Mom, Interrupted: Lessons learned from remodeling my home - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Mom, Interrupted: Lessons learned from remodeling my home

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Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 9:45 am

The “Interrupteds” are remodeling, which is a pleasant way of saying that we have ripped off the back end of our house and have been single-handedly air-conditioning the neighborhood for the last month or so.

That cooling breeze you’ve been feeling? That was us. You’re so welcome.

For the record, this was Dad, Interrupted’s idea. “Remodel!” he said. “It’ll be great!” he said. “You’ll hardly notice it!” he said.

This is my first major remodel, and anyone who says that you can’t learn new tricks when you’re old is full of the same stuff I’ve been forced to notice this summer:

Everything is not awesome. I learned this about two days after they tore out my pantry and I had to decide whether I was going to figure out a way to store all my canned goods on the counter and my appliances in the dining room or the family would eat instant oatmeal for two months.

Three weeks in, I’ve decided I’m partial to cinnamon raisin.

Re-evaluate your relationship with dust. After the walls have been torn down for a while, you’ll note that you can write the Constitution on your coffee table and you’ll think, “Eh. They’re not gonna do anything else that’s really messy,” and you’ll run around with a microfiber, and two days later they’ll start tiling and you’ll find dust in the Tupperware. In your refrigerator.

Your home hates your bank account. Your contractor will find something hideously wrong with your home. Even if your home is 2 years old, the plumber is going to figure out that your pipes aren’t up to code, or they’ll just confirm what you already suspected: it’s time to blow your vacation fund on putting the ‘pain’ back into ‘painstakingly’ pulling every single tile off your roof and then putting them all back like a solid-gold LEGO game.

Resist the urge to flee. Around Week Four, you’ll crack. Sooner if you’re chronically neat, but even if you just sent a credible audition tape to “Hoarders,” by Week Four, the thought of pulling into the driveway and trudging past the J-John and past everything you own in the garage will make you look longingly and meaningfully at the nail guns littering your backyard. Your natural impulse will be to do anything to get away; fight it with everything you have.

If you leave, you’ll enjoy not having to watch for nails on the floor, because who wouldn’t? But you’ll have to come back because somebody has to pay those roofers, and if there’s one thing worse than parking next to that J-John day after smelly day, it’s getting a break and then finding it’s still there after two nights at a resort.

Love your neighbor. It is a sad statement on our society that it’s easier to get a divorce than it is to get new neighbors. If you’re remodeling, you’re obviously not planning on moving, and you certainly can’t afford it after the roof and the plumbing and everything. On the plus side, if your neighbors can’t forgive the dumpster parked in the street for two months and the aforesaid J-John and the craftsmen plying their trades at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, you’ll have a lovely newly remodeled home in which to hide from their shunning.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at

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