Good morning! Hubs and I had an interesting conversation last night and I thought you all might like to be caught up about it. Here is your fair warning - this post is a bunch of rambling and whining, but it's supposed to be an explanation of our marital dynamic and my pretty-well-irrational fear of construction dust.
Hubs' Number One priority right now is getting the southeast wall rebuilt and termite-proofed and structurally sound again (remember the crumbling sill plates?). His Number Two priority is rewiring The. Entire. House. This is for lots of reasons, but the main one is safety. He has found uncountable instances of unsafe wire abandonment and junctions - and we've only seen the basement so far! He's VERY worried about what is behind all the rest of these walls.
Enter the conversation where I literally broke down in uncontrollable tears about seven times. Why? One word. Dust. Yeah - I can't explain it either. When Hubs and I bought this house, he swore up and down that he'd take things slowly and not ever go any faster than I was comfortable with, and he wouldn't bite off more than HE could chew. On the flip side, I was to TELL HIM when I was getting overly anxious about the process, and I'm expected to help him every (or most) step of the way. And we're both holding up our ends of the deal quite nicely so far!
Yesterday, with a full dumpster awaiting removal and a basement still full of drywall chunks, I took the breathing opportunity to actually do the laundry, wash dishes, and .... well no. I never DID get around to vacuuming. Or mopping. Or actually CLEANING anything. But MOST of the basement mess is contained within the basement. Except the tracks that I keep tracking up. From the laundry. From the deep freezer. From every time I go down there! And I kept trying to not let it bother me, but in the end, during the conversation, everything came back down to the DUST and my imagination of not where it CURRENTLY is, but where it COULD be once we tear into the main level.
The biggest problem I felt in Charleston (last time we did this whole renovating thing - in a 1000 sqft ranch house with a baby from 4 months till she was 16 months) was that the dust just got absolutely everywhere, on everything. Tracked everywhere. And nothing was ever clean. And I'm a rather neatfreak. I actually can't point to a single furniture piece that we brought out of that house. Okay, the glass TV stand, the desk that Lil C uses, and our expensive foam mattress that I refused to wait until post-renovation to buy. That's it, though. The couch was trashed, the kitchen table was trashed, and a lot of our furniture was "college-grade" anyway. We sold most of it on Craigslist before we moved. So I pretty much got depressed and never wanted to be home and shrugged off the whole mess as "Hubs' problem". Which helped our marriage IMMENSELY, as I'm sure you can imagine. *smirk*
But not having any furniture, and moving into an apartment, and finally getting out of that horrible house that we both had awful memories of (despite it's beautiful finish), I went WAY overboard and spent money on beautiful furniture that immediately filled up our tiny new living space (960 sqft). And Hubs shrugged, figuring he'd made a horrible mistake in our marriage and if I had decided that a maintenance-free apartment and some furniture would make me happy, so be it. And then he left for seven months on a deployment and left me with my big beautiful furniture and my spotless apartment and our two year old daughter. And when he got back, we were both ready to get over all the past mistakes and just move forward in our life together, to make a fresh start when we moved from CT to NH.
And when we moved here, even though it would be infinitely more difficult for him, and take seventeen thousand times longer, Hubs promised to take things one room/area at a time - starting with clearing out all of our belongings and ending with paint and trim on the walls, furniture moved back in, and EVERYTHING working properly. One room at a time. But Hubs now keeps gently bringing up that it would be easiest and fastest and safest and truly the least inconvenience on my daily life if we just took down ALL the exterior drywall at once, and I'm getting to be okay with the idea. Except I've never seen him do anything but demolish a wall to rubble pieces. And I watch drywall chunks fall to the ground and we step over them and around them and in them and we coat the soles of our shoes in drywall dust while we're clearing out the big chunks. And we track it everywhere, cuz, I know I don't talk about her a whole lot, but we DO have a daughter, and she needs food, and juice, and the TV channel changed, and toys retrieved from high shelves, and kisses on her boo-boos, and just to plain be acknowledged once or twice during an 8-hour Saturday work marathon. And once the dust is in the carpet (which is white, so you can't actually SEE the tracks), I'm afraid that my vacuum cleaner actually DOESN'T get it out. Not that I really have any way to know. And the carpet IS coming out eventually - yay for hardwood floors - but WHEN is "eventually", anyway? This summer? Next summer?
So Hubs took the time to explain methods to me - how he never HAS bothered to keep areas clean, but since I had already burst into tears about three times by this point, it IS possible, if I help him set up the "containment" areas. And I told him I was willing to do that, if he was willing to actually help ME clean up at the end of each work session.
Because, while I had originally thought that perhaps looking at studs and joists and plywood floors would bother me to no end, I now realize that as long as those things are CLEAN, I don't think I will mind them. Rather, what literally reduces me to tears at the very thought, is living with some old drywall and some studs and some new drywall, and the constant process of moving our belongings from room to room, and dust getting into E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. So I have decided that as long as Hubs and I work really hard to keep the demolition dust down, and we actually DO remove most of the drywall things NOW, in one fell swoop, that I won't be nearly as bothered by the rest of the renovation process. Until we get to mudding the new drywall - MORE DUST!!! But at this point, it sounds like the time between demolition and mud-sanding is going to be over six months apart. So we'll rip out the old drywall like a bandaid, then I'll move most everything back and resume a normal life around Hubs redoing the electrical, and the insulation, and screwing in the new drywall. And then he'll be leaving us and taking a job somewhere else in the country, so he'll be pretty unavailable except holidays and long weekends to be doing the actual taping, mudding, and sanding (we're talking, like, summer-to-winter of 2012).
And while I won't be SUPER happy during that point, I won't be having nervous breakdowns from drywall dust, either. Amen.