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


  1. hi.lar.ious. And so in line with the reality most moms i know live. Very refreshing to read! Thanks for the laugh, I”m glad you have walls now. :-)

  2. Oh, girl, if I had a dollar for every time I threw a Nellie Oleson fit, I could afford a really nice bonnet. You are making great progress! :)

  3. Laughing out loud at my desk! Yes, afraid I just had a Nellie Olson fit last Sunday night over the clutter other family members mysteriously do not see! So glad you have walls & by the way….I think your imperfect home is pretty perfect!

    • Elizabeth says

      Me too! My husband can’t see his messes either. I tell him he has “pile blindness.” And he just laughs because he knows it is true.

  4. I read this while hubby was getting ready for work this morning, then passed it to him to read – we both laughed so hard! Good way to start the day! I can say it’s been a loooong time since I’ve had a tantrum. I think the last one was several years ago, when our area had a sewer system put in. First, I was happy with our septic (I’d grown up with one, and it worked great), but the voters voted, so… after years of expecting it to be put in, it was financial misuse was discovered, a new contract had to be sought and so on. Very suddenly they showed up, plowed through rosebushes, and left a GIANT metal cover in my yard. Although it seems a bit silly now, I blew it. On my husband, of course. For the most part, I’m just a plow ahead and do what I want with my house type – I’m blessed with a husband who likes what I do, I forget there are husbands who might not like that, even though I was raised by one! I read the comment from Gina, with the green turf, and thought, “Why is it still there? I would have ripped it up already!” then realized, “Oh, maybe her hubby doesn’t want to see what’s under it until he’s ready to deal with it”, lol. My parents didn’t quite inherit green turf, but green indoor/outdoor stuff that was pretty nasty – they’ve lived in that house for 35 years, and my mom only got my dad to put tile in THIS YEAR!!!

  5. Thank you for posting this! Maybe I need to throw a Nellie Olsen sometime soon to get a few of my projects done…

  6. Bwahahahaha! Took me a few brain cells to figure out who Nellie Oleson was…….Little House on the Prarie, I think. Anyhoot, a little hissy fit never hurts anybody. It makes normal feel better and obviously got things rolling again. Hang in there girlie. You and spouse are doing a fine job (says the lady sitting on the sofa perusing her favorite blogs).

  7. OH MY WORD. I laughed and laughed at this. And then I hid my face in shame because I have thrown SO MANY temper tantrums over our unfinished house. But I did always try to do them in private. Maybe I should try your method. ;)

  8. I’m sitting at my desk actually laughing out LOUD at the caption on the picture!
    (You are not alone in the temper tantrum category – I have one about every two weeks!)
    Oh my….thanks for the laugh, I needed that!

  9. Too funny, I say do whatever works…wall up, next!

  10. Oh my goodness, the title of this post alone made me giggle.
    I feel like a kindred spirit with you in your frustration. We are renting one of my Mother In Law’s homes which is a wonderful blessing, except it needs a ton of work! We not only had a green pool, we had a swamp with ducks and tadpoles!
    Most recently, after an incident with a paint sprayer exploding, I flew a bit off the handle and threatened to take the dogs and pitch a tent in my parents back yard, because I was sure it would be easier than spending another moment working on the house.
    Its the Good Stuff of Life!

  11. Well. You know about my tantrum/prayer session over my white chair. We had our favorite maintenance man fix it up with a nail gun. And by maintenance man, I do not mean my husband. I mean one of the maintenance men for the children’s home who should be getting paychecks from us.

    P.S. This is one of my favorite posts ever.

  12. Loved this post! I just received your book. Loving quiet moments with coffee reading it. It is wonderful. Can’t wait to see more post as you redo this house. You do such a great job. I have finally understood it doesn’t have to be perfect, what freedom to enjoy and live in our home. My husband always has said, ” you can’t take it with you.” Keep posting, enjoy your blog so much. Peggy

  13. Love this!

  14. I love this! I totally get the screaming fit and having to apologize and make things right. I’m not a screamer but I can be a very ugly woman and I had to apologize just tonight. Since I can’t possibly model perfection at least I can model accountability and humility. Great job!

