Show & Tell: You Call This Stress?


I woke up this morning with a very cold nose. That’s because our furnace has been switched off during this part of our remodel. The king-sized bed where I lay hidden under the covers was recently wedged into the guest room, which was once in my hopeful baby days designated to be the nursery. It’s now on its way to becoming my office/do-whatever-I-want room — but for the next two-three months it’ll be where we sleep. The other place we hang out these days is in our garage.

You can see our temporary field kitchen (below) sharing valuable space where we once parked cars (note the decorative hose holder, sans hose, on the wall). This little corner of the world is where Mr. PJ and I can be found in the morning toasting bagels and grabbing a cuppa Joe. We gather there again at the end of the day to cook up dinner on our hot plate or microwave. We dine on folding TV tables moved into place after we pull the plastic drop cover off of the TV and catch up on news and favorite cable programs in the family/storage room that holds wardrobe boxes, drawers and various items that once sat in other places of the house — most of it covered in sheets and more plastic to protect from copious amounts of dust kicked up with jackhammering tile and the like.

See also  Surviving and Expanding Our Thinking

kitchen6_smallOur minimal dish washing takes place in a dish pan dropped into the bath tub in the only functioning bathroom in the house. When the temperatures dip to the 40s at night we head for the guest room and snuggle under a warm down comforter.

This afternoon as I made my way around the plastic sheeting stapled to the ceiling to get into the new kitchen under construction (see below) I couldn’t help but wonder what the big deal was. WheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAre’s the horrible stress that everyone claimed would have us ripping our hair out and testing our marriage?

This is urban camping. We’re having fun. We’re tapping our creativity to see how little we actually need to survive. Anthony and Ben, the carpenters who show up each day at 7am in the middle of our breakfast, have practically become extended members of the family. We kibbitz and razz them for their off-key singing. On my way to shower and get ready for work they caution me to watch my step and make sure I know where the exposed nails are in the ripped up floor so I don’t hurt myself. They have run of the place until we return and tidy up as though it were their own home.

See also  Show & Tell: A Colorful Life Returns

I knew this project would take six months, cost some coin and disrupt our lives some. Again: what’s the big deal? Stress? You want to talk stress? As any infertile knows there are many worse ways to live. Try year after year of being in the midst of a “construction” project that has no end in sight. Where you write big checks and never get the return. Where you plan and make accommodations but never see any actual progress. Where every day you study the calendar and wonder if this month or later this year might be the one that nets a successful outcome and the fruits of labor. Where your “contractor” orchestrates a team of hard working journeymen and women to assess, test and try to keep your hopes up but ultimately has to deliver bad news — the project was canceled or can’t be completed.

The construction project I’m living with and through today is a cake walk, a freakin‘ day at the beach. It ain’t no big thing. That’s because every day I see tangible evidence of the architect’s plans taking shape. When we write checks the electrical fixtures and windows appear, the house gets a roof and the plumbing goes in.

Speaking of plumbing a lovely air heated tub will go into the new master bath this week. I seriously wish I’d had that tub when I had real stress in my life.

See also  Interviewed by a Vampire

I’m not the only one with something to Show and Tell this week, check out these stories at Stirrup Queens.


22 Responses

  1. Lori in Denver

    November 9, 2008 2:32 am

    It’s very different when you KNOW there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Thanks for getting the Weebles Wobblog Wing ready. Can’t wait to inaugurate it with my presence 😉

  2. Stephanie

    November 9, 2008 6:36 am

    I always thought the pain in infertility treatments was always the uncertainty… Enjoy your urban camping! I love your enthusiasm and lightheartedness towards it.

  3. Sam

    November 9, 2008 12:46 pm

    Hmmm, field-camping indeed!! I have been fortunate enough never to have to do something like that, but Mum and Dad have and they have the usual stories of having to plug the kettle in make tea, and then plug the toaster in so they can have toast – it’s all about juggling what’s important to you!!

  4. cara

    November 9, 2008 4:27 pm

    I love these pics! We really don’t need much to survive, do we? BTW – my mother has that tub….H.E.A.V.E.N!!!

    thanks for sharing!

    PS – also writing a book. Would love to chat.

