My husband likes to say that anything worth having is worth fighting for, and so he and I fight for everything to prove its worth. Truer words, man...
As I have spent years fighting for this reno, its worth is currently inestimable, though all-too financially quantifiable. You'd think I might feel something other than, well, a bit of anti-climax at this point. Today I went to visit the house. Scott forced the issue. (I did not want to go. I felt photos were adequate. He felt they were not.) He's the boss of the project management so I have to tow the line occasionally. I expected to be anxious and horrified and traumatized and amazed. I was deflated to be none of these things.
It looked just like the photos, but with better scope. I was not traumatized, rather I was entirely neutral. I mean, how are we going to get to the point where the whole house is new if they don't tear shit down?
I will say that I'm extremely glad that there are no bathrooms, no kitchen and, soon, a pit where half the house is, preventing me from living there. Cuz that would be intolerable. Honestly, I have gone from begrudging everything about this rental-in-a-new-'hood situation to thinking money well spent. And I'm still kind of traumatized by the move. In my 15 minutes at the site, I became so allergic and cough-y that it concerns me what they're unearthing.
I can't be arsed to hook up my computer to my phone (practically dead), but I have posted some photos on Instagram that might interest you...
The hardest part, unsurprisingly, was looking at my backyard (if we can call it such a thing). They actually chopped down one of my trees (and not a negligible one!), which I felt was strictly speaking unnecessary - though it did enable them to put the bin in a convenient spot. Bizarrely, my dwarf lilac - arguably in the worst spot ever - is untouched (can't say that'll last, though). I'd would love to preserve that tree, not that I'm optimistic.
The house is absurdly claustrophobic at this point. It's dark, grimy. It's also so small-seeming. I mean, it is not large (nor small) at around 2000 square feet. Certainly big enough for 3 people. It has 4 bedrooms, after all. But, lord, it appears tiny. Admittedly, I'm renting a mansion right now (I imagine about 3000 square feet but I'm not great at determining these things), so maybe I've been corrupted? I think my perception is being messed with, too. There are no walls where there once were and that makes the rooms seem narrow and shallow and short. Even my living and dining room (which will not be torn down and will experience only the cosmetic improvements of new floors, windows and a paint job) seem minuscule. I am optimistic that this is momentary and that the new structure will make a reasonably-sized space look spacious. But right now it's very underwhelming.
Look, I may have some delayed freak out but I doubt it. I'm pleased (and surprised) to say that I'm just fine with the upheaval. It's infinitely better than the waiting was.
Early days, though, I realize. I am not naive. I know that this is serious undertaking. It's like the new baby, whom you care for using the life-energy you built up, unknowingly, prior to her birth. That energy is finite, and it's valuable. But I've given this house-baby so much more forethought than I ever gave my actual one. The rental house is the reno-version of self-care. Moreover, it appears one may really only lose one's core identity once (at least I hope so, but I'm giving this idea a run for its money so I'll keep you posted). Interestingly, I ran into at least a dozen, seriously miserable-looking new parents on my walk home from my demolition site, and all that came to mind was: Thank God I don't have a baby to deal with. I'm going home to make some food and drink some wine. And then I'll knit the evening away.
So far, having a mega-reno is much less terrible than having a baby. Let's see if that lasts.