1. The home renovations. You can’t do them. Let me clarify. YOU can’t do them. Under no circumstances should a ladder be brought into the house. And yes. The orange coveralls DO make you look fat. No tearing away at things like you are The Incredible Hulk*. The money you will save is negligible when compared to your retaining your sanity. Even if your sanity takes a short leave and you find yourself sitting in a cordoned off room with a dust mask on and a piece of torn off drywall in your hand, stop. Set down the piece of drywall. Remove the mask. Leave the room, pour a cup of coffee, sit in a recliner and re-load sanity. Wait (sanity is a big file for some…not so much for others).
*I was informed that I couldn’t just say “The Hulk” because he has earned the “Incredible” and furthermore is very sensitive to the omission. You don’t want to make that guy mad.
2. You can’t expect to have somewhere to sit. Tables and/or desks from vacated rooms are squashed all up against walls in other rooms so yes, it is weird to be emailing from a laptop on top of your - get this - actual lap (like an animal). If you set it on the counter as a makeshift desk, bear in mind your legs will have nowhere to go. The upside to this is that it might motivate you to learn the yoga moves that will allow you to hold this position for multiple hours. (okay, well at least for more than 30 seconds).
3. You can’t find your keys. You looked for the little hook conveniently marked “keys” only to discover that it’s now a gaping hole with beams and ugly wiring glaring out at you. You can’t find your jacket either. The closet is a barren wasteland, the floor of it covered with drywall dust and random screws instead of…(wiping away a tear) shoes. Shoes covering every inch of space. Luckily it’s Spring…you tell yourself cheerfully, trying to picture a brand spanking new closet with way more space for all the shoes (so many shoes). Unfortunately, it’s Spring in Canada. You can’t find your winter boots.
4. You can’t talk to your spouse. Because you hate him. Because renovations are entirely his fault. No worries here, he remembers that magazine picture you showed him that started this whole thing. The one entitled “How to Make Your Livingroom Come Alive”. He is not above pointing out that he had no issue with the “dead” Livingroom. Usually he says this when he stubs his toe on oddly placed furniture…and not so much says it, as shouts it. So, he hates you equally. It’s all good.
5. You can’t talk to your children. Because you can’t find them. They were right here, in this room…(you draw a sad little trail in the dust with your toe). Remember when they were here? (faraway look…) They were on their phones. Aww, weren’t they cute? The way they would sit and just, um…look at their phones? The way you would all laugh and joke and…okay, fine. The way you would laugh and joke. Trying to engage them while they would be, um…looking at their phones. Ah yes…good times.
6. You can’t eat. Sofas and end tables are shoved temporarily into somewhat of a complex maze, not unlike the ones built for Survivor, day 32 (where smelly, moody, emaciated people wander around blindfolded, looking for keys and dreaming of cheeseburgers…or wait, maybe that is you?) There’s always the mall food court. Don’t knock Taco Bell for breakfast until you’ve had it. (then by all means - knock away - because obviously it’s questionable even for dinner, let alone breakfast).
7. You can’t have a problem with welcoming strange men into your home. Men named Mike or Dave or Sebastian…who will inevitably listen to a lot of heavy metal while they work. Or Chopin (if it’s Sebastian) (he’s a drywall artiste). Not to stereotype here, but check your flowerbeds for cigarette butts. These guys won’t wear a dust mask even when there is a veritable snowstorm of drywall dust (except Sebastian). They will expire of lung cancer before the age of 50, but do not attempt to make this your problem. They will take offense.
8. You can’t look at the big picture. It is too big. It's overwhelming and too hard to connect with the decimation you’re currently seeing. Look at the small picture. The tiny one. Count it a small victory when you have located a pencil for your child to finish his/her homework. Now they might still possibly graduate. Be happy about finding a reflective surface on the kettle in which to finish the other eye of make-up so that you aren’t walking around like Clockwork Orange all day. (like yesterday when no one told you) (they are still laughing about it…)
9. You can’t expect things to be done on time. Throw out all of your clocks and watches and phones and calendars and…wait. Maybe just accept it won’t be done on time.
10. You can’t renovate again for at least 10 years. After 5, you will start giving rooms the sideways glance and going, hmm. Resist. RESIST! Remember the maze? Remember your sore legs? Taco Bell? Remember Mike and Dave? (RIP Mike and Dave) (you don’t have to remember Sebastian, he’s still around – he dropped off a flyer the other day).
Just remember this: Happiness does not come from having a beautiful home…it’s all about being grateful for having a roof over your head and your loved ones around you, everyone safe and healthy.
(unless your remodel includes installing a secret wall that slides away to reveal a magic chamber, then by all means, proceed...)