Monday, February 17, 2014

The DIY Home Project Roller Coaster

Hello! I hope you all had a great Valentines Day and still have plenty of chocolate left. I had a hot date with a pizza, my yoga pants, and Netflix. Oh, and Tots, O, and Dex were there too, so that was cool.

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently moved... into a bit of a dump a fixer-upper. I know there are some of you out there who have been there, done that (and have the nail gun scars and PTSD to prove it) and can remember how I'm feeling, and there are probably some of you out there who are at the beginning of this process, like us. And, heck, there may even be a lucky few of you who have never had to go through this process and are wondering if the rest of us need our heads checked (and the answer is undeniably a resounding and echoing YES).

Here's the thing nobody tells you about moving into a project house. You're strapping yourself into a mental and emotional roller coaster. The sense of hope you feel when you first decide to buy your dump your fixer-upper and as you begin to make plans for what will eventually become your dream home is dizzying. We can do this! All we have to do is get by for a couple of years until we're eventually able to do the full renovation. Just look at all that potential! Oh, and the charming farmhouse style sink! That puppy is original!

That hope carries you through until the second time you walk through the doors, this time to clean, before you move in. The dizzying hope turns to spiraling hopelessness. Will this house ever be clean? What the heck IS this in the bathtub? Can I even cook in this kitchen? That charming original kitchen sink is less charming and more concerning now that I have to do dishes in it. We are SO wearing shoes forever until we can replace this nasty carpet. Can O just go live with his grandparents until we've completely renovated? Holy crap... O! Can we really raise a kid in this mess? How are we supposed to get any work done with a toddler running around? And a new baby?! Can our marriage survive a renovation?! What the hell were we thinking?!

And then, just when you're ready to pull out all of your hair, comes the excitement of a new project. Yay! We're going to make a little progress! This is my chance to make my own little safe haven in this rat's nest (not literally, so far. We've only had 1 mouse to date). I'm so excited!

Of course, two days into the project when you no longer have a toilet on the main floor (or a shower or bathtub in your house at all), you start to feel a little crazy again. Who in their right minds does this? There are people who do this work for a living... can we just call them? And maybe move into a hotel for the week? I just want to pee without having to put my shoes and coat on to go down to my unfinished basement! Jeepers it's cold down there! We are never doing this again!

And then comes the joy, a week later when the project is finished* (only 2 days past it's originally scheduled finish date). Oh my gosh! This looks great! This is my new favorite room in the house! Which room can we do next? Can I tear out my kitchen next year? Casey's pizza and McDonald's doesn't make a terrible Christmas dinner, does it? We could survive on pb & j sandwiches for a week and a half. Our tub is in now, so we could always do dishes in there... OR, maybe this is an excuse to go exclusively to paper plates and plastic ware for Christmas break. SCORE!
*Oh, and also your definition of the word "finished" gets a slight modification.

Am I the only one who has ever felt this way? I grew up as the daughter of two DIY'ers. I remember gutting and remodeling every house we've ever occupied, and I don't remember it ever being anything besides a wonderful adventure. I guess time (and parenthood, and the fact that it's now my budget rather than my parents') changes a person's perspective. Tots and I are in this one for the long haul, for better or worse. And I'm pretty sure I need my head checked. Just 2 short months after finishing our bathroom renovation*, I'm chomping at the bit to do something else. Tear out some carpet and refinish our hardwood floors? Swoon. Sand and paint our nasty kitchen linoleum until we can actually do a full kitchen renovation? My heart races at the thought (and YES! That's actually a thing! I just learned this week that you can paint linoleum! I've intentionally been avoiding the hardware store because I'm not sure I'd be able to restrain myself... and then I'd have a lot of explaining to do when Tots gets home from work).
*again, our definition of "finished" is not what it once was

I'll keep you posted on our progress, but until then, if anyone has any words of encouragement or the names of good contractors they'd like to pass along, I will gladly accept either.


  1. I expect to see a tutorial if you try painting the linoleum! Because new floors are so far out of our budget it isn't even funny! So I've been considering that project for our kitchen floors, or painted concrete, but my husband doesn't have the same vision I do (or he just doesn't want to deal with me when I get to the "This was a terrible idea! Why did you let me do this?" phase of my project.)

  2. I will let you know if it happens! I just innocently floated the idea by Tots last night and he shut it down pretty quickly. He said for the time and effort it would take, we'd be better off to get a couple of less unsightly linoleum remnants to put down in the meantime (he might not be wrong about that). He is, however, going out of town for a few days in a couple of weeks, so I'll have a little bit of time then... Ha! He would kill me!