Old Habits Die Hard

Master Bath, Before Pic. Also, not even clean. Someday, that will be a free standing tub, there will be tile on the floor, marble on the counters and sconces. The wood paneling will be MIA. Not pictured: Current ant infestation.

I have abandoned my little blog accidentally on purpose in these last 5 months.  I mean….I’m busy…ish. Work, two kids, the house. Trying to keep the house looking clean in the middle stages of a remodel is like trying to apply make up in the shower. It feels very “What’s the Point-ish.”


When I was really into this blog, I made space for it. Space in my day and space in my head. My mind used to be writing all the time. I would be propelled out of bed at 12:00 AM desperate wrestle stuff out of my head and heart so I could fling it on to paper. That same itch would lay claim to an entire day without kids, me editing at the keyboard, dirty dishes left untouched in the sink. At 2:00 in the morning,  I could hit “Save” then crawl back into bed, relaxed and calm. Handing over all my thoughts to the page released me from them, even if the break was temporary. I would wake up relaxed, light hearted and clear headed. Walking through the aftermath of Shep’s accident was so emotionally heavy that I could feel a physical difference before and after a blog post. I still feel better after writing, only now, the situation is different. I write when I process things, when things get sticky and complicated between my head and my heart, I work them out on paper. Only now, there is no trauma or even its aftermath to pin the struggle on. To my dismay, there is still uncertainty and restlessness, annnd character defects. I’m sure no one is really that surprised, except I kind of am…and I’m a little miffed my old habits haven’t kicked the bucket like I thought they might after walking through so much fire. Or if they have, those habits have just decided to reincarnate themselves and comeback as the 2.0 version of Allie’s Most Common Hangups. They’ve upgraded.  So for the last four or five months I’ve just ignored it. Except then we moved—-and the buzzing is getting harder to tune out. For sure, I’m not the same person I was before Shep’s drowning, but the shadow of that girl is still there and she’s been staging a comeback in the last several months. I don’t exactly love this version of me, so I haven’t wanted to fully engage in what this comeback might mean. Writing about it felt annoying, like re-writing old chapters again only never being able to change the ending. So I just didn’t. Instead I got “distracted.” I am SO talented in this department. It plays out something like this:

Me, staring intently at the walls of my living room, turning the lights off and on, agonizing over 4 different shades of white paint samples. My kids are asking me to play with them. I am having none of it. I am FIXATED on the paint samples. In fact I am getting kind of angry because my walls aren’t even primed yet, so the “paint” stage of this Reno is actually further away than I care to admit.

INNER VOICE: (In my case, I blame Inner Voice on… you guessed it, The Man Upstairs and his BFF the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I can’t really tell the difference if it’s me or Him. Either way, I’m annoyed.  For all practical purposes we’ll call this voice “V.”

“V”: Hey, Allie. Psst. HELLLOO. Just a friendly reminder: You CAN enjoy your life before your walls are painted. This is not what it’s all about.  You know that right? Yeah, you know that. I know, you know.  NOBODY cares that your walls are bare. The kids DO NOT care. Your baby sitter tonight, she won’t care either. Does your cable work? Perfect. Then she won’t care. Chill out…go play.

Me: Shut up V! Can’t you see I’m trying to decide between Egret White and Off White?! I have a legitimate chance at getting this drywall painted in early 2018 so it’s obviously critical I make this decision today.  I NEED TO BE READY. Go bug someone else.

V: I’m just saying….you’ve been kind of a B to every member of your family lately, your slavedriver tendencies are showing.  I can hear Erron’s prayers for a break you know. He told me you didn’t smile at him last week unless he was holding a power-tool. But seriously, your discontentment is palpable. Recalibrate. 

Me: Drives to Sherwin Williams to buy more white paint samples.

