I asked Jeremy this morning what he learned over the past 2 years of searching, purchasing, planning, and building. His response? “You can only see so far ahead.” All encompassing really. Then he said, “I can’t think in the morning, come back later.” We are opposites in that respect. My brain works in the morning, his works the rest of the time. So. What did I (and we) learn? I’ll give you 10, although there are so many more.
Lets start small.
1. I learned that using a broom with earplugs is a much more enjoyable experience. You can feel the sweeping, but you can’t hear it. It seems minor but when you did as much extreme sweeping as I did it really makes a difference.
2. I learned to ask for help. I’ve never been good at this so it was kind of a big deal. My whole life I have typically been that headstrong individual that plugs away at a bazillion projects with a frayed string of sanity before asking in a meek whisper for a little help. But this project had us asking on the internet, texting, emailing, and asking friends on the street. We weren’t shy by the end and thankfully we got plenty of help.
3. We learned that winter is not evil as we feared it would be when starting. Cold, dark, icy, chilly, snowy and bitter? Not too shabby when you’re tearing down walls for 12 hours. You need gloves, hats, coats and boots in the winter anyway, right? What we learned is that you also need those things for most of the work we did early on so when it got hot it also got uncomfortable and sweaty. Injuries were also more prevalent without all the added layers of protection. Early project + winter = win win.
4. We both learned (some) patience. With ourselves, each other, and our contractors. It was hard. Honestly, it was really hard. I think we came out with a stronger understanding of the important role that patience has in both of us, how it can make us stronger individually and as a couple. Now to weave this lesson into our daily lives. That may take some patience.
5. We learned what our bodies are capable of. As most of you know Jeremy and I aren’t a rugged, burly, weight lifting duo. We are both kind of tiny in the scale of adult humans. So the shear amount of carrying, hauling, balancing, scrubbing, hammering, digging, drilling, lifting, building, and dismantling that we did seems sort of insane looking back. We both trusted our bodies and minds completely. Fluid and seemingly choreographed in their dance together as we both averted any major injuries. Jeremy and I pushed our bodies to their limits. From the start straight through to the end. Its not to say that we weren’t both in pain for most of it, because we were. But that has ceased and we are stronger now. Literally.
6. We learned how to be a better couple, better friends and a better team. Our shared vision kept these roles honest and true throughout all the fights, laughter, tears, lessons and smiles.
7. We learned that showers are better when you can see a color change on your skin after. When the dirt practically turns to mud as it spirals down the drain. When peroxide is applied to cuts after getting out. When your clothes are removed in the basement to avoid warehouse dirt infiltration in the then living space. Clean became something new. So did dirty.
8. I learned that the idea of ‘recycling’ and ‘going green’ is way too narrow in it’s public uses. Recycling doesn’t simply stop at bottles and cans. We as a society should be responsible for a lot more. I could get political about this, but I won’t. Let’s just say that the ability to make a project like this happen on such a small scale shouldn’t have had so many hoops. It should be encouraged, supported, and sought out as a way to not only preserve but also use what is already here rather than constantly destroy, throw out and build new.
9. I learned that Jeremy can pretty much do anything. Seriously. He is incredible.
10. Going back to Jeremy’s response – we learned that you can only see so far ahead. There were no givens. Ever. We had plans, sure. But when it came down to it – we just never knew when the fog would get thicker or thinner. When our visibility would change causing us to slow down or speed ahead. The path always had a rope we were holding onto, winding and twisting as we took our steps into new phases of the project. Learning knew things. Planning. Preparing. Demolishing. Building. Cleaning. We held onto this rope that only ever revealed so much at a time. And with each turn the rope took we just had to trust that it would end at our vision. I suppose seeing far ahead wasn’t the goal, it was just trusting we would end up where we wanted to be. And we did.
Love – A&J
p.s. The upstairs bathroom/shower is in full swing.