Five Cups of Coffee: Confessions of a Compulsive Home DIY-er

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t typically drink coffee.  I enjoy a mug on occasion, but I’m a non-caffenated herbal tea gal.  However through last night and today, I had five cups.  It was simply a dangerous experiment on staying awake…

You see–when you are pulling away at  or removing the layers that make a life so very discombobulated–that life seems even more frazzled and hectic at the time (like mine right now).  It’s like spring cleaning–pulling out drawers, opening cabinets, pulling it all out to remove the unessential, and then scouring and shining all that is left…it is messy, hectic (your room is disarranged) and then as stuff is eliminated the important things regain their sparkle, importance and you see the “beauty in what remains.”

I live in a house that needs work.  I own a house (my previous residence) that needed a huge amount of work.  My friends call it insanity.  My dad told me it is simply good economics (most economists would disagree).  We are a D.I.Y. family–four daughters of a contractor–we married our beloved husbands because they get our D.I.Y. nature…they get the nuttiness of it all and they sort-of understand the economics (the housing market in the last decade has made the math fuzzy).  Often, we buy the least desirable homes in our communities and remake them–rework them to be beloved and magnificent.  It is hard work.  Camera crews don’t follow us around and makeup artists don’t make us beautiful (but our husbands think we are kinda of cute with paint in our hair).  We know our way around a hardware store.  We lift 5 gallon buckets of paint, flooring and roofing materials.  We get our hands dirty, we get frustrated, we get mad, but underneath the heavy emotions and broken fingernails of it all we love it.  It is our family work–our business.  I’ve been married for 12 years and have upgraded/restored five (now working on six) houses with my husband and parents.  Today, I am one week away from letting go of number 5–getting it ready for its future family.  I’m the finisher in this marriage (the one with patience to use the tiniest paint brush in an tight corner).  I paint, stain, polish, get lunch ready for my family, and bless and curse the house that is still ours but not really ours.  Last night on a deadline, I grabbed for coffee and went through the night.  Five cups later–I’m back in my home state and in my new house that needs its own level of work (it is the ugliest house we’ve bought so far…but we don’t say it very loudly–we don’t want to hurt its feelings).

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

So I’m left to ponder after the sawdust settles, “Is this real estate passion simple, minimalistic, what I want?”  “No” and “yes” all at the same time.  I am tired.  We live our lives in the houses that we give a huge amount of spit and shine–living in a remodel is not for the weak (but it is strengthening).  If you’ve done the math you can see we’ve never stayed much beyond two years.  Now we want to plant roots and  have a family home.  But I love the challenge of a new vision, the aching back (albeit my husband’s back aches far more than mine), the solution of reworking materials to save the earth and the budget…it is a different sort of fun, but the point being it makes one discombobulated and life really messy…  And as nice as HGTV makes it seem…it is never easy.  Worth it?  Sometimes.  Simple?  Never.

IMG_0096

So in my life right now I’m pulling back the layers…leaving one place…and really not seeking anymore D.I.Y. adventures.  The walls of this house–the one that I live today–a little crooked and things are far from perfect, but I’m accepting of that for now.  Pulling back the layers…I can see that I want more time for my kids, more time with friends, more hours in the sunshine, and our house is just fine for all of those things… Will I completely stop living a D.I.Y. life–nope (it is part of who I am)–but I am taking (for me) a radical step back and making sure my personal community of people (family and friends) know me better and see me often.  Unlike my life now–where I hung out with Al at the local hardware store this past weekend and we discussed painting, electrical, and the trends on the stock market on my five different visits.  I’ll miss Al, but to be honest my son has a way cuter smile.  Those kids of mine are the “beauty in what remains.”

smiling kids

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2 thoughts on “Five Cups of Coffee: Confessions of a Compulsive Home DIY-er

  1. Our first house was a fixer upper. No one can imagine what that means unless they experience it! I am glad we did it, it was a good financial investment and made a good home, but once was enough for us! Amazing that you did it 5 times!! Wow! Interesting post. 🙂

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