This will probably be my last post about our house renovation until the final completion date and it's on the market. I must admit...I AM TIRED! As much as I love the renovation process and even now am dreaming about the next project, I simply cannot wait to be finished with this one! I've metaphorically referred to it as birthing a baby and I am definitely in the throes of labor right now! I know I am in transition and the head is crowning, but I'm tired and I'm grumpy and I'm in pain (as in joint, most every muscle, and the weary-mind kind).
Sometimes I think people who pull away from the status quo, don't work normal jobs, and make their own hours are a crazy lot indeed. The thought of working a 9-5 day, drawing a regular paycheck, taking scheduled paid days off and just general predictability sounds so good to me at times. I feel this most when we work late into the evening trying to correct a problem or when the hubs schedules an appointment to look at a property at 9:00 a.m. two hours away, after I get in at 1:00 a.m. the night before (yes, he really did that!). Doesn't he know I need my sleep? I also entertain a more predictable vocation when I must focus on less-than-pleasant jobs like cleaning yuck out of corners with my fingernail (glove-covered, of course) or, as I did over the weekend, touching up paint. Ha! As soon as I finished one area, I'd see another one needing some love. The painting contractor we hired on this job left many iffy (aka unfinished) spots, ugh! But we all agree that we hired him entirely too early and made his work more complicated by doing so. He probably was a trooper to not throw down his paint brush and yell as he went out the door, "Call me when this place is ready to be painted," cursing us under his breath. But he was much too nice of a guy to do that. He had to take down shelving, wipe off layers of dust from years of neglect, and work around walls that were half finished. Truth be known, he probably wouldn't even want to work for us again. But we try really hard to be nice to work for, at least I can say that! We tend to make a special effort to treat our sub-contractors like family, but that too can come back and bite you in the rear! I completely admire professional painters because painting is super-messy and super-tiring work. But back to the "normal" jobs...I think of all the jobs I've had that were predictable, had that regular paycheck, and droned along day in and day out and I remember...I am so glad for what I do! As much as I fall into the occasional pity-party, I love my work and only wish I had found my true calling earlier in life. What's the old saying, Better late than never?
In the above image, you can see a mess. But I see progress. I took this picture from across the great room as I took a much-needed break in my trusty lawn chair, eating Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. I see the beautiful hardwoods (albeit very dusty) under it all. I see a newly remodeled fireplace and clean paint and trim and gorgeous lighting. But what I am really looking at here? The white, tidy trim that was finished (pretty much, less caulking) over the weekend. You have to be able to see the end result in your mind, as I have been doing for months now. As much as the average person would see a mess if they walked into this space, I see from whence we've come! Whether it's base, quarter-round, crown, or something custom, the wood trim is the finishing touch. It's like the final coat of nail polish. It's the cherry on top of the whipped cream. It's the icing on the cake. You get the gist.
It's no secret that sometimes problems come up, specific jobs take waaay longer than you've planned for or even anticipated, and the overall job comes to a screeching halt, until that particular problem is solved. This image shows two entirely brilliant men working on crown molding and, let me tell you (and they will admit it), it was whipping their butts! My brother-in-law is a master woodworker and when something having to do with wood stumps him, it's rare indeed. The hubs is his right-hand man, and is looking on, adding his two-cents-worth. Somehow they eventually come to a meeting of the minds, and two hours and one trip to Home Depot later, they got their groove back. He and my sis live out of town, so working with them on the project is always a weekend affair. We usually get lots done, but some weekends we feel as though we've been trudging through thick mud. But somehow the project gets moved forward a bit, and the fnish line comes a little clearer into view. I know from past experience you can have every single "big" project behind you, but the last few weeks you get down and dirty in the details...molding, paint touch-up, cleaning cracks and corners and crevices, yard work, putting on cabinet hardware and the like. The devil truly is (and I've said it a million times, right?) in the details. It's the details that put the finishing touch on all the big stuff, making the job complete and polished and crazy beautiful. Maybe it's God that's in the details!
So my advice to you? If you're thinking about renovating houses, don't! Put it out of your mind and never go there again. Think of it as an evil temptation, one that will take you down roads you never meant to travel.
