That Time I Tore Out Our Walls With my Bare Hands in a Fit of Rage While Wearing a Bonnet

laundry room

For eight months we’ve had no walls in the back porch. Well, you can see ‘walls’ with gaps in them in the photo because the back porch is a laundry room with a bathroom, so those are cedar wood planks in our little bathroom on the porch.

The previous walls were made of 12 inch wide pine tongue and groove planks–the same thing on the floors in the first floor of our house–except for the kitchen where there was linoleum. So we sacrificed wood walls on the back porch for wood floors that matched the rest of the house in the kitchen. The trees for the wood were bought on the NC coast and milled here at the sawmill on our property 30 some years ago. So there was no dropping by the flooring store to match the floors.

See how you can see light coming through the wood planks in the top photo? Our temporary solution to create privacy in the porch bathroom was to nail up random scraps of wood and bungee cord up big pieces of cardboard so our friends and family could do their business without worrying about the little gaps in the wall.

back porch process

porch 'walls'


Aren’t we clever?

It was a great fix that first day. Then months went by.

Then one day two weeks ago, Chad had just started working on the pool to get it back from Loch Ness green to blue and he walked in the back porch and told me that the pool pump, one of the three things in this house that actually worked when we purchased it, wouldn’t turn on and I. Lost. It.

That was the straw.

Something came over me and I walked into that porch, ripped out the cardboard “wall” to this bathroom, threw it into the yard where the boys & Chad were and screamed at the top of my lungs that I can’t live in a house that needs this much work any longer. {insert Nellie Oleson voice & hair bows}.

I threw a fit. A tantrum. I had a moment.

I declared that we WILL have walls on the porch in the next week and that pool WILL be blue in two weeks. I’m not sure what my consequences would be, but empty threats screamed at the top of my lungs actually made me feel better and then I went in and made pizza because it was Friday. And then at dinner I apologized for my screaming fit.

I’m not proud of my behavior but I am saying this. Three days later I had walls going up.

back porch



This is the last wall patiently waiting to be made whole again. Once all the walls are up, I’m priming and painting this room white maybe with grey trim. It’s the first room everyone sees when they walk into our house, no one ever comes to our front door so this is basically our front porch. Nothing says Welcome to our Home like a toaster oven on top of a dryer in front of a wall made of insulation. Am I right?

i don't always have walls

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  1. Yesterday was so bad, nerves were so shot that I threw up. In front of my children. On the white slip covered chair. (Thank God!) Today, after reading this and laughing out loud I felt better.

    No one loves a good Nellie Oleson moment more than me.

  2. I just love you. Seriously. Also I cried while reading this- partly because I cry over everything, but mostly because it’s simultaneously hilarious and freeing (not that I’ve ever had a screaming rage over my house or anything…. *heavy sarcasm*).

  3. Love this. My Mom credits me with finally getting banisters on her stairs 8 years ago. I told my parents I wanted to get married in their house and within 2 weeks my Dad had banisters up after 25+ years of living without them.

    My Mom also hosts Thanksgiving and mentions one project she wants done before then and my Dad gets it done. He needs concrete time frames apparently lol

  4. This made me laugh, mostly because I’m glad I’m not the only who has thrown a fit over projects that need to be completed. I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.

  5. I have a living room ceiling that would definitely inspire a Nellie Olson moment, if I were prone to such things. Which I’m not exactly admitting to, but let’s just say my husband will NEVER buy a fixer-upper again because someone in this relationship can’t handle it.

  6. Love this! I totally understand where you are at- I can relate! Can’t wait to see the final reveal

  7. I feel your pain! I had a screaming fit last week and lost it on my husband…thankfully my son was in the other room with head phones on! My pool has been a swap for months and I could not get it clean, my over broke, AC went out, my back porch..which is our foyer- no one uses our front door – WAS a disaster! My celling we DIYed years ago is falling down! Thankfully I got a grip and got the pool blue again, my husband fixed the oven and someone is coming to repair the AC today! (its already hot in SC) We plan to get that celling planked really soon! If I can answer any questions about your pool I would be glad to help…I have become an expert over the last 2 months! It’s a love hate relationship. Your home is looking beautiful!

