Well, people…our kitchen is officially finished.
And I have to say that Andrew and I were not far from feeling “finished” as well.
Can anyone give me a shout out and say, “Yes! Renovations are seriously hard on a family!”
Now, HOLD ON. I’m NOT complaining. I actually am really grateful that we were able to do this at all and that it didn’t totally put us in the hole financially. I’m so glad that my husband has the intelligence and artistic ability as well as craftsmanship to be able to accomplish something like this.
But it was tough – tougher than boiled chicken.
Andrew and I had a dream when we started our search for a home last November.
We wanted something with a lot of “potential” meaning we wanted something cheap that we could fix up and sell for way more than it was worth. Yay! Profitable investments!
We also wanted something that we could love and that we could create together – a home, something with pieces of us scattered in every corner.
We had this idea that because the dream was easy that the process of making it happen would be just as easy.
I have NO IDEA why we would even think that.
When I write a song it’s agony to come up with the finished project.
When I gave birth it was HARD WORK.
The week we submitted our bid on the house was the very week that we found out I was pregnant. This meant that me helping (painting, demolition, heavy lifting etc.) was going to be limited and that our dream of working alongside each other with a pair of hammers and sweat dripping from our foreheads was going to be more like Andrew doing all those things…by himself…
The pregnancy also put a deadline on things. We wanted to finish all the renovations before Clare was born but if necessary we could definitely extend the date to before she started crawling. (that didn’t happen)
So Christmas rolled around and we thought, “Heck! We’d better get a move on.” Not to mention our kitchen was really gross. I mean…you just can’t imagine how gross. I can’t believe we lived with it as long as we did.
And then one day, just like that, we flung ourselves into the renovation of our kitchen for no apparent reason, almost as if we had jumped off a cliff without any hesitation.
My parents, siblings and friends all took sifts helping us. The entire contents of our kitchen went into our dining room, I made a little sanctuary upstairs for myself and Clare and the process started.
People should budget counseling into renovations. Almost every night I would have some prolonged melt down about how Andrew wasn’t getting it done fast enough (our refrigerator was in our hallway) but he also wasn’t spending enough time with Clare and everything was messy and dust covered and there were saws (more than one) just laying on the ground. (!) I could see Andrew wince, as if to steady himself for a big blow, when he walked in the door every night.
But people! Look at this kitchen! Are you not amazed?! Who knew that this guy was so talented? After each step was finished I could tell a weight was being lifted off Andrew. “Aaaah…” I would see his shoulders say. And he finished it IN A MONTH! Who does that?! I don’t even know professional contractors who could do that and he was working full-time with a naggy wife. I’m sorry but as far as I’m concerned this kitchen is his first miracle toward sainthood. Clare is the second. One more and you’ve got it made buddy! Although…I don’t think Andrew’s a catholic.
Another saint, my mom, literally made us like a thousand meals. Every time she would come up or I would go down to visit she would sneak an entire meal into my purse. (I have a big purse) I have to say that part of me was sad that we finished because I knew that was the end of my mom’s delicious cooking.
We hardly saw any of our friends for a month because we didn’t want them to have to come over and injure themselves on some weird construction shrapnel that had flown into some spot on the couch.
But we did a few late nights working next to each other. We would talk and work and dream some more and little bit by little bit we finished.
Today as I cleaned the entirety of our house, I gave thanks. I gave thanks for Andrew, family, friends and forgiveness. I gave thanks for lead paint tests, tupperware, Dominos pizza and shopvacs. I gave thanks for a week off work so that we could push toward the big finish and I gave thanks for sinks and drains and tile and DISHWASHERS!
And then…I thought, “What’s next?”