Most of the time I wait to post until I have a finished before and after of some sort. The reality is, most of the time we are living in a state of controlled chaos, which seems way out of control most of the time when I lump it all together as one big problem-o rather than address things one by one.
It all came to a head last week when I clicked on a button to accept WordPress’s invitation to upgrade. Since my blog was not formatted correctly during my WordPress design, it broke. It’s in a weird stage of looking semi-normal again, but it’s still broken. I’m still looking into how I want to address this so it doesn’t happen again.
Before the scandalous press of that “update” button, I was already pretty frustrated by the state of our home. I’m sure I’m not alone. The tasks and to-do’s and time just slip through your fingers and you realize you are in need of a partner, a lifeline. Finally, I scheduled a meeting with Kevin (that’s right, scheduled one) to strategize. It was one of those meetings we should have had 6 months ago, but the day-to-day of constant fire control prevented me from being intentional about things the way I used to be. The real me. On the list of topics we needed to address:
- changes we need to make in our parenting as our kids are growing so quickly,
- spending more time together as a couple and creating special moments as a family,
- and balancing all that with finally getting this house whipped into shape so although everything doesn’t always have to be in it’s place, everything has one.
We’ve owned this house for a year, have lived in it for over 8 months, and are waaaaay behind the eight ball in terms of feeling settled in. Have we accomplished anything? Well of course we have, and I’m over the moon not to be baking dinner in an oven sitting in the middle of the kitchen any more. But, the list of loose-ends needs some attention. Our determination to buy as much used as we can (cash only) and not hire out labor (sans removing a bee-hive, but I’d even garb up for that if it’d save $$$) - has slowed the progress significantly. And, while we aren’t old by any means, we realized that we simply don’t have the energy we once had, either..
…we got married, and right away had 3 kids in 4.5 years, have survived unemployment twice as well as the ups and downs of owning our own businesses for 10 years, the loss of our last home and playing games with banks for a year, and now we find ourselves still getting settled into our 5th (stabilizing?) house. It’s been 14 years of trying to catch up and get ahead of the eight ball. And, I admit, I don’t love this home like the last one and that affects my motivation to work on it. I don’t know what it is. It could be that I’ve never lived in a house this dirty. I can dust 3 times a day and it makes no difference – it is dusty again within 2 hours. I can vacuum 3 times a week and fill the Dyson canister full of unrecognizable gray fluffy stuff each time. I can wipe and wipe and then dry the kitchen counters and they still feel gritty, like we plopped our beach sandals all over them (I wish). Not helping matters is the fact that I know I’ve torn something in my dominant shoulder and any movement hurts like a mother. Being in constant pain hasn’t helped my outlook a lick, but, I don’t want to spend the money on surgery right now because of how out of pocket we will be. I just keep praying my shoulder tendons will somehow knit themselves together miraculously.
So, Kevin and I agreed that it is high-time we get intentional about our goals because stagnation is not an option anymore. Life, kids, house, health, God. And putting God first rather than leaning on our own understanding will certainly help us with the rest and put everything in the proper perspective. Our very dear friends watched the kids for us on Sunday so we could sit down and diagnose what’s broken, what we need to focus on, and how we are going to tackle our list while taking time out to enjoy life. We tend to be very driven and work-oriented, and we need to learn to smell the roses more. Our first trip in making progress for the house: a trip to Ikea, just the two of us. We had fun AND accomplished some things.
Up first, but in no particular order: we had to address our couch problem. We had ordered a slipcovered sofa and loveseat from Ballard Designs 8 months ago. Unfortunately, and as much as I liked having a slipcover that could be washed, the covers did not fit the frame or cushions properly. They looked like an 8 year old sewed them and were so tight that Kevin was the only one who could muscle them on, and when he finally did, his knuckles would be raw and they weren’t a good custom fit. The tight fabric squeezed the cushions to a smaller size so they did not fill the frame’s seating area and created large gaps that were unsightly and uncomfortable. Of course, I don’t have a picture of that and the couches are gone. I did call Ballard when we first got them and waited the necessary FIVE months for new slipcovers and they even replaced the frames. The customer service was excellent. However, the next set of slipcovers were even worse. Finally, I called them last week and told them to come and pick ‘em up. Excellent customer service again. But, I’m done with those sofas and I’d rather spend that money on something that is going to work. Here is what the family room looked like when we first got the sofas. The picture doesn’t show the ill-fitted slipcovers.
Here is our family room today. We also replaced our leaky sink with this one from Lowe’s.
We pulled two of the club chairs out of the kids’ hangout room (also in the beginning stages of finishing) for seating while we wait 6-8 weeks for the new couches we just found – which happened to not be from Ikea but a store nearby it. We hope my vision for the room will come together quickly once we get them. The upside: we saved $$$ by switching out our sofas. Yay!
Speaking of putting out fires, we needed to address the big black scaly patches with algae under them on our pool surface. We did not know the previous owner hadn’t drained the pool after 5 years, so Kevin drained the pool, scrubbed it with acid until the black scales and algae came off as much as possible, then power washed them to blast the rest off. While it wasn’t the funnest thing to do over the weekend, our Kate always finds joy in everything. Here she is tossing her inner tube in as the pool was refilling with fresh water. A great reminder to have fun even when you’d rather be doing something else!
While at Ikea, we found a few inexpensive touches for the home. Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference.
We found this clock for our kitchen nook, which the kids and I like a lot. And, since the owners ripped out all their lighting fixtures, we finally replaced the kitchen light with this one from Lowe’s.
And we got a few potted plants from Ikea to dress up our refinished outdoor table.
So, that’s the current state of our house! More progress pictures to come. Meanwhile, any advice on the out-of-control dust problem and gritty granite counters?