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.
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