“Living through a home renovation is like living in the wild…you do whatever it takes to survive.”
After nearly a year of researching, planning, budgeting, and sweating it out our long awaited kitchen and dining room renovation is finally underway. For the next two to three months, we will be camping inside our house as we attempt to live, cook, and eat in about 150 square feet on the first floor. Thankfully bedrooms are left untouched on the second floor but are certainly bursting at the seams with many of the things from the first floor. I keep telling myself we’re experiencing the New York City lifestyle. During the first phase of this project there was going to be a lot of demolition and tearing down walls. Given our house was built around 1890, this demo phase would also include the removal of hazardous waste such as lead paint and asbestos. Our contractor advised us to not be around for this phase. For our safety and sanity, we decided to take this opportunity to go on a renovation vacation. Friends of ours in western Massachusetts bought a new house a few months ago and we had an open invitation to visit. Ironically, they were also at the tail end of their own house renovation, but given their 4,300 square feet of space, a few rooms under construction and being painted was hardly a bother during our stay. We were so happy to have a place to rest our head while our house was being torn apart and had great company and lots of fun exploring the town.
Our first day, we went in search of dinosaur tracks! Both of my boys have been motivated and focused on studying and researching dinosaurs lately, so this trip was exciting for them. There in the Connecticut River Valley were more than 130 tracks that were the first to be scientifically described, preserved in sandstone. Big Brother was hoping for some T-Rex tracks, but instead we found footprints made by its ancestor, the Eubrontes. The week was unseasonably warm and beautiful, which made our time outside in the sunshine so enjoyable and coat-free.
The next morning we drove out to the country to visit with friends. Anticipating our arrival, our friend had set up his tractor and homemade trailer to give the kids a hay ride (minus the hay) through his MANY acres of land. We made stops along the way to explore forgotten roads in the woods and all the different types of trees. After returning to the house, we enjoyed our lunch out on the porch (such an unusual treat in November) while the boys relived their tractor rides with model tractors of the very tractor that pulled us!
This summer we were learning about the life cycle of a butterfly by raising caterpillars and watched their metamorphosis. I had planned to bring the boys to a butterfly conservatory after our experience, but life got away from us and we never made the trip. While exploring things to do in town, we found a butterfly garden housed in an 8,000 square foot glass greenhouse that was only 15 minutes out of town. We spent the entire morning wandering around their beautiful tropical surroundings and discovering thousands of butterflies. Big Brother was determined to have a butterfly land on him and impressed me with his patience as he sat in a nearly meditative state waiting for a butterfly to choose him. It was almost breaking my heart as butterflies seemed to land on everyone around us (including my husband, Little One, and me) but NOT him. But his persistence eventually paid off as a beautiful yellow and black butterfly befriended him and stayed with him for nearly ten minutes! He was beyond pleased.
On our final day, we drove to the top of one of the highest mountains in town to enjoy the sights. We were a few weeks past foliage peak and missed the spectacular colors, but the view was still breathtaking nonetheless. My husband and I found it comical that we were before this view and the boys were so engrossed in their play with their toy cars that they couldn’t be bothered. The boys interest in playing with each other in the last few months has been heartwarming to watch. They are becoming each others best friends and really love playing together. They create these detailed and rich worlds of play together and get lost in them. Fights break out from time to time, but for the most part, their harmony is lovely.
By the week’s end, we returned home to find the entire back half of our house ripped down to the studs. The original planks of wood erected over one hundred years ago were exposed and our blank canvas is almost ready for its new creation. I’m so excited. Not excited to live through the hot plate dinners and laundry at the neighbor’s house for several months, but it will all be worth it in the end.