The Deal Mommy

Lessons Learned from Remodeling Week 7: A Project is Your Ladder out of the Pit

Welcome to my Lessons learned from remodeling journal. I thought it would be fun and instructive to share our remodeling journey week by week. I hope you can learn from what we do right- and more importantly from what we mess up.

A couple of weeks ago I shared my descent into the pit of despair. I laugh today at that girl’s lack of awareness of the vermin creeping around the bend. 

Have you ever played the game where you write your life as a TV sitcom?

Scene: 8AM Monday morning, The Deal House, which is in complete disarray. Every single room of the house is either packed to the rafters with moving boxes or completely under construction. Eight construction workers go about the business of completing a full gut remodel. Tejano music mingles with buzzsaw in the background.

In the family room both Deal Kids huddle around the only TV watching Gravity Falls. (They are home due to a school holiday). Both kids’ heads are wrapped in plastic and covered in olive oil, as they both have lice they are waiting to have removed by the…

lice removal professional, who is currently (also in the family room since it is the least un-inhabitable room in the house) removing lice eggs from Deal Mommy’s hair. 

Deal Mommy: (talking to lead contractor in tortured Spanish): “For the downstairs shower the tile pattern is white, then blue, then white, then the backsplash, then white, then blue, then white. The backsplash piece should line up with the middle of the shampoo box…”


Anyone who has dealt with lice (and that’s pretty much any parent with a kid older than preschool) knows that it’s not a one day problem. Even with the lice lady getting rid of the worst you’ve still got to wash EVERYTHING.  Then you’ve got to deal with two weeks of hair smelling like salad dressing and primate grooming routines.  

A couple of days ago I just hit the wall and needed to lie down and cry. Unfortunately, my need for a crying spot coincided with every sheet in the house being in the dryer. I had to make my bed so I could cry in it, then remake it when I was done because I had lice. That may be the most pathetic sentence I have ever typed. 

Lessons learned from Remodeling: A project is your ladder out of the pit

However today I’m much better. It could be thanks to the uncharacteristically sunny day but I’m more inclined to give credit to the project I threw myself into: rescuing a mid-century modern table I found at Restore for $30. 

“Mid-century modern” makes me sound way more Nate Berkus than I deserve. I mentioned last week how as newlyweds we accidentally bought mid-century modern furniture. Over the last twenty years I’ve learned to spot diamonds in the rough and found a drop leaf side table that, under 100 layers of lacquer, had real potential. I saw that it definitely contained “real” wood, not plywood, and that the inlay was inset, not painted on. The drop-leafs also were in good shape and looked original- all good signs. I couldn’t figure out what kind of wood it was because of all the staining, but for $30 figured I didn’t have anything to lose. 

Another $20 in stain remover later and I ended up with this:

The stain was so thick I needed two applications of remover, sanding, and oiling to get to the wood.  I’m still not sure what kind of wood it is- leaning towards red oak, cherry, or walnut as opposed to teak or maple. Either way it will  totally fit in to our aesthetic. And I couldn’t buy a coffee table at Walmart for $50. 

But it wasn’t about the money we saved

It was about getting the heck out of my head and using my hands. I needed to focus on something tangible, something with a concrete goal I could attain with a reasonable amount of time. Something I could point to as an accomplishment. 

It was about finding a ladder out of the pit. 

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network. 

Lessons learned from remodeling: a project is your ladder out of the pit

13 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Remodeling Week 7: A Project is Your Ladder out of the Pit

  1. Jamie

    For lice, you probably don’t need to do any more than the usual amount of washing. I mean, I’d wash stuff once and that’d be it.
    Have you looked into the heat treat method. Using a hair dryer for the home version of the Air Allee? Check out thenicelicelady ‘s blog.
    This too shall pass. Good luck.

  2. Nicole

    With lice you don’t have to go crazy. No bagging stuffed animals. No spraying or storing rugs in the garage for two weeks. Normal bed linen washing. Also just get the lice shampoo that disolves the exoskeleton. It smells of peppermint and tingles your scalp.. Kills all newly hstched and maturing live. Nothing kills eggs. You need a combing schedule and it should only take 15 mints every other day. Use Pantene to comb and then repeat with pick dipped in baking soda. Comb for two weeks. How do I know? We all got lice from riding helmets in Croatia. Beautiful trails through a vineyard along the Adratic. Yeah. Anyway….

  3. Kate

    I have dealt with lice on more than one occasion. Slathered my head and children’s heads with mayonnaise for two hours at a stretch. Washed and vacuumed everything. Drove myself and my family crazy! So unnecessary! Finally heard about a lice removal professional. The key is to focus on the HAIR not the cleaning. You do not need to use chemicals. After the professional does the first combing, Wash the bed linens, stay away from chairs where people with lice have sat, etc for a couple of days. In the meantime, be religious about combing out the hair with a professional grade metal lice comb. Go very firmly against the scalp once or twice a day. After a few days of scraping on the paper towels to see if you get anything, you can do it daily in the shower for a week or two. I used to be freaked out about lice, but now that I know how to deal with it, I’m not anymore. Fortunately, that was the last time I had to deal with it. Yes, absolutely very unpleasant, but I wish I had known earlier how to deal with the situation. Email me if you want more info, but seeing the professional saved the day for me. Good luck!

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Kate,
      Agree that she was worth every penny. I could deal with the kids but had no idea how to treat myself.

  4. JohnnieD

    When it rains it pours………..

    BTW, Alamo has their drive out of Florida deal showing at $9.99/day. Just did a reservation and it came out at $4.95/day, max 21 days. Thats $34.95/wk, sweet deal…..especially adding a few discount codes from the daily getaways deals……….

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