Alternate title: Fear and Loathing in Our New Home
Starting this post with a little bit of renovation realness, in the form of some snapshots of myself at the end of day two of sanding our floors.
Justin took these on his phone, which is why the quality is so bad, but it’s really quite lucky for us all that the resolution was not any better, because I don’t mind telling you that the reality was absolutely terrifying. If you were to chart my appearance versus the appearance of the floors throughout the refinishing process, you would find a stark negative correlation–the better looking they got, the more hag-like I became. Also, the smile is forced.
Allow me to take you on a little picture journey through our first days in our new home, all of which involved tons of sanding, and yes, there are a lot of pictures, and yes, many of them look the same, but that’s how sanding is, and that’s the only way I can make you experience what I experienced this weekend. The job LOOKS done way before it actually IS done, which is part of what adds to the torture.
We started the job with a random orbital sander (seen in the End of Day 1 pic) and then traded it out for a square buff sander (seen in the End of Day 2 pic, and above). You can rent a machine called an edger, but in all our refinishing jobs, I am that machine. This means that I spent the better part of two days in a squatting position, and when I woke up the morning after the first day, I literally (and I do mean LITERALLY) felt worse than the day after I ran a marathon. Everything from my shins to my finger joints rebelled.
On that note, let’s proceed:
I don’t have any children, but from what I’ve heard and what I know, renovating your own house is a little bit like becoming a parent. There is some fear involved. There are moments of doubt when you wonder, “What have I done?” followed by moments of reassurance when you tell yourself, “Everything will be okay,” followed by moments of satisfaction when you realize, “This is going pretty well,” and in the end you love it so much you forget how terrible it all started out, and so you decide to do it all over again. Plus, you’re really exhausted all the time, and you end up covered in stuff that either looks like or actually is poop.
It’s been an laborious four days since we closed on our house last Friday. Granted, we picked up the materials for refinishing the floors on the way from the closing to the house, so it’s not like we gave ourselves much down time, but that’s probably for the best. When you buy a house, you may only be in it for an hour or two before it’s yours, and sometimes it’s full of other people’s stuff, and sometimes that stuff is nice and distracts you from small imperfections that would otherwise make your earlobes itch. Luckily (or not?) I am a practiced perfectionist with a keen eye for imperfection, so I did notice many of these details before the closing. But even so, being in the house alone for the first time Friday night, peeking into all the nooks and crannies, cleaning the carpets (MY GOD–hire a professional. I saw things I cannot unsee), I have to admit that I felt a little overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the work needed, the money it will cost, and frankly, by the briefest but real feeling that maybe this was not the right move.
So, it may seem paradoxical that three long days gripping a sander until my hands felt like they had springs in them long after the machine was off would make me feel better about the whole endeavor. But it really did. Because now I know that the work will get done, the house will be great, and the chihuahuas will live happily (and hungrily–because that’s how they are) ever after.
I’m trying to piece together a full set of pictures of the house, though you can get a decent sense of the first floor from these photos. We’ve been there at weird times of the day, and I haven’t gotten great light, but I’m working on it. Hopefully by the end of the week I can post a full tour.
How do you feel about taking on large home renos? Are you an intrepid DIYer, or do you know enough to leave it to the pros?