- This week felt mostly…meh. The renovations are going well and the contractors are wonderful but I have low-level anxiety (and sometimes medium- and high-level anxiety!) about the whole process. And, after our run-in a broken pipe last weekend, I think my resting stress level is higher than usual.
- Honestly, though, I feel like the bigger issue has been social stressors. I’m an introvert by nature and think I’ve moderately offended several people lately (who are more extroverted) by my distance and general lack of enthusiasm for interacting; then there are some challenging dynamics with working relationships. I’ve also started thinking through corporate tax season which always fills me with dread even though it’s objectively not that bad and our accountant does 90% of the work.
- Ironically enough, the best boost to my funk this week has been interacting with people! One of my best friends came over to watch White Christmas – an annual tradition for almost a decade now. Bing Crosby et al. did not disappoint. We sipped tea and sang and laughed and provided a running commentary on all our favourite quotes from the movie. It gets better every year. After weeks of crummy weather, I managed to fit in a long walk with the same friend and we met up at the school playground with our broods + other pint-sized friends on a rare sunny afternoon. I also went out for coffee with a new friend who has been encouraging me in so many ways in a mentorship capacity. I guess I’m a strong introvert but need a healthy dose of one-on-one time with friends to feed my soul. And John has just been the best – calming me down and listening to my irrational mental spirals surrounding worst-case-scenario reno talk or (likely) irrational perceptions of social situations.
- Bible reading. After abandoning my year-long reading plan on day #311 (of 365), I’ve had a hard time getting back into a groove. I think, for now at least, I’m going to approach this with my 3x/week makes a habit (courtesy of Laura Vanderkam) which feels like a good cadence and right now I’m working through an Advent devotional gifted to me last year.
- I didn’t make a formal holiday fun list but we did watch the new Home Sweet Home Alone movie, along with the original Home Alone + went to see a free showing of Elf with the kids at our town theatre. Fun things will still happen even if we don’t cross them off a paper list. It’s more environmentally friendly this way, too, right?!
- I also didn’t circle back around to recycling the Advent Kindness Jar idea I mentioned last week. I got the labeled jars out of the Christmas box and that’s as far as I got. Maybe next year? I’m just telling myself it’s still okay to say no to good things.
- Random: a friend (who has a 1-year old) and I were discussing soothers (aka: pacifiers) this week – the various perks and pitfalls. I immediately thought back to our trip to Denmark where Abby was transfixed by the sight of soother trees. Danish kiddos leave their soothers hanging from a tree (often with notes) when they are officially ready to part ways. It was hilarious to watch Abby’s confusion as she saw literally 100’s of her soothers hanging from trees around Copenhagen.
RENOVATION UPDATE – PROGRESS NOT COMPLETION
I enjoy finishing things.
I like to wrap things up – literally and figuratively – with a tidy bow and stow them neatly on the shelf (that proactive tendency got me in trouble last week). I thrive on being productive and efficient. Give me a box and I’ll try my darndest to check it.
None of these things happen with a renovation.
It has been a months-long process. By many standards we have had an easy, low-key experience. But it has still felt like a long, arduous and overwhelming journey – especially for a maximizer like me.
While sometimes I would do well to channel my inner Gretchen Rubin (who says most decisions don’t require extensive research), there sure is a lot of research that goes into a major home renovation.
When we started planning things, I typed up a master list of all the to-do’s. Items to buy. Things to decide. People to consult. It was overwhelming. My temptation was to get discouraged. Sometimes a meeting with our contractor would do nothing more than give me ten new items to add to the list.
But, slowly, decisions got made. We selected a brand of windows. Then we selected the width, colour and style of trim that would surround them and which way we wanted the windows to open. Then we picked the width and style of the interior framing. Then we picked a white paint colour for the interior trim (which is more overwhelming than one might think) and the sheen of said white paint colour.
We picked exterior lights (this took several trips to the store). Then we picked soffit. Then we learned the soffit we had selected was on backorder until 2022. Then we picked new soffit. Then we picked the colour of the fascia and gutters.
We’ve picked where outlets will go and what gets turned on with what lightswitch; we spent time debating the relative merits of a surprising array of different doorbell options.
On one of our final visits to the contractor section at our local hardware store (they now recognize us from a mile away, even with masks, on a first-name basis) as we were agonizing over yet another decision – this one quite costly with much higher stakes than our doorbell hunt – I remained upbeat. We walked away without making a decision. But we had more intel. Just the having the information was progress. I knew a decision would come. Maybe it would take two more trips, or ten, but eventually, we would get there.
Could someone else have made all these decisions faster? Absolutely – renovations, and decision-making in general, are most definitely not my forte. But by plugging away at one item at a time, I’m learning to aim for progress. Whether that’s big progress (when we finally decided on the colour and style of our metal siding and ordered the supplies) or baby steps (I think the doorbell falls into this camp).
While it can feel agonizingly slow, we are making progress.
It will be a while – months for some items – before we get to call this project complete. But we’re headed in the right direction.