A renovation might kill us or how to know when it’s time to move

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I read a lot of blogs. A. Lot. I have a hard time narrowing my favorite writers down because the number of styles and genres that these uber talented ladies write in leave me wanting to work harder at my own craft. That is where the fabulously funny Stacey Gill from One Funny Motha comes in. This lady will leave you in stitches! If you want crisp and well crafted writing then she is your lady. If you want a punch line that will make you pee your pants a little bit from laughing too hard then she is your lady. I am so happy to introduce to ONE FUNNY MOTHA!


If you are just tuning in, the House Guest series introduces emerging and established voices in the mom blogger world to the Housewife Plus audience. The writers featured here share their stories about parenting, marriage, and life in general. They are sometimes serious, other times funny, but always real.

By Stacey Gill of One Funny Motha

Since the day we moved into our old, worn, compact 1920’s bungalow my husband and I have talked about renovating. In the beginning we took on some smaller, necessary improvements like refinishing the hard-wood floors, gutting the bathroom and putting on a deck so we had somewhere to step upon exiting the back door, but with two growing kids, one bathroom and no closets, the walls were closing in on us, and our suffocating predicament became increasingly harder to ignore. It was expansion or bust. Literally.

There was also a third option. Move. Kevin leaned toward getting the heck out while I leaned toward over my dead body will I ever leave this house. For 12 years we remained locked in a stalemate.

Finally, at the beginning of this year I broke Kevin’s resistance (and his will to live), and we began preparations for a massive renovation. We hired an architect, had blueprints drawn up, lined up a construction company and scheduled a planning meeting with the contractor. Everything I’d hoped and dreamed of for 12 long and drafty years was coming together.

Then I sat down with the contractor and reconsidered.

My mind reeled as I sat at my dining room table while Vinnie cross-examined with a million and one questions to which I had no answers. And this was just the friendly, informational meeting before the whole process got started. I couldn’t imagine how many more questions to which I had no answers were to come.

As for Kevin, he rocked in the corner, head in his hands, muttering, “No, no, no, no, no.” He wasn’t trying to be difficult or obstinate. He was just convinced one or possibly both of us would wind up murdered as a result of undertaking a renovation of this magnitude.

First Vinnie wanted to know what kind of doors we wanted. I thought, Oh, you know, regular. I want regular door doors.

That wasn’t a sufficient response. He probed further. “You want wood, fiberglass, PVC doors?”

“Wood!” I shouted, relieved I knew the answer, but that was a relatively easy one, and the inquisition wasn’t over yet.

“You want solid wood? Hollow core? Panel doors?”

“Um, panel.”

“You want 4 panel, 6 panel, 8 panel?”

“I don’t know. Whatever doors we already have. That’s the kind of doors I want.”

“Ok. What kind of windows do you want?”

The ones with glass?

“Wood? Vinyl? Fiberglass? Double hung? 6-pane? 12-pane? No pane?”

“Wood,” I cut in.

“You want Pella, Anderson, Marvin….”

I don’t know, I don’t know, I screamed inside my head. Just leave me alone!

This was why we were hiring the professionals. Weren’t they supposed to know what to do?

I wanted to shout, “You see my house? This is how I want everything. Only bigger. Can you do that?” Instead I sat there with my head spinning, and Kevin’s veiled threats of murder becoming a very real possibility. Which got me thinking. Was a renovation really worth my life? Neither of us currently owned a gun, but I suppose that could change. And, we did have knives. Not very sharp knives but serrated blades nonetheless, and I thought that really wouldn’t be a pleasant way to go. Although my husband is a mild mannered man, I could see me and my indecision driving him into a homicidal rage.

All this happened in just the preliminary meeting before any actual work started. I was already overwhelmed, and we hadn’t even touched on the kitchen or bath or installation of the new staircase leading up to the entirely new second level yet. Then Vinnie started talking about destroying things that, technically, weren’t supposed to be destroyed. That’s when I knew this project was more than I or any sane person interested in retaining that sanity could handle. I wondered what else Vinnie was going to wreck that wasn’t officially a part of the project. I realized then the entire house was now a part of the project.

When Vinnie left, I collapsed on the couch nearly in tears. All these months, years really, I’d been awaiting this moment, and now that it was within my grasp I couldn’t do it. It was too much. While I really loved my charming, craftsman bungalow with its beautiful brick fireplace, elaborate woodwork and leaded glass windows (they didn’t opened, but they were beautiful), I just couldn’t see how this was ever going to work.

“I don’t know if I can do this,” I lamented, hanging my head before looking up, teary-eyed, at Kevin.

Then a miracle happened. The next day an email popped into my inbox. The subject line read, “Did you see this house?”

It was from our old realtor, the one who sold us our current home and who we’ve kept in touch with on and off over the years. I opened it, and there before my wondering eyes was the house. The only house I’d ever seen in all these years that could convince me to move. In fact, I’d said these exact words to Kevin just a few weeks before when he claimed I was never open to moving.

“That’s not true,” I said. “Remember that house by the park we saw a few years ago? I would have moved there.” But a few years ago the house was out of our price range, and now here it was again on the market – at a lower price.

I really couldn’t believe what was happening, and I knew right then this was our answer. God, well God in the form of our realtor, had sent us this house. God was saying, “Stacey, you cannot handle a renovation. Are you out of your mind? You can barely handle your regular life.”

God was right. So I answered Him. I returned the email with a note saying, “We’ll take it.”

And we did. In a single day we found, bid on and bought our perfect home.

Well, 12 years and a day.

Head shot_potato headBIO: Stacey Gill is an award-winning journalist and mastermind behind the humor blog, One Funny Motha. She provides incisive cultural commentary also known as common sense. Her work has appeared on such sites as The Huffington Post, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and Mamalode. In 2014 she was named one of the Top 10 Funny Parent Bloggers of the Year by VoiceBoks. Perhaps most importantly, she is the proud founder of the Detached Parenting Movement, a child-rearing model she single-handedly developed without any guidance or advanced degrees in child psychology.

For a good time, find her on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.


Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.