I am having my apartment and office renovated. I haven’t done much to this place for more than two decades. My reasoning is that what isn’t broken doesn’t need to be fixed. I’m not a minimalist. I have collected a lot of “stuff” (the “stuff” that George Karlin used to joke is “stuff” because it is yours, while on the other hand, the stuff other people have is “crap”). As an editor, packages arrive every day, and somehow, I manage to stuff everything in this 790 square foot place that I live and work in (with two cats and a husband).
But, finally, after years of neglect, it became clear to everyone else (and finally, me) that something had to be done in here. I hired a contractor, figured out that basically, every single wall, floor, electrical system, and appliance, had to be replaced. Even the bathroom is being ripped out and re-done.
To some, this might sound exciting. “Oh, you’ll love it once it’s done” people gush. But honestly, I didn’t mind things the way they were. If it wasn’t for my husband, John, who gave me an ultimatum to fix the place up, I wouldn’t have started this entire process (back in 2011, it should be noted).
Nothing was done for months, and finally, a contract was signed. The co-op board and building management dragged their feet, nit-picking every single detail of our plans, for another month until the end of June.
Finally, work was to begin in July. But we were living in one place Friday night through Monday, and another, the rest of the week. We dragged our cats back and forth. We tried to cheer ourselves with the fact that work was being done. But, when we’d come in on Monday night, it looked like they hadn’t even removed the picture hooks from the walls. Weeks of this went on with protests from me (did I mention I can get pretty loud when I’m very upset?!). More picture hooks were removed from walls (but not all) and then, one day, half our furniture was gone including our one table.
We ate at the couch on a tray. But still, the days dragged on through July with little to no progress.
Yesterday, however, was my 21st wedding anniversary. I’d come home to find that literally, all my shoes were gone, and all my handbags (except for a few I had in another closet). The contractors had dumped everything into two big boxes and carted them off! Everything on my desk that I’d been working on was gone, too, dumped like garbage into boxes and left to die.
I frantically foraged around in the box for the sticks holding current projects, but couldn’t find them. I had to order a new cord for my netbook. That was bad enough, but faced with having to wear flip flop sandals with my dress that evening for dinner, I insisted the movers bring back my shoes, only to find that the footwear I wanted wasn’t there.
I am wondering what they’re going to take away next. It is pretty stressful to come home and find bits and pieces of your life erased and gone. Does anyone survive a renovation like this and still sleep well at night?!