And now The Oak House,which,when the tenant moved out, I figured was a 3 week-let’s flip it on the market – kind of a thing, and it turned into the Summer of rehab…. aaaaannnnnnd we still aren’t done.
While we have seemed to have hit the remodeling lotto,
I am certainly not an expert on the subject, but we have learned a few things each time it happens and I’d like to pass on some advice. It’s never easy, and this last time almost sent us over the edge. We can say we’ve actually gotten some great lessons from every ulcer-inducing experience.
1. Don’t jump right into panic mode, but take care of any immediate problems.
With the burst pipe, the plumber came out,the leaky toilet, we turned off the water, and the flooding, we bailed. Literally. The Oak House, we had a few drinks first.
2. Once the emergent part is taken care of, assess the damage. What has to stay what has to go? What can be saved? With the kitchen, it was the flooring and lower cabinets, The bathroom the floor and toilet, and the basement it was a gut, but we did save anything above the water line and that didn’t get contaminated by the water/sewer cocktail.
3. With any home situation, check your home owner’s policy and call your insurance agent. Our kitchen remodel was about 75% covered, the bathroom wasn’t covered at all, and the flooding, well, we have some coverage, but to be honest we were under-insured. The Oak House has been all out of pocket with some amazing sponsorships. And sometimes you have a friend or relative who might be able to financially help you in someway, whether it’s a loan or something else…No one likes to ask, but sometimes you need to.
4.Fix what you can. With the kitchen, we could not afford to replace the upper cabinets and insurance did not cover it, so we ended up painting them. In the bathroom the only thing we could afford to replace was the floor, so the rest of the bathroom sat for two years until we could afford to fix the rest, and our flooded family room is going to have to be a work in progress. It’s a bit of a pay as you go thing.
5. You are going to live in chaos for a while. While it’s frustration, you need a realize that it’s not forever. I am now living in 400 square feet with my kids, the toys they have left and anything we could save. I love my kids lets, but I love them more when we can spread out a bit. 🙂 But, there were people that were so much worse off than we were. they lost their entire homes.We still consider ourselves blessed.
6. Have a sense of humor. At one point during our kitchen remodel, we were using our laundry room as a makeshift kitchen. We were out of room, so the coffee maker had to go in the bathroom. At one point my 8 year old said, “That’s so gross.You know people poop in here.”
7. Tap your resources. For our remodels, I’ve bought on sale,I’ve found things on Craigslist and most recently I’ve been haunting my local Habitat for Humanity reStore. Plus, if you have a good friend who drywalls or has a another skill, offer to trade skills. Or, just ask. Sometimes people want to help you out of the kindness of their hearts.
8. On that note. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We never could have made it through with out the help of our amazing neighbors and friends,they made that first day after the flooding bearable.They came and slogged through our wet, gross shambles of our family room and helped us for hours in so many ways I can’t even begin to express my gratitude. Sometimes, it’s hard to be on the receiving end instead of the giving end, but sometimes you really need it. We’ve also had some amazing friends and fmaily come and help us with menial labor at the Oak house too like painting and weeding.Please want to help , sometimes they just don’t know where to start. After the flooding, our church had an out reach to help people drywall and other construction needs. Sometimes help/resources can come from where you least expect it. Use my made-upABC’s of emergency home repair when you are beyond what you know: Assess what exactly is happening and how badly it’s happening. Breathe.Breathe.Deep breath.Breathe. Call the dude who might know how to fix it. Should I add a D for drink a glass of wine? 🙂
9.Get support. Especially if you are dealing with it alone. I am sure people were completely sick of hearing me talk about it, but they listened anyway. It helped to talk to other people who have been through it.
10.Work through it together. If you have a significant other, I can guarantee you are going to fight, it’s so stressful. Some days you feel like it’s all ruined, and things are never going to be good again. You are going to have days where you cry and wonder how you are ever going to get through it. We have been so blessed that each time, even when it has been so dark, that we have come out with a deeper faith in the Lord and learned in what ways we need to lean on each other as partners. If you don’t hold tight to your togetherness, it can break you.When one of us was having a really hard time, telling the other person and letting them be your strength is a big thing. No one person can hold the weight of everything.
11.Really good things can come out of really bad things.
When our kitchen happened, we really thought we were going to be financially ruined. We didn’t know how we were ever going to be able to fix anything on top of all of our other bills.We managed though, and having my kitchen featured in Country Living magazine was someone up above showing me every cloud does have a silver lining. When our bathroom happened and we had just come off of the kitchen remodel,we were financially tapped out. But, we fixed the minimum we needed to in our budget, and we actually got rid of a smell that had been in our basement forever. The toilet must have been leaking for years, it was a blessing that even though it happened at a bad time, we caught something before it made us all really sick or had structural damage to our house. At the Oak House, I learned how to tile a bathtub which I am quite proud of! There is always an upside!
12.Take a break. Sometimes when you are in the middle of it, it seems counter-productive to step away, but we took a vacation in the middle of all of our chaos and it really helped recharge us to know there was other life that still goes on. DIY can be really fun, but it can also be really stressful. 13. Hang in there. It seems like the most basic thing, but reminding yourself that time does pass, it will all eventually move on and so will you. With everything going on,I keep looking back at other things we have been through and I ask myself “What will I think about this in a year?” It kind of puts it back in perspective for me that time does pass and so will this.
Because it can be right again, it can be okay again, and it will be.
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