Home, half-assembled home

Well, our time out of the house has finally come to pass, and we’re back under a mostly-familiar roof. The roof itself is intact, and save for a taped-over vent hole (no longer in use) — it’s the inside that’s still in disarray.

The renos are still on-going, and while we might be quite a ways further a long than when we moved out three week ago, we’re still a ways from having our house complete, functional, and dust-free.

But at least it’s our house.

Living in someone else’s house is always awkward. You’re scared, really, about making a mess, or breaking something, or generally being there. It’s not your home. It’s not familiar. You always feel out of place. Even hotel rooms spark that unease, and it’s always good to step back across your own threshold.

This house should feel equally unfamiliar — there’s been a lot of changes: walls torn out, floors ripped up, cabinets replaced, holes made (and patched), and dust scattered on about nearly every horizontal surface. Asia the Cat has been more than a little bewildered with all the changes, and spent a good two hours constantly wandering about trying to figure out where she was.

Now, you’re obviously wondering two things: 1) were we actually out of our house these last three weeks, and 2) why would we move back before it was done?

Yes, we were out of our house. Our contractor, being a very generous person, felt it would be beneficial for all to have us out of the house (thus avoiding the inevitable problems with work times and trying to work around a family living in the to-be-renovated space, as well as allowing us to avoid the equally-inevitable noise and mess). Thankfully, he had a house available not far away, and we needed only pay for the utilities. It was a deal that while reticent to accept (see previous missives about moving), we could not pass up.

It was a house with next-to-no furniture. There was a kitchen table, four chairs, and a single (heavily used) coffee table. We brought three mattresses, clothes for a week, some plates, pots, pans, a TV and our Apple TV (movies and TV shows for the kids), and a large duffel bag of toys. It was going to be a spartan stay, but it ended up being more spartan than we’d thought — due to confusion with the electrical billing, Enmax put the account in arrears (not our fault), and the house was placed on a 50 amp limiter. Basically, no stovetop (oddly enough, the oven worked), no dryer, and using more than the fridge (which was usually on) and one more appliance (toaster, microwave, kettle, or grill), and the limiter tripped. Making dinner became a challenge…

But our contractor needed to rent the house out (it is a revenue property, after all), and it was so arranged for the first of the month. And we were nowhere near able to move back to our house. Again, this is where the generosity of our contractor showed — he gave the renter a break, and allowed us to stay an extra week. But that was all he could give us.

The kids got ditched at a daycare for the day while Alex and I proceeded to clean, and move, and clean, and clean, and paint. And clean. There was a lot of dust. Have I mentioned the dust? There was a LOT of dust. And sadly, dust in places we understood there shouldn’t be any dust. It was a bit frustrating, but these are the things you have to deal with when you do a significant renovation.

The downstairs — our first major renovation back in 2007 and 2008 — is now our refuge. The kids have to sleep in Monkey’s room (Choo Choo’s is filled with all manner of materials); Choo Choo is now in a toddler bed, her crib having ended its necessity.

The new floor is mostly in, save for part of the living room near the window. Tiling of the entry and bathrooms takes place tomorrow (so we hear). But we’ve got a few other major things like getting lighting completed (and hopefully figuring out why some of the downstairs lights and the ensuite vanity light refuse to come on), finishing work (handles, drawer fronts, and kick boards), and so forth.

Another week, I’m guessing, but each day should get us closer to back to normal. Y’know, normal with a new kitchen…

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