    • xoxoxo!!!

      we purposely let our pool turn green (I hate admittting that) we had to replace our entire water system before we could do the pool, so now that that’s done, the next step is to focus on the pool, as we move forward I might be emailing you!!!

  8. Hey there. I’m not sure I’ve ever commented here before. I got your book last week and have so enjoyed it. I appreciate your honesty and the ability to find and make beauty in the midst of your circumstances. That concept is something near to my heart. I live in an old white farmhouse built in 1900 with a great wraparound porch that is, sadly, floored with green turf at the moment. So many other things need our attention this summer, but I do want to create cozy environment for my family and guests. Any suggestions for decorating around green turf? (Now there’s a question I never thought I’d have to ask…)

    • have you seen those indoor/outdoor rugs? maybe grab a few, or….could you pull it up today? even if it’s gross underneath you might like it better than turf?

  9. Thanks for the free entertainment! And most especially for being real.

  10. Tracie says:

    Oh, bless you. We purchased our foreclosure fixer-upper five years ago and I know that feeling all too well. “We are doing this NEXT and NEXT is happening THIS WEEKEND because I am so sick of looking at this MESS.” Staring at open, un-drywalled walls like that got to me the most, I think. The plywood flooring before we put the hardware down was a close second. I felt like I was living in squalor. But now we are coming up on the end and have only the kitchen, patio, driveway, and a bit of trimwork left, and our home is so beautiful, so homey, so cozy, and exactly the way we want it. It’s us. And I would not have it any other way. You will get there – and you seem to be getting things done faster than we have been able to :)

  11. This is so funny! And it makes me feel better. I’ve lived in my house for 17 years and have been waiting that long for the basement leak to be fixed, the broken down deck to be repaired, and a host of other things. Obviously, I’ve been doing it all wrong. Maybe I just need to pull a Nellie Olsen! ;)

  12. This is amazing. I know how you feel! I feel a sudden urge to put my hair in rag curlers to prepare for my very own Nellie Olsen fit.

  13. Everyone needs a Nellie moment. Or two …

    Feel better?


  14. We are in camping ministry and started out in a 600 sf former caretaker’s cottage. Our toddler was sleeping in a closet and I was pregnant with number two. After MUCH prayer, God provided a way to enlarge our little house to 900 square feet! We even got to design it and I was going to get a washer and dryer and an actual place for a table! While away on vacation, the board came by for an inspection and I returned to find a laundry closet jutting out into my dining area (basically rendering it useless!) and a kitchen designed by business men which involved the dishwasher opening in front of the only entrance to the kitchen!! I threw a stomping, crying, screaming, pregnant lady hissy fit. ;) not to say I should have done that, but….. We got our dining space back and the dishwasher in the right place. I miss that kitchen, still!

  15. i’m sorry, i shouldn’t be laughing but when i read the title i immediately thought “oh this is going to be good” and i giggled at your melt down, i know i’m horrible. but i giggled because i’ve had a few of those myself – actually just recently in the isles of target trying to find a product (it was a bad monday). melt downs are needed sometimes, just scream, rip down walls, and give yourself a moment to be a beast, i’m sure you felt better afterwards ;)
    in all seriousness the walls are looking great! i can’t wait to see what y’all end up doing with this space!

  16. proof positive that tantrums not only make you feel better…but can be productive! LOL!

  17. I spent all of Sunday afternoon laying weed barrier fabric and cedar mulch in the ugly flower beds that my rental has sported for the five years I’ve lived in it. I also had to straddle a creek to bend over and pick large rocks out of it because they were impeding the flow of water. Then I hauled the rocks over to the flower beds and installed them as edging. My back and hamstrings are still so sore. I was pretty darn proud of myself, and my husband even complimented me on it. Then I woke up yesterday morning to see that the dog (who has been reduced to “the dog” without a name… that’s how mad I was) tore it all up. I may have screamed and thrown a five gallon bucket against a tree. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone. :)

  18. Bethany says:

    Maybe we need a new motto: You don’t have to be perfect to do great things.

