Staying Positive: A Remodeling Story

August 28, 2009

As many of you know, our home is currently going through a major remodel. Major meaning that more of the house is involved in this crazy project than not. Yeah. It’s big. For a project of this size in a home that was pretty small in the first place, things were actually going pretty smoothly. There had been bumps in the road, but nothing we couldn’t hop right over and keep on truckin’ past.

Until this week.

The catastrophe this week wasn’t an actual problem with the project but with our ability to handle it. Err, inability. And with the loss of that ability came not just a bump in the road but more of a dive off the treacherous cliff on the side of the path, one with jagged, pointy rocks that jabbed you over.and.over on your flailing descent. And when you finally landed, broken, bruised, and confused, a mountain goat came over and BAHHHED on your head.


Sheetrock mudding and sanding took place at the beginning of the week. Let me repeat the important part of that last sentence just in case you missed it. Sheetrock MUDDING AND SANDING. With lots of MUDDY SAND and SANDY MUDDYNESS. The 2.5 rooms of our small house away from the project that we’d been living in were caked and coated with wet drywall mud and a layer of dust that I swear was a solid inch thick. The one bath in the house we could use and were keeping relatively clean was lost to the disaster for 24 hours. Bathroom=nada. Shoes had to be put on and taken off upon any movement into or out of the “living” area of the house, something that was required what felt like every 27 seconds. The dog – who came home from the doggie hotel last weekend visibly skinnier, shaking, wide-eyed, and just all around not-normal for God-knows-what reason and was already being doted upon by her worried parents – had to be watched even closer so that the clumps of mud she insisted on picking up WITH HER MOUTH could be fished out and the sand on her nose that made her sneeze every other minute could be brushed off. Sneezes, by the way, that would generate their own cloud of dust, which settled back on her face, and around and around we went.

Additionally, the water bill arrived and indicated that we had a leak somewhere in the house. A leak that must be MAJOR and GUSHING considering the dollar value of the charges.

And then, surprisingly unrelated to the water problem, the sprinkler system broke.

…and then so much mud and dust and chunks of, just, STUFF, fell through the floors into the basement that we had to cover the washing machine. The washing machine that we desperately needed to use, as we were living with a fraction of our wardrobes stored in bags on the floor, and they were running low. And clean towels? None of those either.

…and that headache that practically made me pass out last weekend? Yeah, it’s still here, four full days later. Joy! I wondered momentarily how I’d permanently drug myself if those things became a regular part of my life.

…then one night we were told that the painter was arriving in 12 hours, but we didn’t have any shades picked out. Or any of the tile samples to match colors. And our decorator was out of town.

…then the cabinet delivery had to be pushed. A decision made the MORNING OF THE DELIVERY. As in, after the delivery company had already loaded the truck. Those words I actually did understand while they were yelling at me!

…oh, and the appliances? Those have to be pushed, too.

…and my cell phone started a lovely habit of freezing and declaring itself unusable.

…and then the house phone stopped working.

…and then a drywall guy purposefully cut through a wire to the alarm system, causing it to beep incessantly. Because, you know, “it was just in his way.”

…and that new role I was offered at work? It has to be decided upon now. Like, NOW now.

…and that archway over there? It looks like crap and needs to be redone, for the THIRD time. Get goin’, please.

…oh, don’t forget about the tile! It needs to be picked up! Tonight! All of it! BY US!

This all occurred within a 72-hour period, and I wish I was making this up, I really do. In one fell swoop we simply lost the control just a few hours earlier we’d been praising ourselves for retaining. Hair was pulled out, sleep was lost, drugs were taken, and mother-effing-house-this and stupid-idea-that were thrown around at will. Arms flailed. Phone calls were cut short. Everyone was doing everything wrong every time and darnit, it wasn’t EVER going to be perfect. We had lost all optimism, all patience, all focus.

Then we woke up this morning, Friday, and realized that we’d made it. The end of the week was here. We HAD survived after all. We were still breathing! Very much alive and well! WHO KNEW IT WAS POSSIBLE! Looking back, we had let two or three absolutely insane days completely derail our outlook on the long term impact of the project. We had let it completely cloud our goal. Our goal of improving our home, of drastically increasing the ease and efficiency of our daily activities, of contributing to our investment. Our goal that we had worked two-and-a-half years to attain, our goal that for the past five weeks had actually begun to exist in reality. Just like that, a few major bumps had threatened to halt all progress.

How many people do you know that if any little nudge attempts to push them off track they throw their arms into the air and quit right on the spot? Unfortunately, there are many. But think of your success icons. When they set their mind to something, when they went to work on their passion, NOTHING stopped them. That, singularly, was why they were a huge success. They didn’t quit. There’s a saying in sales that goes something like, “Those at the top are only there because they heard ‘No’ way more than anyone else.” No matter your business, there will be bumps in the road. There will be a few treacherous cliffs, too. Don’t let them keep you from moving forward towards your goals.

So, yes, you WILL survive. Don’t quit. Focus on your long-term goal. And know that every bump will make your success story THAT much better when you get there. Ours already is.

Two thumbs up to that.


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