  15. The juxtaposition between the Ma & Pa Kettle back porch and your gorgeous bedroom just crack me up. You are awesome. Thank you for keeping it real.

  16. ah. yes.
    the tantrum.

    it gets many a project done at Fieldstone Hill.
    because Drama is my middle name.

    welcome to the Dark side.

  17. Sometimes you just have to channel Nellie to move forward!

  18. Anjanette says

    I was substituting for my kids Healthy Lifestyles teacher last week and the lesson was on feelings and anger. Going outside and yelling at the sky was actually one of the things listed as an acceptable way to deal with frustration and anger. Hilarious!

  19. Bridget says

    No idea who Nellie Oleson is, but I’ve been looking at cardboard walls in our downstairs bathroom, for some time now. We were hosting a houseful of people some year back and did this quick “temporary” fix that worked so well, apparently, that we no longer think it needs fixing. I’m looking for my bonnet right now.

  20. Shamefully, I throw fits like that a lot because our little house is too small, needs too much work, and as of late has mice. To which my husband says, “oh, the snake under the porch must have died.” Whaaatt? Temporary insanity leads to progress, though, right?

    Oh, and we’re on a LHOTP marathon at my house and let’s just say Nellies tantrums make the show :)

  21. Oh thank you for posting this story and those pics! Every once in awhile I totally lose it and I like to think of myself as a calm person. My house and yard are always in some state of Reno or repair and sometimes it is just too much. It is a comfort to know that I am not alone in my frustration….. :)

  22. I feel your pain. My laundry room is the door 99.99% of the people come through. I swear everyone in this town has seen my bras hanging on the drying rack, our dirty clothes, and every pair of shoes we have ever owned! Welcome to my home.

    • P.S. I threw a fit yesterday because my husband cleaned fish and left the guts in our garbage can. I could smell it all over the house and yard. Not my proudest moment.


    and random but each time i hear john legends song, all of me.
    the part of the chorus that says, “all your perfect imperfections…”
    i think, “it’s the nester’s song!!!” ; )))

  24. Amazing. Sometimes, nothing gets things moving faster than a mama meltdown!

  25. Jeannie says

    I soooooo appreciate knowing that I’m not the only one who has these moments and isn’t afraid to own up to them. Love seeing your progress!

  26. Jennifer says

    First, I thoroughly enjoyed this post (although, I admit I had to google Nellie Oleson to remember who she was! *and yes, I read all the books and watched the show…it’s just that it was a long time ago, but I digress…) Second, there is just always something that needs attention in any house. We have replaced the same portion of our kitchen ceiling 3 times…and thanks to all the snow and weird polar vortex awesomeness this winter, it leaked again in the same spot AND in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I’ve learned to let go of the idea of everything being finished simply because after living here 20 years (with 4 kiddos and a dog!) I realize it never will be, in this house or any other. Congrats on the new walls, may they stay in one piece for as long as possible :-)

  27. I always think no other woman on earth has screaming fits but me. Glad I’m wrong. Can I show my husband this post? And yes, usually it results in something getting done. Cause a man will do anything!

  28. Ha! You sound just like me. Gotta let your frustration out once and awhile. Poor hubbies though :) I told my sister to read your book while she was babysitting my kids today (I loaned it to her for only a few hrs-ha!) and I went to pick the kids up and her living room was getting changed around and she was deciding what to paint! I did the same thing. And for dirt cheap.

  29. Omg thank you for posting this. I just laughed so hard at this! We have all had our fits and I LOVED reading about yours! Sometimes you just need to scream :) And I bet with a house full of men they just gave you whatever you wanted. Haha to be a woman!

  30. Love this post! Thanks for sharing your tantrum moment. Purty sure we’ve all been there! My last one happened when the mole dug into the house under our baseboard. Still gotta figure out where that hole is…

  31. You are so real, I can totally relate!!!!! Burst out laughing and made my night! Perfect end to a crazy busy day – keep em coming!!!

