Day 50

The contractors are moving so fast now. All the hard stuff is done so here’s what happened in the past few days…

  • Framing out the new bathroom
  • Finishing the subfloor
  • Putting up drywall 

Next week we’ll be framing the new pantry, installing cabinets, widening the doorway between the new kitchen and the dining room, opening a passthrough in the same wall, and picking out all the bathroom stuff (sink, shower, toilet, flooring). The pictures coming up will be fun ones!

Now for the rest of the post…

I realized this past week that I’m always most successful at connecting with people when I’m talking about the ways in which I have failed. Failed at friendships, marriage, parenting. Failed in jobs, at logic, or in social graces. Failed at being good at even the things that I’m known for being good at.

I wish that weren’t true. I’d be much more proud to connect so often over successes, but when I imagine that conversation it just feels icky: “You’ll never guess what happened! I got promoted to senior editor, nominated for best artist, and won the PTO bakeoff all in one day! And my husband said because of me he’s the happiest he’s been in years. Isn’t that crazy?! How was YOUR day?”

It’s possible that it’s just the circles I run in, but the world seems to be a pretty broken place, and that world includes me. I’d always like to say the loving thing to my husband. I’d like to have hair that just perfectly cascades. I’d like to host every open mic night with precise pacing and delivery. But the truth is, I have a much greater impact on the world when I feel the need to apologize, when I feel ugly, when I feel embarrassed…and live to tell the tale.

Sure it’s not fun, failing. It wasn’t fun being unpopular in high school. I definitely didn’t enjoy accruing the student debt of two degrees only to realize that I DON’T have a knack for teaching. And don’t even get me started on the Mommy guilt that built up as my kid refused to sleep for 3 years.  These things might get resolved in 2 hours on the big screen, but in real life they leave scars.

Fooled you though because scars are cool. You thought I was going to say scars are bad. And maybe they are if you plan to be the perfect sort. But, obvious and slow to fade, scars are the bearers of good tidings to those who hurt in secret. Scars let others know that you’ve been there too. And we all need to know that we’re not alone.

So try as I may to have it all together, to be a great parent, a great graphic designer, a great leader, a great daughter, a great housemate, a great creation, etc., it’s probably better that I don’t always succeed. And I genuinely hope God hears me when I say, ” I don’t want any more failure…but when it comes, thanks.”

 

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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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Day 26

Light & Warmth & Order. 

When my husband and I get stressed out in our house, the main reasons are because it’s too dark and too cold and too cluttered. So light and warmth and order have become our decision-making factors for this remodel, and I’m looking forward to seeing how well we do.

Order:

All of the practical issues we have fall inside these three factors. The foundation, for example, is our first issue of “order” while the last will probably be storage space. And now that the foundation problem is fixed we get to move on to stuff that is more fun (and more pretty) like raising/creating the floor and deciding whether to blow out a wall.

Warmth:

When the project is done, our kitchen floor will be insulated, and the kitchen, dining room, and living room will all be at the same level with matching flooring throughout. Ever since we moved in 3 years ago (a month before our daughter was born) we’ve been walking on a seriously cold, seriously marked up subfloor, which our son has dubbed “the sliver floor” for good reason. I remember telling my husband 3 years ago that we had to redo at least the floor before the new baby was 9 months old and started crawling. Well, better late than never.

Light:

Up until this point our dining room has been the darkest room in the house (sporting only one window and even that faces the alleyway), and, consequently, it is the least used room in the house. My husband is what we affectionately call “an outdoor cat” so he naturally wants to be in spaces that have a lot of natural light, so he preferred that we eat on room over in the kitchen (one of the brightest rooms in the house).

To change this up, we’re going to make the doorway double as wide and open up a big “window” or “passthrough” between the two rooms. On the bottom ledge of the window we’ll put a counter top. This we can use to put dinner dishes that we don’t want on the table during meals, or I can use it as a standing desk (finally!). And best of all, the new openings will allow a lot more light to spill into the dining room from the kitchen. So I can’t wait until our contractor starts cutting!

 

Over all, sticking to these three goals has already been really helpful, and I’m sure they will continue to be. Couples tend to fight most about the little things, like door knobs and paint colors, and that’ll probably be us too. But having the goals of light and warmth and order helps me to hold my preferences and opinions loosely. So bring on the paint!

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The new kitchen floor being built.

 

Day 18

UPDATE: Apparently we have river running beneath our house, at least when it rains, and so we have to dig a trench around our house to divert it. This could take awhile.

It’s finally caught up with us….

Let’s talk labels for a second. I am an introvert and an Enneagram Type 1 with a touch of social anxiety. Gary is an extrovert, Enneagram Type 7, but with slight agoraphobia. In other words, too many people and too much clutter in enclosed spaces wears us out entirely. On the other hand, on the APEST spiritual gifts test we’re both APEs (with him leaning more on the apostolic/evangelist side and me on the prophetic side), so despite our sensitivity we’re constantly battling with our other need to get stuff done, start things, fix things, host people, and overcrowd the calendar.

Up until this weekend we were doing an okay job of slowing down for the sake of the remodel. We were doing okay with the lack of space and the extra time needed to cook and do dishes. But this weekend we fell pray to our whims of hosting and doing, and come Monday our whole household was a wreck.

This past weekend we:

  • hiked with friends (Gary and the kids)
  • designed a new branding logo pack for a church (Susan)
  • had family movie night
  • hosted a preschooler sleepover
  • hosted a college student sleepover
  • cleaned/turned over the house twice
  • watched the Eagles game
  • helped lead a church service (each of us responsible for multiple elements)
  • hosted 5 extra adults for dinner
  • talked through a public speaking experience with our housemate
  • (not to mention caring for our two preschoolers)

This much stuff is pretty normal for us, or at least it used to be. But this time, after this past weekend, we were all past done. The truth is, we used to have a laundry room/play room that would dampen the noise of 19 hours with extra kids, but not this time. We used to have a dishwasher to fill and run after a dinner with 5 extra adults, but not this time (so Gary did 2 hours of dishes by hand on Monday). We used to have a spare bedroom that was always ready for guests, but not this time.

By Monday, Gary and I and our kids and our housemate all needed naps and quiet and alone time to recoup from the overstimulation of too many people in too small a space for too long. And so now I am finally posting.

Having a small house is great when you’re a small intimate family. It’s great when you don’t over commit your time. It’s great if you don’t host lots of people. It’s great if you’re not highly sensitive to noise. But Gary and I are notorious over-schedulers who have a housemate and love to get a bunch of people together for food and stories (especially when we can control the volume of said stories). So it’s finally happened: I can’t wait to get my big house back.

(P.S. – To the friends we hosted this weekend, we love you, and it’s not your fault we are highly sensitive. We would host you again in a second.)

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