I have been duped by my husband again. He has made me buy another fixer upper. We have just sold our 100 year old home that we purchased in 2004 and rehabbed to a state of grace. We moved from our safe little apartment into a “stripped to the studs” house while eight months pregnant with our first son Finn. We were urban pioneers with our electric wok, George Foreman grill, and clothes lines. I prayed to the alter of DIY and feared debt by Home Depot. I brought a newborn baby home to a house that had only two inhabitable rooms and a kitchen sink. The suggestion of baby proofing was a laugh as exposed wires hung from ceilings and vents opened to the air duct work. I cried about not being able to have dinner parties or play dates. I was a very “hands on” mom: my hands rarely left my son. I was terrified and quite unhappy with the process of reconstructing rubble. Yet, after two long years we had a lovely home. My husband, Joseph the carpenter made the house a home and worked love amidst the beams and plaster. It was so lovely that it sold in twelve days and we were forced to find another house quickly.
Moving this time with another newborn baby boy we were looking for the perfect neighborhood to raise children. We found the green shaked shingled house that our son Finn loved. We allowed our three year old to rate each home we toured and this one was his favorite because it was green, but it was our favorite because it was in the swanky neighborhood we thought we could never afford. Turns out it was there in our price range because frankly, no one else wanted it. It had been neglected for years and was in a sad little shape. It smelled funny. It was crusty. It was not my home. But as he does, my husband began chipping away at my doubt each night. He filled my head with visions of walks to school for our sons, hometown flavor, low crime, and massive amounts of money to be made when it was done. At the closing I cried. I was going to miss my old house. I was going to miss my appliances. I was going to do this all over again.
I sit here now in this room that will someday be my kitchen. I look. I see that there are 15 boxes of wood flooring to my left and a Bosch circular saw on my kitchen table. My bare feet feel the sawdust across the floor as I perch on an enormous air compressor. If I squint and look across to the living room I can pretend the house is finished. We have just laid beautiful sambuca stained bamboo flooring and constructed a new box beam ceiling in that room. It is like Brigadoon in there. In here, not so much but I am trying to remember what this is all about. Really relinquishing control is what rehabbing is about; whether you do it yourself or contract the work. The key is letting go of the stress and fear of keeping up with everyone else. The key is to continue living and enjoying what you do have in front of you. I am certain that in the end I will have a beautiful home, but for now I will be in a state of disarray and it is really alright. We will be fine and those people in our life that matter will try and gingerly step across the nails in the floor or look away from the holes in the wall. They will invite us to their homes for dinner this year and my children will play in neighbors sunny playrooms for now. In my home we are still happy and we are still living life normally. Finn announces from time to time that our house is junky and we should clean, and as the baby starts to crawl we are alarmed by the dangers that lurk. But, we are in a good house and we can walk to the ice cream parlor. We are in a safe area and there is even a Farmers Market on the weekends. I am living the good life- one room at a time.
The way I feel now: