Photo: Jessica Sain-Baird
I am blessed. I don't always remember this, but I am. We all are. The biggest challenge in moving through our days is remembering all the gifts that are contained in what poet Mary Oliver calls our "one wild and precious life."
This transition from apartment dweller to homeowner has been challenging because, quite simply, I am not used to not knowing things. Is the connection gas or electric? What's a rough-in? You can't do X because it's an exterior wall. You can do Y because it's between the joists. It's mind-boggling.
That floor job I raved about in an earlier post? It wasn't close to being done. How did I find out? From the parade of other workers who walked through the house and asked when the floors would be finished. I only admitted to the first that I thought they already were.
This renovation has brought up every fear I have about being taken advantage of. It is hard to rely on strangers to give good advice. (And no matter how hard I try to teach myself, there is only so much I can Google.) Fortunately, I have incredible people to help me navigate this terrain. I am not the kind of gal who likes to ask for help, but when I do, I blessed with people who respond. 'Tis the season to give thanks, so please indulge me:
1. Thanks, first and foremost, to my office manager and researcher, Merete Mueller. We are working on a book on the psychological barriers to environmental action that will resume as soon as I am settled into to my new digs.
2. Thanks to the University of Kansas School of Journalism and my student assistant Tina Wood for not only helping me to research all the great green products I want to put in my home but also being willing to roll up her sleeves and help me install and implement this stuff.
3. Thanks to my informal green team: my plumber (and mentor) Daniel Poull, my contracting team at Hurst Construction and my dear friend and current landlord Tony Backus (I am currently paying rent and a mortgage as I try to get the bathroom remodeled before I move—you'll learn all about that exciting process early next year).
When I called Tony in a panic about the floors, he assured me he'd help. And, true to form, he has. Tony has worked on upward of 50 homes but still remembers how hard the first one is: "I remember how freaked out I was when we bought our first home and how overwhelming it was. I can still see the old basement and the bad foundation and feel the sense of dread. Now I know that houses are actually really tough; they hold together well, especially the older ones like yours. Before you know it, you will be all moved in and settled, and sooner than you think, it will be spring and you will be delighted by the surprises that pop up and open all around you."
Learn how Simran is staying open and compassionate during this hectic process.