“Stick-to-itiveness” by Beth Bartlett

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Home Improvement.”

We live in an old home, so gaps and breezes are part of life. But when our cats came and went as they pleased, even though we didn’t have a pet door installed in the home, I became suspicious.

In the storage room, I found a space where a board had fallen away, revealing a large hole. In my mind, it became a cavernous entryway into our home, big enough for an armadillo pride parade, badger badminton team or two ninjas and a trained monkey.

I realized home repair was in order, but the hubby had a packed schedule. This left it up to me. That thought alone would make Bob Vila wake up with night terrors, mumbling, “Oh, my God, the duct tape . . . the DUCT TAPE!”

For me, hammers and nails were banned substances after a mishap involving hubby’s thumb. I turned to alternate means of getting the job done. Duct tape didn’t seem like the answer this time, so I settled on the seemingly innocent can of expanding foam. I’ve seen the hubby use it on numerous occasions and the foam always behaved itself. It rises nicely and turns rock-hard in minutes, just like my home-baked bread.

I read the instructions: “Blah, blah, blah, eye protection, shake can, hold can upside down for best results (Kinky, I thought, But hey, whatever makes it stiff) and always use gloves.” Gloves? Ha! Gloves are for pussies. I didn’t scream when a wolf spider ran across my foot last week, and he even tipped his hat and said, “Excuse me” afterward.

My strategy was to approach the hole from the outside and fill it top to bottom. I shook the can, slapped it a couple of times to keep it happy and hit the trigger. It belched, spit and squirted like it had eaten a week-old burrito from a truck stop.

The top layer flopped out of the hole and started a slow reach for solid ground, forming gloopy stalactites down the corner. It literally looked like the house had sneezed. I scooped it up with the end of the straw nozzle and shoved it back into the hole, but it was like trying to knit with melted circus peanuts.

As I fought the ooze back into the opening, I accidentally hit the trigger again just as I saw two eyes peeking out from the inside. At the exact same moment the nozzle sprayed, the cat hissed and I screamed, “Aaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiigh!” Which is slang for, “Crap, now I have to shave the cat!”

The can also was startled, because the foam started spurting from the seal below the nozzle in a vain attempt to crawl up my arm and stop me. I dropped the can and ran back into the house to find the cat intact, un-foamed and under the couch.

On the bright side, I didn’t have to go out and check the foam to see when it stopped being tacky. I knew the exact time it was no longer icky, because it was the same moment my fingers quit sticking together. When that happened, I was able to hold the scissors and cut the rest of the stuff out of my hair.

Tomorrow, I’m baking some bread and shoving that into the hole. It’ll last longer.

HomeImprove 250_RGBBeth Bartlett is a freelance writer and humorist in northwest Arkansas. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and her newspaper column, “Wisecrack Zodiac,” won an award in the humor category of the 2013 National Society of Newspaper Columnists competition. Connect with her on Twitter at @plaidearthworm.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Home Improvement.” The book is filled with 65 very funny stories by do-it-yourselfers. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/Hm66pb) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1w5gLvO).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.