But if you, like me, are looking for a challenge (and don't mind the occasional exhausted and aching body and the feeling of sometimes trudging through the mire) and you're looking for the exhilaration of a beautiful house finished out with your heart and soul, GO FOR IT!! I can promise you this...it'll be the adventure of a lifetime!
They say that planning a trip is just as exciting for the planner as it is to actually take the trip. Not sure I totally agree with that one, especially when it comes to visiting my kids. Being with my kids far outweighs "planning" to be with them. Absolutely no comparison. But you do anticipate, look forward to, and dream about the day when you'll get to see those faces, sitting two feet apart and literally talking face to face as I alluded to in my last post and then ending every conversation (or heated discussion, whichever the case may be!) with a hug and a "Well, what do you wanna do next?"
I always enjoy my trips to Houston, Texas. Just 800 miles from Atlanta, it might as well be another world. The culture is full of sausage kolacky, tex-mex finery, coffee snobs who would rather abstain than to drink a bad brew, Texas pride, a remarkable art scene, and a good dose of liberalism by most city dwellers. As much as my youngest daughter would probably disagree, I enjoy a well-rounded revelry where we banteringly discuss everything from why we think the world is in trouble to our many solutions for it. Even though (in my opinion) it shines a spotlight on our differences about love, friendship, and world peace and that can be a bit uncomfortable, no one ends up with their feelings hurt and it gives us each a much-needed glimpse into what is going on in each other's heart and our very different daily world. It's a necessary tool in understanding what makes the other one tick and how each person continues to grow, expand our horizons, and learn a little bit more about this world we live in and how we relate to its inhabitants. Visiting Houston is in some ways a culture shock but, the more I visit, the more it feels like home.
A visit to this crazy big city is always made better by two of my favorite places to eat while there -- Tout Suite and Chuy's (just this very moment Abbie texted to inform me she was eating my fish taco left in her fridge!). This time I got to visit both and also some new eateries which is always a fun thing to do. Why people go to a new city and eat at the same old places they eat at home is beyond me. Maybe it's fear of not liking the food or just a fear of new things, but to me exploring new places to eat and see is the joy of traveling. I do, however, conduct a bit of research before venturing out. I like to know what it is I'm gonna be offered, how much of my hard-earned cash I will give in exchange, and what others think of the place. The hubs likes to do it this way: When you're traveling, always go where the locals go. Look for the local car tags in the parking lot. The locals are not gonna patronize a place where the food and service stinks. Not bad advice, right?
As any proud mother, I take a lot of pride in the life my daughter has made in Houston. She is making a name for herself in the art world there, has never asked her parents for a dime, and continues to grow more beautiful both inside and out coming up on her 30th birthday -- physically because she takes great care of herself and inwardly because she is a lover of people and her life reflects that compassion. I get a chance to visit with some of her friends, and especially enjoy time spent in the presence of her main squeeze who, every chance I get to spend a little more time with him, steals a bit more of my heart. He too is making a name for himself as a budding film producer and a much-sought-after graphic designer. Together, they are a power couple and I see how their love for each other makes them each a better human being. I enjoy listening as they bounce design ideas off each other and give honest and constructive criticism when asked. They are helping each other to hone their skills and talents and obviously building a future together, which means my daughter will probably never return to Atlanta to live. Ahhhh...so sweet, but containing a hearty dose of bitter in that sweetness.
I guess I'd have to say my trips to Houston don't come around enough and they, always, always end too soon. The third night I was there, we drove to Galveston for the night (we are both beach lovers of the serious kind). We stayed in an adorable two-bedroom apartment behind a lovely historic home about a mile from the beach but steps away from the downtown shops and restaurants. I love visiting old towns and learning about the history and exploring the many architectural gems they offer. Unfortunately, this trip didn't afford us much time to do that. Galveston Beach has seen better days for sure, but work is presently being done to improve it. Our accommodations were great, and it was beyond joyful to get to walk the beach with my girl. A good, long beach walk is the answer for whatever is ailing you.
