Home Renovations…

… are a polarising event. You either thrive in the environment it creates or, you simply don’t and it becomes a constant day to day struggle – just getting your A into G – so you can complete what you set out to do!

My holiday mission was to take this:

And the outside show begins...

And turn it into this:

Thank Gawd for that!

In the process it got me reflecting some on the way we go about doing things in our day to day lives. I prepared for these renovations months and months and months ago (in fact – even longer). I sifted through the old plans we had for our ‘keep it cheap’ reno! This was binned and in its place – almost out of the ashes (yep – there would have been a phoenix reference there if the XO got her way originally) – came the new improved version. One that took in the skills we were beginning to develop – the XO’s ability to doggedly bring and hold a new idea on the table and – my stubborn ability to keep pulling out the old plan – encompassing all things I knew best (and knew I could do).

It’s been a VERY long time coming these renovations. So much so, that I might not have got to 2012. It’s been the single biggest bone of contention in our house – so much so that it had nearly split us apart simply because it was toyed with as an idea for years – but it never came about. There were very real reasons that this became the case. Family emergencies and deciding to have little people took precedence. These were valid and reasonable and we knew we had to keep putting our plans on hold, but valid doesn’t cut it when it comes to taking into account the emotional strain and stress that comes with such things. We needed to take control – and we needed to make this happen!

It’s taken me all of 2011 to prepare for this and at the start of 2012, we’re only half way there now. When we told folks, we were going to live in a caravan out the back of our block whilst our reno’s took place, they smiled indulgently. No-one believed us at first. Even when we bought a secondhand one with it’s own annexe and parked the bugger out the back – I still think people weren’t sure if we were joking or not. I took that annexe and built a mini-home inside of it. So much so that our kitchen and dining area works better for us now – then it ever did in the old ‘dog-box’ we used to cook in. We have a garden surrounding it and a paved patio area that’s covered in and – for the 4 of us – it works really well!

Our ways of seeing things is different too now. Where once I used to believe the XO when she told me that she had no idea of things that involve tools and building – I know now that this isn’t entirely true. The XO has a new eye – free of the constraints that I have developed as an ex-tradesman – learning about the building trade and my abilities in it. It’s not that I’m afraid to learn new things – I’m not – but I was afraid to take certain risks based on what the XO put on the table. I’ve been shaped by my past – not only as a tradie – but as a soldier and sailor – where being acutely aware of what you can do alongside of the How, When, Why, Where of it all – not to mention the available materials – all add up to make a definitive picture.

Or so I thought. I’d forgotten one of my number one rules: Plan by all means – but remain flexible. AND I’d committed a cardinal sin: I’d dismissed all that which the XO had brought to the table, simply because up until now the XO had dismissed her own skills in this area and I’d become too focused on those thing I knew and thought I had to allow for. These were the things I could physically account for – things I knew I could rectify and flex around if (or when) they ‘became pear-shaped’. I had forgotten some of what it was I was taught and had become a ‘one-man show’, forgetting that the XO is actually a key member of my team!

I’d been trained to assess and conduct an appreciation of the circumstances before me. I’ve been taught to rely on my own skill set and the skills of those around me – given the assets we had to hand (including each other) and the assets we might be able to draw upon for support. We had to develop set and clear objectives – ones applicable to the role we played and we then set out to achieve them with purpose and a clear view of what this meant to all involved.

We were also shown how to prepare and plan well -rehearsing all potential outcomes and our reactions to them. We were encouraged to bring new things to the table. There are a multitude of solutions to any one problem and we were encouraged to explore these things if we had time. We had to rely on each other. When I hear someone say: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team'” – laugh if you will – but I know EXACTLY what that actually means because I’ve lived that and it’s kept me safe and alive.

And here I am – trying to address so many of the apparent woes besieging our little family and causing our day to day lives to really grind down upon us and I’d clean forgotten about the ‘team’! I’d allowed myself to be so far our in front simply because I’d let myself believe I was the only one who had the answers for these things to come. In confronting our daily stress and the need to achieve our relatively small dream,  I’d put myself first and dismissed those things that the XO brought to the table.

When you put yourself first in this way folks – you very rarely ever come to realise just how far behind things – you actually, really are! I owe the XO a very big apology and I have things to make up for.

I’m a lucky fella though – I’m in a place where I can attempt a recovery of this and I will. Besides – the XO has a swag of work for me to do…

Belongum – Out!


About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
This entry was posted in adults, adversity, Against the odds, complicated, Family, hard, home, husbands, life, parenthood, partners, people and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Home Renovations…

  1. Ian says:

    Oooooh boy….. home reno’s……!!
    If ya wanna stress a relationship…. that’s the way ta do it!!!
    Add in caravan life……sheeesh “Jorry good ruck ol’ son”!!
    This is the voice of experience speaking 🙂
    37 years we’ve been married now, but 3 years in that caravan… that took some gettin’ over!


    • belongum says:

      Haha – I can see you know exactly what I’m talking about Ian! Mind you – the caravan and annexe we’re living in could basically constitute 3 caravans in one! Aside from the fact that we use the caravan to sleep in (boys up one end and us up the other) it actually aint that bad. But then I’m accustomed to living a life in small spaces. The XO on the other hand is slowly coming to terms with this. My real problem is… well – to some degree – me! Thankfully it’s a relatively short term job (over by july is our worst case aim at the moment) – We want to be back in our new house come August. But as they always say:
      Remain flexible at ALL times!

      Deadlines, plans, renovations and ourselves – very rarely go to plan! 🙂 All the best mate…


  2. Plan B? I think my friend it may be good to have a plan B just in case. I always have a Plan B when I take on a project I know will give me a headache…lol not to mention send me to bed because I am way over tired.

    Plan B my friend Plan B!


    • Robin Inkpen says:

      Is that barbara Matters the artist, because this is Robin Inkpen, formerly a work colleague of yours, and I have been trying to find you for months. Please send me an email and let’s catch up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s