On June 15th, we took possession of our new home, just blocks away from the one we lived in for twenty years. We’ve been looking for a few years now, waiting for the perfect house, one that is in the same neighbourhood and, most importantly, at a price that would allow us to do any necessary renovations. Our ‘hood is an old one–there are no new houses, so when you buy, you either have to renovate or pay through the nose for one that has been “done” already.
So it finally happened. We found a much-loved house that was stuck in 1987 and took possession of it two weeks before our move-in date. The plan was to put in new floors (dusty rose carpet isn’t really my style) and paint out the beautiful solid oak trim. “No problem”, said the contractor, “We can get that done in two weeks.” The kitchen guys assured us that the cupboards we ordered would be there about five days after we moved in. Take-out for a few days? We could do that.
After years of watching HGTV, I should know that nothing is ever that simple. There were no emergencies, nothing hidden in the walls, yet the picture above was taken on July first, move-in day. The floors on the main floor were still in boxes, because Earl (our excellent but oh-so-slow painter) was still painting out that trim. Then he had to do the walls. And he was doing such a good job we didn’t want to hurry him along. The charm of having no kitchen wore off quickly and an email saying that the new one was a week behind, sent me into a tailspin. It’s now going to arrive a week from today. I hope.
My husband got creative and hooked up the sink from the laundry room in our “kitchen” and life got a little better. Every time I feel like complaining, I think about how many women in the world would do anything for the set up I have right now. First world problems, I whisper to myself pretty regularly.
As I type, I’m watching CNN on my TV that’s on the floor in front of the still dismantled fireplace. There’s a lot of “make do” happening, but we’re in a rhythm and the three teenagers have been pretty good not to complain (too much). Today is Earl’s last day. Everything will be painted and we will be able to start putting some things back together. Paul, the carpenter who is juggling multiple jobs, will return eventually to put our fireplace back together, and soon my kitchen will be in place. The “after” will happen, and these two weeks will be a blip that we will laugh about some day.
Until then, I will keep reminding myself that I am so very lucky; these inconveniences have been pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, after all!
I know your pain! My husband and I bought a total fixer 14 months ago, but we thought it was all cosmetic. We estimated six months of work. Fast forward a year later, we just finished and every inch of plumbing and wiring was replaced. That's a lie, we're not actually finished. We still need to replace and repair porch roofs and fix the garage and finish a hallway. But it's live-able now. It was the most stressful thing I'd ever done (we did all the work ourselves) and I will never do it again.
Jackie Cutcliffe says
We did all the work on our last home. Over the twenty years, I think we redid everything. This time, we have a little help but are doing some ourselves. It makes quite a difference!