Piles Equal Progress

Onward and outward goes our bathroom/bedroom/closet reno begun three months ago.  Improvement has been made even as we braved delays, like three late winter Texas ice/snow storms within two weeks. Good times.

We’ve hired plumbers, electricians, sheetrockers, and one superhuman tile guy named Danny.  I say superhuman because he calms the OCD geometric perfectionist in me through his artistic brilliance, i.e. the tiles are level and straight. Hey, the fear of crooked tile lines can keep me awake nights. Don’t judge.

As always, my skilled husband has contributed much of the carpentry work during the course of this huge project. Me? Well, I’ve done some painting and prep work–and SOMEBODY has to be the photographer and design consultant.  He, on the other hand, is a proverbial Jack of All Trades, and I admire the tenaciousness he displays as a way of showing his love for me. Red Green may have duct tape, but my sweetie has caulk, caulk baby 🙂

IMG_0189     IMG_0375

Whilst I look forward to the completion of this whole affair with GREAT anticipation, adjustments, albeit temporary, have been required to, uh, accommodate our goals.  The most obvious is the massive contents of said bathroom, bedroom, and closet have had to take up residence in and around our family, dining, and living areas. No jewelry parties for me, thank you. There’s no place to SIT.

Our comfy king size bed (and dressers) are in the middle of it all, sharing living room space with the faux fire place and my state thimble collection. Here we have slept for over two months, watching winter turn to spring and heating switch to air conditioning. To get to my clothes, I must navigate through tools, newly painted walls, and a thick curtain of plastic draped to protect my wardrobe inside the closet–which is now inside the bathroom.  And at night, a flashlight is a must because the electricity is off until the tile work is finished. What an adventure.

Imagine if you will possessions, tools, and supplies stacked 3-4 feet high amongst our furniture, creating massive piles of STUFF. The situation isn’t pretty…take my word for it.  Some of these towers hover high over the paths we have carved to the kitchen, hall bath, and large screen TV in the family room.  Ah, my TV–my escape– where I can still relax in my recliner after work, play Words with Friends, and try to ignore what’s surrounding me.  Hubby and I even reached a happy TV medium, bonding over a shared TV/DVR, but that’s a topic for another blog…TAG: Marital Compromise.

Between expensive contractors and tiring weekends of work, it’s easy to get discouraged and weary of the whole mess.  Through it all, however, we have discovered these piles are both revealing and purposeful. Sure, some of it is temporary and necessary to the renovation. But a whole bunch of it isn’t–at all. Since living with these PILES under our armpits, we have reached the following life changing conclusions:

1. We have lots of stuff.

2. We don’t need all this stuff.

3. We don’t want this stuff returned to our spiffy new spots.

4. We shall get rid of this stuff.

“The process is part of the plan,” says our pastor. How true this is, both in life as in renovation. God uses the light of circumstances to reveal the negative and cumbersome things hidden in our hearts, just as we now see all the unneeded stuff taking up space in our home. Recognizing the unnecessary that weighs us down is the first step in finding freedom from it. The next step is choosing to let it go, and not shove it back into the dark from where it came. And that is where the process begins. Yes, we are all “God’s workmanship”–but we are “a work in progress” until the day He takes us home.

So to create a positive spin on this renovation process, I’ll adjust my perspective, look beyond the obvious, and tell you what I see…


Here’s a pile of bricks I stacked in our side yard….but I see an old 12 foot corner bathroom chimney painstakingly removed to make way for our new toilet.


Somewhere behind this pile is our living room piano–but I can just envision myself using these new faucets and vanity lights in our new bathroom.


Nope, can’t sit on our office couch, and can barely make it to my desktop computer– but that new wood bedroom floor will look fab!


No sleeping in the bedroom now–but our new bathroom floors and shower will look beautiful with these tiles.


And last but not least, here’s a heap of trash covering up half of my already postage stamp-sized front lawn. An eyesore perhaps, but I see the evidence of sheet rocked, dry walled, and textured areas ready to paint.

Yep, I see the progress in those piles, don’t you?  And I can’t wait to show you the finished project!

Sawdust in My Scentsy Pot, or It’s Better to Say “Oh Well” than “Oh H….”

My husband and I have recently embarked on “Phase 8 (or is it 9?)” of The Plan to remodel our century old home we moved into 23 years ago.   Over these two plus decades of finished projects, our most important one in This Old House was raising three children and launching them  into adulthood– and back into the DFW Metroplex from whence they came.  Although,  if time were frozen on our block by, say,  an erupting volcano, future archeologists would find plenty of relics of said adult children amongst the ashes of cardboard boxes and Rubbermaid containers.  But that’s another blog….

IMG_8979 Super Hubby the Masterful Handyman

Blessed beyond measure with a DIY man who can do just about anything, The Plan is simple–when there is money and time, we remodel.  Due to life’s most glorious distractions (i.e. weddings, graduations, grandchildren) we’ve had little extra of either for five years (see above for “launching children into adulthood”).  The time has finally come, however, to turn our attentions back to Phase 9 (or is it 10?) of The Plan.

