Posted on April 22 2018
Hanging on by a thread!
As I put thoughts to paper, this day marks the 1 month point since the start of our renovations. Has it only been a month?! Much has happened and I am feeling very weary. We are at that point in the marathon when initial euphoria has evaporated, everything hurts and quitting seems like a merciful option. But we trudge on because we have to and deep inside we really want to, with arms raised high in victory....as we limp to the finish line....collapsing just after breaking the tape. Just keep the end game in mind and you'll make it!
So far our biggest nemesis continues to be dust and dirt. Each time I have to extricate myself through the plastic dust barriers, I feel like Ace Ventura when he was ``birthed`` out of the Rhinoceros! It seems unrealistic to hope the trades people will clean up after themselves. They do with their own tools and such, but each day after they leave, I buzz around with the unwieldy shop vac, cleaning up around the tarped off areas and wherever else I can reach, before giving up and giving in to the growing apathy inside me.
We are nearing the end of drywall stage. Before that, the electrical and plumbing rough‐ins were completed. We have achieved a lot but why do I still feel so drained and lacking in enthusiasm? I was joking with a friend the other day that there should be a branch of psychotherapy for PTRSD ‐ Post Traumatic Renovation Stress Disorder.
More lessons learned thus far:
Listen to your gut, follow your instincts and check regularly on the work being done on your home. You may not have a background in construction, architecture or design, but you are the client, your concerns need to be heard and understood and if needed, the work must be changed to suit your wants and expectations.
Keep an open line of communication with your contractor. I would say that the industry is still very sexist and let's face it, the male ego is more sensitive than we might think. Tread diplomatically but never forget that you make the final call. We have had a few hiccups. The electrician forgot to do the wiring for the island. In our neck of the woods, that would be an inspection fail. It's a good thing that husband has a keen eye and is very observant.
Our plumbing job was too complicated for the person our contractor hired for the work. So at the last minute we had to conjure up another. Luckily we got a recommendation from neighbours and he was really great. Also, a prominent home improvement store deleted our range order, which was a purchase from November of last year. We only found out when our delivery day came and went and no appliance. Double check all your orders, keep the pressure on the retailers to make sure your purchases are handled correctly.
Try to resist the urge to splurge, especially at the beginning of your renovation as that's the time to keep on the narrow path of budget control. When things feel really exciting and you're relishing the idea of having a fresh, new space, you'll want to buy some of the things you've held back on for years. Take things slowly when the budget gets somewhat blown due to unforeseen circumstances. You'll be relieved to have that extra money at the end to lean on. Trust me, there will be unexpected work to be done, whether you live in a century home or one that still has that new car smell.
Duct work or electrical wires may need to be relocated. That sagging floor was sagging for a reason. And hidden water damage may throw you for a loop. Having a contingency fund will serve you well. Look at it this way, if nothing goes wrong with your renovation, you have extra cash for whatever else you desire! Throw a big party to celebrate!
Are you helping or hindering by wanting to do some of the work yourself? Yes, it's a financial savings. You will also get such a feeling of satisfaction that your own sweat equity went into building your beautiful space. But how does this affect your contractor's schedule and work flow from one stage to another? Before anything gets started, have a meeting with your contractor to discuss when and how you can realistically add your part in their process. We chose to do some of the demolition as that came at the beginning. We also wanted to hire a friend who is not just a wonderful actor, but a master painter. These were carefully chosen tasks at strategic times so as not to be a hindrance. We still faced many lively discussions back and forth with the contractor. But everything is clear now.
Soon we will be at the painting stage, then come the floors, then our beautiful kitchen. We have been told that the ship from Germany has docked at a port about 5 hours east of us. These last couple of weeks have felt sort of quiet, a slight lull in the process. But we know that soon enough, there will be a flurry of activity and before we know it, we will be done. The painful memories will fade and what we have will be a beautiful main floor space to be enjoyed for years to come.
Our slow cooker continues to be our saving grace when it comes to home cooked meals in the basement. I strongly suggest you get one, if you haven't already. With a makeshift kitchen in cramped quarters, one pot meals may be your only viable choice. Remember to keep all your spices nearby.
Here is a recipe I have tried and loved the result. Enjoy!
- 1 lbs boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut in large pieces
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 jalapeno chopped (optional for heat)
- 2 Teaspoon chili powder
- 1 Teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt/pepper
- 14‐ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- Add all ingredients into slow cooker. Mix well. Cook on high for 3 hours Add instant rice, Mix well and cook another 30 minutes on high.