Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Other things that make my stomach ache.

I'm afraid of what the future will bring. Not the existential "what is my purpose in this lifetime" and "am I somehow failing to appreciate my true role in bigger picture of things" kind of fear. Not the "am I ruining my children though poor parenting" or "will they hate me when they get old enough to realize they have a choice to do so" kind of fear. This is a much more immediate fear. This is the terror of impending household projects.

Mr. Dog and I have just agreed to make some changes in our house, or at least in the layout of the house. We have agreed that it makes more sense to have the bedrooms upstairs and the guest and playrooms downstairs. And we've agreed that we only need one kitchen. Sure, all of this sounds logical, but all of this needs to happen before Feb 12th, because on the 13th we have house guests arriving.

The decisions to have the house laid out as it is really came more from convenience than necessity. Our house was a duplex when we bought it, and for the first 2 years we owned it, we rented out the upper unit and lived on the lower floor. This was supposed to be a short term solution, the lease we wrote was for 6 months, but as progress on the house moved more slowly than expected, we let the tenant stay. She was easy to have around. She was really nice and it seemed like we didn't need the space. Sure we were exploding out of our current space, but it took a little time before we asked her to move out and we claimed the upstairs as our own.

Since the house had been divided as a duplex, we have a kitchen upstairs as well as downstairs. When we took over the upper unit, we turned the upstairs kitchen into a playroom, moved our living room upstairs and used the upstairs bedroom as the guest room. It has worked for us for about a year. It isn't perfect. Not even close, but we have been ok with it. At least we were ok with it until the Snopocolypse 2008.

For the past couple of weeks we have been more or less housebound. And when the weather gets below 30 degrees, you start to really feel the lack of central heating. Last winter, we had a gas fireplace installed upstairs, and it keeps that floor pretty warm and toasty. Unfortunately with out bedrooms downstairs, we sleep in the cold. It's a lot like camping. Or sleeping in a snow fort. Or a refrigerator.

So Mr. Dog suggested that we make some changes. Let's move the bedrooms upstairs, the guest room and playroom downstairs and use some of the space downstairs for storage. It makes sense. It will actually make our house a lot more livable. In the winter it's warmer upstairs, in the summer it is more open and easier to cool off. And in general there is a lot more natural light making it much more pleasant to live up here.

And then there's the fear. To pull this off, we have to turn a kitchen into a bedroom. This means pulling out cabinets, patching damaged walls, painting, putting down a bedroom friendly floor and working out some wiring issues for lighting. It means moving a refrigerator downstairs and getting rid of a second refrigerator. It means sorting out the broken oven and finding new places for all of the arts and crafts supplies the boys have in the playroom. It means moving our bedrooms upstairs, all of our furniture, clothes and accessories that go into making a bedroom. It means turning the boys bedroom downstairs into a livable guestroom. And all of this has to happen in a month.

Sure, you may think this isn't unreasonable. You may think that's plenty of time. But as I type this, I am looking at two rooms that have light fixtures missing or partly removed and a gas fireplace that has yet to be properly enclosed to make it part of the house. I see two adults working full time jobs who are often exhausted on the weekends and two little boys who need supervision. I see no great history of shit getting finished. And that scares me more than a little.


Sarah Vasquez said...

This may be a stupid question or suggestion, but as for the upstairs kitchen, is there any reason you couldn't use that snap-together faux "hardwood" flooring stuff? From what I know, it can go in right on top of the flooring you already have and it looks pretty nice and is relatively inexpensive.

geekymummy said...

Sounds ambitious! But a great idea, the upstairs is a lovely space.

Don't worry about us, we can can get a hotel if need be! Or camp out on the floor!

mamikaze said...

You're keeping the kitchen downstairs? That sounds like a lot of trouble come dinnertime. I can come help move stuff or take the boys far away so you can get stuff moved. or I'll send my husband up there to move the heavy stuff and I'll take the kids to ZooMazium.

Anonymous said...

Oy. There's nothing in in this world that SOUNDS as easy as rennovating a house but that is in reality more annoying than almost anything.

As someone who bought an old house because "it'll be fun!" and is (2 years larter) still living in a total construction site, I will say that nothing could move me to tear down a kitchen in the winter. It's too damn depressing.

On the other hand, you should totally do it, maybe it'll inspire me to finish my kitchen.

Beth said...

I think I read once that you should always have a project going so you can explain away why the rest of the house is in shambles. Or maybe I dreamed that. Ok. Nevermind.

Good luck on all that! It sounds rather ambitious.

Green said...

You need another adult in the house. To run to Home Depot, to hold flashlights and wires, to entertain the boys while you and the Mr. work, to help carry furniture, etc.

Also, having another adult around will force you guys to keep on schedule.

Take before and after pics?

Mamacat said...

I just love your posts. Thanks for the laughs - I need them with the mayhem of a toddler household I have

Mrs. F said...

Wow. That does sound very ambitious. Good luck. Don't forget to take before/after pictures.

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