Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Third Time’s the Charm?

I woke up this morning knowing I dreamt about multiple paths and the various paving stones used to create them. Don’t get all excited, dream decipherers. I’m pretty sure it was all a direct result of spending hours scouting through Lowe’s last night before coming home with trim to install this weekend.

Trying to get up the oomph to work today has been difficult.

I’m distracted with cost estimates for my kitchen cabinets, where they’ll come from, if we’re making the right choices. Distracted by the sheer number of things I do on a daily basis, like I said yesterday I never stop once I get going.

As I started writing today’s post it occurred to me that I was feeling less than inspired. Nothing I’d said felt like the right kind of ranting. I deleted everything multiple times. I mean, ranting is about all I do over here, but usually it has a pointed reason. It isn’t just 20+ paragraphs of rambling complaining. Ugh.

So instead of forcing it I opened up a few links to start looking at kitchen cabinets. And I had a great idea! Save every single link I visit during the renovation process, then write a book about it, that way I know who to thank in the acknowledgements section!

Within about, roughly, two minutes, I determined just how bad an idea that really is.

I’ve written about our adventures in home improvement before; in my blog series detailing the pitfalls of real estate in Springfield, MA in 2002. When we thought renovating an 1850’s farmhouse would be a stellar first project to tackle.

The posts came out years after the reno even happened and I tried to remember every detail but it all got a little fuzzy. Which I’m not exactly broken up about because that whole time in our lives is better left in the past. At least for now.

And thankfully the mind softens over time.

So did the series. Once the crazy contractors and materials ordering snafus were documented, all we were doing was installing stuff. I figured nobody would want to read about sanding, nailing, painting, etc. Snooze.


Unlike the first time we did this construction thing, this time we’re older, wiser, more experienced. Maybe there could be a story in that mundane seeming stuff. The actual nitty gritty of the renovation project.

I realized this morning that I will very likely live-blog our renovation this time. Back in 2002 I would have done the same if I wasn’t also in school, working full time, oh yeah, and if I even knew what a blog was in those days.

For the next couple months I’ll be doing cost and quality comparisons, whipping up floor plans or sending out for them, and we will finish the projects from Phase I (like trim and getting the god-awful wall of mirrors taken down).

In other words, a bunch of mostly boring stuff with no pictures. Lame, I know.

But necessary. Especially the budgeting stuff.

Because if that whole Springfield debacle taught me anything it was that the very first thing to do in any renovation is establish a budget. Do it before you buy anything. When you don’t, you end up buying everything, sometimes twice, and you will hate life.

This is not a hypothetical. Materials will beat the crap out of you at every financial turn because in renovation the most important tool you own is a very well detailed plan.

This will be our third major renovation together. Springfield was first. And despite how much we spent on Phase I for this place, plus what we have available for Phase II, I think Springfield was overall more expensive.

Because we didn’t have a budget.

Back then we spent willy-nilly and mostly on credit cards with recoculous interest rates and outrageous available balances. We were financial idiots and it definitely took a long time to dig out of the hole we made back then.

A couple years ago, the last overhaul we completed in our current home was literally planned to the penny. I measured, and budgeted like I was born an accountant. It didn’t only help, it saved us from a huge debt we didn’t have to incur because we had the available funds to take care of things.


Most of what we’re doing this third time around would have been finished in the last reno. Unfortunately, we had no idea it might be smart to get a plumbing inspection before buying a house. Turned out to be pretty major and in need of immediate repair.

Something absolutely necessary, but an element we can’t even see, had to take priority.

It’s okay. We saved again. And this time I finally get to do the fun stuff. The building of things. Color and material selection. Kitchen, laundry room, closet doors. I get to design a cohesive space and I can’t wait…

…to get bids and review them.

Because it only becomes my internal vision if I plan it right.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.


River said...

"recoculous" interest rates? Is that even a real word? It isn't in any of my dictionaries.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I've been using the word for years, turns out it is in the urban dictionary: