Slice of Life Story - Renovations and Revisions

Today, it is a public holiday in my home state of Victoria. –and what a glorious day it is 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) A gentle breeze and bright blue skies. We are blessed. A barbecue lunch and a glass of shiraz and the living is easy. You will note the positive vibe of my message…

Today, we have also started yet another house renovation. This time we are removing part of the wall in our upstairs bedroom and installing floor to ceiling cupboards against one wall. The bathroom adjoining the bedroom is being given a major makeover as well.

It was Bob Dylan the singer, not Bob The Builder, who said, “We spend our lives in a constant state of becoming.” House renovations seem to exemplify Dylan’s words. Houses morph and change continually to reflect the changing needs of the occupants. Children grow, move out, return again, then finally leave for good to make their own house renovations. A bedroom gets converted into a study, a room is added, a deck extended, a kitchen upgraded -and so it goes. The house becomes something different with each revision. Hopefully the changes make a difference to the functionality of the living space and add value to the appearance of the dwelling.
The process of renovating always involves a degree of upheaval, disturbance and mess. One of the few accurate things I recall Donald Rumsfeld ever saying was, “Change is messy.” On that one thing alone, Rumsfeld and I agreed.

Each of us copes in different ways with the challenge that change presents. It becomes important to retain a vision of the end product. I am usually okay with the idea of change. We live with change all our lives. So it should be easy; yes? But, this is the family castle, and the change affects just about every aspect of our daily living, so it is constantly reminding you of its presence. They say having relatives stay with you is a bit like fish –after three days they begin to smell. This renovation will take longer than three days.

And so I am indulging in some positive self talk today. Reminding myself that the disruption and upheaval is only temporary and the end result will be worth the time, money and effort.

Renovating has clear connections to writing. Both are inclined to get a little messy before they realize their objective. Both require a vision and persistence on the part of those directly involved. Both require patience.

Okay, I’m better now.

Today, the wall has been removed and the space instantly appears bigger; the ceiling somehow higher. Progress always has a way of boosting the spirits.
-And the best thing is, so far nothing smells…


  1. Oh, man. Can I relate to this post. We redid all the floors in the house two years ago, added built-in bookcases last year, and this year's summer project is new countertops in all the bathrooms and kitchen.

    I'm going to keep your post handy when I need a philosophical bend on the house chaos.


  2. The lack of a smell is definitely always a good thing! Having lived through a kitchen renovation, I understand the sense of satisfaction that comes with getting stuff done. Next up is our bathroom!

  3. Good luck with the work! I hope you'll keep us posted. I may be taking on a big renovation in the next year or two, so I've been avidly listening to everyone's stories!

  4. Your post reminds me of the writing of Dominique Browning(the editor-in-chief of House & Garden magazine)and the reason I looked forward to my H&G issue every month.

    Thanks for your post and thanks for the memories.(House and Garden magazine is no longer published.)


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