Sleighbells, mistletoe, and renovation

We’re having a jolly old Yuletide here at Casa Mir. It’s going exactly as you might expect, only moreso.

After one week of constant togetherness and endless projects and mess, I am pleased to report that Otto and I still like each other. (Though we naturally assume that other people would be unable to maintain this level of conviviality, mostly because we do not want to imagine anyone else taking a break from caulking to have sex.) (Not that we would ever do that.)

In fact, we have Flip That House on right now and when the announcer said, “Doug and Cindy are on week 2—” Otto followed with, “and they’re no longer speaking to each other!” (My advice to Doug and Cindy: Step away from the caulk for a while.)

So, the week has more or less broken out as follows.

Monday: Contractors begin work. My master bathroom is completely decimated, and my previously huge master bedroom is overrun with tools and debris. Otto knocks over part of my fence for me, and we go to the hardware store for supplies I didn’t pick up last week. After the contractors leave for the day, we paint the ceiling of the master bathroom. I only run into Otto four times while we jockey for position in that little bathroom with poles and brushes.

Tuesday: Contractors return (later than the first day). Otto and I run around the house spackling holes. You’d be surprised how many holes a house could have that require spackling. We go to the hardware store to pick up the things the contractor tells us to buy. Otto paints the new bathroom baseboards for me. We make a run to the grocery store. I lose several hours of my life to dinner preparation.

Wednesday: Otto is excused from the house for the day and I vow to catch up on work. The contractors arrive late, then call for me six or seven times to point out various problems they’re having with the wallpaper. I am regretting the decision to let them paper, and also not getting very much work done. They haul a couple of sawhorses and a gigantic sheet of wood into my room to make a work table, and late in the afternoon when they finally take the toilet out of my shower I’m told that they cut the tiles wrong and will need to pull the toilet again and possibly pull a couple of tiles underneath it. I develop a nervous tic.

Thursday: The contractors arrive, we leave for the hardware store. There we spend a small fortune on countertops, sinks, and faucets. We deliver our haul to the contractors and load up the truck with debris and head to the dump. When we come back, one of the guys asks me if I recycle. I say yes; he asks for a milk jug to mix something in. I blink at him and point out that we just went to the dump do the recycling. He slinks away. Later that evening I realize that of my three bathrooms, one is completely unusable, one has a counter but no sink, and the last has had so much dirt and grout and sawdust tracked into it, it’s a little frightening. Also, Otto has removed my kitchen sink from the counter. I have a small nervous breakdown and Otto replaces the kitchen sink and sends me to bed early.

Friday: The contractors arrive later than ever, and I follow them around chirping, “You’re going to be done TODAY, right? Like you said? TODAY? You’ll be DONE?” I have an appointment so I leave Otto in charge of the kids; he entertains them with repeat trips to the hardware store every time the contractors realize they need something. I come home and Chickadee and I make cookies for the contractors. (Secretly, I fantasize about calling them very bad names OUT LOUD if they don’t finish on time… but I am willing to TRY to bribe them before it comes to that.) By 5:00 the contractors claim they are ALMOST done and will return Saturday morning for the last coat of wall mud. I smile around gritted teeth and give them their damn cookies. We take the kids down to my ex’s house and then go out to finish Otto’s Christmas shopping. After a couple of stores we stop for dinner and Otto gets me a margarita as big as my head. I love my house again. And dinner. And Christmas shopping. And Otto. And pretty much everything.

Saturday: Today has been a hodge-podge of small yet incredibly annoying house tasks (every bathroom now needs to be caulked in various places; the dryer vent hose had to be replaced; the spackle needs to be sanded and repainted; now that the contractors are done and gone I can mop the floor, hallelujah) and gift wrapping and toy assembly. I started the day by putting my bedroom and bathroom back to rights because it was driving me insane. Once that was done, I felt almost normal. Otto and I took turns swearing at the caulking gun; I managed to smear caulk everywhere in the downstairs bathroom, while he managed to redecorate the floor of my shower. Yay!

We had originally planned to paint more ceilings, today, but it turns out that it takes a really long time to clean up after contractors. And to vacuum behind my washing machine. And to wrap presents. And to eat cookies.

Our time, it is very valuable, as I’m sure you understand. Those cookies aren’t going to eat THEMSELVES.

Next year I might not tackle quite so many home projects so close to Christmas. It is really hard to paint while your eye twitches. Also I’m pretty sure that every time I start freaking out over something, I end up baking again. This can’t be good. (And yet… who wants pie?)

But it’s been a week, and the contractors are gone, and I still like Otto. So that part is good.

Merry Christmas, and may all your spackle be smooth. Or something.


  1. Otto

    What she meant to write was “taking a break from caulking to have six margaritas.” Really, if you read to the end, that makes much more sense. And it explains her typos.

