I haven’t updated in about a week. This isn’t because things aren’t happening or I don’t have things to post about. We’ve been spending a lot of time working at the house and there’s some cool things to share. I just haven’t had the energy and time to sit down at the computer. We’re about 6 weeks into the project. I kind of expected things to even out at this point, some kind of routine to develop. Instead, there’s a weird tempo to the project. Like a car with oblong wheels. There are times when things are really going and times when things seem to straining just to get over the next hump. Our big accomplishment of late is finishing the joist work in the addition. It felt like I was working on shimming, bracing, and leveling forever. Now that the area is properly gutted and there’s floor on which to stand (and frame), suddenly 30 different jobs are ready to go and I have my pick of the list.
The end of November means we have 6 months left in our lease. That means in 6 months, the house needs to be ready to go. It seems like an enormous amount of time. Time in this project is a funny thing. We have a working spreadsheet that we visit every week to update on the timing of various aspects of the project. This is a really helpful time for our team. For myself, it forces me to prioritize time and examine things that aren’t going smoothly. For Em (I’m hazarding here), it helps her stay plugged into what is and isn’t getting done as well as brainstorm around potential obstacles. This time highlights the complicated nature of timing. As we move along, any given week has ten or so to-dos that might be as simple as a phone call or an email, or as intricate as planning a plumbing system (you might have noticed that some items last several weeks). Sometimes one or more of these branch out and become different tasks, then those different branches get their own timing slots. For example, we knew we needed to replace or reenforce floor joists. This project led to removing about half of the existing floor in the addition. We have to replumb the entire house as there was no copper in it when we took it over. Since the floors were open, it made sense to do some work on the plumbing. So all of a sudden, we went from “we’ll just pop in some joists” to plumbing time. All of it has to get done and we have yet to be so gummed up that we didn’t have something to so (there’s always pulling carpet tacks out of the stairs…) but timelines are squishy.
When we started talking about this project, I heard more than once from people who would reference an old Tom Hanks movie called “The Money Pit” about a couple that buy a house and find out that it’s more work, time, and money to fix it up than they were expecting. This comment would be in the form of some off handed remark or joke about renovation projects always coming in late and going over budget. I don’t understand why this kind of expectation exists. Why bother to write a budget or develop timeline if you’re just going to fail to stay true to either? It’s caused me a deep seated ire over the idea of being late on anything. I feel like I’m playing into some preconceived notion planted by Mr. Hanks that we were doomed to failure before we even started. This gut response mixes with our timeline stratification in unexpected ways. Are we late? Are we on time? Are we ahead? Yeah, pretty much all of those. Are things different today than they were last week, definitely. Things get added, things get dropped. Do I think we’re going to be ready to move in May…yes I do. It’s only 6 months away after all.