His & Hers: Life in the Miller madhouse

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller use this space to offer their views on everyday issues.


The Miller house is a madhouse.

With two boys younger than 2, even under normal circumstances, our days are filled with "take me away" moments where Callie and I threaten to bolt to Mexico for a permanent escape.

Dawson, no!

But in our never-ending quest in trying to make our lives as stressful as possible, we're preparing our house for sale. This means a bathroom remodel, a new kitchen sink, a new light fixture here or there, some caulking and painting, power-washing the exterior, cleaning up the yard and other humdrum householdy things we've put off for a little too long.

Dawson, get out of there! No!

This means a lot of new noises have permeated the home.

Drills and saws, hammers and nails and many things that would keep a baby awake during naptime. It also comes with more human noises, such as the other day when I smashed my finger when my drill bit broke. And there's my constant complaining. I abhor household work, particularly work that I have never done before, such as changing out a sink faucet.

Bob, can you fix a bottle for Eli?

Truly, when I'm doing handyman work of which I should not be handling, I become the biggest baby in the house. I am not a pleasant person.

Thank you, Dawson, for the kisses, now go see Mommy.

On my days off, I've been spending 10 to 12 hours doing work on the house. Tools are scattered everywhere. A thin layer of drywall dust coats our kitchen floor. My left middle finger is working on scabbing over and I can never find the tool I need without a 30-minute search.

Dawson! Put the hammer down!

Crazy days indeed at the Miller house. One more weekend of major work is ahead of us, and then the selling process will begin.

And then maybe we can worry about Christmas presents.


Speaking of Christmas, the biggest blow with this whole house-on-the-market thing is not getting to decorate for Christmas until after advertising photos have been taken of our home. It is killing me. I usually like to have my halls decked the week before Thanksgiving -- or earlier, depending on Bob's scowl level.

Aside from that, there is a little bit of nostalgia attached to this house -- I feel it. Stepson Drew feels it, too. The closer we get to having a "for sale" sign in the front yard, the quieter he becomes about the situation. Bob has always hated this house, so mainly he's got a don't-let-the-screen-door-hit-you attitude. (Screen door replacement, another thing we've learned to do in recent weeks. That one took four hours.) But this house is where we lived for the first five years of our married life. It's where we brought our boys home from the hospital. We've sunk our hearts -- and our wallets -- into this place.

So in some ways, it will be hard to say goodbye.

Most of the things that would have made it easy to see this place go have now been fixed, thanks to our efforts to spruce it up for the next owners. We have hated the downstairs bathroom from day one. And now it's beautiful! Seems a little ironic. But hopefully, in a few months, it will be worth it.

Hopefully, we'll go from a madhouse to a fun house.

Callie Clark Miller is the special publications managing editor for the Southeast Missourian. Bob Miller is Southeast Missourian managing editor. Reach them at cmiller@semissourian.com and bmiller@semissourian.com.

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