We are now pouring over how-to books, picking up Lowe’s and Home Depot samples, scouring Amazon.com for the right parts, and pinning more pins to Pinterest than we’ll EVER use.  Religiously we tune into DIY/HGTV network shows for pastoral advice and inspiration from the likes of Nicole Curtis, Vanilla Ice (really? Vanilla ICE? who’d a thought?) and the new DIY darlings of the Waco, Texas-based program Fixer Upper (funny, but I frequently wonder “WWCJGD”–What Would Chip and Joanna Gaines Do?).

IMG_9041[1] Meet Our Design Consultant Team

Unfortunately, even in the midst of all our planning and good intentions, we also are finding ourselves spatting.

After almost 28 years of marriage we don’t see eye to eye on everything.    Shocking, I know. We have disagreed on a myriad of remodeling related things: materials, colors, floor plans, and, gasp, MONEY–when, where, and how much to use.  And as unbelievable as it may seem, we even have different priorities in the implementation of  The Plan. But knowing all this would happen,  God gave us what we thought was a PERFECT two-step coping mechanism to practice when we encounter “suck it up buttercup” moments along the renovation trail.

IMG_9027 What’s left of our tub connections….

STEP 1:  Phil. 4:6-7 in The Message says “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it…everything (will come) together for good…” So I tell Hubby:  “let’s just picture our worries being shaped into  prayers when we run into a DIY hiccup.”  Let’s give it to Him to receive an answer. Simple. After all, “everything coming together for good” is great remodeling concept, right?

STEP 2:  In her book New Day, New You Joyce Meyer stated “Whenever I find myself in a situation I can’t do anything about, I have found that a good way to cast my care upon the Lord is simply to say, ‘Oh, well.‘”  What a concept! So adding that to our coping tool box, I say to Hubby, “Ok, when we run into an unexpected problem with the house let’s just look at each other and say “Oh, well“–not as an expression of frustration, but as an expression of surrendering that problem to the Lord.

To sum up, it’s better to say “Oh well” instead of “Oh, h…..”  You catch my drift.

EUREKA…that’s it!  DYI harmony! I had immediate visions of us writing a best seller and hitting the lecture and interview circuit to give couples hope that their marriage, too, could survive a remodel –all in just two easy steps!

But then the rubber met the road and the paintbrush hit the paint.

It started with sawdust.  Hubby hurried home after work one day last week to install the Nine Foot Post– a task vital to our continued master bath remodel.  Then he called to tell me about his accomplishment and– oh by the way– “some stuff on the oriental rug.” I arrived home to behold the Nine Foot Post–and stumbled upon sawdust. Lots of smelly, oily sawdust.

IMG_8967 The Nine Foot Post…and Hole in Our Wall

It was everywhere, lightly coating over 300 square feet of my prime sit-in-my-recliner-and-watch-HGTV living space! It was on my furniture, dining room table, living room piano, and iPhone charger! Confident that Nicole and Vanilla Ice would NEVER approve, I questioned Hubby as to the source of the mess (like I didn’t know).  He told me he had to make a “few cuts ” and that it would be “ok.” Say what?  I was now inconvenienced with a SAWDUST clean up even in my Scentsy Pot! Never mind that he worked hard installing that post,  or that I should be grateful he had the money-saving skill to complete it by himself.  That didn’t matter.  I said the “Two Step Program” was near perfect, not me.

This is where I should have placed a pic of my sawdust filled Scentsy Pot but I didn’t take one…

So over the next three days I successfully dealt with the remainder of that ghastly stuff.  Hubby kept DIY-ing.  I kept complaining.

IMG_9019 Hubby continuing his DIY-ing under the plywood.

My efforts culminated with a 30 minute vacuuming frenzy replete with sweaty sawdust on my brow. As I finished,  I exhaustedly turned to my approaching husband and shoved the vacuum towards him to put away. He obviously knew how hard I had worked to clean up that mess.   And now, with what I was sure would be words of apologetic affirmation, he looked at me with a grin and said:

“Oh, well.”

Oh no he didn’t…! I was floored like laminate. Hubby had trumped my fretful ingratitude with Part Two of our Two Part Program. Drat!

In that sawdust moment my perspective began to change. I had been so consumed with the MESS I had forgotten it was a MEANS– to our intended end. Suddenly the sledge hammer leaning against the sofa and the power tools in my bathroom no longer irritated me. We had Phase 10 (or is it 11?) of The Plan to implement, hubby and me, and we were in this together. WWCJGD? They would check their attitude.

After a few more silent seconds of contemplation, all I could do was shake my head in agreement and reply, “Yes, you are right. At least the house is clean.  ‘Oh well’ indeed.”

That’s ok.  Joyce Meyer says his turn is coming 🙂