  2. Jules

    2 or 3 years ago, one of my bathrooms got spackled..
    The end.

    Count your blessings…I’ll go count the big white patchs on my walls. Smallish boys can not, it seems, swing from the towel rack.. or use the toilet paperholder as a step. Incase you were wondering.

    The paint IS in the basement…the can has never been opened..

    Wanna beer? I’ll share!

    Missing you!

    Merry Christmas sweets!

  3. Daisy

    This too shall pass. So pass the margaritas and relax. and have a very, very Merry Christmas!

  4. Melanie

    Margaritas sound damn good right now, after all the baking and buying I’ve done over the last few days. Right now, we’re out of tape and I really need to get some wrapping done, since we’ll be gone all day tomorrow, but I’m not running out to the store at 11:00 at night, so oh well. Happy Xmas to you and yours!

  5. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

    Just reading this makes me tense and exhausted.

    I hope it all looks beautiful.

  6. Elizabeth

    Just the word “contractor” makes me want to drink a margarita, or six. Which is why my husband does all our home repairs himself. Eventually.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  7. Christine

    Damn, here I was bitching to my husband about my back hurting because I’ve been on my feet all day. And then I read that you are renovating just days before Christmas and I feel like my problems are now so petty. ;)

    Drink up. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

  8. Em

    What about REAL accomplishments? Have you learned to say “caulk” without tittering? (hehe! I said tittering!). Yeah, we’ve only been doing this for about a year (in different parts of the house at different times) and I still haven’t accomplished that. There aren’t many sentences using caulk that don’t sound dirty – “I need some more caulk”, “Do you have enough caulk?” “I think we should get some black caulk for these tiles” “AHH! The caulk is cracking already?!” I wish I would grow up.

  9. Lady M

    Baking is an excellent remedy for most of what ails us.

  10. Kim

    Baking is the cure for household angst?!? Someone shoulda told me earlier! I thought it was cleaning or rearranging closets and drawers. I could’ve been eating pie all this time.

    Merry Christmas!

  11. angelfeet

    That sounds like the nightmare before Christmas. I’m never going to home-improve again. Oh hang on. I’m never going to home-improve. That feels better already.

    Merry Christmas!

  12. Muirnait

    Rock out with your caulk out.
    The jokes are endless, and I am quite immature enough to enjoy them.

  13. Stjernesol

    Merry Christmas!

  14. Jenifer

    I think you are one lucky gal to have that Otto!

    I also know how you feel sinec we are still living with my MOM while we remodel our house…….that WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE IN MAY!!! Yeah, last May. Ack…..I hate home improvement.

    Merry Christmas!

  15. Sara

    Pass the cookies and Merry Christmas!

  16. Jenn

    You know what would have been funny? If you used alphabet cookie cutters and spelled the bad words out FOR THEM.

    Flip That House makes me laugh my ass off, it reminds me of the house next door to us, people bought it back in March, and the woman told me that they had wanted to be done in May (as in 7 months ago) and they aren’t even CLOSE to being done. They’ve flipped houses before, so they must really like each other.

    Merry Christmas! Maybe Santa will paint all your ceilings for you.

  17. tori

    I do the same thing with baking as stress relief. Cookies can cure almost anything.

  18. Brigitte

    Hope your house is all cleaned up now, so you can get down to that serious cookie-eating business, and just have a merry Christmas (to be followed by bonus latkes!)

  19. Kimberly

    Next year you’ll be in your fabulous NEW home having an even more wonderful (and absolutely contractorfree) Christmas!

    Caulk. Heee.

  20. sumo

    I picture Martha Stewart going through an experience like this in her early years, with projects and annoyances stacking one atop another, obsessively baking between other projects, until finally she snaps and adopts a June Cleaver-like persona who is in an eternal controlled state of baking and crafting.

  21. Marti

    LOL! Always a pleasure to read about what’s going on in your world!

    Stopping by everyone on my blogroll.
    Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a glorious New Year!

  22. Susan

    I think I love Otto. And I know I love Mir.

    Merry Christmas, you crazy kids. May all your caulking lead to six margaritas.

  23. Zee

    Happy Holidays to Mir, Otto, Chickie and Monkey. Glad all your household chores are finished. I hope you all can enjoy the holidays (and your new bathroom!) together. Best to you as always!

  24. Mamacita

    My house looks like that: all covered with dust, stuff falling apart, a real mess. The problem is, I’m not remodeling. We’re just pigs.

    Merry Christmas, Dear Mir and Family. Poo is always better in a pretty bathroom.

    I wouldn’t know.

  25. Latte Man

    “I am regretting the decision to let them paper, and also not getting very much work done”

    My wife will not allow anybody but a gay man hang wall paper.

    (Please note that comment is not me being homophobic… it’s profiling!)

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