The Joy of Renovating

Forgive me, dear reader, for my prolonged absence. I’ve been busy, you see. Busy renovating. Or, as I’ve come to call it, busy watching my small pile of money vanish.

Back in early August, my wife and two little girls moved into our new place. It’s a tall, narrow, old brick house in Toronto’s beaches neighbourhood. The contractor we hired told us at the time that he’d need “three or four weeks” to finish the sizeable task we’d set out for him.

“No big whoop,” we thought. We’d just moved to Toronto after 15 years out west, and my folks were offering to share their place with us while our love nest was prepped. “It’ll be fun living with grandma and grandpa”. We get along extremely well, and have a blast together.

Today is November 2nd. We’re still at my parents. The fun factor has dropped somewhat.

Knowing me as you do, you know I have a soft spot for how-to’s, tutorials, and generally sharing my mistakes with others. In that spirit, I thought I’d share with you a few of the bits of wisdom I’ve picked up while undergoing this torture. Whoops, freudian slip. What I meant to say was “undergoing this reno”.

Here then, in no particluar order, is the list:

# When a contractor or tradesperson says “one week”, replace it with “one month”, ie “that’ll take two weeks” actually means “that’ll take two *months*”.
# Leaving alcohol of any sort in your home is an open invitation to 1) drink all your bloody expensive wine, and 2) work drunk.
# Arguing with your spouse over paint colour is akin to repeatedly slamming your fingers in the car door. You just don’t want to go there. Remember, you can paint it what you like later.
# Living with your parents for a few days is fun.
# Living with your parents for a few months? Not so much.
# When friends offer to help you move/paint/sand/etc, what they really mean is “I’m pretty sure I’ll have something come up at the last minute.”
# small kids and construction sites don’t mix
# When a contractor or tradesperson says “once you’re doing A, it seems silly not to do B”, ask him or her to cover half the cost, then see how silly it is.
# When everyone advises you to add a 15% contingency to your budget, listen to them, politely laugh, then add a 25% contingency.
# As soon as you’ve made a payment, the tradespeople will disappear with the work 1/2 done for a week.
# Breathe. Breath again. Beat the crap out of someone deserving.

That’s all for now. I’ve got to get back to work! I don’t know how much longer I’ve got before mom and dad throw us out on the street!