Even though we’re still about two-ish weeks out from being 98% completely renovated, I thought I’d share a few things that we’ve learned so far. By “we,” I probably just mean “me,” as these are most likely just my own issues and learnings, but I like to take the whole family down with me.
1. Living in your basement like a refugee is not for everybody. On Renovation Days #17, 32, 43, and 44, it was not for me either. Those, I hope, were my biggest freak out days. I think that Hank has had more freak out days than me, for the record. I like to reserve mine mostly for weekends. Holden, our 10yo, perhaps ties with Hank on the freak out days. Ewan, our 6yo, is the most stable of all us. That’s a scary thing to say, since he’s also the wild card ginger boy.
2. Doing laundry at the laundromat is a blessing. Honestly it is. I thought that this would be the worst part, but having everything clean and folded within an hour and a half is pure bliss. I can sling quarters with the best of the best now. Also awesome? Watching little 70yo women lug their huge bags of laundry over their shoulder and whip those clothes into shape will put any weightlifter to shame.
3. Never be afraid to admit defeat. For the past week, I’ve been very behind on said laundry and have had major Mom fail. Instead of being a Laundromat Goddess, I hauled about 10 loads to the dry cleaners and took advantage of the Wash-and-Fold service. The ladies there were incredibly gracious and kind and sympathetic and fixed us right up.
4. The worst part, the very VERY VERY worst part, is washing dishes in the tub. I always manage to sit wrong on the side of the tub and make my left leg fall asleep. But everything gets super squeaky clean for about five minutes until I fall out of the tub screaming, “PINS AND NEEDLES!!” and spill clean dishes onto the dusty floor.
5. This one could go either way: Sheetrock boogers. Let’s just leave that right there.
6. Cooking Yard Food has been pretty fun. We’ve come up with some creative and yummy dishes between the camping stove, pressure cooker, and dutch oven. I think we’ve also impressed our boys, which is no small feat.
7. PEE ANXIETY. With a million workers in and out of the house and a bathroom door that doesn’t lock, I am terrified every time I go to the bathroom. I always turn the tub water on so a) they’ll know the bathroom is occupied, and b) they won’t hear me pee. Or worse. :(
8. The rate at which we run out of toilet paper and air freshener is ASTOUNDING. Ok.
9. Rationing out my Swiffer Wet Mop Pads. I bought a package of 24 a couple of weeks ago and it is my own personal Countdown To Move-in Day method. I use one per day, and when I’m finished, the house should be move-in ready. I save it until the evening when there’s less traffic and just before shower time so we have a clean floor on which to step after we’ve cleaned up for the day. It’s a reward for work well done. (And one tiny clean spot in the house.)
10. I pretend and imagine a lot. This past Sunday, for instance, Hank and I moved and raked 10 tons of crusher fine into our new walkway between the house and little barn, and I pretended that I was stand-up paddleboarding the entire day. Bonus? I did NOT have to pretend that I was tired that evening.
11. INSIDE CRICKETS ARE THE MOST EVIL OF ALL CREATURES OF THE NIGHT.
12. OUTSIDE CRICKETS ARE THE MOST RELAXING AMBIENT MUSIC ON A FARM.
13. Hank and I miss ice. You guys with fancy houses that have, you know, ICE MAKERS should be counting your lucky stars. There is a mighty dose of good karma coming to the gas station attendants down the road who let us fill up our water bottles with ice. They always look the other way and then give a little wink. God bless them.
14. We are incredibly grateful to and humbled by every man and woman who has had their hands on this house. They are building a dream house for us, every day, dawn ’til dusk many days, with smiles on their faces and a pep in their step. Sometimes, they seem as excited as we are, and that makes me happy. Their skill and their love for what they do puts even more goodness into this place. It has been an honor getting to know them as we have.
15. Lastly, a house renovation is no match for the Tooth Fairy, who has found us in the basement three times in the last five weeks. The last one was for this guy, and just in time for school pictures next week. Yeehaw!