I’m a Bad Husband

The title of today’s blog could be considered a lie. I’m usually a great husband (tooting my own horn). But I decided to do something all wives hate right before Christmas- Home renovations.

Yes. I have become that man. The one who is using his time off to redo our 1/2 bath. One week before Christmas.

It’s not all my fault. Really.

I was supposed to have some vacation time back in November, when I had this project planned out. But things changed. And my time off moved. Which I was totally okay with. I don’t think I’ve ever had December vacation before.

So now I’m tiling a cramped 3 foot by 6 foot room. They always tell you to add 10% for waste. But I can’t figure out the formula for how long a project takes. I’m already 12 hours into it and don’t see an end in sight. I’m regretting starting this project ten years ago……. but it has to get done. There was never going to be a good time to do it. I’m sure I could’ve hired someone, but I like doing this sort of thing on my own.

The hardest part is knowing how much there is still left to do. New toilets and vanity to install after the tiles are all done. And the tiles are at least two more days of work. Mostly because I am a perfectionist, every row needs to be level and precise. No cutting corners!

I’m content to be doing stuff like this during my time off from work. Sure, travel would be nice as well. But knowing that I will have a nice looking bathroom once it’s all said and done, is a great sense of accomplishment.

So, even though I may be a bad husband for doing a home renovation project right before Christmas- it’ll be a nice gift once it’s all completed. I’ll be back in the good books then.

Can I finish this time?

The other day, I decided to start painting the doors to our bedroom closet and ensuite bathroom.  Not a big deal, right?  We don’t exactly have a large bedroom.

Almost 9 years ago, we began to renovate our master bedroom.  Doing a little bit at a time.  Ripping out the shag carpet (that went into the bathroom as well.  Um, gross) and tearing down the plastic beige blinds.  Years later, we removed the closet that ran the length of the wall and moved out bed to that location instead.  I then began building a closet beside the ensuite bathroom on the wall opposite our bed.  That way, our tv and my wife’s dresser would have a place to go.

Three years ago, my wife left for a Convention in Edmonton, so I told her I was going to install the flooring that we had purchased years prior while she was away.  She was gone for four days, so I chose to paint our room as well and finish her closet.  I was hoping to complete the bathroom, but I was pushing myself too much and became sick with a cold.  So I had to call it quits sooner than I wanted.  That’s where it remained.  

Next week my wife leaves for the same Convention in Edmonton with our daughter.  I am hoping to finish the bathroom and the baseboards in our bedroom.  Last night I decided to take the unfinished doors off and paint them.  I also cut out the spot for the handles.  My ambition is strong.  My drive is there.  My wife hates leaving the house to me because she returns and I have managed to change something without her knowledge or input.  She knows that I am finishing the ensuite this time around and nothing should surprise her.

This may be the first home renovation that gets completed 100%.  That is my goal.  I don’t want to go an entire decade trying to compete it.  Time and money have been major factors in the incompletion.  This month, neither of those should affect me.  All I need is the drive and the passion to get the job done.


Why do I keep old paint cans?

Making a home.

Just a short drive from our home is a new housing development.  Recently I wandered through five of these new million & a half dollar houses.  They had all the modern features you’d expect: stainless steel everything, outdoor kitchens, huge media rooms, a bar, heated garages, vaulted ceilings, open floor plan… & no yard.

 

A million here, a million there, pretty soon it’ll add up to real money.

 

These new houses were filled with high end furniture and staged to give an illusion of being lived in.  After wandering these houses, it occurred to me that it isn’t what I wanted in life.  New may seem nice.  It’s fun to show off and pretend like you have your shit together, but who are you trying to impress?

Is this still the dream?

 

Needless to say, I came home to my place and felt partly defeated.  My home is from the 70’s.  We bought the house in 2007 and have done many changes to it.  It has gone through many upgrades and renovations over the years.  It has character.  It’s not a cookie cutter design, it was custom made by a bricklayer- and it shows.  Because it was custom made in the 70’s , I’ve run into many problems.  Electrical and plumbing are high on that list.

I love doing home renovations.  Walking through the new housing development, I got some ideas to update my home.  Most of my knowledge comes from personal research (mostly on Pinterest) and my time spent working as a sales associate at Home Depot.  During the slow times there, I’d wander to the different departments and ask questions. I learned that the staff at my local Home Depot are extremely knowledgeable in their given departments.  I also learned, don’t ask for help on a weekend, it’s always busy.  Go in mid-week during the day and you will be able to truly learn something of value.  There are also plenty of great how-to books and seminars available.

 

Screw it.

 

Over the years, I learned the hard way that you need the right tools for the job.  Never cut corners.  I take pride in the work I have done around my home.  The hardest part I have found is finishing my projects.  I’ll get about 90% done, and stop.  It’s the little finishes that I need to do: baseboards, or hiding wires, or adding that little bit of caulking.

Here’s the thing: I’m not building my home to impress anyone.  I’m building it because I enjoy what I do.  My home has a yard.  A yard that my kids and dogs have made good use of.  A yard that I enjoy looking at and hanging out in.

 

Our door is always open, unless it’s closed.

 

As much as a new house would be nice to own, I’d lose my little bit of tranquility.  I’d be bored not having a project to work on.  I’m not ready to do that.  My home is a place that we welcome friends and future friends to visit.  You’ll find unfinished walls, dog hair on the furniture, and smiles on our faces.

Just remember to bring the white wine and beer as we fire up the grill this summer and create memories that will last a lifetime.  That makes my home worth more to me than a million bucks and I’m not ready to sell.