Dog Days of Construction
Self help for renovators depression syndrome.
No, this is not the home renovation version of bring your dog to work day. That would be extremely adorable and would be a much more cheery post.
I’m talking about when you’re halfway through your renovation project and everything seems like it has just completely stalled for no apparent reason. My mom warned me about this phase when I started this project. She had just finished renovating a home in Florida (it’s INCREDIBLE btw) and told me that at a certain point, it feels like the house will never get done and you start questioning what you were thinking and why you did this to yourself.
The last couple of months I have been in the Dog Days. Here’s the thing: Demo: fun! Framing: fun! Windows: fun! Siding: fun fun fun! Plumbing and electric: not fun. Burying a septic tank: not fun. Paying thousands of dollars for top soil and grass seed to try to reclaim the natural beauty of a property that has been torn up by said plumbers, electricians and septic tanks: NOT FUN.
At the start of the project we had two carpenters that worked full time for the GC that did all of the “fun (to me)” parts. They were there all day, five days a week and just got a lot done. Twice a week I would visit the site and feel like, man, this is moving so quickly. I would take pictures every visit and really see the changes day to day. Secretly I suspected that I would avoid the pitfall of the dog days. Mine would be a project like on Fixer Upper where there are no major problems Chip can’t fix and any hiccup would surely be resolved after the break. I would be a model remodeler.
Then the plumbing and electric started. These guys were sub contractors and so we had to fit into their schedules. They had other jobs they were working on and that meant often my house was not really their first priority. Also, I’ll be damned if they weren’t just slow AF. There is part of me that does not want to admit this because I feel like if I don’t say it out loud it will not be true but the plumbers have been working on our house for three full f-ing months. I have proof.
Now I know, they were not there every day in between when I saw them there. But a reminder that I was only there once or twice a week so seeing them this often was a pretty crazy coincidence if they were not there very often. It also begs the question, did they only show up when they knew I was going to be there?? How were they there so often but also took 3 months to get this done? I also know that they also did some things besides the basic plumbing, they also did our HVAC which explains mostly why they were back this latest time. And for sure, it doesn’t help that these guys drive me crazy and are always trying to up-sell me on expensive boring plumbing stuff with a stupid plumbing pamphlet so of course I’m extra sensitive to that dumb truck at the house all the time. BUT too many weeks of this can make you very murder-y. This is what the house looked like for the entire summer.
I can only write about this now because I finally feel like we have turned a corner and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Last week they finally got the sheetrock up which feels big and soon it will be back to those two carpenters who will do the floors, trim and paint so hopefully things will pick up again.
I have no advice for you on how to avoid the dog days. I think visiting the site often and staying on top of people helps, but not much. Maybe just knowing that there will be a slow down on your project but it will pass will help you not lose your mind. I’ve been trying to focus on the fact that we will have this house for a very long time and that getting in a month or two earlier won’t make a difference in the long run. Blerg.
I’ve also been spending this time making some fun choices for the deck, the front patio, cabinets, tiles, light fixtures, etc. More on that to come. But for now, here are some photos with the dry wall up and I’m going to have a glass of wine to toast to the end of the dog days. Five o’clock is ok for wine right?