The steps leading up to my house are what we in the business call "a mess." I'm not sure what business we have or why we have it, but the point is: mess.


See? I told you. You didn't believe me and now it's all awkward and I don't know if I can invite you to Thanksgiving.

The stairs were a mess when I bought the place. Then one day a few years ago this man from prison knocked on my door and was like "I will patch up your stairs for negative ten dollars." Technically he wasn't still from prison. He said he had just gotten out and he was looking for odd jobs.

I really wanted to take him up on the offer because I'm all about second chances and I don't know what he did to go to prison. But also, his bid was so cheap and I figured that there was no way he could make it look worse.

I didn't have time to negotiate a contract with him. I was literally walking out the door to catch an Uber to the airport when he was getting ready to knock. So I was like "I don't have time now because I'm heading to the airport and leaving my house completely abandoned and I don't have a security system and I'll be back in two weeks and no one is watching the place for me and there's a spare key hidden right under this mat and I have mounds of jewels inside so could you maybe come back later so we can talk about this further?"

It's a miracle that I didn't get robbed. It's probably because he was just a murderer or kidnapper or something harmless and not a burglar.

In any event, the man from prison never came back, so my stairs got worse and worse. Then last summer Mr. Pham was building the patio in the backyard or ripping out my rose bushes or burying a dead body or something. I never really know for sure. But sometime during the middle of his hopefully-legal work he yelled something at me about how he was going to fix my steps since there were literally rocks the size of baseballs breaking off of them.

The next thing I knew, the large pieces of crumbling concrete had been glued back together. It didn't look good, but it didn't look worse, either. Mostly.

Then winter came and it snowed every other minute for five straight months. Freezing and thawing. Freezing and thawing. I used so much rock salt on my steps this winter that the entire city's groundwater is now contaminated and we all have hypertension.

I decided that it was finally time to face the fact that I probably need to have these steps ripped out and re-poured, which only costs exactly $200,000. I was saving that money for all of you to go to college but would you rather have a future or let mamma get herself some new steps?

Don't be selfish.

The contractor came yesterday and was like "HOW ARE YOU EVEN STILL WALKING ON THESE THIS PATCH JOB IS TERRIBLE WHOEVER DID IT SHOULD BE IN PRISON" and I was like "funny you should say prison."

I know. I bought an old house. The constant barrage of problems and endless list of needed updates should have been foreseen. Now is not the time to tell me this. Not right after I found out none of you can go to college.

Make me feel better. Tell me about your home disasters and worst home improvement experiences.

~It Just Gets Stranger