Reality Can Be a Bitchy Bitch

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There are times when the realities of life can be a bitch; slap you hard in the face and leave a welt. When I (we) make plans, God just sits back and laughs…. Right now feels like one of those times. Fortunately, all is not lost… Far from it.

Reality number one:
Despite my being unconvinced at times that I am a middle-aged man, I am painfully aware that I no longer have the stamina of 20+ years ago, nor the physical abilities (although I would argue that I am smarter). Add the fact that since April, I have been burning the candle from both ends between working a full-time job, planning a wedding, getting married, selling my coop apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, moving twice, finding and purchasing a new apartment, planning and executing renovation work… Well, you get the picture. I am exhausted, tired, and last week, was down with a cold. I start each day with an idyllic dream that I will accomplish what I think is a realistic amount of work that day, but reality says “Nope!” I am finding that I am only getting about half of my ambitious check list completed. I’m lucky to get 6 hours of work done on a weekend day before being wiped and finding my body sore as I lay down for bed at night. This of course is frustrating because my head says YES!, and my body says No!

It doesn’t help that I (we) haven’t had a vacation for 15 months, not even a weekend getaway (I have not been more than 25 miles from home this entire time).  Fortunately, I do see a chance for a break, but there are a few “absolutes” which still need to occur over the next 6-8 weeks, and only when those absolutes are accomplished will I (we) be able to take a real break from all that is going on. At this point, I am letting go of the results, and keeping an eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps a weekend getaway in December will be in order.

Reality number two:
Everything takes at least twice as long as you think it will to be completed. This is in part due to reality number one. But primarily, this is because as much as you make plans, unknowns erupt and plans are forced to change. When dealing with outside folks, timelines always are shifted, people don’t return calls or respond to email. This has played out in the new apartment as well as in our renovation work at the rental… Remember the rental? The one I wrote about in July? Well we had a vision that we were going to get things started by August, our plan was to have the rental kitchen renovation completed by September so we could focus on getting all of the gut reno work done at the new place. But reality says “Nope!”… It is now early October and we still have not begun the work at the rental. Of course now that we are not actually living there, we are able to finally get started. We have a contractor scheduled to do the demo and wall work beginning next week. So our goal of having a tenant in place by November first isn’t going to happen either. Fingers crossed, it will only be a few weeks later.

Reality number three:
Ideas change and evolve with knowledge and new information. As a creative person, I always start out with grandiose ideas and then revise, rethink, and finally scale them down to reality. But similar to number two, sometimes reality forces the ideas to change in unexpected ways. Thinking back to when we made our offer on the apartment in early May, we had big plans to gut and renovate both the kitchen and bath as soon as we closed on the property. We then spent the better part of two plus months planning and dreaming about what we wanted for our new kitchen and bathroom….. And then reality said “Nope!” After our board interview, we found out about several other renovation projects going on in other units, and the building limits the number of simultaneous renovations (multiple renovations mean lots of tradesmen, debris, and noise, which reduces quality of life in the building, taxes building systems, and overwhelms building staff). It became very clear very fast that we were not going to get to do our full gut reno to the kitchen and bath any time soon and we needed to scale back our plans.

So, first to go… The bathroom; our bathroom is from the early 1950s, and while not aesthetically fabulous, it is technically functional. At least the black and white tiles make for an easy color scheme. So, we are just going to live with it and make it work. That will, of course, be a future post. 🙂

Kitchen Storage Locker

Our kitchen is currently styled in “Unfinished Storage Locker” and features multiple adverts for boxes from Home Depot.

OK, so, no new bathroom…. That left us with the fact that we still need a new kitchen. This became even more important once we discovered dry rot on the floor under the sink. With plans scaled back, we’ve been working out how best to do a kitchen that we will be happy with for the next 5-7 years, at which time we hope to dive into the big gut renovation we had hoped to do at the beginning. At the moment, the kitchen is basically a storage locker filled with boxes. We have planned and then changed our plans, changed them again, and then again, and so on, and so on…. I can’t think of a better example of how ideas change and evolve with knowledge than what has jokingly become the ABC’s of the Kitchen Floor. When we first began of formulate our ideas about the kitchen we thought we could just pull the crappy tile up, sand, and paint the parquet floor….. Then we got to thinking…. Then we learned of the damage…. Then we really started to look at different ideas…. Then we got more information which forced us to change our ideas again and again….
Here are the ABC’s of our plans (so far) for the kitchen floor starting in July:

  1. Paint the original floor with porch paint (July)
  2. Install ceramic tile floor (July)
  3. Paint the original floor with porch paint and then do a decorative stencil pattern (July)
  4. Install sheet linoleum over entire floor (August)
  5. Install a Marmoleum floating floor (August/September as noted in this post)
  6. Paint the original floor with porch paint and then do a decorative stencil pattern (September)
  7. Cover the floor with strips of plywood to mimic wood floors, then paint them (September)
  8. Paint the original floor with porch paint and then do a decorative stencil pattern (September)
  9. Cover the original floor with strips of plywood to mimic wood floors, then paint them (September)
  10. Install Peel-n-stick floor tile over a new plywood base (September)
  11. Install Trafficmaster Ceramica Peel-n-stick tiles with grout to mimic ceramic tile over new plywood base (September)
  12. Install a laminate floating floor over new plywood base (September)
  13. Install a Marmoleum floating floor over new plywood base (September)
  14. Paint the new plywood floor with porch paint and then do a decorative stencil pattern on top (September)
  15. ???? – Ha ha…. You are going to have to wait and see. (September)

It is now October and I can say that we finally have a plan for the kitchen floor which I think is going to stick. But, just like the bathroom, you’re gonna have to wait to find out.

Then there is the new kitchen itself…. Our most recent trip to Ikea was to order two kitchens (one for the rental and one for our half classic six)… And of course, our plans completely changed right there in the Elizabeth store (and God was ROFL’ing up there). The kitchen expert at Ikea wrote up the order for the cabinets we wanted in the rental kitchen…. And 25% of it was on back order. That ain’t gonna work…. So at the very last-minute, we changed the door style (and our plans) and placed our order again (everything was then in stock). Then we found out there were issues with the style we had chosen for our new kitchen and again, our plans changed. We ended up leaving with only the purchase of the kitchen for the rental. As for our new kitchen? Well…. You are going to have to wait to find out why we didn’t buy a kitchen (yet) for us.

Our front entrance is so very “Upper West Side” it hurts.

Reality number four:
Everything will be OK. In spite of all of the chaos, exhaustion, budget woes, mess, and limitations, and the proverbial red marks left behind after being slapped around… I have an amazing husband who completely trusts and support me, even when my ideas are at the grandiose level, I have an amazing home, which will be even more amazing in time… So really… Everything WILL be OK!