Reno Week #2

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The living room turned storage space.

The living room turned storage space.

Wouldn’t you think that once you learn a lesson it would stick?  Letting go is one of the biggest lessons I’ve tangled with all through my life.  It’s probably because I’ve spent my life trying to control everything around me.  As the family caretaker when I was young, I was in charge of keeping the peace. Most of the time it didn’t work. My parents didn’t stop fighting because I went out of my way to be the best little girl on earth. And my brothers never listened to me when I told them to stop slinging mudballs at each other. But I kept trying.

When I grew up and had kids of my own I got fairly good at controlling them … until they became teens and started developing attitude.  Then they flew the coop and  I was left holding the empty control bag. I turned to everyone else around me. Who could I control now?  Why wasn’t I being awarded the best controller medal of the world?

But time, a few therapists, and life in general has taught me that there is absolutely nothing I can control.  Life has a way of doing it’s own thing. I can try as hard as I might to make the sun shine on a rainy day but it won’t happen.  The world is what it is and I find it best to work at having a good time rather than spending all of my energy trying to make everything run smoothly.

I ticked off one more try at it this past week, which resulted in a meltdown. For a meltdown it wasn’t as bad as they can be and I apologized profusely to everyone in sight. I felt awful for making an ass of myself and spent a couple of hours hating silly, stubborn me. I thought, “No more home improvements for me! I’ve had it!” When the end of the day came and everything looked wonderful and just as it should.  Nothing was shattered or broken. The sun was still shining and the birds were singing.  But I had hurt myself. I’ve been there before. Every time I react without pausing to think through something that isn’t going my way, I end up making a mess of myself and sometimes those around me.

I figured in order to keep it from happening again,  I had to approach all of this from another angle. Somewhere in my head I heard the suggestion that I should stay away from the construction zone as much as possible.  The next morning I went to the house to put a load of laundry in. I worked in my studio and didn’t go back until later in the day to put the laundry in the dryer. I stopped to look at what was happening, but made no judgements. I smiled and went my own way again until I went back to fold the laundry, again admiring the work that had been done.

I did somewhat the same thing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  What a difference. I was happy. Things were on schedule and the world hadn’t ended because I wasn’t paying attention. I even took time for having tea with a friend, reading, walking the dogs, and napping.

But the thing is, I should know better by now.  So once again I’m making a promise to myself and the world that the next time steam starts pouring out of my ears, I’ll pause and stop trying to keep the world from coming to an end.  Maybe I should take a notebook and fill it up with the same sentence over and over again: “I will not react before I stop and think about what is happening.”

Just to let you know the latest word, the crew boss thinks they’ll probably pretty much wrap up the kitchen part of the  project by the end of this week or early the following week.  I’m elated and have promised  to keep my cool at least until then. The laundry room is now tiled and the electricians and plumbers are hard at work.. The appliances should start going back into the kitchen today. I’m totally surprised and in awe of how quickly this has gone and so far am extremely happy with the results. And though I embarrassed myself pretty badly this past week, I’m proud of myself for stepping back and accepting the fact that I am just one imperfect human being amongst all the rest.


  1. Having lived through a few home projects myself I have always found that a relaxed attitude coupled with some control have served us right. It is very interesting to me what you say about always trying to control situations and other people and then realising that there is absolutely nothing that we can control. For me I have actually reached a point on the opposing end; I have always felt that I have little control over things and hence went with the flow more often than I probably needed to. These days I am trying to be more assertive and take more control of the things I can, i.e. my own thoughts and actions. Especially the latter is key to my recovery from inertia and spending too much time inside my head rather than doing things. Your view on things are very refreshing to me. Regarding your renovations I am very much looking forward to seeing the end result!

    • Kerstin, The only things we have the slightest control are our own thoughts and actions and because I react to things quickly, control of my actions is sometimes iffy. It depends on how strong the trigger is and where I am in the moment. I think being assertive is very important, but there is a big difference between that and being aggressive.

      As soon as I have photos of the finished project I will be posting them. Things are so dirty and dusty and misplaced right now. It’s total chaos in my eyes, but the workmen seem to know what they are doing.

      Thanks so much for your compliments and continuing to follow me.

  2. Like you, I learned the hard way that REACTING (knee-jerk) is not nearly as rewarding as RESPONDING (thought-filled). I used to be Quick Draw McGraw (first one to draw the gun and shoot). I’m pleased that my gun-slinger reactionary draw has become slower than a herd of turtles in a jar of peanut butter!

    • “slower than a herd of turles in a jar of pianut butter!” Oh, I love it. I hope to get there one day myself. I can still be a gunslinger at times.