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Remodeling Survival Story

  Someone told me that building a new house tested the strength of your marriage. According to them, “If you can survive building a house your marriage will last.”

  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but in my opinion living in a house while you remodel is a bigger test.

  I wish someone had told me that you should never redecorate your whole house at once, but they didn’t, and we began remodeling in June of 1995. By July our house resembled a furniture store that had been hit by a tornado.

  One of the first things I wanted were hardwood floors. I was teaching full time then and a friend who is a decorator volunteered to get an estimate for me. Luckily when Bill heard how much it was going to cost he was standing on the carpeted floors. When he regained consciousness he asked if there was anything he could do to cut the cost.

  “You can take up the old linoleum and carpet yourself,” my friend suggested.

  “No problem,” said my overly ambitious husband. 

  At one in the morning the night before we were to get the wood floors installed, I went downstairs to check on Bill. He was on his hands and knees, sweat dripping off his brow as he took out staples, pulled up carpet, and peeled off linoleum.

  “I thought you said this would be no problem,” I said, and then ran before he could throw his hammer at me.

  The next day during a break in my teaching schedule I called from the school to check on things. Dorothy, the twins’ babysitter, answered the phone.

  “How’s it going?”


  “What’s the matter?”

  “Well…the men came to put down the floor and right after they spread the glue, Russell (one of the twins, and 3 years old at the time) walked into the kitchen barefooted. With any luck we’ll have him unstuck before you get home.”

  They did and he wasn’t hurt, just terribly mad. 

  We survived our remodeling adventure and I love the changes we made, but I would never advise anyone to do a whole house at once. When it comes to remodeling it’s best to do it the same way a child learns to walk…one small step at a time.

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