Renovating

Hello Again! It’s been a while. I have finally crawled out from under my rock and found some time to write. These past few months I have undertaken a project that has consumed just about all of my time and energy: renovating my house.

renovating

I bought a house in September with the intention of renovating it to hopefully make a profit when I sell it in two years (to avoid capital gains tax).  I somewhat naively entered into the project thinking that I would just hire professionals to do the work and that it might be a little inconvenient, but overall it wouldn’t affect me much. WRONG. SO so so so so wrong.

Let’s see… where should I start? I guess the beginning right? The first thing I had installed was the hardwood floors, I figured that once all my furniture was in, it would be impossible to install hardwood floors so I had those installed on the 2nd and 3rd floor before I moved in. I couldn’t have them installed on the first floor until the new cabinets were installed.

Then, my boyfriend convinced me that it would be super easy to remove and install the cabinets ourselves. That was kind of cool. I had never done that kind of work before so it was neat to see how cabinets were installed. But as soon as we removed the cabinets we realized there was a problem with our initial plan. Walls that we thought we could move couldn’t be moved because of pipes, the floors that we though we could just install hardwood on top of were rotting and missing in some places. And that was just the beginning of the problems.

Flash forward to spending a few weeks with no kitchen and only gravel and concrete as a floor, to contractors who didn’t show up or who did shoddy work and then had to be confronted. Check my ever ballooning budget. At the beginning of the project I had carefully plotted out how much I thought things would cost but there were always more things that I didn’t think about: Mortar, switch plates, studs and who knew there was something called a shark bite that cost $30! Seriously, go down to the ocean and I bet a shark will bite you for free.

BUT… I am so glad I had this experience. I was talking to my neighbor, a divorced mom who is now remarried, about my renovations and she was impressed at my courage to take on such a big project on my own. She admitted that she had not even had the courage to buy a house on her own after her divorce. My boyfriend has also been a great source of information and help during this project. He has helped me not only with the physical work but also with learning how to do the work. I appreciate his careful, precise and methodical approach. I have learned so much: I now know how to wire an outlet, install shelves, pour concrete and more. Even though it has been at a huge sacrifice of time and energy, I feel empowered.

I try to keep in perspective how lucky I am to have this opportunity. I feel somewhat like a whiny #firstworldproblems entitled millennial when I complain about renovating my house. I mean after all, I am fortunate to have the money and opportunity to make these renovations happen. That sense of gratitude carries me through when I start to feel sorry for myself.

Over the past year and a half I have dealt with some of the most stressful things a person can deal with: birth of a child, divorce, moving, health issues of a child. And yet, here I am standing: stronger and smarter than I was a year and a half ago.

The other day I was thinking how these renovations to my house are kind of like “renovations” you do to your body, or making a physical transformation through diet and exercise: It takes a lot more work than you expect, its hard, its slow, it takes dedication and willingness to learn and do the work but if you make it through the “renovations” you not only have a beautiful end product, but you also have the strength and knowledge that you have gained through the process.

What areas of your life could use a renovation? Have you renovated your home?

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