Long Road Home

It has been a heck of a haul getting settled into my new house, but it looks like there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel. This renovation project has been a pain in the rear from the get go. The garage apartment was months behind schedule (there is still some plumbing work to be completed), and the house was a good 10 weeks behind schedule. In fact, we are still waiting for a few outstanding items to be finished inside the house before we can tell the contractors “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!”

The plumbing backed up last week (damn cast-iron pipes) after a mysterious hole appeared in the main sewer line. Raw sewage under the house – yuck! We failed a plumbing inspection (surprisingly not for the sewage issue), and electrical inspection. We have had to fight our contractor tooth and nail for everything, and by everything I mean that our contractor said re-screening the screen door to the screen porch was not included in the price to re-screen the porch. It has been absolutely ridiculous at times.

We planned to be in the house early November, and then the week before Thanksgiving, and then Thanksgiving weekend, and then the first week of December, and then the week before Christmas. You get the picture.

I could go on and on, but I will spare everyone the pain. We moved on December 30, and while we still are living out of boxes, everyone is starting to settle into our new house. I have found myself sitting in the sunroom or the screen porch thinking about my grandmother and remembering all the fond moments I had growing up in my grandmother’s house. I had to spin a ton of cash to save the garage apartment, but once again, like the rest of the house, it was worth it. In the case of the apartment, I spent my college days in that thing, so there are a ton of memories up there. Plus, after we recover from the house renovation, Tonya is going to let me turn the bottom apartment into a pool room (billiards that is).

I like to think that my grandmother is looking down at us in her house, smiling, because the house is once again filled with joy, love, and children. She would be especially pleased with the 54-bottle wine cooler and the champaign that Tonya and I drink for New Years. Champaign at Christmas and New Years was one of her favorite traditions.

OK, I am sounding like a sap, but it has been a long road home, and I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to keep the house in the family. It is also pretty cool to live in a house that my great-great-grandfather built. Living in the park district is also cool we are a five minute walk from the park. I am also a lot closer to work; six minutes in fact. Last Friday I actually walked the three mile trek to work in about 50 minutes. So lots of good stuff all around.

I said I would spare everyone from a continuous rant, but man I am I sick of my contractors. You can only fool yourself so many times about how great the house looks while you cuss about all the crap you have to put up with in the process. I need to write a “what not to do while renovating” type of book – I could spare everyone else a ton of crap.

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