Reno Week #1

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The living room.

The living room.

The week that was went by in a flash … but it also seemed to take a year to pass.  I don’t quite know how to explain that but that’s how it was.  The hard wood flooring is being put in now and should be finished by Friday morning.  The hall and powder room where the laundry room will be located has now been gutted and work proceeds there.

All in all it was a pretty good week. I managed to do everything but work on my memoir.  Even though my studio is in another building it’s hard for me to focus.  The dogs are jumpy from all the noise and the poor cat doesn’t quite know what to do with herself.  All of us except Sweet Lilli, the cat are staying at a nearby Residence Inn, but even there the dogs aren’t themselves.  They are very much creatures of habit and all of the turmoil is intruding into the quiet security they are used to. It’s the same for both Bill and I but we’re the humans and are supposed to be resilient. We try and are encouraged every day by the progress that is being made.  I can already say that the new floor in the kitchen, though only partially laid, is going to be gorgeous and will make a huge difference in the amount of time I spend cooking.

My biggest hangup has been eating and cooking. I’m gluten-free and am trying go mostly Paleo, meaning no grains whatsoever.  I am also a cook-it-from-scratch kind of person and the limited kitchen arrangements in our room have been a problem until yesterday when we moved into a room with a real stove with four burners and an oven.  It’s still tiny and cramped but I don’t plan on making anything that is complicated. So I think we’re good until our kitchen here is done.

I could go into a rant or have a pity party and cry about how hard all of this is, but it wouldn’t help. Yesterday I finally made friends with the idea that this is going to be a time of getting little serious writing done and having untold interruptions no matter what I’m trying to do. Unlike several people I know who went to Europe while their homes were being renovated, I find it helpful to check in on what is happening in order to keep from being surprised at the end of the day.

As I watch the rest of the world, the work being done here and the great people who are doing it, I find myself being grateful that this interruption in my life is as small as it is. It is nothing in comparison to what the single dad who is supervising this job goes through every day, for his daughters, three and six years old. I’m grateful for the cooking space I do have that is inside a warm building and the choices available to me when it comes to what to eat.

Kitchen floor in process.

Kitchen floor in process.

I’m grateful for everything I have and for a huge amount of stuff that I don’t have. Sure I’m somewhat stressed. Who wouldn’t be?  Life is what it is, but I happen to be one of the most fortunate citizens on this planet.  Suffering is an option but for the moment I am choosing to live mindfully and simply notice what is happening around me and what is going through my head. The only thing I can change is the way I perceive what is going on and I’m especially grateful that I’m able to do just that.

What stresses are happening in your life and how are you keeping it from turning your life upside down?


  1. I wouldn’t dare tell you what is going on in our life that needs patience! Suffice it to say I’m trying like hell to figure out what I’m supposed to be learning from it, while remaining “present”. Your post was another reminder to me, and I need one once an hour, to stay in the flow of life and to try not to fight it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! (I love your hardwood. We’ve been talking about doing the same on our main floor. I want to include the kitchen. My other half doesn’t!)

    • Dorothy, Every new morning means we’re one day closer to the final result. Once it’s done it will be amazing and I’ll look back and think, “What was the big deal?” I’m also using an old AA quip on the bad days: “Fake it until you make it.” Last night I was in tears today I can’t stop laughing. No, I’m not Bipolar but sometimes it feels like it!

  2. Home remodeling is a lot like giving birth. Terrible pains. But easily forgotten once the final product is here.

    I love that I can see and imagine your spaces and that you are devoting yourself to the path of least resistance consciously.

    A good time for restaurant meals, movies, long walks, and contemplation. My guess is that the writing will flow once the house is ready. You can do a lot of inner writing in the meantime.

    Sending you good vibes!

    • Thanks, Shirley. This reno is very much like the birth process as is writing a book. Am I having twins?? I am doing lots of inner writing and mostly learning new things about myself.

  3. Joan – Before you know it, this wonderful project will be in your rearview mirror and your beautiful renovation will be step-into-ready! I love what you said, particularly about what you don’t have:

    “I’m grateful for everything I have and for a huge amount of stuff that I don’t have.”

    As to cooking from scratch and making the type of foods you use to fuel your body. The “prescription” that we use in our kitchen is: Foods that have a HIGH NUTRITION to CALORIE RATIO.

    You’re welcome to take a peek at some of the meals on my Pinterest board:

    • Laurie, Oh yes, the amount of stuff I don’t want is huge. Yes, I’m a lucky lady and know it. Food in our house is also considered medicine and why it’s difficult for me to eat out or buy already processed food. And I don’t like microwaves. Now that we have a real stove I’m back in step.

  4. There is nothing like a major renovation to throw your world into a tailspin! When my girls were 2 and 4, we decided to remodel our family room/kitchen and move the back wall of the house out 10 feet . . . which meant opening up the entire house to the elements. With two little kids? Were we insane? YES, but the end result was worth it! Your kitchen already looks amazing, and you’ll spend many joyful hours there soon.

    • Candace, Thanks for your encouragement. I can’t imagine doing this with little kids about. The dogs are bad enough. They are both very insecure and want to be at our heels all day long. They are finally settling in though and I can leave them for several hours either in my studio or in our hotel room, once the room has been cleaned. It will be worth it and in the meantime lessons abound.