When my husband and I bought our house, we were about to have our first child. We left our cute purple Victorian in the city for a 1950s ranch on a big lot with mature trees in the suburbs. The ranch needed a lot of work, but we were excited by the idea of future renovations and making it our own.
We redid two of the three bathrooms, put in new appliances, and called it good (for the time being). We moved in during a snow storm that made the house and the new neighborhood feel rural and foreign. The house felt roomy and peaceful. Even though it needed work, we loved it, dingy carpets, outdated white tiles, Brady Bunch style kitchen and all.
Eight years later, there are four of us living here and we feel cramped. I feel a little guilty when I think of the original owners who raised five kids in our house. They made it work. But then I think about the laundry and mud rooms that I’m about to get, and I push the guilt out of my mind. This is our fourth home improvement project so far. I’m not sure why, but this one seems more challenging.
Two weeks into the project, we’re ready for it to be done. The first week, my husband said it felt like we were camping. We were giddy with the novelty of it. I was excited about picking out tile, cabinets, paint and wallpaper. It didn’t bother me that I didn’t have hot water, we lost power in my kitchen, and I was doing the dishes by hand. Or that I had to schlep my laundry to a neighbor’s house.
Since then, we’ve heard things from our contractor like “we found water” (never a good thing) and “new electrical panel” (doesn’t mean much to me but I’m assuming it’s big because my husband’s face turned white and then red). And I’ve started complaining about it. A lot. At first it was only when someone asked how the remodel was going. Now I’m finding reasons to interject my complaints into conversations. Someone asks me about a yoga class and I respond by telling them how tired I am of having my house in pieces. And it’s only been two weeks. I am a spoiled wimp.
In honor of Easter, I am going to stop complaining (I mean it this time) and celebrate what I am lucky to have. Whatever your religious background is or isn’t, I think Easter falls at a time of year (at least in the northern hemisphere) that it’s easy to reflect on what we’re grateful for. The crab apple trees in my yard are just beginning to bloom and it’s a sweet reminder of the beauty in all things that renew whether it’s a house, a tree or a man.