8. 'Dude Descending a Staircase' Award
While waiting for chemical paint stripper to work its magic on his staircase, TOH photographer Russell Kaye decided to do a little multitasking and install a new faucet on his claw-foot tub. "I turned off the water supply," Kaye says, "but when I removed the faucet, the valve hadn't closed all the way, and water starting pouring out onto the floor." He frantically tried to shut the valve, but the handle snapped off in his grip. He made a mad dash to the basement for the main cutoff. Already midair when he remembered the caustic slurry on the stairs, Kaye took a bumpy ride that ended at the newel post. "You can imagine the sore butt I had after I slipped and slid all the way to the bottom," he says.

9. 'If These Walls Could Text' Award
When your 4-year-old daughter asks, "Daddy, why are the walls ringing?" it can mean only one of two things: Either she's tuned in to a poltergeist or your cell phone's somewhere inside. Fortunately, the ghosts weren't baaack. Jay Nyffler had been hanging drywall that very morning and set his phone down on some blocking. It took several hours redialing on the land line to pinpoint the cell's position, but Nyffler finally found it. The home's levitating toys remain a mystery.

10. The 'Mr. Bubble Bursts' Award
After installing a new tub in his master bathroom, Steve Fisk decided to celebrate the last in a ­series of home improvements with a long, hot soak. Just as he slid into the suds, he heard his wife, Dianne, screaming from the floor below. "I tore down the stairs wearing nothing but a panicked look on my face," says Fisk. What he found: his equally panicked wife watching a river of water gush through a light fixture that hung from the brand-new ceiling in the freshly wallpapered breakfast nook. Cursing, Dianne headed for a neighbor's. Steve returned upstairs, where he discovered that he'd forgotten to connect the tub's overflow pipe.

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