The rule of renovating (which is very different from the rules of real estate) is that things will take three times as long and cost twice as much. Or maybe it’s the other way: things will take twice as long and cost three times as much. But Kyle and I are rule-breakers, which is why I am pretty sure that our renovations will never end and that we will have plunked everything (of ourselves and of our wallets) into these places.

And, actually, I don’t have a problem with that. If there is one thing these houses have taught us, insistently and vigorously, it’s that we can’t really control the process. Just about the only thing we can control is who we are and what we’re committed to.

This is a good thing to tell yourself when, on a rainy day, your neighbors call to tell you that your fence is lying in the street and you have to meet up with your husband after work, in your heels, to pick up the crumbly fence and push it back into place. What we can’t control: gravity, the physics of old wood. What we can control: whether we get bummed about yet another thing, or whether we brush the mud off of our hands and go home and make dinner and say, “How was your day?” and don’t talk about the fence. At all.

The houses are teaching us to be the second sort of person.

Fence aside, Old House is still making an ungainly waddle forward, thanks to the carpenters at work.




Things keep changing—floor plans, structural plans, schedules—and so the only thing to hold onto is our goal: the house done. And somehow, some way, we will get there. Unless someone wants to buy Old House, in which case message me, because: SOLD!

We will get there is a good thing to keep saying to yourself. Especially when, walking the dog on a sunny day, your neighbor stops to say hello. And to mention that your fence is lying in the street. Again.

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