Not much, frankly. Very little, in fact. Not quite nothing, but close.
The only noticeable change to the house is a temporary power pole in the backyard that doesn’t have power yet. And the Bermuda grass taking over the backyard because nothing is in the way. And the basil keeps growing and reseeding. I bet we have basil in the grass for years. And the slowly drying up plants because there’s been no rain and the water to the lot is shut off and we don’t have power to run the sprinkler anyway.
Though the opening was a bit of a lie. We went to Denton for a wedding, lounged at the lake house in Oklahoma, saw dear friends in Chicago, spent 10 days in Michigan working hard to do nothing, and celebrated a family wedding with cousins meeting and playing together. Now I’m spending a week with some wonderful teachers doing writing, and I ended up on four different AERA proposals. So there.
We also fired our first contractor, hired a second, reviewed estimates, moved into a condo, and got our dog back. When I tell people that nothing’s been done on the house in six months, many of them ask “So, what’s the deal? Why was your contractor not doing anything?” My answer is: “I don’t know and I don’t care, I just know I don’t have a house yet.” I came to that answer because through all of this, the serenity prayer really has been my mantra.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
And, one thing I cannot change is what caused my first contractor to not do his job. The wisdom is knowing it doesn’t matter and not dwelling on it and moving on. I certainly found myself wanting to know what the deal was, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever is happening with that company is something I cannot change, and it isn’t my place to change. A more irreverent version might be “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” So, we moved on.
The one story worth telling in all this is that our first contract said that we needed to replace all of our waste water plumbing. For those unfamiliar with the world of slab construction, that would mean jackhammering the concrete slab foundation, pulling out the old cast iron pipe, replacing it, then pouring new concrete back on top. Now, we’ve got a solid foundation, which is a rarity–no cracks, now shifting. And the waste water runs across the house, essentially bisecting the bedrooms, and then across the back of the house, joining the other drain outside the back door. The idea of jackhammering through it made me nervous: “Will it crack now?” “Can that new concrete really be as supportive?” “What if there’s a problem with replacement?” “How long will that take?” And the $28,500 price tag was, to say the least, not happening. So, we paid a different plumber to scope the pipes. His assessment was that all is fine, and in really good shape for being 65 years old. We hope to use that company for the replace on the house because they’ve been honest and efficient! So, woo for not needing to replace the waste water plumbing and spend $28k we don’t have!
As always, generally things are good. Our new condo has a pool, which is great for August in San Antonio. I bought long-sleeved rash guards for the boys knowing how much they’ll be in it. It’s wonderful to have our sweet puppy back with us, though she her adoptive parents miss her. And our time in Michigan was too short, though it was so wonderful to bookend our trip with the happy, wonderful joy of weddings. Onward, always.