When we purchased our house in 2003, it was a crazy time in the housing market. Houses were selling in a day, multiple offers were being made on most houses, bidding wars were common place… there was no reasonable expectation of walking into a house (at least in our price range) and finding a nicely updated home that was “move-in-ready.”
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I am NOT gifted in ANY way when it comes to decorating. Not. In. The. Least. Combine that with the fact that I’m horrible at making decisions about anything that I deem to be “relatively permanent” and you’ve got a recipe for procrastination. In the five years that we had lived in our home, I had made almost no changes to the house. However, with the reality that a new little guy was going to be joining our family soon, we realized that it was time to take on a few projects that we had been avoiding since day one.
One of the things that had driven us crazy for a long time was the fact that there was different carpet in every single room in our house. None of them matched and they were a wide variety of nasty colors… brown, red, orange… yeah, it was bad. The carpet in the room that was going to serve as our nursery was some of the worst. Not only was it a hideous burnt orange with flecks of brown and green, the carpet seemed to have lost all sense of padding underneath it. That just wasn’t going to work in our baby’s room. It. Had. To. Go.
Beyond the carpet issue, it was clear that everything also needed a coat of paint. The boring, slightly dingy off-white paint had been “fine” thus far, but it was time to freshen things up a bit and make our home feel a bit more cozy. So, we decided we might as well conquer everything at once. After all, hadn’t I hated that all the carpet was mismatched throughout the house? And if we were going to replace the carpet… we might as well paint everything before the old carpet was removed. It made sense to me. So, as I entered my third trimester, the piles of projects began.
At first, replacing the carpet and painting a few walls didn’t seem like THAT big of a deal. That is, until I realized that in order to do these things… we were pretty much going to have to move EVERYTHING out of our house and then move it back in and get settled again before the baby was born. Really? I must have been nuts. I began questioning my own sanity… perhaps the “baby brain” had truly taken over and I was no longer capable of making any kind of reasonable decision. Perhaps John was simply indulging me for fear of invoking the wrath of a pregnant woman. I wasn’t sure, but whatever the case, we had committed ourselves to these projects and we were going to have to find a way to make it all happen.
It might not have been AS bad if it weren’t that the room that would become our baby’s room had been the “catch all/junk room” in our house. Even though we had begun the process of clearing it out, we had a LONG way to go. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of throwing everything in boxes and moving it all out of there for the sake of the new paint and carpet with plans to deal with it later, so I chose to sort each and every item to determine if it needed to be kept, thrown away, filed, given away, etc. Why is that these kinds of projects always take longer than I expect them too?
If it weren’t for that amazing “nesting instinct” kicking in at just the right time, I can’t imagine how we would have gotten it done. John and I would go to work all day and then come home and work on prepping the house for the paint and carpet until at least 1:00 am every night. Once a lot of the “sorting” work had been done, John spent hours patching nail holes in the walls, repairing some slight settlement cracks in a few of the walls and generally getting everything prepared for our painters to be able to come in and throw some beautiful colors on the wall for us. He also moved all our furniture and tore up all the carpet in the bedrooms and hallway in preparation for the new carpet. I went behind him and spent a surprising amount of time pulling out the old staples in the floor that had held down the matting (I had NO idea there would be so many!).
By the end of March, we had the new carpet installed in our living room, hallway, office, baby’s room and our bedroom, and everything had been painted (including the ceilings and inside closets!). The processes of moving things back in place took a little bit more time, but eventually the house began to return to a “livable” state. While the whole thing had been incredibly daunting (and exhausting!) once it was all done, it was an incredible feeling. Our house finally felt more like our home.
One day not long after everything was done, I got home from work to find a precious surprise. John had beat me home and had decided to assemble our crib by himself in order to surprise me! I was so moved by this sweet act… it brought tears to my eyes. For weeks we had focused all our energy on projects that just “needed” to get done. I hadn’t had time to step back an really think about the fact that in a few short weeks, our little boy would enter our home. It suddenly felt official… the countdown had begun…