I’ve recently made notable progress on a project that has been haunting me for the better part of a decade, renovations to a large room on the second floor of my house. It started innocuously, with the very best of intentions, only to get more and more convoluted and terrifying.
(In retrospect, I should have known something was up when I first viewed the house. I guess I was too deeply in love with the French doors in the living room to really care about the shag carpet and the purple walls in the room I now call “the study.”)
Once you know you have a problem, it sticks with you. You simply cannot not solve it. That wall has to be washed, primed, and painted a more sensible colour. The ugly rug has to be ripped out, cut up and hauled out to the trash, even if it creates a new problem in the form of an even uglier floor underneath the rug. Before you know it, you’re ripping down ceiling tiles (and finding ancient green plaster ceilings), puzzling over disconnected plumbing hiding behind a false wall, and have a local trash-hauling company on speed dial.
I’m happy to report that this long-undone — and undoing — project is more done than it’s ever been. After three months of near-daily work, there is no more plaster or lath to remove, and no more archaeological mysteries need be solved. From this point forward, it’s all reconstruction: Drywall, paint, flooring, and some shiny new light fixtures.
“How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.”
And one day very soon, maybe I can stop chewing on this particular pachyderm and put down my fork for a while.