Saturday, February 21, 2015

Piled Higher and Deeper

Two weeks into construction, and there is not a spot of clean in our house. Oy! But I can now see that the vision that Doug and I had when we started this project is slowly coming into being, and that is very exciting.

The laundry room, front hall, and den tiles have been laid and grouted, as has the kitchen floor. We have a new sliding back door to our porch, with a lock that actually works (no more bars in the track to keep out intruders) And no more stickies on the door to prevent someone from accidentally walking through the glass; there's no mistaking there's a door here. A new storage closet in the den has been framed out.

A pocket door is in the works to hold a stained glass door that we took from my mother's and father's house. When closed, the door will separate the front hall from the den. Years ago, my mother commissioned an artist to do a door in grays and white, with a red cardinal—my father's favorite bird. The door led from our dining room to an enclosed porch. I could not bear to leave it behind when we sold their house, and now it will become an integral part of my own!

The bathtub has been installed (complete with dirty rug inside); there's new insulation in the bathroom, kitchen, and den. Leaky pipes in the den have been fixed. An electrical upgrade is in the works, lights and light switches have been moved, and yesterday we passed our initial plumbing and electric inspections.

Lessons Learned
What I've learned (actually, it's just reinforced what I already knew about myself) through all this is that I, indeed, can be flexible.

  • I can live with constant noise and block it out if I have to. I do realize, however, that I love the quiet and relish 4:00, when the banging stops, the radio is shut off (country music, no less!), and the constant chattering ceases. 
  • I've learned to live with the toilet seat constantly up, though honestly, I'd prefer not to. When Doug and I were first married, I used to charge him a nickel a pop if he left the seat up (it only took one time of falling into the bowl in the middle of the night to institute that policy). I did the same with Russell, but charged him only a penny; he was a child, after all.
  • I've learned to live in very limited space, though this, too, is something I'd prefer not to. I never realized before how much I roamed the house in between completion of my work assignments. Now, there is no place to go; it's basement or bedroom for me. And it's too cold to just walk around the block.
  • I've learned there are solutions to most problems. There are two contractors working on the project. Each brings a different specialty to the job. One is an expert tile layer, while the other is a master carpenter. One is quiet and planning, while the other loves to talk and go with the flow. But both are great problem solvers. They love figuring things out. They love finding a solution to whatever quirks this old house (or I) throw at them.
  • Most importantly, I've learned dreams do come true.
Note to self: Keep dreaming!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Total Chaos

It is bittersweet that the construction that I have been dreaming about for years (at least 15!) of a new kitchen, bath, and den has now begun, and the only way it was made possible was through my mother's death. I know that she would be very happy that some of the monies she left to me are going to fix up the house. Whenever she gave us money as a gift, she wanted it to be used on something that she could see, not be added to the general operating budget to pay the mortgage.

To prepare for the construction, we had to move everything out of the three rooms and into others. Over the last few months, Doug and I have slowly been going through everything we own to see what we need and what we really want to keep. It's amazing that despite the amount we have donated, trashed, gifted to our children (Russell keeps asking why every time he comes home now he leaves with more than he came with!), there is still so much left.

What is left has now been moved into the basement where I work (making an already messy space even messier; no clients are reading this, I hope), the porch, the garage, the kids' rooms, and our room. Even Perri's goldfish (his/her story of perseverance is a tale for another day) had to find a new home for a few months.

The den is now the cleanest room
in the house!

I'm not a neatnik by any means. But there is not one room in the house that is not loaded with relocated furniture, dishes, pictures, linens, and stuff.

Like most things, you need to tear down before you can build up (hmmm, a life lesson for my scrap of paper?). So yesterday began the tear down. Walls, floors, ceilings, tiles are now in a dumpster sitting in our driveway. Added to the chaos of stuff all over the place is dust all over the place. One of the crew said I should get used to living in dirt for a few months. Really?

Friends who have gone through home renovations had warned me, but I really had no idea how much chaos we'd be living in.

Note to self: What were you thinking?