  32. All I can think is that you really are a lucky girl. Me throwing a fit would not motivate my husband. In fact, it would make him push that task down another 12 months on the list, just to show me not to act that way. He will work, but not like that. Not saying I haven’t tried… :)

  33. CynthiaJo says

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that has Nellie Oleson moments. I haven’t had one for a while. But I’m thinking one could be building up. Eek! LOL

  34. Don’t you just hate that awful sinking feeling after spewing verbal lava all over? That nano second when the realization of what just happened hits? I feel so awful after yelling and then when something gets done because of it? Oh my. I feel even worse. Though still very glad to have whatever it was done. Just wishing with all of me that it hadn’t happened quite the way it did. Fixing up, repairing, living in a building zone, it’s hard. just plain out hard. and wonderful all at the same time. Our dreams have a price. Paying that price can be such a buggar. Thanks all over the place for sharing your realness. It encourages me to be brave and let my real out too.

  35. Thank you for putting a name to my temper tantrums. Sometimes I feel bad afterwards, and other times I feel as though they were very warranted and needed.

  36. I need to do the same thing! I think most guys could care less if they live with insulation!

  37. Laughing out loud for real here. Oh, how I love this post. I might need to throw a fit to get our basement floor painted in the next couple of weeks. Oh, it’s “in progress”…..

  38. This is awesome! I could , in perfect detail, imagine this thanks to your description! Thanks for the laugh :)

  39. Jamie Rowe says

    This post was so funny. I have had so many of these moments in our inherited, 1960’s ranch.

  40. I love you. I love you. I love you! This is probably the funniest thing on the internet to date. LHOTP references. And that meme. Perfect.

    Walls forever! Yay :)

  41. Oh the fit throwing!! You are not alone. I’m sure my neighbors (not to mention my family) think I’m crazy when I start throwing a fit – whether that be throwing a tool across the yard, or laying down in my driveway screaming that I just want life to be easy for……Hang in there!

  42. Bwa ha ha. I’ve been throwing some surprisingly similar fits lately. And normally I’m docile. It’s easier to be patient when I know it’s on the schedule. Now to get DH to nail the time line down.

  43. You made me laugh so hard…had to make a quick trip to the bathroom!!! Oh, goodness…I am picturing your husband and sons cowering in shaking fear. I’ve been there and done that, too. Take heart, dear sister. Thanks for sharing and for your honesty.
    Love it and you,

  44. oh, forgot to say…I did this once about the garage. I was so mad about the clutter that I just started throwing stuff out. I felt like the Incredible Hulk….and it felt soooooo good. That fit worked for a while, but it’s getting bad again. ….starting to turn a bit green.

  45. Oh my! How I laughed out loud! Funniest thing ever!

    Thank you so much for your book. I feel like it was a balm to my recovering perfectionist soul!

  46. Joyce Griffin says

    Ladies, though we all fall pray to sinful fits, we ought mostly to be repenting and speaking loving words of gratefulness to our husbands for all they do. Not having fits for what still needs done. 1 Cor. 13:13. Having a fit is no way to motivate your man.

  47. I am not sure how I wound up here, 4 years after the original post, but God’s timing is perfect. We have a Sheltie aptly named Nellie, well… because she’s a brat. But I embraced, even flaunted, my Nellie side last weekend. With a few autoimmune issues that cause severe pain, my physical participation is sometimes limited…except when I get completely irrational because I can’t get any help with the physical things I can’t do or need help doing. My “Nellie” fit usually involves doing by myself “proving” that even someone with my issues can do it! Unfortunately, usually I am the only one who gets hurt. This last meltdown resulted in a cut arm and 3 days in bed barely able to move, let alone get out of bed. The arthritis in my feet and hands reared its raging head in scorn for waking the beast! Since everyone had left me in the middle of painting & installing laminate flooring (as well as priming a couple of very simple pieces of furniture), I had a total meltdown and decided to finish it myself. Did it get finished? Not that night. But yesterday, my husband rallied the troops and at least got the flooring down. I didn’t tear out any walls this time, but believe me…these walls have seen many a meltdown. I am just blessed with a patient and loving husband who tunes out the garbage and only hears the struggle within my heart.

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