Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Lord, this month has been challenging. I keep waiting to have a) the time and b) the inclination to write about something positive, but I'm just not getting anywhere. So today, allow me to bore you with some information about a big-ticket stressor: the renovation.

I discovered, a year and a half ago, that the back of my house is falling off. Yeah, I'm being dramatic (though not inaccurate). It was only in discussions with structural engineers, which we engaged to circumvent any nasty surprises (while planning to do this reno), that we made the unpleasant discovery. It isn't the kind of news a homeowner welcomes. In truth, our house is needy. It is old. Really old. (Well, not I live in ye olde England old, but you get the point.) We did that initial structural review (which, btw, is still not finished) because we intend to live in our house as we undertake the following:

  • New kitchen, all the way
  • New back room (behind kitchen) - this requires digging out 
  • New sewga room (above back room)
  • Cantilevered awning over pre-existing deck
Possible additions to this (cost depending - and depending on pending structural feedback):
  • Digging out the basement between the front of the house (which already has a basement) and the new addition (which may get a basement). There's a section under the kitchen where the basement ends.
  • Redoing the bathroom that abuts the sewga room. It's in bad shape and has been for 15 years. While everything's a mess, why not get it over with? (Answer: Time and money, potentially)
Here's the trajectory of my days, lately: I get up and walk to work at some stupid hour to do a ridiculous number of briefings that require my constant concentration for somewhere between 8 - 10 hours. (I do mean constant.) I eat something at some point. Then I go home (also potentially at some stupid hour), do yoga, check emails / do more work, eat something. Then I discuss the important reno decisions with my husband (aka the most stubborn person on the planet) and we get into a big fight.* Then we drink half a bottle of wine, nurse our bruises and watch TV for an hour. Finish that up with very well-deserved sleep. Repeat.

You can see why I haven't been appearing daily. I promise to make my next post about the "fun" elements of renovation: getting lots of money from the bank! intelligent design! beautiful end results!

(OK, I don't know if I promise that, but I'll come back with something...)

PS: My husband and I are getting much better at fighting about renovations.

*Allow me to clarify: In a fighting contest, we'd be runners up to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in that movie about the spies who try to kill each other.


  1. Oi vei! That sounds like a stressful routine. I hope things lighten up at work soon!

  2. Just think of all the fun you could have if you and hubby were doing the actual work. Been there, done that, (several times) and still married.
    Theresa in Tucson

  3. When my dad used to work construction on the mansions in Greenwich, CT sometime in the 1970s, he said that when he spoke to the man of the house about the project, more often than not the guy would say "just talk to my wife and give her whatever she wants!"

    1. That's pretty much how my husband does it. And any time he has an opinion I leave it for a few months until he realises the error of his ways and presents exactly what I want as his idea. (I'm only kidding a little bit!;-) ) Reno is stressful at the best of times, when you're working so hard and ripping the back off of your house, doubly so. Don't forget to take a breath! Hoping you've got some good downtime planned for the Christmas holidays.

  4. Home renovations are stressful, but you can work through this. My husband and I always use this strategy; write down what each one of you wants and needs, and how much you are willing to spend on each thing (this requires research--know which stove you want and how much it costs, but then have a second choice). Then each of you throw out a "want" until you reach the budget you can reasonably live within (not the "if we eat nothing but ramen noodles for 6 months we can do it" type). Both of you have to throw out something each time--it can't be uneven, so if you come out under budget, even better! A wrinkle is that you've already got professionals helping you, but you can still do it. It will take time though, so plan to dedicate a weekend to it. And then once you've decided, let go of the reins and relax--this is what the professionals are for.

    In the meantime, why don't both of you just let it go for a night or two, go out to dinner and drive around and look at Christmas lights for an hour or so, come back home, make up (;-) ) and just go to sleep. Have fun!

  5. Renovations are a beast and I wish you a rapid crossing to the other side.