Just a note — a couple…

Just a note -- a couple of folks have suggested that I do less stuff this week, put some of this off. Unfortunately, we're just hitting the point where it makes way more sense to do lots of this stuff ASAP -- otherwise it'll cost serious money or serious inconvenience later. And there's a lot of sequence to this project that I hadn't realized: A has to be done before C but after D & E unless you're willing to put up with lots of G. Which means D & E are suddenly much more important than you're realized, and you'd better hurry up about giving the people what they need if you want to ever live in your house. I spent two hours yesterday morning at the house walking around with Pam and going over various plumbing, electrical, painting things, and we're actually in much better shape after having that conversation, but I probably should have had it a week ago, and then we'd be a bit further along now.

Pam said at the end that given how busy we are already (school & kids), we should perhaps have hired a designer / project manager as well as a general contractor, just to keep the schedule and sequence in mind. Maybe. (I do think a large percentage of the folks who do major home renovations like this may have one working husband and one stay-at-home wife who's then free to manage the whole thing, with kids of at least grade school age -- at least, that's the configuration I see most often on the home improvement shows. Interesting.) I think if there hadn't been so much sickness in the past year, we would also have been okay. It'll all happen eventually; we're just up against some time deadlines now.

For example, plumbing. When we move into the house on Saturday (5 days!), we'll have one working toilet (powder room), one working bathtub (guest), one working shower (master), and one working sink (basement plastic utility sink). That's it. The plumber would have plumbed more, but we weren't ready, because we weren't fast enough on things like picking countertop materials. We weren't fast enough because we were just slow, and also it took multiple trips to various stone places that are far away, and trying to schedule them when both Kev and I could go (but also not take the kids along to cold, dusty, slightly dangerous warehouses) was difficult. And to save money, we were trying to find a less expensive alternative to stone, so we researched wood (again, in multiple places, including IKEA -- sadly, their butcher block countertops, while pretty and cheap, were too thick to mesh with some of our already built-in cabinetry) and zinc. Which involved getting kitchen plans and measurements and e-mails and an appt. with a wood guy at the house so he could measure, etc. So, anyway, we'll move in with just four pieces of working plumbing, just barely enough.

We won't have a plumbed washing machine, because they just moved the washing machine back into the house from the garage, and while it may have been working two years ago when we put it in there, it's definitely not working now. So we need to get a new machine soon, because while you can live with two kids and no laundry for a bit, not too long a bit. And it's not the end of the world if we don't do it soon -- there are laundromats, after all --but it would be a serious inconvenience to live there more than a week without a washing machine. I suppose we could go pester the neighbors, but that seems like a bad way to start our relationship. "Hello, we're in the annoying house next door where all the construction noise has been coming from and by the way, do you mind if I bring this basket of stink into your nice, clean house?"

So, anyway, plumbing is a priority, which means all the things that need to be done to have it ready for the plumber (including countertops). We don't want to ask the plumber to come out multiple times, because at some point he's going to get annoyed and start charging us extra for that, so we're trying to have the rest of it all ready at once. And while we could certainly manage for a long time with one of each thing, we really don't want to. (Not having a kitchen sink is a MAJOR inconvenience when you have small children and are constantly washing out milky sippy cups.) Electrical is the same way (and is also a safety concern, since we need at least one working light fixture in each room). Also safety guards for the kids' windows. Those are the three major priorities that we're racing to finish ASAP.

Among other complicating factors, my family is coming to visit two weekends after we move, because Kavi's birthday is then, and a long time ago, we planned for them to come for her birthday party and see the house. A long time ago, when we thought it would be much more done by this point! Since they're coming, it'd be nice if my parents had a real bed to sleep on. They are getting a bit creaky for air mattresses on the floor. So that makes the guest bed (and guest bedroom) a priority too. And so it goes.

And yes, I could be a little less compulsive about the tiny aesthetic details, but as the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it right the first time -- okay, I don't think that's actually how the saying goes, but these things will BUG me if we don't fix them, and although we can fix them later, generally that will cost more than fixing them now. (I.e., if you're moving something that requires cutting through drywall, better to move it BEFORE the painters put the final coat of paint on that wall. And so on.)

I do think it'll be okay -- yesterday was particularly stressful in part because I was just stressed out over the work event, the ASAM Expo, which was a major project, the culmination of a year of work, and had many moving parts. But they all meshed beautifully -- the students' work was impressive and a pleasure to watch, and we felt very satisfied with our funding of them. :-) I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the science research presentations -- they actually made me think, briefly, that it might have been cool to be a scientist. And then I realized how many tiny little measurements they had to take and log to produce that fascinating graph, and I realized, once again, that that is not the career for me. Dealing with the minutiae of this renovation is more than enough for my tiny little brain.

2 thoughts on “Just a note — a couple…”

  1. Is it possible to postpone the move, even by a couple of weeks? That would give you more time to get stuff straightened out before you have to live there, and also keeps you out of the hair of the people working on the house.

    You are going to miss that washing machine. I hope that you can replace it soon. Laundromats are great, but then you have to wait around while the machines are running, which means you have to actually schedule chunks of time for that, which is hard with two working parents and two small kids. (Speaking from experience 🙂 .)

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    We did think about postponing the move, but it’d cost us $1200 in another month’s rent, which is significant. And, of course, my family had already booked their plane tickets to come out and stay with us, and there isn’t room at the rental for that, and I hate to ask them to spend money for three nights of hotel for multiple rooms. We didn’t know until last week that the washing machine was broken. Sigh. It’ll be okay, though.

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