Tackling a Remodel


This is part two to my entry titled A Fixer Upper.

Tired, worn out, and feeling defeated isn’t a great way to start but it’s often a unique time where we are able to take a step back and take a good, long, hard look at ourselves.  If you don’t believe me stop reading this blog post and go lay down on your floor and look around.  I guarantee you will see scratches on your coffee table legs, cob webs, crumbs, and dirt on baseboards you have never seen before.  And when you start looking I guarantee you will find more than you bargained for.

What I thought would be a one hour project turned into a spring cleaning marathon that has lasted almost three-years so far.  But I know that when I’m finished with the project the hard work will be worth it!  There is the potential risk with any DIY project that  you make more of a mess of it than when you started.  And in that case you bring in a professional and go get some real counseling.  And it’s always good to look up good advice from trusted experts.  But in many cases determination and effort yields satisfying results.  So my recommendation is to go for it!

I did that.  I found myself alone and in a shell of a life that started out promising and ended up as a fixer upper.  I looked around and asked,  what can I do to make this place a better place to be.  How can I like my life more?  What do I need to do different to make it more friendly and hospitable to me and my children?  I rolled up my sleeves and I began my remodeling project.

It took a long time and I did it in stages.  But with each stage completed I felt better and better about who I was and how I reflected what was inside of me to the rest of the world.

THE LIVING ROOM – It’s the room people see first, what’s on the surface. The first thing I did was change out pictures in my frames.  They were of a family that didn’t exist anymore.  I had to accept reality and live in the present.  I also got a hair cut and color and bought some new clothes.  Not a lot just about $25 worth.  It felt good.  I dressed myself up and took myself out to dinner.  They were changes on the outside but it helped me on the inside.  Sometimes when you don’t “feel like it” you just have to start doing it and eventually you WILL feel like it.

THE FAMILY ROOM – the second thing I did was start living in the world again, inviting people over to the house, creating new memories.  It had been so long since there was laughter in the walls of my home.  I figured the more I had people over the less I would wallow in my own self pity (not that I eliminated wallowing altogether) but it helped.  Keep saying yes to social opportunities.  Even if you sit on the fringe at first feeling like a deadbeat.  Hearing laughter and being around other people is GOOD.

THE KITCHEN –  I also got a handle on what I put into my body.  I was not kind to myself for a while.  Talk about comfort eating and drinking.  It bordered on abuse.  But I realized the worse I ate and drank the worse I felt and I really wanted to feel good again.  So I started making better choices.  I didn’t become a health nut but I am much more careful about what and how much I eat and what I put into my house to eat.  It’s helped me feel healthier, prettier and believe it or not younger.  But I have to choose it everyday because Fritos and pretzels call out my name.  I force myself up off my butt and exercise about 2-3 times per week.  I’ve slowly built up from walking to running and I no longer feel like I’m going to pass out when I exert myself.  Try eliminating one bad thing you eat from your daily diet.  Soda perhaps.  And just see how it makes you feel better.  Try doing one exercise, even if it is walking around your block once a week to begin with and build from there.  It helps I promise it helps.

THE BATHROOM – You know how awesome it feels after a shower or a bath?  I love that feeling of being relaxed and soft and clean.  It’s the best feeling in the world.  It’s hard to feel good when you are all dirty and grimy.  So I washed and washed and washed.  I washed all the dirt I could find and could reach out of my life and I keep washing cause dirt always builds up.  I hate the work, but the end result feels so good I keep forcing myself to do it.  I do it through prayer, I do it through stopping myself from doing things I used to do and making the healthier, holier choices as often as I can.  So this is a continual effort on my part.  Read my Bible, pray, confess my sin, accept reality, be generous and kind.  Let’s face it you make or break it with the bathroom.  It’s hard to hide dirt in there because there is a lot of glass and things are supposed to be shiny.  We stand or fall on the strength of our spiritual walks.  We can only hide the dirt so long, sooner or later it will spill out for everyone to see.

THE BEDROOM – Awe the bedroom.  The source of so much pain and heartache and yet it can and should be a beautiful place of love and safety – a refuge from the world.  It’s usually and should I say should be the last place to get the remodel.  At first I wasn’t even sure I could go there.  It’s where you regenerate, where you rest, where you become ok with you again.  First I had to be okay with that.  Just being me.

Sleeping by myself was not easy, it was frightening.  It took months to get used to.  I hated it and to be honest I still hate it.  There is nothing better than wrapping my legs around someone and snuggling in tight.  But I knew I didn’t want to fill that space with just anybody.  It had to be someone special, someone worthy and the right person for me.  I had to figure out how that person would look different from what I had before.  Don’t grab the first familiar thing that you see. There is nothing worse than a remodel where people come into the room and they don’t even recognize the difference.  I needed change.  Change was important because at the core, what I had before was ugly and hurt me.  I wanted to replace all the bad with good not heap more bad in its place.  I feel lucky with what I have to look forward to.  I love Martin with all my heart.  I KNOW he is the right one for me and I am so happy we get to plan our new life together.  It has not been without its challenges.  But the work I’ve done in my bedroom has been worth it.

I guess you can say you are never really done with a remodel.  There is often that light switch cover you forget to put back on, or that last base board, a mirror you’re still looking for your hallway, or those new countertops you are saving up for.  Sometimes its money, sometimes its time, sometimes it’s just laziness that keeps you from finishing completely but mostly it’s just that at some point you get caught up in living again and you miraculously forget the horrendously huge task that used to overwhelm you.

Thank God that eventually it does get easier.  How long it takes is different for everyone, but it does eventually get better.  People often look back on home improvement projects and wonder how in the world they got through them and swear if given the choice they would never do them again.  They are hard work.  But I promise that whether you have to do it alone like I did or you and your spouse tackle it together, you will look back at what you accomplished with awe and a huge sense of accomplishment.  You will give guided tours through your home so others can see what is possible.  And it will be worth it!

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