Home Improvement

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Well, I certainly didn’t plan to abruptly disappear into cyberspace, but holy heck, that’s what happened.  The short version: we closed on the house and commenced on a huge round of cleaning, painting, flooring, packing, and moving starting in early January.  Having never owned property before, I did not realize that all of this is really a much bigger undertaking that I had thought.

In two months, we have:

  • Replaced almost all of the upstairs flooring (it was ancient carpet, the previous owners had two large dogs and two cats, and we have allergies) and had professionals put in nice, water-resistant laminate
  • Painted three of the bedrooms ourselves to a nice, neutral warm cream color
  • Repainted a bunch of trim/doors in the upstairs ourselves
  • Had the kitchen and living room professionally painted as there were a lot of nooks and crannies that were going to be tough to do well ourselves (both were gray to begin with, which I know is really trendy right now, but it felt depressing to me – so now the kitchen is a very pale creamy yellow and the living room is a light sky blue)
  • Bought area rugs for bedrooms and the living room
  • New sofa and benches for the living room.
  • Installed various curtain rods
  • Packed up our old place
  • Hired and supervised movers for all the heavy furniture (we considered having friends/family help us, but we have a sleeper sofa that is horribly heavy plus a washer and dryer, and decided the risk of one of us throwing out a back was too high)
  • Replaced the dining area chandelier
  • Unpacked most of the bedrooms
  • Bought a guest bed

I love all of it, though!  It’s the first place we’ve lived that actually has felt like mine/ours.  There are a few less “fun” things to get done, such as hiring a handyman to get a little bit of the wooden siding on the front repaired now that the weather allows for it, but we’re making headway on that as well.

These days, we’re in the tough sort of “in-between” phase where we’re living in the new house but still cleaning out bits and pieces from our old apartment (our lease is up at the end of March).  We’re also unpacking and having a lot of those “wait, where is (fill in the blank)?!” moments.

Other than the moving/house, I’ve been reading Sheryl Sandburg’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.  I have mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, she has some really good advice about coping with life’s truly horrible moments and shares a lot of her personal story that I found moving and relatable.  On the other hand, it’s also very rah-rah, you can move through this, and kid/parenting heavy.  I found a lot of the advice about coping with an unexpected death like my brother’s good, but I know if I’d read this during my fertility struggles or when I was in the hospital expecting to lose my older daughter any day, I would have found a lot of it really frustrating.  I guess like most advice books, I’m taking what applies to me and leaving the rest.

I’m also finishing up Eve Schaub’s book Year of No Clutter and thoroughly enjoying it so far (though, be warned, near the end there is a chapter on sorting out her daughters’ baby things).  Schaub writes about her “Hell Room” – the largest room in her house that is so cluttered and full of stuff that she can barely get into it and so just closes the door.  As someone who firmly falls on the ‘packrat’ side of the clutter/decluttering continuum, even though I have not reached the point Schaub has, I still can relate to quite a few of the feelings Schaub discusses about dealing with “stuff”.  Schaub’s story about keeping a mummified dead mouse (!) because she wrote about it and now feels attached to it, however, was definitely not one of those moments (I hate, loathe, despise, and otherwise cannot stand dead critters in my living space).  When she talked about craft projects that she saves and never gets to but can’t bear to throw out however…well, my mind went guiltily to my fabric drawer, stuffed with un-finished sewing projects.  Given that we’re in the stage of trying to figure out what to keep and what to toss, though, reading the book has been a bit of a companion in the stress of trying to deal with the “but I might NEED IT SOMEDAY!” moments.

This post is part of Microblog Mondays – if you want to read more posts from other bloggers, head on over to Stirrup Queens!  Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting.

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6 thoughts on “Home Improvement

  1. Congrats on the new home! It’s such a wonderful, yet overwhelming feeling. Moving is a ton of work, but so rewarding in the end. Hope you are getting to the point where you can truly enjoy your new home.

  2. Wow, that’s a lot with the new home!! I remember the “in-between” (and am kinda living a version of that now). It’s unsettling, but necessary to get where you need to be.

    And I’m very curious about your take on “Option B” given that I’ve been avoiding it for the reasons you stated. Death is hard, but I also don’t think Sheryl Sandberg has cornered the market as much as she would like others to believe and also is ignoring certain privileges she has that others will not have access to. But would love a review from your perspective!

  3. I’ll have to read that book on clutter. I could use some ideas for my house. Oy. Congrats on all the things you got done! That’s a ton of stuff and I bet it looks so different!

  4. Congratulations on the house and the INCREDIBLE progress you have made! You are a superhero in the home improvement department. Hmmm, I think I’ll skip the “Option B” book, it sounds like a garden of triggers. I really loved “The Rules Do Not Apply” by Ariel Levy for dealing with unexpected, pervasive loss in a way that I felt anyone could relate to. I am TOTALLY going to have to read “The Year of No Clutter!” That sounds like a perfect follow up to “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.” Her craft projects make me laugh…I just put all my half-finished knitting projects in a drawer and a sterilite bin. I can’t bear to part with them, because one is a really lovely basketweave scarf, but I just lost steam. Maybe if I’m housebound I’ll finish it. 🙂 Good luck with all the remaining house projects (spoiler: they never end), and I am so glad you’ve found “home!”

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