Other phenomenal ways of hitting the mute button on V are detailed below:
1. Re-watching the entire series of the Office.
2. Instagram
3. Running comps on MLS.
4. Window shopping on Wayfair, Houzz, Joss and Main and Birch Lane.
5. Eating mass quantities of dark chocolate brownie dough.
6. Realizing that I do not metabolize brownie dough the way I did 3 years ago, and going to the gym.
7. Deciding which cosmetic, non-invasive procedure I should try first, and who will do it. Set up consultations accordingly.
8.  Faaaaacebook.

I have more, but you get the general idea.

So, apparently I’m not super holy even though I walked through a holy experience. I know, it shocked me too. Kidding. Sort of. The truth is, I do know better, I’ve had an up close encounter with “What Really Matters.” And this remodel Is. Not. It. But right now I am a walking talking version of the Chris Janson country song “Buy Me a Boat.” I keep thinking money will save the day here if I just had an excessive amount of it at my disposal. Except I wouldn’t buy a boat or a truck to pull it. I’d buy a professional painter, a stainless steel gas range and sectional.  Also, about 4 new light fixtures and an electrician to install them so Erron wouldn’t have to. It’s that dang champagne taste. Unfortunately for me,  unless Erron and I want to spend all our extra dollars to get the house looking sparkly, (which we don’t) my current budget for our remodel will actually buy me a couple La Croix.

I know these wish list items are not the magic key to life. I might breath a sigh of relief when I look at painted walls, but it will not bring me any joy and that’s what sticks. Playing with Shep and Char while they still want me around and enjoying Erron are the big ticket items. My heart knows this but my head keeps dropping the ball and forgets every 10 minutes or so. I will have days where living in a totally unfinished house is PERFECTLY FINE. It’s great! It’s an ADVENTURE. And what an amazing example this is for our kids!! They will be Home Depot babies and learn how to do cool and useful things like hammer a nail and not expect instant gratification. (It’s a reach, I’m aware.) Three days later the charade comes crashing down when I want to murder someone because I don’t have a dining room table to host anyone for Easter Sunday. I mean, it’s basically a sin to not have a dining room table. For Easter.  You know, for hosting. Because I’m so spiritually in-tact  and what not.

So there it is. How’s the remodel? It’s slow. It’s sometimes super fun and lots of times hard. It has revealed some of my bigger suspicions. That I still struggle with materialism and my house is still a gigantic part of my identity. I still need grace for behaviors I thought would fade away after being so intimate with God and almost losing something so heartbreakingly irreplaceable. But it will be beautiful someday, it’s a work in progress. Just like me.

Front Exterior-Before Pic. Inside gets tackled first.
Entry way into Den. Bedrooms on the left, formal dining on the right. Our entry rug came with the house.
The Den. (Erron has now dropped in can lighting and all the walls in the living areas have been retextured to a flat finish.) To come later, new floors, a big chandelier, painted brick and cabinets, cedar mantle and planks on the ceiling. I actually just got tired typing all that out.
Eat in dining off kitchen. 3rd full bath, laundry room and mother-in-law sweet down the hall.
Eventually, floors will be ripped out, that wall behind the sink will come down, and become a large island opening up to the den. Cabinets will be replaced and fur down ceiling removed.
Formal living/dining. This was taken halfway through opening up entrances and retexturing the walls.
Sun room! We’ll switch out the floors and light fixtures. Paint the exposed brick and maybe put up new drywall, but maybe not. It’s currently the kids’ play room which means their junk has a place. So it’s my favorite room.

2 thoughts on “Old Habits Die Hard

  1. Your writing is so refreshing and so raw!! I love it! I stumbled across your blog a long time ago, but always love when I see a new post! I am NOT a writer, by any stretch of the words, but I find my voice in yours. Thank you! Best of luck with the remodel! You are fabulous!

  2. You are the best and I can relate in so many areas. I feel like if I ever had a blog my words would be so similar. I love you friend and I wish you were remodeling the house right next door to me. Love reading about you

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