A Hot Mess Check In

I was going to begin by apologizing for my lack of follow through with posting as of late. And then I was going to apologize because my last post was missing half its content. And then I thought about it and decided that I don’t need to apologize for being where I am at in my life, and since no one that reads this is a paying client of any kind, I have no real obligation to be publishing other then to my own sense of wellness and self preservation.

Because things have been busy here on The Hot Mess Homestead. In fact busy might be an understatement. Over the past three and a half months we have been restoring an 1832 form house. We have done all the work ourselves. In case you are not able to grasp what that sentence means let me elaborate on all the tasks included.

  • Addressing the roof that was about to cave in by reinforcing the wall supporting it.
  • Fixing the leak spots that caused the mold damage (which was why out house was so cheap AND why there was only one insurance company in the country that would cover us.)
  • Addressing the mold damage by tearing out walls so it could dry out, and identifying the type of mold to make sure it was not dangerous to people
  • Doing Demo and tearing out two dumpsters worth of material that was equivocal to 20 tons
  • Fixing the deteoriting foundation
  • Fixing the supports to the house in the basement
  • Lifting the house four inches
  • Fixing the sag in the house that was the result of a pitch in the roof that had no supports. Which require supports in the basement, first floor, and second floor.
  • Tearing out the walls that were not load bearing and not put in properly
  • Rebuilding walls to create more open spaces
  • Building walls to turn the half bath (a toilet under the stairs with no sink) to a full bath
  • Running electrical lines through the first floor to the upstairs
  • Running plumbing lines through the first floor to the upstairs
  • Removing the paint from the found tin ceiling
  • Drywalling the walls and ceiling of the kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms, and bathroom
  • Mudding all the dry walled areas
  • Sanding all the dry wall areas (the mudding and the sanding happens three times in each room)
  • Putting primer on every drywalled surface
  • Painting all the primed spaces
  • putting metal primer on the tin ceiling
  • painting the tin ceiling silver
  • putting white crackle paint on the tin ceiling that did not crackle
  • Installing all the the lighting in each room.
  • Putting in switches for the lighting
  • Putting in outlets in each room
  • Covering all of the outlets and switches
  • Installing the washer/dryer
  • Realizing the washer and dryer are to small and taking them back to the store and needing to order new ones.
  • Installing the new washer.
  • Installing the hard woods floors (the nailer broke so this was done by hand)
  • putting four coats of polyurethane on the floors.
  • Putting filler in between the wood floors before the fourth coat can be put down.
  • Building a shower
  • Removing all tools before the kids move in
  • Cleaning EVERYTHING
  • Moving the essentials into the space

Things we still need to do while living in the space:

  • Continuing to put coats of poly in the floor and filling in the spaces between cracks.
  • Building the cabinets and shelves in kitchen
  • Putting trim in every room
  • puting brick veneer on the walls (that was delivered three weeks late!)
  • Hook up the sink
  • Hook up the stove
  • Hook up the dishwasher
  • Hook up the dryer
  • Put the tiled ceiling in the living room
  • Paint tiled ceiling
  • Touch up paint
  • Build a bookshelf in living room
  • Set up Projector in living room
  • Finish unpacking and set up housd

And all of this work was only the first floor. So guess what? We get to do all of that (well most of it and a few other things that will be different) on the second floor. Which means we get to start the rodeo all over again the second we wrap up the first floor. Plus their is a whole separate list for the yard and the two story garage that is in even worse shape than the house.

(I feel like its worth noting here that a lot of these things were things we had never done before. Which means their was tons pf research, phone calls, YouTube videos, and complications and redos along the way.)

I didn’t care that we weren’t done with the first floor, I needed us to move in. Needed to start imbuing the space. Needed to be together as a family. Needed to make decisions on how to best meet the needs of our family in our own space. Things like deciding to fully finish the first floor before moving up to the second floor. Deciding to call it family “camping” instead of complaining about what we don’t have right now. Taking a deep breath everytime I unpack something that needs to be throw away due to the fact it wasn’t packed with the intention of being stored for six months, but that is what happened when life threw us a curveball. I needed to start to address these issues rather than feeling stuck in a constant state of purgatory.

Someone once held my hand in theirs and said “these are the hands that create your life”. I was hit by that memory the other day as I looked down and my hands. They were covered in dust, primer, paint of various colors, polyurethane, cracked with cuts and calluses. I felt immense gratitude and appreciation. These hands were and are literally building my future, my families home, and are an extension of my love out into the world. I would never work this hard for something for myself, or even for my husband. This house is our gift to our children. It is their stability, their safety, and their comfort.

Then the other day as I was talking to my friend who said something that awe struck me. She reflected that while so many others have been bested by COVID my and my husband refused to quit. That in fact we had faced all odds to create something better for our family than had been the case before.

When I digested this comment it made me realize something. One of those kinds of somethings that I already knew in my bones but I had been to busy to remember.Which is this: We are defined by out difficult times. We can totally succumb to them or we can rise above. I Am A God Damn Phoenix! I have risen out of the ashes and redefined my life. That is such an empowering feeling.

So the work is nowhere near done. And that is OK. Because I have my family and I have my home and I have control over my destiny.

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