Living through a major renovation teaches you all sorts of things about yourself.
For example, spending day after day, working and planning, eating and drinking, talking and resting in the same shadowy 450 square foot space, unable to invite anyone over for dinner or even a drink, has taught me that I would make the world’s most crashingly awful hermit. If I tried really, really hard, I might last three days—three dreary, miserable days that would inevitably end with me being kicked out of the hermit club, and all the other hermits cheering with glee since I’d spent those three days repeatedly breaking out of my hermitage and sneaking into theirs because I wanted a chat…and variety…and space.
Self-knowledge: I am a women who needs lebensraum. The lack of it makes me a little tick-tick.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone to keep you company in a bombed out, post-apocalyptic shell of a building, I am your girl.
Despite my love for beauty, order, and floors that don’t have 4’ x 8’ holes in them, I have discovered that I have a surprisingly high tolerance level for filth…and rubble…and 4’ x 8’ holes.
(Note the rotted joist in the left-hand corner. Cha-ching!)
I know these things are there. I don’t like them. But there’s nothing I can do about the situation, so c’est la vie!
Why God has not made me the mother of 12, I will never understand.
In all seriousness, when people ask me these days how the house is coming along, I tell them, “You know Stalingrad? After the Germans attacked? That’s how. Only warmer.”
Of course, despite all appearances, no actual bombs have been dropped on the house. Which is a plus. On the other hand, when bombs have been dropped on your house, people feel sympathy for you. When you whine and complain about your ceilings caving in, people nod their heads understandingly. Because it’s Not Your Fault. You didn’t sign up for the Germans to bomb your house. You didn’t choose to step over piles of rubble every time you go to the bathroom. You didn’t ask to cook or do laundry in the dark, with only one LED work lamp to help you chop your vegetables and not your fingers.
But we did. We chose this particular form of purgatory for ourselves. This. Is. On. Us. So, whining and complaining simply aren’t allowed. Which is why, rather than whine or complain, I’ve moved on to the day drinking portion of the renovation.
As for the actual renovation, progress ground to a painful and abrupt halt in early February due to some lovely, but also demanding nuns. My contractor is currently doing double duty at my place and theirs, and there is no way I can compete with the nuns. He must go when they call, and they called. I understand this. I agreed to this. But they’re the ones who undertook a vowed life of penance, so I’m not entirely sure they’re holding up their end of the bargain.
While the workers were gone, though, a few things did get done around here.
We opened up the dining room fireplace for starters. Yay! More rubble!
We also discovered that underneath layers and layers of paint, we had some lovely glass subway tile in the upstairs fireplace surrounds.
(No, Concerned Citizens of the Internet, it wasn’t lead paint. Yes, I wore a heavy-duty respirator. And no, I am still not pregnant.)
The best thing about the delay in construction was that for three whole weeks, the budget didn’t change. I didn’t fall asleep at night thinking of what organs we could sell to complete the renovation, or break out in a cold sweat every time my husband suggested getting take-out. That was nice.
Now, however, the contractors have returned, and our budget is once more being blasted into tiny smithereens. But I’ve made my peace with this. I now understand that money spent means work done, and work done means being one day closer to having light in the kitchen. At this point, I’m willing to stuff fistfuls of cash into the hands of anyone who can make that happen.
And stuff is happening.
The pocket doors are in!
The kitchen is almost completely ready for floors and cabinets!
And our sweet newel post is getting installed today!
(My contractor made that for me. It is awesome. He is awesome. I just wish the nuns didn’t know this.)
We’re still several weeks away from the floor refinishing (because the nuns need him back soon), but we have high hopes of painting the upstairs rooms by the end of March. On the day we open our first can of paint, I have no doubts I will weep like a baby.
Speaking of babies, I have a prayer request for those of you kind enough to read this far in the post.
The whole “not pregnant” thing is weighing very, very heavy on us right now. We’re at 8 months of trying and failing, which isn’t much compared to how long others have tried, but we don’t have 10 more years of fertility ahead of us. My doctor says everything looks great and I’m nowhere near peri-menopause, but the end is still out there, looming like an impenetrable, insurmountable wall. Regardless of how healthy all systems seem, I am 41, and that number is never going to get smaller.
At this point, every month that goes by feels like a little death. Bit by bit, our hopes of conceiving get slimmer and slimmer, and although I totally trust God’s will for us and the goodness of his plan, that doesn’t make those negative pregnancy tests any easier. Mary trusted God’s will too, and she still cried on Calvary. So, I’m pretty sure God understands me crying on Cycle Day One.
(For those who are wondering, adoption is definitely something we’re hoping to do regardless, and if there weren’t piles of rubble in the someday nursery, I’d be on the phone right now ringing up adoption agencies.
But there are. So I’m not.)
In short, friends, we could use some prayers. This house is sucking so much emotional energy out of me, and I just don’t have it in me at this point to wrestle a baby out of God. So, if any of you are inclined to do some wrestling for me, I would be really, really grateful.
On the upside, though, I am married to an amazing man, who couldn’t be more wise, kind, funny, patient, and caring, not to mention sanguine about our life amidst the rubble. So, that is a very good thing. A great thing actually. Marriage—despite the hurricane our life has become—is unfailingly awesome, and I would rather be living in a pile of rubble with Chris than living in my picture perfect Steubenville home alone.
I think I’ll focus on that today.
Happy Lent, y’all!