How relationships survive renovations

I was very hesitant going into the purchase of this new house. It wasn’t only because I knew how much work it would be, but also because I was worried that our relationship, which completely fell apart last year, was not ready for such a big challenge. Were we putting too much on ourselves? Was this really what we needed when we were really only just back in the swing of balancing things well (or at least better)? 
It wasn’t entirely renovations that caused issues for us last time, but it certainly was one of the contributing factors. It was just another example of us doing too many things at the one time and not investing our time well enough into us.    We spent 5 years renovating our last house, only for our bathroom to be finished just days before we left.  We never got to experience that moment when you can enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in and so, needless to say, I wasn’t overly keen to repeat the whole process. Especially with a house in WORSE condition and twice the size. 
Apparently though I am not so hard to convince when the lure of an ocean sits only 10 minutes away.  And so here we are with this monstrosity of a house that needs a ton of work before we can even move in.  (Nobody believes us when we say it is literally unliveable. They think I’m being funny because I say it with a laugh. But that’s only because if I don’t laugh, I might cry.)
So far though, things feel different.  We are only 8 days in and I know it will need constant effort to keep us here, in this good place, but I’m hopeful – this time we’ll do it right.   
So what are we doing differently?
     Staying organised
We are writing lists like it’s our job and despite Andrew’s unimpressed look when he saw my wall planner, I think it’s helping both of us keep on top of what needs to be done.  Last time we were notorious for starting a project without really thinking through what needed to be ordered first and then we would be left without being able to move on because we were waiting on something being delivered.  That kind of frustration doesn’t help anyone, so this time we are trying to keep on top of what needs to be done and when.
    Working smarter
Despite our tendency to want to save money wherever we can, we are working smarter this time, rather than harder.  We are getting someone in to paint because when you compare the hours I would spend painting with how much I money it will cost, it just doesn’t add up for me to be doing it myself.  I could spend less time at work getting the money to pay for it. And that doesn’t even begin to consider the energy I would spend doing it.   SMART.   
The floors are also another area. Instead of getting Andrew to do all the timber himself, which will involve sanding and finishing. We are going with bamboo flooring that already comes completed.  More expensive, yes, but if we can manage it financially it is an expense I’d rather pay than have Andrew killing himself trying to do everything.
Taking intentional breaks
Last time our breaks were usually from exhaustion rather than intention.  We’d go ridiculously hard for a few weeks/ months, then need double that time off to recover.  We’d get to a point where we literally couldn’t face renovating anymore. This time, we are still making the time for yoga and football.  We are still taking date nights to regroup and reconnect. And we are still having rest days despite our short time line.  If we don’t take these breaks we just get slower at our work and more things always to go wrong anyway, so really it just makes sense. 
Remembering what is important
Bottom line.  What is the point of a home without a family to fill it?  There is no point arguing or letting all that needs to be done get to us because even if we do have to live in squalor in 5 weeks time, at least we’ll be doing it together. 
So tell me, renovators out there; are there any other things we need to be doing to make sure we survive this renovation?

One Response to “How relationships survive renovations

  • MotherDownUnder
    10 years ago

    You guys should go on The Block!
    I have NO idea about renovations. So far we have only done our bathroom and as I was pregnant, my job was mostly to nag Daddy R to get it done before I had the baby!

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