Remodel: Speed, Deadlines, Stress, and Sanity

As I’ve discussed many times before (and probably will many more times) this remodel project has really taught me a ton about life and more importantly about myself.  When I first started tearing into my home, remaking it into what works for me and my family of four-footed companions, I was concerned about deadlines and schedules, wanting to know when things would happen or when they would be done.  I’ve now been in remodel mode for over two years, what with one thing and another, and in the process I’ve discovered that I’m not (usually) driven by completion dates.  I honestly cannot envision a life without something going on here even if it is small projects.  And while the current state of affairs has truly escalated beyond anything that I or anyone else could imagine, especially with the discovery of the faulty roof, I’ve learned what is truly important to me.  This week, in particular, has taught me that speed isn’t everything (although I’ve had speed with the roof in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible!).  What I need most is good energy in my home.
Residential work requires a lot from both the homeowner and the various contractors since everyone is in the homeowner’s personal space.  I’ve learned that there are some people I simply won’t have in my space no matter how competent they may be, because they don’t have the right energies for me.  I need to have folks who are calm and grounded, gentle souls, as I term it, who respect me and my values, even if they are different from theirs, who treat me and my pets with kindness and consideration.  It isn’t enough just to do a good job, at least if the person is going to be in my space a bunch.  Part of what I am doing is tearing out the bad, emotionally as well as physically, in my home as I’m also doing with myself.  And so the energies coming into my home must be positive as that is the major point to all this, undoing all the perfectionistic, authoritarian, domineering tapes which I’ve been programed with from the get-go, and putting tapes of compassion and love, for myself, my family, my home, my part of the universe, in their place, so that I am able to heal, to allow my voice to be heard, and not to shrink, to try to disappear, to live in fear.
This week has been very revealing for me.  I’ve had 8-10 roofing guys here all week (and will for the next week to two weeks), and they are without a doubt the nicest bunch it has ever been my privilege to work with.  This has been, as I said to someone earlier, one of the coldest weeks of my life, thanks to the roofing project, but at the same time, I’ve felt as if both I and my home were being carefully and thoughtfully tended during the entire process.
I’ve got fabulous people working for me, including Leigh, my contractor, Daryl, my plumber, Gary, my electrician, Val, who cleans for me and who has been here 3 times this week alone thanks to the roofing mess, Ian, my carpenter, and many others who have been here for shorter periods of time.  Each of these people has my kind of energy, positive and gentle, which I so value and which is so very necessary for me.  And I have found that that energy leads to less stress for everyone.
I am told that homeowners can become unglued and fall apart during remodels as extensive as what I am doing.  I can certainly understand that, and one person said that the key is to get everything finished as quickly as possible before the meltdown occurs, but after my experience this week, I have concluded that for me, that doesn’t work and isn’t true.  What works for me is gentle steady progress so that I can feel things are moving forward in a kind way, if that makes any sense.  I don’t think people need to be beaten up or have the fear of whomever put into them to make them work harder, faster, etc.  Maybe I am naive, but I think kindness and mutual respect will accomplish much more
Currently, because the roof discoveries necessitated my moving into my bedroom and converting that into a studio apartment, I am living in 331 sq. ft with 5 pets.  When I first thought about that prospect, which I knew I’d have to do during the actual sheet-rocking phase, I thought I’d only manage it for about 10 days tops.  But now that I am here in a very snug but comfy and functional studio apartment (with kitchen and laundry access “outside” in the construction zone), I’m finding that it is just fine, better than fine even.  I’ve put my quilting and weaving projects on hold and my activities now are centered around writing and reading, and those do not require a lot of space.  And so, if I stay here for 2-3 months that is perfectly fine with me.  I am not in a hurry about anything.  If this week has taught me anything, it has taught me that letting people work at their pace, in their own way, actually results in less stress, more efficiency, better energy levels, and a much happier home.
My roof on my home has been totally replaced with new plywood which has then been sealed with a waterproof coating and by afternoon, the garage will be in a similar position.  That is a fantastic amount of work in one week and yes, we were lucky with the weather, but mostly I was fortunate to have such a caring and efficient roofing crew.
Most of my old faulty wiring has been removed and my electric meter has been moved.  I am very pleased to have the dangerous wiring in my bedroom gone and I’m sleeping better as a result.  There is only one more area which is problematic and that is in the area of the new 1/2 bath which shares a wall with my bath/bedroom and those issues will be addressed next as that has to be taken care of before the plumber can do the plumbing for the half bath.  And speaking of plumbing, I have my new hot water heater all installed and I’m loving it and I gather Daryl will be back, probably Sunday, to do more plumbing. 
And last, but not least, Ian has (with the help of Hans earlier in the week) replaced a roof gable and an entire triangular piece on the north end of my home, primed boards for garage roof fascia, and framed in the half bath and two closets, with just one more to go.
Therefore, an absolutely amazing amount of work has happened in a very quiet, well-grounded, calm and efficient manner, and I’ve discovered that it is frequently best for me not to worry about timelines or wonder how long it will be until the remodel is finished (a question I am frequently asked), and instead just to stay focused in the present moment and glory in the unfolding of the work.  I anticipate now that it could be April possibly even May before I’m moved into all of my home, but that is ok with me.  I will not have homeowner meltdown if the energies stay calm and gentle and the work progresses at the speed that is right for all those involved.  I am in so much better a spot this week, with the black mold and dry rot gone and the roof secured and the mess cleaned up (thank you Val, for your hard work this afternoon!).  My wiring is much safer than it was last week, I have better hot water flow, my home is now snug and warm, and it is Friday!  How could I ask for more than that!  The Tao teaches us to flow like a river and so that is what I shall do with this construction.  I shall enjoy watching it all unfold.  Next week will bring more changes and more work, both outside on the roof and inside with wiring, plumbing, maybe framing of windows, and I don’t know what else, but it will be fun and exciting and it will flow at the pace which is proper for it without forcing or worrying.

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