I was just sitting here in our living room on this dreary day in Boston thinking back to when we first moved in. It made me remember just how terrible the timing of our renovation and move was and how, surprisingly, that didn’t end up meaning the end of the world. If I have my dates correct, we bought our loft in April. I was pregnant at the time (but only about 8 weeks) and so we thought (incredibly naively) that we could get started on our dream renovation and move in just in time for the arrival of our baby. And if it wasn’t finished, we’d just live in our old apartment until we could move, right? Wrong. Firstly, no major renovation that turns your house into this sort of gorgeousness can be completed in 8-10 weeks (despite each of the four contractors quoting it as possible). Secondly, the real estate market is, well, pretty unpredictable. Who would have thought that our old apartment would go under contract the day after we put it on the market?
All this to say that we were conducting a renovation and moving at THE WORST possible time. Getting started took forever (doesn’t it always?) and construction didn’t get under way until early August. Early August was also when we closed on our old apartment, forcing us to move into a studio apartment that our real estate agent agreed to rent us for a couple of months. And we were T minus 2.5 months for the delivery of our baby. I remember being immensely pregnant and standing in the middle of our cavernous loft, with drywall strewn everywhere, massive scaffolding, and all sorts of exposed wires and pipes, and trying to get my head around what it would finally look like when it was finished (and trying to get my head around how far from “finished” we were). My father-in-law joked that it would be complete the following April and I remember scoffing in disbelief. (Editor’s note: he wasn’t all that far off).
Come December the loft was still in total disarray, we had a five week-old baby, and we had to move out of the temporary studio apartment. So, first-time parents with a very small child in tow, we traipsed through a local hotel and a friend’s place in Maine for two weeks until the loft was move-in ready. And let’s be clear: by move-in ready I mean that they enclosed the master bedroom upstairs with a large plastic sheet to keep out the dust and nasty chemicals still in full use elsewhere in the house. One bathroom was operable (but not complete) and the kitchen was a no-go. Simply put, we were living in the middle of a massive construction site. Did I worry that my son was inhaling all sorts of no-good toxins? Yes. Did he learn to sleep with jackhammers and commercial nail guns right beyond the plastic sheet? Yes. Was it crazy, insane and just a touch stressful? Yes, yes, and yes.
But we lived through it. We have a wonderfully healthy, engaged and curious son and a home to call our own. That said, I’m writing this post because at the time I remember having difficulty seeing the other side. I felt like it was our family’s health, happiness and sanity vs. the crazy renovation, and that we must have been the only ones in the world with such terrible timing. Of course I know now that this isn’t true at all, and that renovations and moving with terrible timing are all-too-common. So I’m writing this post because it’s the kind of post I would have liked to read as I sat in my room, enclosed by massive plastic sheeting, with plaster dust in my hair, the sound of who-knows-what construction tool in my ears, and that sweet little baby in my arms. To know that I wasn’t the only one with terrible timing would have been a little reassuring, and to fall away into blog-land, reading even something as banal as this, would have been dreamy. So if you’re about to go through a renovation or are moving at the most inopportune time, just remember that there’s real beauty, gratitude, and satisfaction on the other side. And it’s worth it.