Home , Sweet Home

Is it just me, or does anyone else out there hate home renovations ? Someone once told my wife that first-time home renos are hard on a marriage. The second one will usually send the couple to counselling and the third time will find the lovebirds locked in divorce court.

This is our sixth time through home renovations.

Reno #1 was in my second house, our first mutual home. My first home ownership was shared with one of my brothers, and as two single guys home maintenance was limited to see who would remove the Hallowe’en pumpkin from the front window before Christmas. Brenda and I were married in 1987 and we promptly moved into a two bedroom house, a cottage really, on Sturgeon Lake, between Bobcaygeon and Lindsay, the town where we both taught.

“The kitchen is big enough, but we need to take down the wall between it and the front room. That way we can look out over the lake while we eat breakfast. And the breezeway at the back between the carport and the porch has got to go.” I was a rookie husband, none too sure of my footing, and I was a complete babe-in-the woods when it came to both marriage and renos. Hell, cleaning the bathroom was still a big deal. It was only a few years later that I received some marital advice that came a little too late. My friend told me to keep the bar of your wife’s expectations set low from early on in the marriage, so that your spouse learns never to expect too much.

The previous owner had been a bachelor named Bruce who lived with his Newfoundland dog named Mike. Mike slept by the woodstove in a shed-like room off the kitchen, and for all I know so did his master Bruce. At least that could have been the situation, by all appearances. We took down the old wallpaper and got to work painting. We had a woodshop teacher  named George at our high school who had taken down a wall in his own house and assured us that the roof had not caved in. By this time I was preoccupied with constantly pushing the lawnmower around our 1/3  acre lot and  painting the white  picket fence that guarded our backyard from the angry seniors who ambled by on the lakeside road between us and the lake. It was also the end of the school year and we were busy planning a six week trip through Yugoslavia and Greece.

We left George on his own to get to it. It was the beginning of a long series of frustrating experiences with home renovations and those who do them.

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