Is This Work or Fun?

by Ruth J. Hartman

About this time last year, my husband and I attended our annual family reunion. It changes location yearly, and it’s a slightly different crowd each time, depending on who can make it. Sitting there with my cousins, I looked around. Everyone there had hosted the gathering since we had. I counted back. Six years ago? Not good. Time for me to take one for the team and volunteer.

Usually, we make the trek from Indiana to Wyoming every summer to visit my sister. Knowing we’d be having lots of people at our house, we opted not to this year. Once we got home from the reunion, we looked around our old house through the eyes of future visitors.

Hmmm. Not good.

Projects we’d talked about completing for thirty years since we’d moved in, suddenly seemed important.

This needs to be done now!

Time to renovate!

What followed was an entire year of gutting a bathroom. Waiting for the plumber. Painting rooms. Waiting for the plumber. Stripping, staining and finishing two floors. Waiting for the plumber. And investing in a handmade bar for entertaining guests and new flooring in the kitchen.


Bathroom before-1


And waiting for the plumber.

My husband did a lot of the work, but didn’t have much free time due to his IT position at a local company. I write full time, but reasoned that I could push that aside for a little while as I worked on the house.

Did I say a little while? For months on end, I used a sledge hammer, screwdriver, paint brush, crow bar, and shop vac.

While I waited for the plumber.

Lots of smashed fingers, sore muscles, bruises and not a little bleeding later, we’d transformed five rooms into something we’d wanted for what seemed like forever.

The weekend finally came. Not everyone could make it, but we had a blast with twenty relatives on Friday night and Saturday until that evening. So, while we didn’t get to travel, the ones who attended reunion did.

And like everything we anticipate and strive for, the weekend flew by. The following day, we were worn out. And amazed that something we’d planned for and talked about for twelve months was over.

Even though it took longer, cost more, and was more challenging than we’d ever thought, my husband and I were thrilled with the fun we’d had with my family. But we’re kind of glad the manual labor is over so we can enjoy the renovations.

And not have to wait for the plumber.

Bathroom after-1


2 thoughts on “Is This Work or Fun?

  1. Ruth, we had to gut both our bathrooms when we moved into our house some years ago (in fact, we had to gut the kitchen, too, and take up the floors down to the plywood base flooring, and repaint everything – took 18 months). While it all happened, it was a nightmare, but once it was finished, oh, it was worth it. Sort of like giving birth, you know, lol? But your new bathroom looks wonderful. Enjoy!


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