If I had to pick one word to describe the way the last four weeks have been going for us, I would choose “stressful”. This summer started out like any ordinary summer. After getting the front and back yards all dolled up with a variety of new annuals and some permanent perennials, we started a short list of exterior house projects. Things like staining the deck, replacing some fence panels, repainting the front window frame and oh, hiring a contractor to perform some minor stucco repair on three areas of the house.
Well, what was supposed to be minor stucco repair turned out to be major structural repair on two parts of the house. The first was the chimney, which had to be completely torn down and built back up. The second was the east side of the house, where our patio and garage sit. That east side wall (along with the patio and garage) needed to be demolished, and we’re now in the process of building that back up.
The problem? Over time, water has seeped behind the stucco exterior in these two areas, causing the block that makes up the house to rot. Just a simple scrape of our fingers against the block would cause it to crumble. Sigh.
That’s the downside to having a 90-year-old home. Once you start to peel things back, you might not like what you find beneath the surface. It could be that this was the original block that the house was built with. Maybe the materials they used back then weren’t up to par. Maybe previous owners have known about this but didn’t have the money to fix it and fix it properly. Maybe they decided to patch it back up.
Luckily, I married a man who I fondly refer to as a human calculator, and I have never been so happy about it. Thanks to his super star financial planning, we can afford to repair this the right way. I don’t know if I could live with myself, seeing structural damage right before my eyes and not do the right thing by repairing it.
Because of all this, Summer 2013 has been a roller coaster of emotions. A lot of stops and starts. A lot of calculating and recalculating. And yet, a lot of opportunities to put things in perspective. We’ve had time to think about what we do have — each other, and that includes our burst of sunshine Yellow Lab that reminds us that everything is an adventure.
I’ve been in a better place the past couple weeks. Now that the demolition and excavation (really, are we digging up dinosaur bones here?) are done, we’re seeing progress. Things are moving forward. And if the weather cooperates, we could potentially have our house back in full working order in the next three weeks. Although I’m not promising myself anything. The lesson to be learned is that plans change. Life alters. And it’s tumultuous shenanigans like these that remind me of my favorite quote — one that I truly do live by, as it applies to nearly every unfortunate situation I can think of.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most responsive to change. — Charles Darwin
I guess you could say the winds of change are upon us, but we’re trying our best to enjoy the breeze.