  5. luna

    November 9, 2008 6:20 pm

    sounds like you two are going with the flow. camping is kind of romantic anyway. (though you might need a space heater in a few months…) can’t wait to see the “after” pix!

  6. Michelle

    November 9, 2008 7:48 pm

    I definitely like it better when I see the light at the end of the tunnel. This darkness called infertility sucks! I can’t wait to see the pictures of the finished product.

  7. loribeth

    November 9, 2008 10:12 pm

    You have a fabulous attitude! (And some great workers, from the sounds of it.) You’re right, at least you know there is an end in sight — and can you imagine trying to undertake this project with small children underfoot?? Can’t wait to see the “after” photos!

    Speaking of which, I am now ready to share my own reno pics on my blog, shortly! (Great minds once again think alike, lol.)

  8. WaterBishop

    November 9, 2008 10:30 pm

    Haha. Doesn’t sound all too bad!
    Your temporary kitchen looks my regular kitchen. It’s amazing what you can do with so little.
    Can’t wait to see the renov pics when it’s done.

  9. Bea

    November 9, 2008 11:23 pm

    Did you take before shots? Because I love a good home makeover series. Hint hint.

    As for the rest, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I can’t believe some of the things I used to worry about. Nowadays there’s a lot that doesn’t register on my stress list.


  10. Michell

    November 10, 2008 12:52 am

    That bath sounds wonderful. Construction I would assume could be difficult to live with but you’re so right. You at least have a visible reminder of where your money is going and progress can be seen on a daily basis.

  11. Barbara

    November 10, 2008 5:08 am

    Good on you PJ

    It’s nice to know you don’t loose that kind of perspective. I was baby sitting my sisters 3 kids (under 3) and compared to work where i look after 5 kids with severe autism and delay it was a piece of cake! (But I wouldn’t tell her that because I know that living it is different to baby sitting).

    I hope I can also keep the “no biggie” perspective for the rest of my life.

  12. OnMyMind247

    November 10, 2008 1:28 pm

    It is amazing how strong a marriage can grow after going through infertility treatments. Anything thing else compared just seems trivial. Good luck with the remodel, once its all done you can soak in that tub. You deserve it!

  13. Alacrity

    November 10, 2008 3:31 pm

    Ahhh, the simple life…a toaster, microwave, hot plate and the smell of fresh coffee in the morning.

    What a huge project, but it looks like it will turn out beautifully! Are those skylights in the kitchen?

    Anyway, you are right. After the stress you’ve endured medically, it is easy to put this into perspective: you will have to deal with some major inconveniences and drop a lot of cash, but there is a wonderful guaranteed positive outcome at the end of it.

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  14. Deathstar

    November 10, 2008 5:57 pm

    Girl, you are so right – a project that you pay for and get what you want – imagine that! An investment you can truly enjoy. What the heck is an air heated tub?

  15. io

    November 11, 2008 2:01 am

    Um, can I come over and use your tub once it’s in? It sounds mahhhvelous.
    And I feel you on the cold. We haven’t turned on our furnace yet, so I am typing this in a hat and scarf and fleece over my sweater and blanket over my legs…but the bed at night is so warm and cozy.
    I’m glad you’re able to look on the bright side as your house gets torn apart!

  16. MLO

    November 11, 2008 5:15 am

    Been on the road for the last few days – and trying to make up to our Pekinese. See, I do get what you are saying, but, my DH is one who seems to have physical pain when spending money. This makes our renovations painful – especially when waiting to see if stuff is going to get fixed.

    It probably doesn’t help that he has a friend with a never-ending project of a house…

  17. lady macleod

    November 11, 2008 5:35 am

    OH we went through extensive remodeling with Q’s grandparents a few years back! You will be so thrilled when it’s over you won’t remember the pain. I can’t wait to see the “after” photographs.

  18. Shinejil

    November 14, 2008 7:16 pm

    I love the hose holder! Actually, with the way my husband and I cook, a hose to spray everything down is not that bad an idea.

    Maybe that’s part of the silver lining in all this crap: Nothing fazes you after you’ve been through IF hell. Remodeling? Pshaw! Walk in the park!

    Can’t wait to hear about the final results!

Comments are closed.