All homeowners know that, to make your home beautiful and inviting, changes and work are always required. Whether it's painting, adding new trim, changing a light fixture or going whole-hog, we do what we can to beautify our surroundings. It's part of nesting and a way to balance the stress in our lives: having a home where we're relaxed and free to exhale and spread out is something most people crave.
This past year, in addition to adopting a second dog, and having my brother-in-law move in with us, my husband and I finally had someone come in to remodel our kitchen. We had saved pictures of styles we liked, kept notes on what we wanted, determined our budget and interviewed contractors. It was an arduous process, but not nearly as challenging as moving all of the kitchen's contents (and our lives) out of the room for eight weeks. The transition phase was, like labor pains, happily forgotten (or at least the ugliest parts of it) when we moved into our new kitchen and began to reap all its benefits.
Happy as clams, we decided this month to have our 40-year-old shag carpet ripped up and the wood underneath sanded, stained, polished and buffed. The carpet covered the entire upstairs living area, except for the kitchen, so this was no small task. Like remodeling the kitchen, this project required emptying of furniture, moving of piano, couch and more, and relocating ourselves to the basement area and half-kitchen setup down there. It's been bumpy, but tolerable the first couple of days, and slower-moving than I'd have liked. But it will take less than a week, and it already looks better up there.
My kids, dogs and I are cramped downstairs, using makeshift tables and chairs and rearranging our stuff as needed. It helps that they go to school during the day, and though the clutter and boxes EVERYWHERE drives me mad, I keep reminding myself it's a temporary situation. (My husband is, brilliantly, at a conference out of state this week).
Just after I got the news today that the project will take five, not three days, I sighed and said OK. (What else could I say? Poly has to dry, and each coat takes a day). Shortly thereafter, I sat down to eat. I had time for a yogurt and fruit before my son's bus was due home. The dogs had been tied up in the yard all morning so they wouldn't be in the way of the contractors, so I decided it was time to let them in since the day's work was done. Not seconds after I sat down, Bailey barfed up the worst mess I have ever seen from an animal. On the downstairs carpet. In front of me.
After throwing him out of the house and having a crying fit, I cleaned it up and THEN sat down to my yogurt. That's when Bailey, back out in the yard, started barking. I looked out to see some folks taking pictures of my house. "Great," I thought. "They heard me yelling and are going to report me to the humane society." It'd be perfect, right?
No. This was better.
With my house in a worse disarray than the weekend I moved into it, I walked out to say hello and met the lovely woman who had grown up in my house. She lives down south and had not been back for 14 years. Until today. What could I say? Of course, I insisted she come in.
She and her husband were very sweet. They walked around taking pictures, and I told them the stories of the neighbors changing over, the paneling in our house coming down so we could paint, the kitchen remodel and the current state of transition.
As they got ready to go, I begged her to trade email addresses with me. She was going to send the pictures she'd taken to her father; her grandfather had built the house, and she wanted him to see what had changed and what had not. I, of course, wanted to be able to send her "real" pictures when our work was done so that her parents didn't think they'd sold the house to hoarders.
While I know that change is a part of life, and that without some pain (read: packing), there can be no growth (read: renovations), I think getting through this week is going to be harder than getting through the summer of the kitchen remodel. Maybe it's because I'm alone with the kids, or maybe it's because of dog barf and previous owners arriving at the house's least attractive moment. Either way, there is definitely a full moon this week, because I don't think it could pour any more misfortunes than it already has.
But I'll keep toughing it out, because I can't wait till it's done and I can clean the entire house.
And then email the pictures to my new friend.