Funniest Home Improvement Story 2009 Contest Winners

Funniest Home Improvement Story Contest

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Thanks to everyone who participated in our Funniest Home Improvement Story Contest on We received so many entertaining entries that it was hard to decide on the winners. After much deliberation, here are the ones that tickled our collective funny bone the most. Enjoy!

1st Place

Chuck Daniels of Simpsonville, South Carolina

I went out to do some painting on a home my partner and I had just finished, and the owners had already moved into. The lady of the house had left for work, and I was alone in the home. I proceeded to take an opened gallon can of paint—instead of just a small container—around touching up the woodwork in the carpeted living room.

The homeowners had a parrot in a cage at the opposite end of the room that was supposed to be locked, but the lady forgot to lock the bird in, as it usually has the run of the house. I was touching up the baseboard and turned back to the paint can to dip the brush to find the parrot with his beak in the gallon of paint. Surprised, I made a quick movement, and the parrot jumped back, pulling the entire can of paint over on the new carpet. I chased the parrot all over the house, making quite a scene—with feathers flying and both me and the bird squawking—before finally cornering and catching it. Let’s just say I was beside myself.

I got the parrot locked away and cleaned up what I could of the mess. When the homeowners returned, they were more than a little upset, accusing me of traumatizing their parrot and making it ill. Actually, I think I was the one who was traumatized!!! It’s been 14 years now, but I still tell friends about the episode and we have a laugh over that darned parrot.

2nd Place

Bob Sill of Concord, New Hampshire

When I set out to add a deck to the back of my house, I started by digging a series of holes for the concrete post supports. Being in New Hampshire I wanted them eight feet deep to keep frost heaves from ruining my new deck. This required lying facedown on the ground, and shoving my post hole digger as deep as it would go.

About the third hole in, it started pouring rain. I was soaked but determined. The final hole was about six feet deep when the water soaked edge gave way, and I fell face first into it. So there I was, facedown in a hole with only the bottom of my shoes showing. I yelled for help, but it was too deep and dirt was falling into my mouth. The hole was starting to fill with water, and I was panicking.

After about half an hour, my face was at the waterline when I suddenly felt several pairs of hands around my ankles. I was pulled out of the hole and came face to face with a group of firemen who were laughing hysterically. My wife had heard me and called for help.

3rd Place

Brian Whitworth of Mesa, Arizona

I turned thirteen in September, making me about ninety in dog years, so I’ve got a few miles on me. But this story isn’t about me, it’s about my human. As humans go, he can fix about anything: doors, windows, faucets, sprinklers, dog collars . . . you name it, and he’ll take a wrench to it.

Last Labor Day was water heater day, a good time to change out the bad heating element in the bottom of the tank. The first hour of a project is always cool resolve . . . and tool gathering, lots of tool gathering . . . and coffee. Next: electricity off, no Einstein hair today. Then of course the ceremonial dragging of the garden hose from the backyard, into the front driveway, through the garage and connected to the water heater drain spout. Notice the calm rhythm and the air of confidence. At this point I usually move in for a quick tummy scratch while the mood is still upbeat.

Next: shut off the water, but first make sure Momma and the girls aren’t in the shower – lesson learned. Now just open the drain spout, and out it will pour; through the hose, down the driveway and into the gutter. Time for a quick cup of coffee while the contents of the fifty-gallon tank rush into the street. But wait, what’s that? A quick look down the drive shows that the predicted cascade of water is instead a very slow dribble. The look on his face says that is not the expected result.

Troubleshooting mode now. Open the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom, then walk to the end of the driveway to observe more dribbling. Consternation. Mess with the drain valve to make sure it is open. More coffee and time to mow the lawn. More dribbling. Lunch. More dribbling. Maybe the water level has at least dropped below the top heater element. If he can just loosen the top element a bit to release the vacuum … ow, ow, ow, oh, hot, ow . . . ah, nuts and chestnuts! Flood control mode. Now everything is running, even my human. Run, Master, run. The water is running down the driveway, so also the newspaper and my dog dish. I guess the plan worked, as the hose is running better, too.

Things are moving along good now, as soon as he gets the garage mopped up we should be able to finish this project and go for a walk. New element in, wires reconnected, hose removed and dragged to backyard. Time to refill the tank and turn on the power. Water supply on, close faucets in kitchen and bathroom, step back to the garage to check for leaks . . . quick, close the drain valve!! Flood control mode. Just a little more mopping and he should be ready for our walk. Maybe next week I’ll help him tackle that ceiling fan replacement.


  1. So funny! LOL
    2nd and 3rd place were absolutely priceless. 3rd place was by far, the funniest, probably because I’m a dog owner and I know the only thing that would matter, from my dog’s perspective, would be her dish going down the driveway. That would qualify as a disaster!

  2. I really enjoyed the stories, but a note to anyone painting in houses with birds- Birds are very sensitive to any fumes- the fumes can kill them (hence the canary in the mine). If there is a bird in the house, make sure it is in another room and there is good ventilation or better yet, have the owners remove the bird while painting.