Major home renovation projects have many phases. Demo, drywall, paint, etc.
Those living in the house being renovated also pass a lot of milestones. For me, the biggies so far have included:
- INSANE EXCITEMENT (corresponding mainly with the early demo phase, when we quickly extricated the visible signs of the old, detested kitchen).
- MID-POINT DOLDRUMS (I wrote a post about this; it basically entailed the work period post-demo when we struggled to see the progress we were making).
- EVERYTHING IS SUNSHINE (when notable progress is finally made — i.e., in the form of refinished floors and installed drywall).
- LATE-STAGE DOLDRUMS. (because the end is nigh… but not nigh enough…)
Gah. This latest phase? It started with a sanding sponge.
The sanding of drywall corresponds to finals week here at school (we’re on the quarter system where I teach). This means I balance the tedium of sanding while staring at *a lot* of grading and deadline pressures. Just yesterday, before I gave some of my kiddos their final, they asked me why I hadn’t baked them pie for Pi Day (3/14). Um, because I don’t have a kitchen? I wanted to say. In any case, baking pies sounds way more fun than sanding drywall…
I mean, I know I’m being a baby, but the sanding is the one silly, stupid, small part of the project I’ve been most dreading — perhaps because it’s so tedious. Somebody disagree with me if I’m wrong, but is there anything to learn from sanding drywall? Any new skills?
I’m doing my best to think of it meditatively. Yet it seems all I can do is muse on what I’d rather be doing.
For instance, it occurs to me as I sand and sand: We don’t get out enough. Honestly. We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, but we see it to go to work and while we’re running errands. Too occasionally do we seek out the kinds of experiences we moved here for.
Just Sunday, after mudding drywall for a few hours, Manny said to me, “Should we head out to Bonaventure for a walk? We can take the pup…”
“Sure, sounds great,” I replied half-heartedly.
We stared at the floor together, feeling tired. A few moments passed. “Maybe we go eat nachos and go to bed early instead?” we said finally, in unison. Thus another weekend had passed.
(Tilly still knows how to relax. Basset hounds are great reminders of life’s simpler pleasures.)
Of course, one of the great benefits (besides immense cost savings) of doing a major home remodel project like a kitchen renovation yourself is that you can go slowly enough to make considered, conscious decisions. There are so many talented people online sharing their renovation stories — so many different styles and impulses I find attractive — that if Manny and I had handed over the reigns to a contractor back at Thanksgiving, as we had originally planned, we’d have had our new kitchen in six weeks or so… but it would have looked quite different from the one we’re getting now. Not necessarily in a good way.
That is to be celebrated. As is the fact that, in committing to doing something ourselves, we are learning as we go.
But days pass, more decisions need made (which moulding should we get? what should the toe-kick look like?) as our lives slip on by and still there is no relief from it all. Still there is no kitchen.
I don’t want to sand any more drywall. I don’t want to contemplate mouldings or backsplash tiles or paint colors or any of the other myriad late-stage things we’re about to come to.
Not now anyway. Because I’m kitchen-tired. Whereas a few months ago I thought I’d be singing and dancing at this point in the project, I’m just not. I most certainly, in no way shape or form feel like dancing these days.
Instead, I just want to take a nap.