Are you still out there? I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t; you probably thought we weren’t out here, either. I was warned that I might lose all of my readership after being away so long, but please don’t leave me.
Last time we talked, we were heading to the beach. We’d just painted the rest of the house and the kitchen cabinets, and I was feeling pretty proud of our progress. But before I give you the rundown of all we’ve completed since then, I’m going to take a minute for some real talk.
I’m tired of this. Like, so over it. I want to tell you that buying a fixer upper has been just rewarding and energizing, but that would be lying. I also don’t want to only come on here to complain, but I’ve been told that you value my honesty, so here it is.
You know how, at the beginning of each Fixer Upper episode, Jo asks the prospective homeowners if they have guts?
“So, David and Amelia, do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”
Solid no. Used up all my guts, like back in July, I think. Maybe if Chip and Jo were here to do the work, and I didn’t have to live among chaos while trying to transition my whole career, I could find some guts. I’d gladly consult about whether we want a new HVAC system versus new bathroom tile, or whatever. But I’m just ready for this to be finished, for this to be the home we imagined when we signed our lives away on that stack of papers (which was nearly three months ago, but who’s counting).
Needless to say, things have become exponentially harder now that I’m back to school and we have to incorporate the daily drudgery of real-life living. As an example of what I mean, here’s our last month:
July 29 – August 5: Beach trip
August 6 – 10: Pack up the rest of our belongings, arrange for moving truck
August 11: Moving day!
August 13 – 17: Become school-board approved for my new position, move into my classroom, set up my classroom, have Meet the Teacher Night, attend inservice
August 21: First day of school (WITH STUDENTS)
So, there are still boxes all over my house. The mudroom and dining room still look like Home Depot exploded. Things we planned to have finished (kitchen backsplash, new carpet on stairs, losing the ugly green shades in our bedroom, etc.) are still undone. Turns out, when you come home exhausted, and have to make dinner, clean, and keep up with laundry, the home reno process slows down a bit.
But (there is a but!) whenever I feel too down about the process, or too embarrassed about where we live, I try to take a step back and remember all that we’ve done. Perspective can be elusive, so it’s important to catch some whenever you can.
I’ll give you a rundown of everything we’ve accomplished in the last few weeks. And in order to not bombard you with so much information in the future, I’ll be sure to post more often. (We’re getting internet today, so I can join the 21st century again!)
We’ll start with the outside of the house.
We took down the old pig barn/chicken coop that was on the property. It was a bonding family endeavor, AND we scored some awesome wood that my handy husband will turn into a farm table and some end tables for me. It may have been one of the hottest days of the summer, so we owe endless thanks to my dad and my brothers-in-law for helping us (and by that, I mean helping David) tackle the job. I love looking out the kitchen window with an unobstructed view.
David also uncovered the dairy barn roof, and revealed some more really neat metal; it may leak in a few areas, but we’re not storing anything important in that section yet, and it’s far better than the eyesore of tarps-and-tires. When I’m out in the field with Wyatt, the view of our property is starting to look ALMOST picturesque.
Last weekend, I also tackled the flower beds around the front and side of the house. My parents helped me get them started a few weeks ago, but after being away at the beach (and about 10 gallons of rain) they were lost again. I spent two days pulling weeds, laying down weed block film, and spreading 40 bags (I am not kidding) of topsoil. I plan to plant some azalea bushes in the fall, and then some annuals next spring. For now, we bought hanging baskets of mums ($6 each at Lowe’s!) and some outdoor pillows ($7 each at Home Depot!) to really spruce up the porch. David hung new porch lights (right side up, for anyone who saw the quirky upside down fixtures before) and we have new storm doors on the horizon. Now I don’t cringe when I pull up to our house, which is nice.
Inside has been a little slower, because what’s left to do is more time-and-money intensive. As I mentioned, we are not unpacked. But we’ve prepped some spaces for unpacking!
David battled the cobwebs and general ickiness of our basement and attic, to make them more functional storage spaces. The washer and dryer were covered in filth (who lives like that?) so David spent a considerable amount of time cleaning them before they were used.
He also hung six new ceiling fans, a new dining room chandelier, and changed out virtually every light switch, outlet, and face plate in the house (with the exception of a few, where we’ll need to employ the expertise of his uncle).
I’m still determining how to arrange furniture, where to store stuff in a house with limited closet space, and how to stay on top of the cleaning. (Full disclosure: our 105-year-old house doesn’t have air conditioning, which means the windows are open a lot, which means there’s continual dust and more spiders than I care to count. David and I are engaged in full-on warfare with the cobwebs, but we will not surrender. Stay tuned.)
I had off from school yesterday, so we were able to run a few errands and spend some more time unpacking and cleaning. Today, we’re starting on the backsplash. David has really cool plans for a cabinet area in our kitchen, so I can’t wait to show you how that turns out.
With our extra-long weekend, we’ll also be able to spend some time in Maryland. We’re going to our favorite sushi place, and I’m getting a manicure and pedicure with my mom; both of these events might bring me tears of joy.
Thanks for sticking with me through all of this, you guys. Writing about our journey has been a therapeutic experience for me, and your support and encouragement is why we haven’t given up. Talk to you soon (I really promise).