The Renovation Blues

//The Renovation Blues

The Renovation Blues

Ever had ‘em? Oh man, I got ‘em! The mean ol’, bad ol’, qualified, quantifiable, downright justifiable re-noh-vay-shun blues.

The day we moved in to the house we’ve had under extensive renovations for the last nine months? Well, that was the day our siding guys moved in too. Perhaps you read this headline in the paper a couple of weeks back? Skilled-trades shortage threatens local growth. So while the inside of our house neared completion, the outside had been sitting partially naked for several weeks, waiting for skilled-trades. It felt like a miracle that a crew had actually materialized, were banging boards on the back upper expanse of house, outside of our new loft bedroom, yet . . .

It’s a smallish house – we’re downsizing. Trying, anyway. Small laneway, small garage. And there’s the siding guys’ trailer in the laneway, blocking access to the house, the garage. So the moving truck had to park on the street. It’s a whole other story, the amount of stuff the moving guys crammed into our smallish house. Long-forgotten heaps of stuff from storage. Heaps of stuff that worked just fine in the condo we’d been living in, but makes no sense here. In my last blog Thoughts On Moving, I talked about what moving does for you, like spark powerful emotions, make you face uncomfortable truths about yourself. But I didn’t mention this: moving makes you realize that you have a lot of the stuff you don’t need and you don’t have a lot of the stuff you do need. So, I guess, moving and consumerism go hand in hand, huh?

Let’s get back to my blues and that trailer and those four men and the drilling and hammering and those ladders blocking the front entrance and sometimes the back entrance too. Oh, and the 7 am start time. The early start time means they’re moving along quickly, but I’ve been warned it could possibly take two weeks.

It’s a good thing my husband B and I are early-risers. We’ve been checking out the amazing nearby trails on our new bicycles (see above, consumerism) at 6ish, then feeling guilty as the men work, and also stare in on us eating breakfast, sipping coffee, reading the paper. One of the reasons we fell in love with the house was the big cottage-y windows . . . come to think of it, besides the exterior brick and the furnace, the windows are about the only things remaining of the original house. But, does anyone move into a new space and immediately have the window dressings figured out and installed? So, I can see the men and they can see me, which means coordinating personal things, like showering and changing, with their breaks. I can pee whenever I want because we have a water closet with no windows. They haven’t been asking to come in and pee, so hmm.

I did offer to make them coffee one day, but they declined (see above perhaps, peeing). But this move now makes me face another inadequacy of mine: my lackluster attitude toward food preparation. I mean, B has been poring over the manual for the new gas stove, but I couldn’t tell you how to start it. He asked me what I had for lunch yesterday, so I had to admit: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Earlier in the day, after hitting my head on a ladder – one guy winced, asked if I was okay, suggested maybe I should wear a hard hat – I was cleaning up from yard work and thought about my first mother-in-law, how she always made a big hot lunch on the farm, how she would have put out a spread, fed these guys some good, wholesome food. I also thought about my daughter Jetanne’s mother-in-law. My son Jay did some renovation work at her place and she was constantly bringing out homemade goodies. Besides coffee, what do I have? Rice cakes? The gluten-free crackers and raisins I give my grandkids for snacks? I’m pathetic!

Everyone I talk to – friends, family, our new neighbours that I’m meeting – agree. Renovations take longer, and cost more, than expected. And here I sit, writing this on my sweet new kitchen island (it’s some sort of glorious stone – granite, quartz, or quartzite, I can’t keep it straight) in air-conditioned comfort while a bunch of hard-working men cut and shape and hammer and paint – oops, one guy just butt-dialled the doorbell – the trimmings on the spacious front porch I’ll soon get to enjoy. First World problems, right?

I gotta go slap some pb and j on a couple pieces of toasted sourdough.



  1. Lorna Davis August 1, 2017 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Rita, glad to see that even though your reno is somewhat delayed, your sense of humor is still in tack 🙂 Thanks for the chuckle. Love Lorna

  2. Leslie Blumas August 1, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Very enjoyable read….at your expense . I could almost feel it as you wrote about banging your head on the ladder. Hugs.

  3. hilaryslater August 2, 2017 at 7:22 am - Reply

    Oh you’re just a few steps ahead of us! The studio that was to be completed a year ago is about to begin -this month?
    And once it starts it has to be enclosed before the snow flies- or we wait until spring again.. permits and strict township rules .. but oh I’m ready to hear the sound of construction! We’re living in our ‘storage locker home’ and drowning in art- until the studio is completed! Feels good to have you lead the way forward though 🙂

  4. Jayne Baker August 2, 2017 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Humour helps to make any day…….so much better. Great read! Glad you and Brian are getting settled in your new home. I’m looking forward to a tour!

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