Home Renovation – We Survived the Holidays…

As most of you know by now, we are in the midst of a “home renovation” project.  I have other terms for this, such as: Tarp on the house project, How long will our heating oil last this winter project, and other things I can’t really write here.

So, I am well aware that home renovation projects take….time. I know that all projects go….off schedule. I know that I was… crazy in thinking that maybe the kids would be in some form of their rooms by the holidays. But…I hoped.

Joe construction

Yeah…that didn’t happen. And to my pleasant surprise, as we are all smushed into this tiny house, using every pocket of space currently for something or somebody, we…survived.  Not only did we survive, but I venture to say that this was one of our most pleasant holiday seasons as a family.  I bravely say this not having actually asked my family if they agree. But for me, sort of expecting the worst, I think we actually thrived, and here’s a few reasons why:

No stress over getting out all the Christmas Decorations. Where things fit, we put them. If it didn’t make it out of the boxes, oh well.

I didn’t freak out over decorating the tree. The tree went up, it sat for a few days, then Joe put the lights on. It sat for a few more days, and I finally said: You know, we should get some ornaments on it. We weren’t all home at the same time, so we sort of did it in shifts, I saved the Princess ornaments for Shannon, I saved the sports ornaments for Joseph, and instead of me yelling at everybody to stop doing everything and enjoy putting ornaments on the tree because we HAVE TO DO THIS, it just sort of happened.

Let the outside Christmas lights go.  Yup, I sure wanted my little Christmas tree with the white lights on it, and it really would have been nice to have the candy cane post lights, but, as Joe said quite practically, (and not even in a snarky manner):

I am sort of using the plug.

Right. And that was that. You could see our Christmas tree in the window through the scaffolding, and well, it was the best we could do this year.

Everyone could eat the cookies. While Joe was toiling away hammering/cutting/nailing and freezing in winter weather, (even snow), I made cookies, and I just decided that it was fine if everyone ate them, I mean, who was I saving them for?

I relinquished my closet space and was done with it.  Normally I have WAY more places to hide Christmas presents, but with everyone on top of everyone, I shoved everything into my closet, and literally when I opened the door everything would fall out. There were bags stuffed all over the shelves, shoes, everything. I was like, whatever. 

I had to relax if I couldn’t find something. Before the construction started, as I was still  recovering from my broken leg, whenever I couldn’t find something, or I started agonizing over missing paperwork, clothing, or soccer/basketball shoes lost in the epic teenager pile of stuff, I was calling it “broken ankle problems.”  Now, I just call it “construction problems.”  Things get moved, if we have people over, piles get moved again and again, and lord, I have sifted through blankets, clothes, etc. etc. looking for Joseph’s button down shirts, a tie, soccer socks, lord only knows where his nice shoes went – it’s just C-R-A-Z-Y.  I have made my peace with J piling his clothes on my office chair. If he can find his dress clothes on Basketball game days without causing me to want to poke my eyes out, then I can live with that.

I know everyone was probably happy when I was gone: I was traveling for work the last week of November and the first week of December, and I am SURE everyone was thinking: Thank God. One less person in this house.

I am holding on to things a little tighter.  You know, nothing is ever perfect. Holidays especially. Shannon has only months left with us in this house before she goes to college. I am impressed with how she has dealt with not having her personal space (she knows it’s for the greater good) – but it’s been a long time coming, and she is a joy and a wonder of a teenager.  I love sharing my space with her because I know it’s only for this moment in time, that will be gone in the blink of an eye.  I equally love how we can talk before bed, how we have stuffed animals everywhere, and this allows me to more easily forgive and ignore the dirty laundry all over the floor.

The construction will end. I know this. And there will be great rejoicing. But for now, I grab my kids when I run into them in the hallway and hug them, I turn my back to the unmade bed in the office while I am working, and remember that we are lucky to have what we have.  And I try not to freak out when the wind blows the tarps around and it sounds like the side of the house will blow off….but I admit that sometimes I kind of lose it over that.

Next Christmas season, I hopefully will be posting photos of a nice front porch, with my little Christmas tree lit up, and NO TARPS anywhere in site. Oh wait. Never mind. Phase 2 of the construction may have just started by then…

House front