Another Life Changing Decision – Part 9

April 1, 2014

I’m sitting on a plane heading to Hong Kong and then on to Singapore. It is a very long 14 hours ahead of me, I figured I had time to catch up with my blogging seeing as I already slept through most of my first flight.

The last two weeks have been two of the craziest, most chaotic weeks of my life. I honestly have no idea how I’ve managed to get out of the house with (hopefully) everything I need for my Vietnam: Through the Lens Photo Tour and the house staged and ready for viewings.

Since my last renovation and Life Changing Decision post, the pressure has really been on.

About a week and a half before departure for Asia:

My kitchen is mostly back together and after about four times, the cupboards are done. They aren’t perfect, but I’ve given up that idea and replaced it with a goal of them being sufficient. My new backsplash in the kitchen is up and looks beautiful. It’s grouted, sealed and there’s no going back now. It sure does look pretty though! It feels good to have my kitchen close to working order. I was able to cook a few meals in the last couple of weeks before I left. That was after I cleaned all of the cutlery, pots and pans from the inch of dust that was over everything.

For a full three weeks, possibly longer, I had no suitable living space in my entire home. My living room was packed full of everything from everywhere in the house and all of the furniture was moved to the centre of the room in order for painting to take place. I literally had one chair set aside in the back corner of my living room that I could sit in to use my laptop. My desktop computer was unhooked and covered in plastic for several weeks. Getting from one side of the house to the other was a maze and there was never a clear path. Stepping over things, or dodging items that were losing their delicate balance and falling to the ground were definitely daily tasks.

My friend who had offered to do my flooring bailed on me, saying he just simply couldn’t finish it by the time I needed. He offered to leave his tools here in case I could get someone else to finish it. I was devastated. For the first time amongst all of the stress of renovations, I was about to lose my mind. And, I didn’t even have anywhere to sit! I called on a friend who was very capable of doing flooring, but hated it. He pulled me out of a jam and although I paid him, I probably still owe him for saving my sanity.

Another friend came to install all of the quarter round upstairs and replace all of my switches, plugs and thermostats. Definitely more work and more stress than he (or I) anticipated! Somehow it all got done though.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say that they can’t be productive when their office is messy. Sometimes people have to clean up their surroundings in order to concentrate on work. Well, I felt this way every day for weeks on end about my life, but it was impossible to clean up. There was nowhere to move anything. My only escape was going to a friend’s house to relax, then coming home and crawling in bed.

Finally, the week before I’m leaving for Asia, everything starts to come together. All of the walls are painted, the floors are nearing completion, the kitchen is back in order and the living room is messy, but livable again. Nothing is covered in plastic at this point and cleaning of the entire place has begun.

It is amazing how long it takes to do the little things … re-hanging hand rails, changing hardware on cabinets, painting closet and bedroom doors. All of these things were done in the last one to two weeks of the whole process.

Now, you’d think I’d be starting to relax a bit seeing things come together, but sadly, there were still a few big ticket items to be finished. Take for example my stairs which were still bare ply wood. After several trips to Kent, I finally decided on a carpet for the stairs that would compliment the wall colour, but not clash with the flooring and, despite the large assortment of beige choices, I was able to find something in a blue / grey tone instead.

Just when I thought things were coming together, we got a snow storm that backed up the installers. Then we got hit with a Wednesday snow storm … and then all of a sudden it’s only a few days before I’m leaving and the carpet isn’t installed yet! Oh my nerves. Finally, the installers were able to come on my last weekend and get the carpet in place. I even managed to convince him to redo the laminate in my 1/2 bathroom at a decent rate.

Two nights before leaving for Asia, all of the big items in the house were complete. Now it was just small things, cleaning, staging and packing … oh yes, did I mention that I didn’t pack for my trip until 2 or 3 days before I left?

Last night I was up until 1am finishing final touches and still not everything got done. In the end I decided that sleep was a necessity and anything else would just have to wait or be done by my real estate agent. I still had two closet doors not working properly and missing hardware, a couple of light bulbs that needed to be replaced and who knows what else!

I’ve never been so excited to get on a plane so I could sleep! I left for the airport in the middle of another miserable snow / sleet / hail / freezing rain storm by cab and it took a good 45 minutes to get there (normally less than 30). I thought for sure that flights would be delayed, but magically, somehow they were still running on time.

So, I’m up up and away on my way to Singapore for a few days to get over jet lag before continuing on to Vietnam for my Vietnam: Through the Lens photo tour. Here’s hoping I can catch up on at least some of the lost sleep in the next few days.


Thank you Emily for your love of painting things and willingness to help clean. Not to mention our girl talks which took the pain of renovating away a little … at least in the moment. I cooked a lovely brunch one day when Emily was here helping me and then we promptly sat on the floor to eat because there was no where else to sit. Classy right?

Thank you Anita for doing everything that could be done to help, until you needed to focus on your own renovations! Doing dishes, writing kijiji ads, cleaning windows, stomping floors back in place, laughing at me for multiple ridiculous efforts in renos, shopping for supplies, moving furniture over and over and generally keeping me moving forward … Oh yes and making decisions for me when I couldn’t get my brain to function.

Thank you Jennie for helping stage and decorate, measure things, hang art and shimmy face plates into place when I had all but given up hope that it could be done!

Thanks to the men in my life (David, Paul, Rick) who (with only a little begging) came to my rescue in flooring, tiling, electrical, installing lights, fixing doors, installing fan covers, drilling holes, texting me instructions on what materials to buy, watching me get zapped and then teaching me how not to do that again, teaching me how to do caulking … for the hugs and the support. I won’t likely ever be rich, but I will soon be debt-free and for that, I thank you.

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