Surviving Renovating: Deep Breaths Required


Renovations aren’t near as fun as they seem on HGTV. We’d love for Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper to come save us, but the reality is we are the renovators. And we’re living in the area we are renovating. We can’t escape. It’s our home. And I might be just teetering on the edge.

I’d say we’ve been renovating for months, but it’s really been years. The other projects were smaller. I was conveniently traveling so my exposure to it was less. I’m sort of longing for airports and hotels right now.

But this project that includes the kitchen, dining room and living room was close to a full gut. The hope for a six week timeline went out the door fast. First, we have real jobs; the kind where you don’t get home until after six and then have responsibilities like walking dogs, making dinner and doing laundry. It’s hard to get motivated to work in the house after a 9 or 10 hour workday.

I have to interject that the majority of the work has been carried out by my love. He’s amazingly skilled at anything, and if he doesn’t know how to do it, he just watches a YouTube video on it. However, I’m not completely on the sidelines. I have some skills. As a young girl, I loved to build things from scrap wood. In high school, my bestie and I took shop class (we were the only girls). And for most all other relationships I was in, I was the handy one! I’ve painted many walls and done my fair share of small projects.

But this is mostly over my head. And he’s been reluctant to let me help too much. I was actually fired from taping but later reinstated me (something about a labor shortage). He’s very particular about the prep work. I’ve sanded a lot. And painted like it was my job; thankfully it’s not. One of the hardest parts was scraping the popcorn ceilings. If they’ve never been painted it can be easy, but nothing’s easy about this place. Nothing is square or even or was done correctly the first time. We’ve spent a lot of time repairing and fixing things right.

We didn’t have a stove for two weeks. You don’t understand all you can’t do without a stove. But we have it back now that the new countertops are in and the cabinets are painted. It’s just little things and clean up right now with the final step being the new floors, which are set to be installed (by us) in about six days.

Then these rooms will be back in order. The couch will actually be somewhere you can sit. Then we will start on the bathrooms. Why are we doing all this? Do we want to punish ourselves? Test our relationship? No, not at all. We are doing all this because we want to sell our condo. It just doesn’t work for us. It’s a great location, but we’ve encountered many challenges, mostly do to having some of the worst neighbors in the history of neighbors (more to come on that). Most importantly, we just want the pups to have a little yard to run free.

Home is an important place. It should be a place where you feel safe. It can get a little rough out there in the world. We all need a soft place to land. I’ve never needed a huge house with rooms I’d never even use. I do adore my closet room; it’s nice to be able to see everything I have, but I’d give it up in favor of a house with a nice yard for the girls.

We had this chat the other day that the house in this state has become our new normal. We’ve become complacent. So I had to light a fire under us, and set a firm date for the floor install so we can get back on track. We need to be done by the end of the year, and we have to account for the fact that we can’t be dedicated to renovations during football season (that’s not just a mandate from him; I’m just as crazy about it as he is).

So please keep us in your thoughts that we survive this and don’t kill each other (okay I’d probably be the one to kill him). Deep breaths…..

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