The emphasis has always been on those two, the plans and the money, at least when it comes to discussing our renovation plans with friends and family. Yet what I tend to pick on and care about is the personal toll. In particular I recall an episode of Grand Designs I got to watch by a fluke where the husband got a heart attack in the middle of the project even though things were going alright.
Now that we’re in the thick of our own extension I can start seeing the hidden toll, the reason for that heart attack. Between running around to sort plumbing, running in between utility companies that seem utterly useless at providing the very basic services they are here to deliver, and fitting all of these with work’s constant demands, stress kicks in. It’s not like we had much leisure time to begin with: if anything, it has become clear to me that the nemesis of contemporary life is the lack of free time.
I look back at how I grew up. We didn’t have much money, but even during the working days we would have a lot of time together as a family. People didn’t seem to work for as many hours, and after work they would totally disassociate themselves from their offices/factories/whatever; today we have the mobile phone and the Internet to keep us on the leash for the whole day (and night). Yet we still need to do the same things as before: we still need to take the kids to school, we still need to feed ourselves, we still need to shop for groceries, and we still need to do our homework. The question of how we can fit all of that into a day’s 24 hours has been the issue for us ever since we became parents, and now that we’re running a home renovation show the problem is magnified.
The result? After three years of not chewing my fingers, I am now fully back into the thick of things. It annoys me because I thought I was over it, yet I suddenly find myself with a finger in my mouth with my teeth heavily grounded in it to the point of bleeding. I don’t even know how the finger got there in the first place; it’s scary stuff.
It appears we managed to avoid most of the renovation’s chaos by moving elsewhere for the duration. However, it also appears we haven’t been able to avoid the stress.
Image by Meredith_Farmer, Creative Commons license