  19. Laugh! Out! LOUD…
    “I’m just saying… 3 days later I had walls up…”
    OMGosh I adore you!!!
    Been there, done that!

  20. Heh heh. You’re my kind of gal.

  21. LOVE. You go, girl!

  22. Best. Blog. Post. Title. Ever.

  23. Love how real you are and that you claimed a Nellie Oleson moment. My parents used to call me Nellie when my behavior was, well, Nellie-like. Funny post!

  24. Laughing and loving it! Reminds me of the time I could not handle looking at our broken storage ottoman for one. more. second. After asking and asking and asking for it to be repaired, and then determining there truly was no good way to fix it, I’d ‘had it’, as my mom would say. Did I mention that I’d asked for it to be fixed? So, I opened up the double french doors that connect our living room to our deck and very gracefully (insert sarcasm) turned that thing end over end until it was at the top of the deck stairs. Did I mention our deck is about 7 feet off the ground? Then, shoved her on down the steps. My husband, who was in the back yard at the time said, “I guess I’m going to the dump today.” Ten minutes later, the ottoman was in the ‘Too Good to Throw Away” area of the Henrico County landfill.

  25. Laughing so hard over here. YESSS. Our pool pump / filter / grid thingy broke in December so the DE powder was pumping back INTO the pool and hot tub. It basically looked like a sandy beach on the bottom of said pool. I live in FL. I do not need a sandy beach in my pool. The pool company kept giving me the run around and kept losing staff and blah blah blah. Well last month I full on lost it too. Yup, an over the top raging fit – Mama was on a tear and it was completely unattractive.
    And miraculously a new pool company showed up two days later and fixed the problem and broken part for $175.
    It’s funny how that works, huh? ;) Can’t wait to see more pics! xo

  26. Ah yes…. this is what I refer to as the “underground garage of crazy”. It comes out usually when your people thought they had seen all the levels of crazy. And I’m not saying it’s good. I’m just saying it’s a powerful motivator. Congrats on your walls. :)

  27. THIS is why I love you! Thank you for being real and honest and authentic. I have a NOM at least once a month.!! :) I hope you get that wall up before Mother’s Day :) What a great gift that would be!

    I was so bummed to go to my local Barnes and Noble yesterday and find out your book was out of stock!! I just ordered it on Amazon. It cannot come fast enough.

  28. Your realness in sharing about your frustration in living in a constant state of upheaval and repair is refreshing, and you so gracefully (Nellie Oleson & all) show us that it isn’t all BH&G all. the. time. I so appreciate you sharing the mess along with all your pretty.

  29. Boy, its nice to know I’m not the only one who does this!!! My basement looks like a lumber store and I’m about ready to throw it all out to the yard!! Thanks for being real!!! LOL!

  30. Ana @ Lessons From Yesterday says:

    In the third picture of your house from the bottom, your door with the glass in the top looks like it has several coats of paint. Do you have any tips or advice on stripping multiple coats of paint? I have OLD doors in my house, some of which have 5-7 layers of paint, and when we redid our house, I was told they were unstrippable, and we painted them brown, but I’ve never been happy with them, and am always looking for a way to do something different. I love this post–we redid our house in one fell swoop, so I feel your remodeling pain! Thanks! :-)

  31. Oh wow. I love this. Now I don’t nearly feel as crazy for the freak outs or tantrums I have about the constantly clogged pipes or the fact that my washing machine is the first thing you see when you walk in our front door. At least I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing Myquillyn.

  32. Girl, never underestimate the power of a good hissy fit! I too live in a house of men and I find that a well placed hissy fit can turn things around faster than you would believe!

