As a homeowner, I watch HGTV pretty often. My husband and I are handy people and have successfully completed a lot of DIY projects and renovations ourselves, by planning, budgeting, compromising and seeing the value of hard work. There is also a crazy concept of opening your mind and imagining possibilities. Not to toot our own horn, but we bought our first house together, which was a fixer-upper and have made it into a comfortable and modern home. We also aren’t in debt up to our eyeballs because of it. We aren’t wealthy, but we get by, so it’s not out of bitterness that I ask this; why are wealthy people so stupid?
I see shows like House Hunters and people will say, “We have a budget of only $900,000.” Only? Are you serious? Then I think, well, they must be pretty smart to have gotten that far ahead. And then the show continues, followed by ridiculously stupid and naïve comments.
“I don’t want that first house because the kitchen was yellow and that’s ugly.”
For inspiration I browsed through a few picture folders and then I came across this one. My husband and I reference it often because to us, it accurately portrays a sensation that is so easy to feel consumed by. When we purchased our “as is” house in 2009, there wasn’t a facet updated in it since 1964. We have the owner’s detailed paperwork to prove it. The first thing we did was scrape the multiple layers of wallpaper off in each and every room in the house. It wasn’t that thick vinyl or heavy wallpaper that could rip off in sheets either; it was thin as if printed rolls of computer paper were glued directly to the drywall. It was impossible to use a larger scraper, or any other fancy wallpaper tool to get the job done without leaving indentations in the drywall that would lead to additional floor to ceiling repair. We tried utilizing steam, water solutions and pretty much any idea we could think of or that Home Depot markets. At least our house is pretty small, though it certainly didn’t feel that way at the time.
I can still vividly remember the smell of the saturated walls, mixed with dust and the piles of wallpaper trash that littered the heavily stained and smelly carpets.
This picture is of my little brother. He was kind enough to come help us tackle this monster. What you can’t see, is that he is standing at the only scraped version in front of a huge wall. With little scraper in hand, he just patiently chipped away. I have to say I admired his dedication. It seemed he could stand there for hours. My husband and I feel anxiety when we see or think of this picture because it stood for everything that overwhelmed us at the time. It also makes us proud and appreciate how far we’ve come since. Sometimes I think of this picture when it comes to other aspects in life, particularly since I really lack patience.
On the other hand, we found out months later, after the scraping, wall puttying, primering, caulking and painting were complete, that our house like many built in the early 1950’s, has absolutely zero insulation. Had we known, we would’ve just ripped out the walls, insulated and put up fresh ones. The idea of doing that now seems just as painful as watching my brother chip away at that wall. And to be honest, I run into a dilemma. What am I supposed to learn from this? Do I use our experience to trudge along and practice being patient in life or is it sometimes just best to start over anyway?