We’ll Have To Find A New Room For The Maid: A Victorian House Remodel In Petoskey, Vol. 6

They say that you learn something new every day. We move into our house in six days, so I offer up one bit of knowledge for each, pulled from those things I’ve learned in the recent days of remodeling:

1. Family is underrated, especially when it comes to remodeling houses and moving into them:

2. Calling purple and pink unicorn moonlight and bubble gum-cotton candy, respectively, will make the kids stop complaining about the colors of their rooms.

3. When you either work or parent all day, then paint until midnight, you absolutely can survive on the “Texas-Size Jellybeans” that your mom gave you as a gag gift.

4. One-hundred-and-twenty year-old, clear-coated, unstained, quarter-sawn oak looks like this:

5. In three days, John Hoffman and Sons Landscaping can transform a backyard from a literal mud pile into a sob-inducing (mine), squirrel-friendly, old-growth garden. Seriously, call them. Unreal.

6. Even when you decide to remodel a house at the very tippy-top of your price range, and even when (especially when?) your husband is the general contractor, you will go over budget. A lot.

We started this process in August, and though we’ve gone over schedule (we decided to restore the original siding rather than paint over the aluminum) and over budget (the only reason we don’t have a “for sale” sign in the yard is because we think the gorgeous front stairway will save us from paying for church weddings and receptions), we move in six days.

It’s true that the countertops and faucets will arrive the same day that we do. It’s true that our family will file in from out of town that very night, our first night in the house, to sleep on air mattresses and to celebrate Thanksgiving the day after our oven is installed.

However: Six days.

No, we won’t have our window coverings on yet, so a reserved champagne toast will have to do instead of, ahem, a celebration that we’re not sleeping directly over Trevor’s parents’ room anymore. No, we still haven’t figured out why we can see water running through the basement every time someone flushes a toilet. And no, we really can’t open our kitchen cabinets, because we haven’t had time to install the pulls and a nifty magnet system keeps them shut.

Also, very few lights are installed. And no mirrors. Or pantry, mudroom, and powder room. Doorbell. Working locks.

But they will be. Each thing will be scratched off the list in the next few days, somehow, and we’ll spend Thanksgiving whooping it up in a big, big way. Under a crystal chandelier, and surrounded by the new wallpaper:

(Yes, we’ve got to stain that window. I know. SIX DAYS.)

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