The fact I can even sit my self down and string words together about the pitfalls of real life renovating signals change is in the air. I mean. Good gracious. What a flurry of labor the past few months have been! I know I have been quiet.
But admitting how difficult and slow the progress is here is truly the last thing I feel like posting when I’m not schlepping for the reno or sleeping. These are challenging days for the two of us. Once again, we’re doing all the work ourselves us as we still work our day jobs. (I’m lookin’ at YOU, retirement date shifting with the 401K).
Fun fact: I can barely snap a photo. This is not solely because my fingers are inside gloves or covered in paint, but because it feels distressing to view the chaos up close and preserve it.
There’s this lingering dread that we are destined to camp out on half-demo’d floors with our blue Solo cups and crockpot dinners for eternity. I know, I know, not a real problem. In fact, it’s a privilege to own a house and have the resources to make it a home.
My bones are lacy old bones now (that is not a typo – I’m not lazy; my bones resemble lace from osteoporosis). When they stop moving, they stiffen and get stuck. So there’s daily resistance to get still enough to document such unphotogenic, slow to improve dwellings.
And I know you get it and would never judge all the in-between dismantling before the pretty is in bloom.
In fact, blog traffic surges with any hint at all of progress or “before’ glimpses. Insta-perfect is sooooo very 2015. But I’m an indoorsy kind of human with juuuuuust the teeny tiniest need for order and a preference for skipping right over all this camping, s’il vous plait.
During our last renovation seven years ago, I posted consistently and mostly with a sense of humor. However, I was blogging for pleasure then. I was 49 and in remission from disease. Who WAS that small strange woman with endless energy and toned triceps?
You might suspect that at 56, I’m just warrior-ing through with: deep elevens, a host of autoimmune and BRCA2 issues, diminishing brain cells, and a yellow hard hat of salvation firmly in place. I am. Kind of.
Warrioring and fighting are not buzzwords that fit my journey. “Muddling through” used to fit better. But now I just wanna flow and grow without any kickboxing. Even if violence is happening at the cellular level in my body, a militant response from me still feels wrong.
My perspective? It’s a mystery to even me these days. I’m just going with it. What I’m noticing lately is how I am BECOMING. Isn’t “becoming” a glorious alternative to “aging?”
BECOMING WHO? WHAT? Who knows? I’m a mystic! But what springs to mind…wait for it…is maybe…a VULNERABLY AMAZING creature.
Right where I am, I’m learning in a deeper way to allow reality to be fully, radically, beautifully real. Ya know?
LIFE: You need to experience excruciating spasms in your feet and ongoing burdens of neuropathy at a juncture you’ll climb ladders daily.
ME: Whoa, okay – it’s hot AF this summer, but here, let me move at a Mrs. Wiggins pace in shearling-lined magic boots that steady me as I climb. (If you need to Google “Mrs. Wiggins,” you may be quite young and should add Carol Burnett to the search. And the boots? My own version of orthopedic shoes, the UGGs are worn with a toasty double layer of socks.)
Does this exchange sound made up? Because summer sock-layering with shearling magic has been instrumental as I paint trim and do the impossible here at the renovation.
Do the impossible? Is that a brag? I mean, it requires one to be vulnerably amazing for SURE. Which I most definitely am. Probably. And house renovation can feel like an EVEREST when you’re in the throes of it.
If only you could see the number of challenges set before us. See the brute strength, artistry, and talents of my husband at work creating beauty. DAMN STRAIGHT WE’RE DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE.
Here’s more real-life absurd dialogue:
REALITY: A nasty single-celled archaea bacteria which is technically not even bacteria totally wants to proliferate, camp out, and essentially host Woodstock in your small intestine for at least a few months while you camp out at the new house…and it’s gon’ hurt, baby girl.
ME: Crap, I mean, I love it when you call me baby girl, reality. New symptoms, malabsorption and hair loss as I camp out? Kayyyyy. And no s’mores? Kay, let’s find a gut clinic in the UK on the internet with all this free time. All we need is an antimicrobial treatment plan, a diet overhaul, and plans B and C in case Woodstock is still raging in October.
Look. We’re all moving through assorted trauma and chaos. Whether it is a house renovation, chronic illness, addiction, loss, or grief, it takes courage to be vulnerably amazing. It takes grit to get free. And new eyes to see starry skies above holy campground wilderness.
What reality keeps teaching me about life and this renovation is how every bit is sacred. It’s all spiritual. It’s an invitation to feel all the feelings, to embody love.
Uncertainty and pain will arrive.
But small miracles appear too.
Second winds and love affairs stretching four decades and healing herbs come. Even new VULNERABLY AMAZING identities come on the way to BECOMING.
So I’ll keep getting cozy with reality (we’re exchanging friendship bracelets and plan to see “Moulin Rouge” on the stage very soon).
I’ll trust reality which is to say, I’ll trust God. Not fearfully, but as a rather wild, relentlessly curious child climbing her ladder in magic boots.
Bet you have a few questions about the chaotic mysteries you see above! Feel free to ask. I probably didn’t need any commentary at all to accompany all the unsightly photos in order for you to understand how camping in chaos feels…especially since things were fine, if not outdated, when we began.
We’re hoping to bring gentleness and calm to these interiors while honoring the bones. We’re not opening the place up because it’s not that kind of house. And we’re not filling a landfill with perfectly good materials. Instead, we’re giving them fresh purpose.
If you read all the way to here…I just love you.
Peace to you right where you are.
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
Hello Lovely is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.