Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lessons Learned

Here is a house update along with a few things I have learned this past week.

January 12, 2014:  Child 2 looking at her new digs...
January 13, 2014:  We came home to find a "landing" for our stairs (which includes storage underneath).
Every night we pop upstairs to check out the progress.  This night it wasn't so obvious upstairs (very obvious downstairs), except for...
this. This is looking down at the "floor" upstairs. They are beginning to run wires!  Because of that, we had a night of NO lights (and very little power). But this is still another step to the finish line!
One other change we found was our coat closet was demolished. Because of the position of the stairwell, we will have to shorten our coat closet. And that is okay.  Other than the entire contents of my closet were on my bed.  We are running out of places to distribute displaced items...
January 14, 2014  We came home to find STAIRS!  No more skinny ladder in the garage to climb. We have stairs!  And we have light now!  Well, most rooms. Still without power in much of the house. But it is wonderful to have lights again...
Which leads me to this post.

I have learned a BUNCH of things through this whole week of renovation experience (only three or so more months to go... :).

So I thought I would share a few with you.

  • Expect the worst.  I would say "Hope for the best" but really, I will just stop with "expect the worst". I am not saying this has been horrible. I just realize I was terribly naive. I really thought this would involve Child 4's room and then the attic. I didn't ever dream that the living room would be confined to half of what it is normally. Or that we would be without power for a while (heat I expected). Or that I would find dust and insulation in every room of the house...
  • Keep life normal.  As normal as possible.  I come in daily and sweep the floor (as much as is possible). I try to straighten up the main rooms though it isn't easy since so many things are out of place. I am cooking, assigning chores, doing laundry, etc, as usual.  Yes, Child 4 is sleeping on a mattress in his brother's room.  He is reduced to one dresser. His toys are scattered here and there. But as much as I can, I am trying to keep it "normal" for him.  And for everyone else.
  • Expect dust. LOTS of dust.  Layers of dust.  I wasn't really prepared for that. Yes, I would have covered the furniture had I known. But I didn't.  One sweet child said, "You really need to dust, Mom."  I just laughed.  
  • Make the most of it.  We had no lights in our house yesterday. None. We had a few lamps/extension cords but we also have to use those for heaters since we have no heat.  So we ate dinner by candlelight.  
  • Laugh often.  It will keep you from crying.
  • Adjust your expectations.  Not every plan or want is going to happen. And usually there is a good reason why (like support walls...apparently they keep the house from falling in so any hope of removing them is dashed).
  • Let it go.  Ironically, this is a favorite song from the movie Frozen.  I am learning to let it go.  "It" meaning all sorts of things.  I am learning to let go the fact that my house looks like it was hit by a tornado. I am learning to let go of the fact that workers will be on your doorstep at 7 a.m.  Learn to let go when you come home and find out that your power is off.
  • Talk. Talk to your husband. Talk to your builder.  Explain why you need your power in the kitchen (that was an easy fix) or why you want your arch doorway to stay.  You may not get everything you want but some wishes might be granted.  Open lines of communication are essential to keep from having a breakdown. :)
  •  Compliment. Be thankful.  One worker brings me my newspaper in the mornings.  I came home one day to find the electrician working like crazy to restore some of our power.  Thank them.  And let the builder know.
  • Throw aside pride. Yes, I have a large trash dumpster in my driveway.  And a port-a-potty.  They are needed for the job. It isn't how I want the front of my house to look but it is temporary and needed.
  • Know that unless someone has been through this, they will NEVER fathom what your life is like.  I count it as a win if we get to school on time each day somewhat with matching clothes on.  One morning we were in a child's room with a candle trying to find an outfit to wear. Life is different. But unless someone has been there, they will have NO idea.  
  • Keep the end in mind.  We are living in chaos right now but it is for a reason.  And that is what helps me get through every day!
More to come,

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