  33. This was a great way to start the day! I laughed so hard. I did the same thing when we tore up our floors. I was so overwhelmed my all the mess and all that wasn’t done!

  34. Ha! You, too? Mine don’t usually have the power that yours did, but I feel better afterwards (after apologizing). Everyone comes in our laundry room, too. It’s so hard to make the first impression nice when dirty laundry and shoes are the first thing anyone encounters when they walk in the door. ;)

  35. Hahahahaha Girl, you make me laugh. and think. and cry. Love you! ~K.

  36. Is it ok to throw a fit for no real reason? I just wish I had a bonnet!

  37. I have to say… seeing The Most Interesting Man in the World make a Nellie Olsen reference made my day! Love it!!

  38. Nester, how can I ever again get a good fit going, without breaking down in laughter imagining you and then me as Nellie Olsen????????? You’ve ruined fits for me forever.

  39. I threw a fit one day while I was trying to fill up a dish pan from the bath tub and my husband didn’t tell me it was a quarter turn faucet. HOT water everywhere. I shouted right in front of the neighbor. He stayed to help DH hook up the kitchen sink that afternoon.
    Maybe I need to throw more fits lol

  40. Tara G. says:

    Love. it. Love you! I’d like to see the big bow in your hair, too. :)

  41. This is hilarious. Can you please wear a bonnet? :) I pitched a fit the other day too. You’re not alone. :)

  42. Allison K. says:

    Love the REAL that comes thru all of your posts!!! During our remodel last year, I’m pretty sure I “had a moment” most every day…usually going to my room and throwing myself on the bed …kind of like Nellie Olsen! Just had to have a little meltdown and get it all out. Thank you for taking us on your journey with you, and trying to find some humor in even the most frustrating of moments. You have no idea how much the Lord uses you in your sister’s lives, McQ!!

  43. Valerie H. says:

    Loved this! Once, when I was eight months pregnant and had just spent 8 hours at the museum with a cranky kindergartner we went through the drive-thru ( at the place we all know so well) for dinner, and when I got home the lettuce on my sandwich was BROWN. I threw such a fit on the phone that the manager had an employee deliver a meal to my house to replace it! I seriously want that put on my tombstone: “She got Mickey’s to deliver” !

  44. Bless your sweet, honest heart. I couldn’t even count how many times I have done this.

  45. I just love your real life pictures and moments…bless you, I’m glad you’re getting real walls instead of cardboard!

  46. Angela says:

    Glad to know you are human. ;)

  47. So perhaps the occasional hissy fit is good for the soul, you think? Or at least good for the to-do list.

    I love you forever simply for the fact that you showed your toaster-oven-sporting dyer with a glimpse of your gorgeous kitchen in the background. Makes me think we’d all do well to remember that just outside someone’s magazine-worthy scene lies the makings of a Nellie Olesen moment!

  48. Jameka says:

    Thank you for being so transparent on this blog. It makes all of us other imperfectionists feel soooo much better. Also I think anything can be made into a Dos Equis meme.

  49. I love the Little House reference! I think sometimes the people who you’re working on a project with don’t know that an aspect is a priority until you bring it to their attention. Maybe a hissy fit isn’t the best way to let them know but certainly is effective.

  50. The only thing worse than living in renovation mode is when you’ve lived that way for so long that you’ve GOTTEN USED TO it! People probably come to my house and wonder why so many things are undone. I honestly don’t even notice anymore. — Now that is scary! PS – We had to live for 2 years without flooring while numerous different “experts” tried to figure out why water was coming up through the cement slab (we live in the south -without a basement). The cement floor was not the edgy, industrial vibe. It was knarly and cracked and scraped and hideous from the tile removal. Yes; we did have the house inspected; and no, the inspector never said a word. Also, the house looked fine when we made our offer; and was totally trashed when we closed. We still have about 200 projects on the list; but we’re pretty burned out. The good things are: we are fortunate to have a roof over our heads, and a beautiful view, warm weather, and — the love of God!

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