Renovations: Expect the Unexpected (and Then Expect More)

About two months ago, my husband and I bought a fixer-upper.  When we signed away, we knew we had our work ahead of us.  No one had lived on the property for over a year, and the lack of love and attention showed.  The appliances didn’t work, there was brown water coming out of every faucet, and the walls were infested with bugs. I’d wondered if the previous owners even had a Choice Home Warranty on this house. But we had a plan.  We had a list!  We even had a budget.  We thought we were good to go.  Oh, how we thought wrong.

As soon as we closed escrow, we did what any average, new condo-owners would do:  we gutted the downstairs.  We tore out the cabinets, sink, countertop, and appliances in the kitchen (we took help from kitchenistic for the appliances); we stripped down the bathroom to nothing but pipes; and we ripped out the existing flooring.  (Needless to say, the bugs found a new home.)  Then we (we = I) cried.  The downstairs looked awful—it seemed like we’d never get it to look like a livable space again.

A few days later, our wood floors were installed throughout the downstairs.  They looked beautiful!  They stayed beautiful, too—until two weeks after the install when we had a terrible flood in the kitchen.  The flooring had to be gutted and re-laid.  The plumbing had to be fixed.  The wallet had to be emptied.

Yesterday, I discovered a leak coming from our outside patio into the interior track of the sliding glass door.  Rainwater had filled the track, and somehow sludge and earwigs had made their way in there, too.  All I could do was heave a deep sigh and then go grab some paper towels, a plastic bag, and my trusty bottle of Windex (my cleaner for everything).

So why am I sharing some[1] of my home-renovation woes with you?  That’s easy—I know you can relate!  As teachers, you renovate every day.  Whether it’s a dated lesson plan or a jaded student, you take something that needs work and turn it into something worth showing off.  You are constantly adjusting and improving the classroom experience for your students, much like I am restoring and redecorating my living environment.

How do you do it?  Or, better yet, how do you do it so gracefully?  And, more so, how do you do it every day of the week?  How do you not become overwhelmed by all the changes you want to make?

Like some of your renos, I presume, the plan we began with has been replaced with reality.  Our list grows longer every day, though we are crossing lines off.  And the budget my husband and I had set is now something we laugh about.  (Does money evaporate out of your wallet, too?)  But the good news is that our home is beginning to feel like a home.  At the end of the day, this is where we want to relax and, if needed, clean out sliding glass door tracks, or unclog tub drains, or install ceiling fans, or . . . Some renos are just worth it, don’t you think?


[1] In this case, a very small percentage

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