By Jerry Zezima

My mind is in the gutter. It’s also in the kitchen, the bathroom, the garage and all the other places where I have lost my mind in the 25 years since my wife, Sue, and I became homeowners.

Now that we have been in our humble abode for a quarter of a century, during which time we have embarked on enough home improvement projects to bankrupt the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, I can say with utter honesty and no small amount of pride that I am the least handy man in America. To me, a screwdriver is vodka and orange juice.

In spite of this shameful admission, or perhaps because of it, I recently pitched my own show to HGTV.

The premise of “House Blunders” is simple: An incompetent man (yours truly) tries his hand (which is holding a screwdriver) at projects that are well beyond his meager capabilities.

Lacking the requisite sledgehammer that many of the channel’s stars routinely use to knock down walls and smash cabinets, the man and his much smarter and handier wife (Sue, a big HGTV fan) must employ professionals to undertake projects that would otherwise lead to the demise of the man in a ceiling collapse and sole ownership of the home for the woman.

Loren Ruch, senior vice president of production and development at HGTV, said my idea “sounds like a fun story.” But “it’s so crazy behind the scenes” and “we’re just so slammed at the moment” that “unfortunately, I’m going to pass at this time.”

Not one to give up easily (except when it comes to household projects), I am determined to mark 25 years of homeownership by passing along the following tips, observations and other questionable knowledge.

The first is that you do not really own your home. The bank does. The legal proof is a document called a mortgage, which is what the bank requires you to pay so you can rent the home that the government says you own and makes you pay taxes on. You’d get a better deal from Vito Corleone, except he is a fictional character and, even worse, dead.

The second is that a house is not a home unless there is something to do. And there always is.

Over the past two and a half decades, Sue and I have spent tons of money on such things as: a kitchen renovation; two bathroom renovations; a new roof; new siding; new floors; a new oil tank; a new water heater; a new furnace; a new shed; new refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers; major plumbing and electrical work; foundation, wall and ceiling repair; extensive painting projects; and new doors in the kitchen, family room and garage.

And another bathroom renovation is underway.

Sue and I are fortunate to have found a great contractor, Anthony Amini, who does wonderful work at reasonable prices.

Here are some other things I have learned since we bought our house.

I am petrified of heights. I found this out when I had to climb to the top of the two-story Colonial to clean the gutters. Not wanting to slip, fall and crash-land on terra firma, a Latin phrase meaning, “What you will be buried in if you fall off the roof,” I got gutter guards.

A house is the perfect example of the law of physics, which states that any empty space will eventually be filled. This may explain why my office is so messy that the remains of Jimmy Hoffa could be in there.

Despite the work and the cost, Sue and I love our house. It’s the only one we have ever owned. In response to real estate agents who are constantly calling to ask if we want to sell it, I say, “You’ll have to drag my cold, dead body out of here.”

Until then, I hope HGTV reconsiders my idea for a show. If it will help, I have a screwdriver.

Copyright 2023 by Jerry Zezima

Originally Published on

Jerry Zezima Humorist, Author, Public Nuisance

I write a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to papers nationwide and abroad. If you have ever wondered why the newspaper industry is in trouble, it would be because of me.

As a chilling example of just how low journalistic standards have sunk, I have won many awards, including seven for humorous writing from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

I have a strong social media presence, I have made many radio and television appearances, I have done several YouTube videos, I am a popular public speaker, and I am writing a sitcom. If you think TV is bad now, wait until my show gets on the air.

I live on Long Island, N.Y., with my wife, Sue. We have two daughters, five grandchildren and many creditors. I have no interesting hobbies.

Tagged: , ,