32: Room Repair

32: Room Repair

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum

Room Repair

Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.

~Author Unknown

Most teenagers’ rooms are messy, but my son Nicky’s looked like a demolition zone. There were soft spots in the carpet where the floor underneath was giving way. It was especially bad just in front of the mirror where Nicky would jump up and down repeatedly in his excitement at seeing his reflection. Parts of the wall were missing behind his bed. He had a habit of lying on his stomach and drumming his feet against the wall. When the wall finally gave way, he was intrigued and removed large parts of the drywall, exposing the studs and electrical wires. Those wall pockets were a great place to hide trash and DVDs. Lastly, the curtains were down on the floor again. Nick’s obsession with sticks made the curtain rods a constant target. I needed help.

I called a friend who just happened to be a handyman extraordinaire. He came over, assessed the situation and came up with a plan to Nick-proof the room. First he took up the carpet and removed the damaged floorboards. He put horizontal two-by-fours between the studs to brace them and then covered the floor with the thickest plywood he could find. He did something similar with the walls, removing all the damaged areas, cleaning out the junk and bracing the studs with horizontal two-by-fours. Then, instead of the drywall he put up smooth-sided plywood that he spackled over and sanded until it was flush with the wall. The entire room was then repainted the same color as before. Lastly, he put a translucent film on the bottom half of all the windows, taking care of privacy concerns.

Nick’s room looked normal and whole. I was so pleased. The next morning I was woken up by a loud banging noise and a slow smile spread over my face. I walked into Nicky’s room and there he was on the bed, trying every spot to kick through the wall. No success! I looked at him and said, “Ah, do your feet hurt?” He looked at me and started jumping up and down on the bed instead. That I can live with!

~Kathy Labosh

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