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everything takes longer than you think

When people say, everything takes twice as long as you think it's going to, what they mean is everything takes 10 times as long as you think it's going to.

Hi.  First of all, I finally have the internet again, hooray!!!  Now I don't have to crushingly try to post to you from my phone, which I couldn't really figure out.  I have posts started in there that will probably never see the light of day.  Or, they will, but you will have to just forgive me for some random typos and lost thoughts because I think a little faster than my thumbs can type.

Second, I love this house.  It's in some pieces and I don't know where to begin on days like today (here I am typing instead of doing any of the things on my long list for just today), but I still love it.  G came downstairs this morning and said "We have two stories!"  Yep, we do.  Hooray!  And it's May Day which hopefully means that I have to worry a little less about being cold since we currently have no ductwork running from our furnace in the basement to, well anywhere else in the house.  The asbestos removal guy took out all of the asbestos wrapped ducts and the asbestos wrapped heat register pieces (I don't know what they are called but it has been quite difficult finding new ones that will work so...) leaving us with only slow filtering heat from the basement and some funny exposed interior walls.  

back "bedroom" with asbestos wrapped vent and knob and tube wiring

The white duct in the above picture is now gone, but the wiring and framing is still exposed.

What did it look like before we tore out the plaster?  Well, I don't have the exact picture here, but the opposite wall looks (still) like this: 

"wood" paneling was installed on opposite walls.  
Why not just tear out all of the paneling?  Well, when we removed the paneling from some of the walls, they go from looking terrible like this, to worse, like this:
part of the kitchen wall with paneling removed exposing cracked and damaged green painted plaster. 
As I explain this, I realize that it looks like we bought a horror show.  It wasn't a total horror show, but all of our seemingly minor little decisions have become major undertakings as one little decision leads to another, bigger and more complicated process.  For example: when we bought our lovely home it was carpeted wall to wall with good ol' apartment standard beige covering hardwood floors.  Step one, pull up carpet, step two, refinish floors.  So simple.  Except there was this low archway between the living room and dining room that was not that great.  We'll just open up the wall.  But we had to open the wall before refinishing the floors because we'd have to patch the oak floor where the wall was.  Except that the joists supporting the second story were running the wrong direction making that wall a load bearing wall.  We got a contractor to put in a beam to support the upper floor.  Except that when we opened up the wall, we exposed an asbestos wrapped vent.  But if you are going to pay a fortune to have asbestos removed, you might as well have all the asbestos removed.  So we exposed the other two vents that run from the basement to the top floor.  And we (when I say we, I really mean G) removed some framing in the basement for another wood paneled room because it was sitting on top of asbestos tile.  As was our kitchen linoleum.  Sure we wanted to replace the kitchen floor, because we also want to completely remodel our kitchen, but now, we have subfloor, topped with glue topped with the spray that they use to make asbestos non-ferous (won't break apart into sub-particles to be breathed in).  It went from eh, but livable, to ick: 
kitchen nook with flooring before asbestos removal...

kitchen floor now.
Yep.  That's what it looks like now.  So I went to IKEA and bought three large grass style mats that are much much better.  

Anyway, because we are living in the middle of the renovation.  I guess I started with photos of the middle.  And every little thing takes 10 times as long as you think it's going to, which means every little thing involves little celebrations.  Yesterday, actually, within a 24 hour period, G and I made three trips to IKEA, round trip 50 miles, just to buy a dresser so that our clothes weren't all over the ground.  What should have been a three hour project took 24 hours to build two dressers that are really just something to hold our clothing.  

How long will this remodel take?  I have heard many a person say the words, "Congratulations, you have a project for the rest of your life."  This is just part of the list of things we have done, want and need to do to this house (while we both work at least 40 hours a week to pay for it).  I am also including a few of the things we have already completed since acquiring the keys on March 1 and not going into great detail on the things that interrupted the process (more on these things later):
  • repaint and change hardware on kitchen cabinets even though we will tear them out in the next 6 months (if all goes well)
  • remove wall between living room and dining room
  • remove carpeting downstairs
  • refinish and stain hardwood floors
  • asbestos removal
  • replace disgusting kitchen appliances
  • duct from furnace to top floor
  • rewire as much of the house as we can after having new electrical breaker installed
  • give hot tub (yep the house came with a hot tub) to our contractor who actually wants it (come and get it Scott!)
  • replace the horrible addition tacked onto the back of the kitchen with a deck
  • remove walls between kitchen and back bedroom
  • install french door to the deck
  • re-design kitchen (I hear this takes longer than the actual work)
  • re-floor kitchen
  • new cabinets in kitchen
  • new lighting in kitchen 
  • new whatever else in kitchen
  • install bathroom on main floor
And then there are all the little things.  We were done moving things 15 days ago.  We went to IKEA three times in 24 hours wasting all of Saturday.  So, today I need to:
  • hem the curtains that I installed last weekend so we weren't total exhibitionists
  • make curtains for the closet window (yes, closet windows! east facing which have the potential to fade all of my clothes, thus the need for closet curtains)
  • laundry (don't forget about all the regular things you have to keep up with)
  • find the closet floor
  • begin composting again
  • plant the basil I bought at trader joe's two days ago (it's supposed to be in the m)
  • rewire the cable
  • plan meals for the next week and make dinner
It's 1:33 now.  How much do you think I can get done? 


  1. Oh, man. I hear you on the renovation snowball! I'm so sorry that it's that crazy for you.

    We have a very similar list, but are being slow and passive in our tackling of it. Go you! This may have given me the necessary fire in my belly to tackle the ripping out of the attic this evening.


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