Almost 4 months ago the boys and I moved into our new home in Florida where we reunited with my husband after a very long 6 months. For those new here the short version is this: Husband got a new job in Florida and we announced our move. We looked online for homes near Tampa from our home in Syracuse, found one we loved, Steven toured it, we bid on it. House was a short sale with an unknown closing date– could be 3-6 months. Bank accepted our bid but it took 6 months to close and we never knew an end date. The kids and I lived with family while Steven lived in Florida. The house needed lots of TLC and was purchased “as-is.” We picked the house because it met all of our ideals: cul-de-sac, 4 bedrooms, on a street with character and shade, no backyard neighbors, plenty of yard, open floor plan, and the bonus was that it had a pool. The only drawback was the wait and that it wasn’t exactly “turn-key” ready.
After working nearly every single day on fixing the house I can say now that we are to a “live-able” state where the home isn’t in boxes, there aren’t tools in every room, and each room is functioning as the room it is intended to be. The best part is where we live. It has always been my dream to live somewhere that the kids can play safely. With a large backyard and a cul-de-sac this home is most definitely living up to my dream. Virtually every single day the kids and I go for walks on our shaded street, play on our ride on toys in the cul-de-sac, go for a bike ride around the neighborhoods, and visit the neighbor kitties. My children are so happy here and it really shows. In fact, I am really happy here too and that shows. For the first time in recent memory I can’t complain about anything and I’m not wishing to be somewhere or someone else.
When we lived in Syracuse I can safely say I was suffering from depression. I would call it seasonal and it coincided with the winter months when I was trapped inside with the boys for almost 6 months a year. The effort of leaving in the snow and getting everyone properly dressed and undressed and re-dressed was sometimes too much for me. So we stayed at home or took drives without ever leaving the car. With no family or friends I was alone except the people who lived with me. Steven would leave early in the morning, and in the winter, returned after dark. It was a miserable existence and one I longed to leave behind for another place. Florida is just about as opposite as we could get and so I begged my husband to look for opportunities there. We knew eventually this would be where we ended up but I wanted it sooner, for my own sanity and happiness. We lived in Syracuse for 5 years. That is a long time to be miserable.
When we first moved here the stress was preventing us from enjoying the home. And the state of the home wasn’t enjoyable yet either. We called the house “A Temple to the Color Orange” since every room was some shade of it. We had a mile long list of projects to tackle as soon as we moved in. I knew if we didn’t jump on them immediately at some point we would start to become complacent and the projects would never get done. To my husband’s dismay I became the project manager and barked orders and assigned tasks for every day and especially every weekend when he was around to help. Each week I would paint 1-2 rooms and on the weekends we would work together on remodeling the bathroom. I would try to work every other day and choose to spend the day off playing outside with the kids or taking them somewhere special to make up for painting the previous day.
To date I have painted the entryway, front living room, office, bedroom hallway, Fletcher’s room, the Golden Girls Room, the remodeled bathroom, and the great room which was all wood paneling and took 5 solid days to complete. Every other room only took 1 full day each to paint except the bathroom which only took about 2 hours including priming the new drywall. At this point I have the kitchen, Everett’s room, our bedroom, the master bathroom, the front door, the laundry room, and 7 closets left to paint. Just naming all the rooms made me realize I have a few first world painting problems.
As of this weekend our bathroom has working sinks and a working toilet. The last project to tackle before we can say she is completely functioning is the tiling of the shower walls. I’m really and truly amazed at what my husband and I have done. We have completely built an entire room and saved about $3-5,000 by DIYing it. I won’t lie and say it was easy because it wasn’t at all. Every time we thought something would be simple it never was. I keep going into the bathroom, turning on the lights, looking around, smiling, and then leaving. My husband and I make a pretty great team. He gets most of the credit but I have done my fair share of the labor in that bathroom including lifting heavy toilets, sinks, vanities, drywall, and bathtubs.
It feels so good to live somewhere you love and in a home that isn’t the color orange. I am thankful everyday that we waited that 6 months and trusted our gut. We knew there was potential in the home if we were willing to put the money, sweat, and tears into it. At this point we have exhausted our home renovation budget and the largest projects have been tackled so I’m looking forward to slowing down and finally just living in the home. We do have a long list of small projects to finish before family comes for Thanksgiving but it is nothing like “take the bathroom down to the studs and rebuild it.” Sometimes I just want to cry because we are finally settled and have a place to call home. With the stress lifted my husband and I are once again having fun together. One thing is for sure- major home renovations can throw a wrench in a marriage, even the strongest ones.
I’m looking forward to slowing down.