It’s been more than six months since Scott moved out, and although I haven’t been asked outright, if my readers are anything like my close friends, I have a feeling that there are some curious minds wanting to know about adjusting to remodeling a house alone (especially when the kind of work that needs to be done often needs a second set of hands). In case you can’t tell from some of my unhinged (and as I attempt, funny) rants, I guess I’ll just go ahead and sate your curiosity.
(First I’d like to just say, this subject is a little awkward and this post was written without much time spent editing. For you new readers, you might want to skip or read the story in the link above to get caught up. Since this isn’t really project-related, if you read this blog for just that, feel free to skip this post too and wait for tomorrow’s. Big reveal of the desk coming up then!)
Remodeling a house is a very challenging (and stressful) task. When you couple that with the everyday goings-on of having a job, a social life, and adding school to the mix, remodeling a house can be damn near enough to drive you insane. We’re not talking redecorating a house here either; we’re talking ripping up flooring, dealing with plumbing issues, and being up to my elbows in drywall dust. It’s not something a coat of paint can always fix. Or that I can afford. One’s living space is supposed to be what relaxes them, and although I strive for that, getting there requires a lot of hard work, frustration, and mess. And for the last six months, I haven’t had another person I can call from another room to hold something steady for me or stay home for the termite guy or another set of eyes. So, how does one handle these things? Or simply, how does one keep it together?
I’m no more interested in hashing out the details of my love life (or, well, lack thereof) now than when we first split, but the best part about that post (which now feels a lot longer than six months ago) has been the overwhelming support I’ve received from my readers.
To the many who have left comments on this site, and to the many more who have sent me private emails, thank you. I don’t think I could ever say that enough. You guys are freaking awesome and the thing that keeps me writing.
But to answer the questions at hand (I suppose): What are things like now, and how do they get dealt with?
I still have help, but I have to wait a little longer and plan a lot better. My family, especially my dad, is wonderfully supportive. It’s truly great to have his (and my mom’s) help, but since we live nearly an hour apart, I don’t get to tackle things as quickly as I used to when I had another set of hands mere seconds away. To put it simply, it’s just something I have to learn to plan around. There is a lot more “Hey, since you’re here, can you help me with one more thing?” My friends aren’t immune to this treatment either. They have pretty much learned to accept that if I invite them out for dinner anywhere near my house, there is a strong possibility I’ll ask them to hold something steady or lift something heavy before we head out.
Distractions ease the stress of not knowing what to do next. Between the job, the house, and school, it’s probably obvious I’m taking on enough to keep me occupied for the next century. While that can be really taxing sometimes, it also means I have the ability to change things up all the time (sort of because I have to). There simply is no time for being in a rut for too long (project-wise I mean).
I spend my free time wisely. The time I have for a social life is rare enough as it is, so I try to spend what little time I have catching up with friends. And since they are mostly coupled up already, the opportunity to meet someone new is simply nonexistent. The whole out of sight, out of mind thing plays a pretty big role, and unless I were to meet someone who would consider tiling a bathroom floor as a date (okay, maybe not a first date), the chances of finding something sustainable are, by my assessment, pretty unlikely. I’m not purposely avoiding dating, but wearing a HOLY SH*T I’M BUSY tattoo on my forehead doesn’t exactly turn me into Gwyneth Paltrow.
I’m happy where I am. Being in a relationship that lasted nearly four years (and buying this house) brought a lot of clarity to what I want. For the last six+ months, my time has been spent on things that will lead to something better. And while I’m always busy, and sometimes feel in over my head, I’m exactly where I want to be and doing exactly what I want to be doing. Which, believe it or not, makes things seem far less strained since I know I’m making that time really count. Someday, I do want a relationship that is meaningful, and that means being a little picky (okay, a lot). Knowing what’s worth my time and effort brings a great deal of joy and satisfaction to what’s lying ahead; whether that includes another person or not. And not only that; the freedom to not give a damn if I want to is kind of nice. Paint that curtain rod red? Why not? Do a little dance Cameron Diaz style while I work on my study-o desk? It’s not like anyone’s going to see (or hear my singing voice).
I let people have their own opinions and do what I want anyway. When you’re in a couple that isn’t working (which to be fair is not the same thing as a bad relationship), people offer plenty of opinions on what you should do. When you’re single, same thing; only they keep trying to inquire about dating again as if it’s an exposed wire you haven’t gotten around to fixing yet. If you just accept that others are going to want you to the exact opposite of what you are doing, finding balance is a little easier because the advice is eventually all just noise. Kinda like an office cubemate who can’t figure out how to mute the keys on his cell phone. It’s annoying, but you can deal with it. After all, each person giving advice is only trying to find a way to help (they can read that tattoo loud and clear). The convenient thing is, you can easily start to apply this to home remodeling, too. You don’t need to get everyone else’s opinion before making a decision. Let the creativity flow (just try not to let it drip on the new rug). You’ll be surprised with what happens with that newfound confidence.
|My brother-in-law bought me this shirt for Christmas. LOVE it.|
Budgeting. From a financing perspective, Scott (& Colby) were roommates and did not contribute to the cost of home improvement projects. We shared living expenses (half of my mortgage was his rent and we split utility costs), but since I was the sole owner of the house, DIYing came out of my pocket exclusively. It made things pretty easy when he moved out, and it made for only a little bit of a budget adjustment after the fact. That’s not to say that I haven’t had to take a longer period of time to save up for bigger projects than I would have if I were still splitting those expenses of course (I still haven’t bought the bathroom tile), but part of why I bought the house was that it was cheaper than renting an apartment, so thankfully I’m not in a difficult financial situation like many people are after a breakup.
But, what if? One thing is clear so far: If anyone new does come along, they won’t be appearing on this blog for a long, long time (but they’d certainly be behind the scenes – hey, it’s part of the package now). And while being a girl who is 5’2″ and doing most of the work alone can be a challenge when it comes to remodeling a 1980s eyesore (and um, reaching things on shelves), it’s not something I feel that should define what this blog is all about. Yes, it is part of my story (which is the only reason I’m babbling on about it now), but it’s only part of my story. In the end, I’m just a DIYer who wants to figure out how to do something right, and as inexpensively as possible. And then of course, share it so you can kick that project’s ass, too.
So, there you have it: support, balance, and the usual rambling nonsense. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have class tonight and about six things I’ve got to get to :)