Monday, August 13, 2007

"I'm Gonna Need A Bigger Crowbar"

We are knee deep in another remodeling project. This time we are remodeling the kids' bathroom. This is our third (and final) bathroom remodel for this house. Except for the tub/shower, we are replacing everything - toilet, vanity, flooring, cabinets and lighting. As usual for us, this is a do-it-yourself project.

We have our roles down pretty well. I'm in charge of demolition, planning, purchasing, and painting. My husband is in charge of electrical, plumbing, sheet rock, and flooring. We work together on installing cabinets.

While working on the demolition I had a few random thoughts about deconstruction.

1. It starts with a desire for something new, something different than what you've had.

2. It is messy. Things look unfinished and broken for awhile.

3. Your routines are disrupted. Everyone has to adapt to the changes whether they like it or not.

4. Sometimes it is hard to fully envision something new until the old has been cleared away.

5. Longstanding dysfunction becomes more apparent once you begin the process of deconstruction. We have said so often, "I can't believe we've been putting up with this. Why didn't we change it sooner." However, it is sometimes hard to see the things you are putting up with.

6. Trying to hang onto something old sometimes becomes a hindrance to accomplishing the new. Quite often it is easier and a better result to put in something new than to try to make the old thing work.

7. Plans have to be flexible. Sometimes the plan you start out with has to be adapted for the circumstances you encounter.


Lew A said...

Great thoughts!

Very applicable!

God's Glory,

sonja said...

#6 particularly resonated with me. I had an uncle (much favored btw) who was famous for jerry-rigging things with hangars and duct-tape. For some reason, #6 brought Uncle Johnny to mind. I have to wonder how many times we've done that with church ... jerry-rigged it with hangars and duct-tape because we're so determined to hang on to the old way of doing something, rather than putting in something completely new to adapt to a new set of circumstances we find ourselves in.

javamamma said...

I'm a newer reader to your blog. This post was excellent. I'm going to link to it from my blog. Hope that's OK.

Cindy said...

Found you via javamamma. You couldn't guess how much this post spoke to me today in my here-and-now with some things going on with our ministries. THANK YOU!

Erin said...

LOL Sonja - my Gpa was in construction and he was famous for hangars and duct tape. They must have gone to the same construction school. ;-)

In the famous words of Tim Allen, "If you can't fix it, duct it." Whenever we found something that he had jerry-rigged we would laugh and say that.

Grace - you are so right on these things. And it is messy and ugly and sometimes you think it will never be finished. I like watching Flip This House and sometimes the mess is so incredible that I would be likely to give up hope if it was me.

Some days I feel that way, but I have hope now more days then not, because (not that I'm ever finished but) this process sometimes seems closer to it's finish than it's start.

Heather said...

Looks like I picked the right name then!

I shall link from my blog in my next links post. This is all me! Every single one! My life is a deconstruction zone. A big mess of plasterboard, hammers and sawdust. Occasionally the big machinery makes an appearance too and takes off huge chunks at once, which is not so pleasant! Then I realise it didn't need to be there anyway. I'm not sure I will every be nice and clean and new again though! :-D

Jeff Greathouse said...

sounds like a good 7 chapter book that needs to be written. btw, i am just finishing up another book and you came to mind when i read it, i may email you later this week

Maria said...

I'm going to save these words of wisdom and pull them out repeatedly during the major construction project we'll be starting later this year. Thanks! Your list is very a propos for moving, or perhaps any life transition.

reneegrace said...

oh how encouraging... we are remodelling our bathroom as we speak... including the tub and shower! blech! :)

Anonymous said...

We had 2 bathrooms done back in Feb. Our home is 10 yrs. old. What got my attention was the new 'smell' that I was noticing. A bathroom guy from our CLB needed to be called. He had done the bthrm in our suite so we knew his work was good.
When the expert came, he knew exactly what the cause of the smell was and got his guys to go to the source--yah, the stuff 'behind' the nice shiny tile finish. Sure enuf, the stink was exposed and the reason--the builder did not put the right protection over the wood and it was just a matter of time, and things got rotten.

I guess we had faith in the builder, but as my pal has learned over the years--builders often don't get this area right and the same trouble happens to another nice homeowner. So time, energy and $$ needed to be applied to make things right.

The lesson in the story is that when things begin to 'smell funny' it is time to look behind the surface and find what the cause is and then take appropriate action to make things right.

After this time of dislocation and unsettling came a knowledge of what was behind the scenes and an assurance that now things were safe, clean, and solid. The shiny new tile could now be replaced and family ablutions could continue without health worries or building concerns. :)

Yes, the things we learn about structures, behind the scene items, and checking out things that twig our senses can be carried to other situations wouldn't you say?


grace said...

Thanks Lew!

Ah yes, duct tape. They make it clear now. I wonder if there's a hidden meaning in that.

Hi javamamma! Nice to meet you. Thanks for the link.

Nice to meet you too. I'm glad the post was meaningful to you.

As to the process, it feels like maybe we've moved beyond demolition and have begun putting some of the new fixtures in place.

Thanks for the link. I wonder if maybe it is like cooking, the bigger the mess - the better the result?

Feel free to email me. The address is over by my feet.

I think there is a comparison to moving and other transitions because we are in the process of sorting through what is no longer useful and what we would like to carry forward with us.

Are you done yet? We are still waiting on a cabinet and toilet. We were hoping to finish this weekend, but maybe not.

What a great point about checking into things that "smell funny" and the idea of below-the-surface issues. In two of our bathrooms we encountered toilets with a slow leak around the wax ring. Although the leak hadn't caused permanent damage yet, it prevented the bathroom from really smelling fresh and clean. And it is such a great feeling to know that the stuff below the surface is solid and done right.

Sorry everyone about the lag in responding to comments, but, well I've been busy remodeling. ;)

Heather said...

Grace, if mess while cooking is all it takes, I'm a world-class chef!