But, alas, my trip back to Atlanta left this gal longing for a good night's sleep. We didn't land till 11:00 and as I stood motionless on the plane train trying to get to baggage claim and hanging on for dear life, a female drill sergeant entered the car on the next-to-last concourse ordering all to evacuate the train, for it was shutting down for the night. The nerve of them! The entire flight had to walk to the last concourse and, as I grabbed my bag, and was heading out for my ride back to my car, I ran into my seat mate on the flight, a petite Asian woman with a sweet smile and who, like me, brought several snacks on board, tried to rest under her jacket, and stressfully closed her eyes tight during take-off and landing. She was frantically searching for baggage claim and was nowhere near the right place. She spoke broken English, but I believe I was able to convey to her the right direction and hopefully helped her in her quest (like me) to make it to her destination and get some much-needed shut-eye. We never know what little bit of help we can give a fellow human if we just open our eyes and heart and are willing. Little things sometimes mean so much.
So my fourth trip to Houston was, as always, fun and full of new faces and activities (I even got to throw on the potter's wheel for the first time!), and I came home tired as a dog, but happy as a lark. The down side of the trip was our beloved Falcons (or not), lost their quest for the Super Bowl gold and, unlike me, came home with heavy hearts and I'm sure a good dose of wounded pride. Can I return my overpriced spirit wear I purchased on a whim at a gas station headed to the airport? Probably not.
Me on the other hand? I made it home with joy in my heart, a heavy suitcase with three times the clothes I actually wore, and a boat load of new memories to cherish until my next pilgrimage westward.
This week has brought about some curves rounded and some new adventures not yet begun, but around the corner. As we finish up the final touches on our house reno, it's a bit bittersweet. We've learned so much about renovating with a team of people. Till now it's just been me and the hubs, and we've decided (after going back & forth and back & forth about a zillion times) that old saying about never working with family doesn't apply to us. Because, even though we've had our very small ups and downs comparatively speaking, we are still a family...haven't killed each other off, have not become estranged, and actually have remained friends throughout this undertaking. We are (almost) one hundred percent sure that we will do another project together in the future.
There will be more (much more) on this to come very soon, but our completion goal is March 1st, which will bring this to about a six-month renovation project. Considering all that had to be done and that this is our biggest reno to date, I'm thinking that's not too bad. Just a preview of a few things we've done:
This is a small list of the updates that have come to this once sad, forgotten house. Very soon it will be presented on the market for a family who will make it their place to raise a few chickadees (and hens of the bird variety too if desired!) and move into the next generation, where new memories will be made in this serene place. I'm not sure I want to let it all go. I have thoroughly enjoyed designing the many upgrades and those extra touches that have made it fresh and new and custom. It's really come together in what I consider a modern farmhouse style. Did I mention this beautiful house sits on two acres with mature hardwoods, fruit trees and evergreens, and is surrounded by a nature preserve? A great place to settle down, let the kids run free, and be at one with nature.
In the meantime, much has been happening in the news (good or bad, depending on your perspective and, no, I refuse to blog about politics!) and the 51st Super Bowl is upon us this weekend -- tomorrow in fact. And where will I be this weekend on Super Bowl Sunday? In Houston, Texas, of course!! But, as much as I did not plan it this way, I can't deny that it'll be a bit fun to be in a city buzzing with all the excitement of the most important professional football game of the season, being played by our own Atlanta Falcons. But will I be shelling out the big bucks for a seat at the table? What, are you kidding me, that would be a big nada! But I will be sitting at a much more humble table breaking bread with my youngest who, at the end of the month, will be turning the big 3-0! We have much more simple plans, like taking a night near the beach in a cute Airb&b garage apartment, sipping a little white wine, enjoying the Houston food and culture, and catching up on each other's lives. As much as I appreciate texting, Facetime, and Instagram, there is nothing like being two feet apart and sharing a meal and face-to-face conversation. This is what brings true excitement to this gal's heart.
Be looking for the announcement of a new listing on the market soon. But for the "startin' over" portion of this post, I'll have news coming soon as to our next totally crazy adventure. (I can pretty much guarantee you this: It will have something to do with either renovating a house or building a new one.) The jury is still out on that one as the final details are being ironed out, but a decision is coming soon, and I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, enjoy the Super Bowl, love your family, keep the faith, and be sure to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer...watch out Falcons, those Patriots are on your heels...boom!
Happy Saturday, y'all...
"...A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil."
Posted by CC
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