Day 63

Okay, I lied. I said that the next pictures would be the exciting ones, and I’ve been holding off on writing so I could keep my word, but I didn’t realize how long it takes to receive your cabinets once you’ve ordered them. So, in the meantime, here’s what’s been going on…

  • we have lights in the kitchen now (no more flashlights)
  • the kitchen walls and ceiling drywall is all done and spackled
  • we now have a step between the kitchen and the sunporch, so no more giant leap
  • the vents for the kitchen hood and the bathroom fan have been cut and finished
  • the roof has been recoated

And here’s what’s coming up…

  • framing out the pantry
  • putting up drywall in the bathroom and laundry room
  • finish lighting in the laundry room and bathroom
  • put steps between the kitchen and laundry room
  • install cabinets
  • open the wall between the kitchen and dining room
  • my husband and I also have to decide on countertops and flooring

Over all, the mood in our house is pleasant. My husband actually said that he’s acclimated to our present systems, which is good for my soul to hear. I’m curious how long it’ll take us to re-acclimate once we have a sink again, and a dishwasher, and an oven. It might take about 2 seconds, but I don’t want to take it for granted. And I don’t want to forget our current experience.

I’m so glad that our house is getting fixed up. I’m glad because I think it’ll help us show hospitality even better than we already do. But I’m also aware of the entitlement that comes with having nice things, and I don’t want my kids growing up feeling entitled.

I know a lot of adults who weren’t able to fix up their house – to get their big kitchen or their second bathroom – until they were retirement age, including my parents. As such, that is my standard, the example I’ve seen, so I didn’t assume we’d get to touch our house for a long time (failing foundations do a lot to create urgency).

I also remember the bathroom we had when I was growing up, the bathroom with weak floorboards beneath the toilet that made me think I might fall through the floor if I sat down too hard. My parents’ house is beautiful now, with two remodeled bathrooms, a big kitchen and living room, extra closets and storage rooms, a new laundry room, a new office: all things that we didn’t have when I was a kid. But even without those things my childhood was pleasant, and I actually think that tiny, fixer-upper bathroom did me some good. It made me appreciate what little I’ve had at different times and be thankful when I’m able to improve things.

So I have hope, even as we continue to improve things, that we will be able to instill that thankfulness and gratitude in our kids.

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Day 45

First, I have to mention that our contractors have kept our washer and drier up and running this entire time. That has not been easy, so I really appreciate their thoughtfulness and effort. That being said…

I love laundromats. This weekend is the first time that our washer and drier are not in commission, and I realized yesterday that the kids have no clean underwear, so today the three of us are at the laundromat.

It’s not that laundromats are all that awesome. On the contrary, a lot of them are dirty and need remodeling, they’re expensive, and the crowd there can be dicey or just plain awkward. But I love laundromats because they remind me of grad school when I was starting to visit the l-mat for the first time. Sure I’d technically been an adult for 4 years already, but grad school was the first time I felt like I was doing very adulty things. I lived in a house/apartment instead of a college dorm. I bought my own groceries. I chose my own bank. I was no longer a college “kid.” And it was always nice to go do laundry because I was stuck at the laundromat without my computer (a desktop) so I really had no choice but to spend an hour or so reading and, of course, people watching.

So it’s fun to spend this morning sharing the experience with my kids. They’re using the time alternately between playing with toys and watching “The Magic School Bus” on my phone (with headphones), but they’re not bothering anybody. We are definitely being people watched, though.

This week the contractors…

  • Found and replaced a cracked sewer pipe.
  • Rebuilt the laundry room subfloor.
  • Finished the electrical in the kitchen. 
  • Insulated everything.
  • And Gary and I remade decisions about cabinets and flooring.
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Our contractors discussing the electrical. There’s another guy in the other room digging out the sewer pipe.

Day 39

It’s been quite a week.

 

  • We picked out cabinets.
  • The contractors demolished an old chimney.
  • Plumbing in the kitchen is done.
  • The kitchen radiator got lifted up today, so we can finish the floor.
  • We can see where the lights are going.
  • The electrical is going in this week.
  • The laundry room floor is being rebuilt this week.

So things are moving and that’s an encouragement. Emotionally we’re still doing okay as well, though…

  • My son just learned the word “hate,” and thus I got my first “I hate you” from him, and it was because I wouldn’t give him a juice box. (When I pointed out that saying that over a juice box was a waste he recanted pretty fast.)
  • My husband and I had our first fight about the remodel (though it was more about cleaning responsibilities than the actual remodel).

On the other side of this past week I’m still hopeful and thankful. It’s October, the best month of the year! We might not have an oven, but we’re not going hungry. My husband and I aren’t perfect at loving each other, but we DO love each other. My kids aren’t angels, but they’re growing and learning. And I’m not tired, I’m happy.

That’s a big deal.

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Days 14 & 15

After this summer of traveling, the kids are used to this arrangement. We’ve now slept in one room in various hotels, airbnbs, timeshares, and relatives’ houses, so they took very little convincing to try it in our own house. (It’s not a bad way to teach your kids to hold their possessions [even their own beds] lightly.)

Our bedroom is on the second floor and next to the bathroom, and I took the kids up there right after dinner. They both lay down in their travel beds immediately and I changed their clothes and brushed their teeth right in bed. I read a couples books, turned on the sound machine, turned off the light, and was out of there. 10 minutes start to finish.

But here’s how it goes normally.

I take them up to the second floor and we stop in the bathroom. They fight over who gets to stand on the step stool to brush their teeth. If Augie wins, I brush his teeth while Rosey brushes hers. If she wins, she brushes her teeth and Augie takes off to who knows where to do something that is of maximum importance only to him. 5 minutes later I get him back into the bathroom and we brush. Meanwhile Rosey makes her way downstairs and back up again only forgetting some vital toy or blanket downstairs. I finish brushing Augie’s teeth and tell him to go upstairs to his bedroom on the third floor while I carry Rosey downstairs (she insists) to get the forgotten item. I then carry her up two flights of stairs, down the hall, and into their room. I lock the door behind me: no escape!

It is now time for jammies. Augie and Rosey have the biggest bedroom in the house so, after I get their day clothes off, they run around like wild beasts, chasing each other in their newly nude freedom while I tell them several times to come back and get their jammies on. Once again, they argue over who goes first until I tackle Rosey because she’s the easiest to subdue. Then I tell Augie that he can sleep naked with no story time and he lets me get him dressed, but he’s “not happy about it.”

Deep breath.

I pick out two books and hope they pass inspection because otherwise Augie will get to the shelf and pick out the longest ones possible. The kids sit in their reading chairs. I read. Rosey then complains that Augie is too close to her even though he hasn’t moved. Augie gets offended at being falsely accused of something and I can’t console either of them because the whole thing is irrational. Finally I scooch their chairs farther apart and I’m able to finish story time and get them into bed.

They have various stalling techniques that they can employ at this point, but let’s say it’s a good night and I get out of there without 5 songs, 4 prayers, 3 sips of water, 2 potty breaks, and a partridge in a pear tree. Let’s say I get out of there with a simple g’night: this whole thing has taken an hour and a half.

In a small house there is much less distance, much less room to run wild, several fewer rooms to entice little interests, several less steps to haul things up and down. In my smaller house I got the kids to bed tonight in 10 minutes.

I’m not complaining.

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