“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” —Buddha
We’ve spent the last two weeks settling into a modified lifestyle that is surrounded by construction. We are knee-deep into our renovation and have already discovered why they say renovations often take twice as long and cost twice as much. So far, it’s not that bad. Work has been delayed multiple times for various reasons and new discoveries that will cost us more money are already on the table. These discoveries, such as major issues with the foundation of the house, are important and even though it will hurt our wallet, it is good we have found them and are fixing them. It was to be expected when you start taking a 100+ year old house apart.
Listening to the constant banging, sawing, and drilling has surprisingly not been the hard part for me. Our construction crew are cheerful and thoughtful people to be around each day. Their team consists of a man and two women, which is not often the norm in the construction world. The three of them are so friendly and sweet with the kids and always very considerate and mindful of how disruptive this whole process is for us. What I’ve found the most challenging is our space (or lack there of) and managing meals. Our living, cooking, eating space is feeling rather claustrophobic. With the sun fading away earlier and earlier each day we are spending way more time inside than in the previous months. A typically day would have us at the playground for the hours leading up to dinnertime, although now we’re bouncing off the walls a bit as we are pushed back inside way before dinnertime rolls around. For the most part, the boys have been great. They are finding ways to entertain themselves and play in the small spaces provided. There have been no complaints from them.
I, on the other hand, have already grown tired of a tiny fridge, dinners from the microwave or when I do food prep in the slow cooker or hot plate, having zero space to prepare. Cleaning dishes in the bathtub isn’t all that fun, either. We are all constantly bumping into each other and getting in each other’s way. A small mess of toys can feel like a catastrophe when there is barely floor space to stand. I try to remind myself (multiple times a day) this is all worth it and we can get through this! Not to mention, I feel incredibly fortunate to be doing any of this in the first place.
Speaking of the darker days, Big Brother’s Waldorf group held a lantern walk last weekend as a way to remind us all that despite the darker, shorter, colder days we can still carry on with our own lights shining bright from our homes and hearts. It is a sweet ritual that always leave Big Brother feeling proud as we walk with our lanterns through the same Golden Woods and Gnome Valley that he plays in each day with his friends.
In an effort to find ways to get us out of our house, I have been taking advantage of local playspaces, offerings from the library, and playgroups at friends’ houses. This week Big Brother and I attended a community Lego gathering at the library in which fellow Lego enthusiast got together for an hour to build. I enjoyed how it was a free for all creative hour and kids were just presented with massive buckets of Legos and let their imaginations run wild. The group meets once a month and for that month, their creations are on display at the library. Big Brother was super proud to see his airport/airplane in the glass case as we went to check out books later in the week.
I feel so fortunate that dear friends have take the time to bring us meals now and then. It is incredibly helpful to just have a meal or two taken care of for us. In addition, I’ve given in to more meals out than usual. A random brunch here, a dinner there. It’s not cost effective, though it alleviates the pain of cooking in a ridiculous space. During these meals out, I’ve come to the table more prepared than usual for the boys to be entertained while waiting for food. I use to be more on top of this sort of thing with Big Brother was little, but seemed to have lost the motivation for it as Little One has come into the picture. It’s been really important to me that these meals out go smoothly and not add more stress, which they sometimes can when antsy boys do not want to sit and wait at a restaurant. The ol’ standbys such as paper, crayon and stickers work especially well for Little One. Big Brother, having a new-found love of puzzles, is successfully engaged by these awesome, double-sided mini puzzles I found at a toy store a few weeks back. They are just quick enough that he can usually finish one just in time for his food to arrive. And given the box is the size of a deck of cards, it is super easy to always carry around with me. Score!
Amidst the chaos, I have found some small pleasures. For instance, the back half of our house has been covered by a 20’x30′ tarp for protection against the elements. Last night we had a massive downpour and at one point as I was lying awake in bed at 2am, the sound of the rain on the tarp just outside my window made me feel like I was sleeping in a tent. I have joked that this lifestyle often feels like indoor camping and this experience made me giggle because I felt it even more. I actually enjoyed it. I love the sound of rain on a tent! It’s a soothing sound.
Each day, I see a small step towards the end as things begin to take shape with the house. Little by little…we’re getting there. This week a great deal of the framing has happened which is exciting to see the new space being created. More to come…