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Giving Milton Bradley an idea for a tortuous board game

With every home improvement project, we move three steps forward and 30 steps back. New holes materialize in floors, walls, windows and in our relationship with even a simple venture like hanging a ceiling fan. Fights erupt over who read the instructions, why he can't rig it like that, and where we will get the money to fix whatever we just broke.

We've made more holes in our house than naturally occur in 13 slices of Swiss cheese. Some were intentional, some were accidents, and all were made in the name of progress. Temporarily, I've covered the majority with pictures, furniture, and stacks of stuff that I allegedly am taking to the Salvation Army any day now.

But it has set me thinking on a fun new board game for families.

Our first project after moving into this old house was to move the washer and dryer upstairs. This involved three holes: one practice hole and two that were good. Elated, I began washing clothes without ado (move forward three spaces). Turns out, one of the water pipes had a hole and the ceiling in the room below was ruined (move your game piece 43 spaces backwards).

Shortly thereafter, we put a new roof on our house (move forward three spaces). During the process, we discovered so many holes, of which we were previously unaware ... until rain poured into the pantry, the bathroom, the kitchen, and down the sides of chimneys (move 52 steps back, do not pass go, and pay the contractor another $2,500).

The upstairs was recently equipped with new wiring (move game piece three spaces forward), as well as outlets in the bathrooms, so that I don't have to use my hair dryer with a 12-foot extension cord (roll again). The course of action, to my horror, required the creation of 18 new holes in the plaster walls (take 23 steps counter clockwise and draw a card from the "Your Wife Didn't Read That in the Instructions" deck).

Our kitchen has been updated with new cabinets and counter tops and a refinished hardwood floor (move forward three spaces). We actually plugged some holes and positioned cabinets over them (take another turn). Our confidence was restored, until one of our large cabinets leapt off of the wall onto the kitchen table. We now have four, no, five, new holes in the wall (roll the dice and move backwards the number shown).

No task is easy in an old house.

It took three days and 17 holes in the floor to install the tiniest gas logs known to man (move your token to the Hardware Store, miss a turn, spend more money because you didn't get the right pipe fitting the first time).

And most projects involve spending loads of money on things no one will ever notice, like heating and cooling, wiring, jacking up floors (move forward three spaces until the walls buckle and crack then throw your game piece across the room and yell some expletives), and finding new ways to cover holes (get all of your papers in order to visit the bank, roll the dice for your interest rate).

On the bright side, the bats are finally gone. But we have a hole in the porch ceiling as a result of evacuating them (draw a card from the "You Should Have Called a Professional" deck).

I think I'll pitch it to Milton Bradley as The Money Pit: A Game in Reverse.



Web posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004


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