(With apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff, author of the If you Give a Mouse a Cookie books.)
If you give a mom some paint, she’ll probably use it to brighten up her kitchen.
Once the kitchen is painted she’ll notice the fluorescent light fixture is old yellow and cracked.
She’ll probably go to the hardware store and pick out a pretty but inexpensive replacement.
Since her husband works much cheaper than an electrician, she’ll probably ask him to install it for her.
A few weeks later, she’ll probably ask him again.
He’ll, eventually, get tired of being asked, and will pull down the old light while she’s in the middle of making dinner.
She’ll probably order pizza after a bunch of dead bugs and gunk from the old light fall into the food.
The husband may discover that his grandpa (who built the house) wired everything with old cloth and aluminum wire.
He will probably find, that after many decades, the wire is worn and even burnt and melted together in spots.
They will probably both decide the wiring needs to be replaced so the house doesn’t burn down.
He might go up to the attic to see how bad the rest of the wiring looks.
Going up to the attic will remind him that the blown in vermiculite insulation needs to be tested for asbestos.
While waiting for the test results to come back they’ll probably look into the price of asbestos abatement and wonder if it would have been cheaper if the house had just burnt down.
They might also decide to install a whole house air filtering system to help keep as much of that old insulation out of the air as possible.
They will probably be very relieved when they find out it isn’t asbestos and might schedule someone to come and suck out the insulation at, what now seems to be, a very reasonable price.
Since there is still bad wiring in the house they will probably schedule the electrician to come in the day after the insulation removal to get it the wiring fixed as soon as possible.
The husband might come home from work, after the insulation removal is done, and find there was a miscommunication and not all the insulation was removed.
He will probably call the removal company who will put him on the schedule to return the next morning to finish.
He might also notice the new air filter isn’t working and call someone back to check on that.
The next morning the electrician, insulation people and filter company will probably all show up at the same time.
The mom will probably take the kids outside to get out of the way.
While they are playing outside they might get a whiff of something that smells strangely like laundry soap.
They will probably look around in the woods and discover there is soapy water coming up through the ground where the sewer line from the rental cabin is.
Mom might remember that laundry water isn’t the only thing that comes down a sewer pipe and will probably get everyone out of the woods, and bleach their shoes.
Grandpa will probably show up about this time, and try to convince everyone that a sewer line is pretty easy to fix and they should all just grab a shovel.
The kids might ask about the “balloons” they saw on the ground and all the grown ups will probably realize the young man renting the cabin has a very active social life and flushes some things that he shouldn’t.
The husband will probably decide this should be fixed right away, and since he doesn’t have time (or his Dad’s enthusiasm for shoveling) he’ll call a plumber.
The plumber will probably show up with a back hoe to do the bulk of the digging and the mom will be very relieved that no one has to dig by hand.
The husband might talk to the renter about what he can and cannot flush.
After 8 days the electrician might feel like one of the family and everyone will be sorry to see him go.
The bills will probably start coming in, and the mom will decide she doesn’t really want to add them all together and find out what that new light ended up costing.
One morning, a few years later the mom will probably turn on that kitchen light and all the bulbs might stop working at once. She will probably decide to cook in the dark.