Saturday, May 2, 2009

Busy, busy!

I keep meaning to log on and write something down, but lately I have been in remodeling hell. Well, it isn't really hell, more like remodeling purgatory. I am beginning to enjoy the results but the work has been exhausting, and I never even touched a hammer. I guess I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when my husband and I agreed to begin working on our house this past December. Getting the windows and doors done was not too bad, except the guy could only come on the weekends when the breadwinner was working so that left me to struggle with a preschooler who hates loud noises and a baby who needed to nap, while the door guy was carving a massive hole in our living room to install new french doors. But we managed. Having no master bath for a month was a little harder, since we have the only shower in the house and I hate baths. I can never understand how people lie about in their own filth and actually enjoy it. And as a little FYI, whatever amount of time a contractor tells you something is going to take, go ahead and multiple that by four and that will give you a better estimate of the time frame for your project.
The kitchen has been the most difficult remodel to live through, especially with a baby who would really like to scoot herself into the barren and very dirty box which was once a kitchen. But at least because we decided to dive into it, we were lucky? unlucky? enough to discover a burst pipe behind the wall, and homeowners insurance subsequently paid for half of our remodel. Too bad it didn't pay for all but any money was really a big blessing to us since we had totally intended to pay for it all ourselves.
Yes, remodeling the kitchen while you are still living in your home, can be pretty tricky. Having all of your food, utensils, plates, microwave, coffeemaker, and refrigerator jammed into a small playroom and washing dishes in the bathroom sink is not for the faint of heart. It was a major challenge, one that I questioned at least twenty times a day while mixing up a baby bottle in the bathroom and trying to squeeze between the computer and the old kitchen table to locate a paper plate. I honestly did not care how many trees suffered for my kitchen to be redone. I was not going to be washing filthy food filled plates in the bathtub as the lady at the cabinet store explained to me that she herself had done when she had remodeled her kitchen.
But the suffering was worth it. I hated our old kitchen, mainly because it was old. But it also had these horrible soffits that made it seem even smaller than it was, and it lacked anything attractive in it save for my husband who spent a lot of time there washing dishes.
The kitchen is about 99% done. Just a few touch ups, a little bit of paint, and then we move everything back in and the little guy can have his beloved playroom back. Of course, while we were fixing up the bath and kitchen, I thought it would be a good idea to also tackle the living room and the bedrooms. That required many, many trips into town to buy new furniture, drapes, paint, carpeting, rugs, televisions, the list goes on, and we are still not done with the living room. And then we had to pick out all the materials to create our new spaces. Who knew I would need to look at so many squares of tile, slabs of granite, and every fixture under the sun. I think I can accurately inform customers of where most things are located inside not one but two separate Lowe's and Home Depot stores.
I have spent a little bit of time reflecting on this experience. Some of it has been fun and some of it has been insanely stressful. I am actually a bit surprised that I am writing this as a still married woman. I thought for sure the arguing over every detail would be the end of my marriage. And it is difficult to come to a decision when buying anything permanently affixed to your home, when you know that one wrong choice will either cost you a pretty penny to replace or will lead to many years of suffering the consequences of your bad taste. My husband and I questioned and requestioned and requestioned again just about every choice we made. We both finally realized that if we like it then who cares what anyone else thinks? And the poor kids! They really deserve a trip to Disneyland for enduring day long shopping trips at least once per week sometimes twice, since January.
I am very happy with the results of all the worker guys (the little man's name for the people who made my happiness possible) labor, but I don't think we are done yet. It is a frightening thought, but my sweet husband thinks we should turn the garage into a giant playroom for the kids so we can reclaim some room in this small house. I think it's a great idea, but I also want to add another bedroom on so that each kid can have their own space and I also have visions of the back porch being completely encased with large windows, and in the center a large rustic dining table for summer meals, and a door leading into a beautiful enclosed flower garden complete with benches and a large koi pond. Sounds relaxing doesn't it?
Then of course we still need to fix all the dry rot that surrounds the eaves of our home, blow insulation into the attic, strip the peeling paint and repaint the entire outside of the house. Oh and add new rain gutters. Now I know why some people choose to never own homes. Or why they forego the fixer uppers and pay extra to have a brand new home. I guess we could wait out the crazy real estate market and just buy a new bigger place in a few years, but then what would I do with all my time?