Saturday, 22 June 2013

Why Am I Renovating?

It’s been 11 DAYS since our renovation started and my builder is now my new best friend. We talk everyday. We have so much to discuss and share many of the same hopes, dreams and fears – at least for the coming four or five weeks.

Meanwhile we’re living like gypsies. We all have colds and the other day in the frantic rush of school pickup, I squashed my toddler’s fingers in the car door. Even worse, I couldn’t get the door to shut (obviously because her fingers were in the way) so I gave it few strong slams before I realised what was causing the resistance.

Then my five-year-old decided to do a magic trick for her News at school. At the last minute. Just before we were running out the door. I quickly tried to decipher the very badly written instructions from the box of magic tricks that Santa delivered last Christmas. But when I tried to talk it through with my daughter and suggest that she should possibly run through it a few times, she was far from interested.

“But I’m not going to do it like that Mum.”

“Oh,” I said with genuine interest. “How are you going to do it?”

“With magic of course.”

Well, I thought to myself, good luck with that one.

Needless to say, by the time the afternoon arrived when my daughter does her News, she’d forgotten how the trick worked.

Maybe if you had practiced…,” I started to say but stopped as I reminded myself that she’s only in kindy and is probably feeling confused and displaced what with her life being upturned and her house semi demolished.

Speaking of which, the toddler is all over the place what with the changes to the house and staying at my parents. I tried to prepare her in the weeks approaching the renovation but unlike my five year-old she didn’t take it in.

She’d only just got her head around the fact that Daddy leaves for work each day and comes home juts before bed. That was enough to take in. Now there are no walls in the house and we practically live in the car.

And I have to say, for me too, it’s all a bit daunting. Last Thursday, I nearly had my first meltdown when the builder needed the hot water system by 7am. And not only did he have two plumbers there twiddling their thumbs waiting for the hot water system, he also had the electrician wanting to know exactly where each power point needed to be.

So after racing through peak hour traffic with no breakfast and only minimal showering, I arrived with the hot water system and two impatient children that ran precariously around power tools, broken floorboards and random electrical wires while I had to make major decisions that would affect the rest of our lives.

Maybe this week, things will pick up. People ask me how it’s going and I say, "Great!!" – except really it’s just a dusty, dirty mess with no ceilings or internal walls.

I feel like getting out the wand from my daughter’s Christmas magic set. I still can’t understand the instructions but the way things are going, a little bit of magic might be extremely helpful.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Farewell My Kitchen

It’s DAY TWO of our renovations and my old, impractical kitchen has gone. Hurray!

It is quite momentous but I can’t say I’m sorry with its funny little alcove, limited bench space and hideous grey, laminate cabinetry – most of which is falling apart.

However a dear friend did text me with some beautiful words, which mark the occasion much better than I ever could, especially since I’m actually jumping for joy:

“Goodbye Kitchen! I have enjoyed cups of tea, delicious baking and lovely chats there!”

It made me stop my celebratory dance for just a moment because it’s true. A kitchen  - no matter how old or ugly is the hub of the home. Where most of the action and heart felt communication takes place. Kitchens are wonderful, comforting, warm, (mostly) full of good smells and definitely full of lots of ‘lovely chats’. A lot has happened in that kitchen. My first daughter was only 18 months when we moved in and my second was a long way off.

But a moment is long enough to be sentimental about that awful kitchen. Probably too long.

Soon I will have a better kitchen. With new appliances and fresh crisp cabinetry – and thanks to the removal of several walls, there will be lots of natural light.

Surely such a kitchen will inspire many more chats and much better baking. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

On The Precipice...

I’m on the brink of an extremely exciting chapter in my life. For some it might be nothing more that a big pain in the derrière but for me it’s the start of a whole new world!


Yes, at long last after four years, we’re finally about to embark on that tumultuous journey of home renovations. And I can’t wait!

As I mentioned a little while ago, I’ve been on the prowl for the perfect builder and would you believe not long after that post, I found him. Not the one I initially thought. But the right one.

But then as with all good relationships, it’s never the one you think it’s going to be. Because at first you’re too distracted by Mr Completely Inappropriate in the centre of the room jumping through hoops and making everyone laugh, to notice Mr Intriguing in the corner having interesting and meaningful conversations. Until you finally come to your senses.

Or maybe that’s just my experience with relationships… 

Anyway I’ve finally found the one and it’s all about to happen. Not that I’m ready to call him ‘my builder’. Not quite yet. Maybe when we’ve signed the contract, the first wall has been knocked down and the house is still standing. Then I might feel little more committed.

The work was supposed to start last week but has been pushed back – hopefully not a sign of things to come. But to be honest, as desperate as I am for the work to start, I’m far from ready.

Apart from packing up half the house and moving my family to my parents for a month, I still have to choose paint colours, appliances, a splashback, benchtops, tapware and where to put my power points.

I actually write about other people’s renovations for a living. There’s not much I don’t know about stylish fittings, flooring and a neutral colour palette. But now it’s my own house, I don’t know where to start.

With small children, closed-in spaces and dishpan hands, I’ve been dreaming of our life-changing renovation for so long. (Look at the name of my blog!) But now it’s about to happen I’m scared it might not live up to my over-inflated expectations.

That’s the danger of fantasies. When they’re fulfilled, the reality could fall short of what you imagined. What happens if I achieve my dream and it does not give me the happiness I’m anticipating?

Will my life be better with an open plan kitchen/lounge/dining area? Will my hands look young and supple again when I have a dishwasher? Will I feel inclined to clean my house more often once it’s been renovated?

Hopefully all the answers will be yes, yes, yes – apart from cleaning, I’m pretty sure I won’t feel like cleaning anymore than I do now, which is not very often. But at least I will be able to hear what people say to me when I’m cooking in the kitchen. And see my toddler when she stands on the coffee table or pulls my laptop onto the floor. So that will be pretty good.

And as far as the name of my blog, maybe I will have to call it Dreaming of a Better Dishwasher as I’m sure whatever we can afford will no doubt be a bit dodgy. But even a dud dishwasher must be better than no dishwasher at all.

I can’t wait to find out…