the neighbors about the noise at indivisible hours.
I’ve tried to reason with him that it’s false economics: the time and debt he incurs on our credit card would be better put into paying professional people, even if we might be able to do it bit by bit. But he takes this as a personal attack and insists he is overqualified for such basic tasks.
While he is no doubt academically competent, the past few months have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he has practically no bone in his body. He seems to damage two things for every single thing he finishes. He recently sawed off a kitchen island countertop while trying to trim a piece of wood for a bathroom shelf. I’m at the end of my rope.
What was once our dream home is now in a terrible state, with tools, extension cords and debris constantly strewn all over the place. I’m too embarrassed to invite friends over again, and he only adds to the humiliation by insisting on posting constant updates on social media and asking for advice. People are posting supportive messages again, but I know they are actually all rolling their eyes and laughing, while my elderly father has to come forever to help my husband save his lousy job.
I work hard as a teacher and can’t bear to come home every day in such a mess – and with my husband showing no signs of admitting defeat, I’m desperate. We made a fool of everyone we knew.
We lost any money we would have saved by hiring experts to fix all the accidents he’s had, but he’s so strong-minded about it that I can’t make sense of him. A move to the country was something we both wanted for a long time, but now I’d give anything to sell and move back into a terraced house in town – if only he left the tools for good.
Have you been through a similar situation? What advice would you give our author? Join the conversation in the comments section below
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