The aggravation is taking its toll on my wife

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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Post by windstar »

Here's the funny thing......We sometimes have the same problem, only its in reverse. My hubby is the one who is panicing to get "everything finished" and I am quite easy going about it. So I understand what you are going through, but like the others I can truly understand your wife's anxiety.

We are working on our c1815 farmhouse and still living in our other home which has been completely remodeled (totally by ourselves), and is quite comfy. We are repairing plaster walls and painting the 4 bedrooms upstairs in the farmhouse. These rooms needed the least work, and honestly are not #1 on our priority list. So IMO, a good cleaning, repaired walls and a fresh coat of paint was a low cost and quick way to give these rooms a freshening up with a somewhat finished off look...everyone gets to pick their own paint color so their room is more their own (even if its not my choice...but ruling out black :lol: ), this making a special place to call your own and also a few rooms you can show off to your In-Laws who think you are out of your mind!!!! (my hubby's Mom and a few of his brothers!)

High on our Priority list is a complete re-do on the only bathroom and the addition of a bathroom on the first floor. The kitchen is next, but I have put that off and have decided it would be better to live in it for a while and decide so I don't make any hasty decisions, and we are going to do outside work (garage, summer kitchen, smokehouse) in the meantime.

Now Matt, my hubby and I decided ALL of this together. Yet nearly everyday, he runs through all the jobs on our to-do-list that I know runs a safe 6-10 years. He ALWAYS has us finished in less than 2 years!!! :shock: At first I used to get very upset. But over time I found it actually helps HIM to do this....its like he reviews the work and mentally accomplishes something in his head. He has always been one to enjoy immediate gratification on jobs....(like I do all the tedious paint trimming work, he comes in at the end and does the rolling...glory and quick gratification all in one :lol: ) So listening to him is very hard for me, but like therapy for him. So I'm thinking that's where your wife is at. And I'm sure just being able to move in and settle in to one house will make a huge difference.

That said, sometimes those of us (myself included) who are more able to deal with the affair of these projects, get so involved we can't tell when enough is enough for now. Everyone needs a break, only sometimes we can't tell that we do. So before we become untiring, relentless slave drivers :twisted: we need to stop (or be stop) and give ourselves and our partners a well needed break. You want this house to become your home, so you don't need either of you resenting the work or each other's additude toward the job at hand.

So a day out at the flea market or something else you both enjoy, a nice drive, dinner and later, wine for two while you prop your feet up on tomorrow's work, is a very good idea. :) Help each other keep some sanity!

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Post by MattStiltner »

Well, her frustration has started to take shape. She's gonna axe the helper that I had because he's slow and wants to make it sound like the house is his :shock:

He apparently jacked the heat up to 75F last night while everyone was working away. She wondered why she was sweating her rear side off, only to see the furnace cranked to max basically. She flew off the handle on him. He said it was to help the drywall cure, she didn't buy it.

I enlisted the help of someone else till I can get some time off work. That guy is working out much much better. He's very paced in his work, but from A to B, he works. He doesn't go from A to C to X to G back to A then maybe throw a 4 and a 6 in there also.

At this point, we've poured through 2g's in a few weeks in supplies, materials, tools and the like. Its constant trips instead of one trip because person A forgot to get something small, so everything has to stop to make a trip to the hardware store (small town hardware stores are expensive, thats why 1 large trip to the big box store would save probably 10-15% on costs as it is).

We'll get through it, today she has a few family members coming by to help her out, and that should take some of the stress off her shoulders. I think once a single room is finished like someone else mentioned, that will give her some gratification. Its just everything is 1/2 - 3/4 done, and nothing has been finished. So I think she constantly sees what isn't, not what has been, or will be.

I'm not worried about our relationship or anything like that. Nothing dramatic like that is happening, its just a struggle to convince her to see the small progress in each area equating to a large overall progress.

I work till 8PM tonight, and after I get off work I'm going to the house to see if the bathroom is done, if not, then I'm working till I collapse tonight, and driving back to town to work tomorrow @ 11. If it has to be done, and nobody else can do it, I'll step in and finish it myself I suppose. There's no reason we should have had a toilet, now we don't, had a sink, now we don't, etc etc.

As time passes, just like everyone else, we'll laugh at it, and look back on it. But right now, the bad luck seems to be overloading the good luck. We saved $700/yr on our homeowners insurance with some #'s twisting, saved $400/yr on our car insurance because of location change, but then I lost my $1,000 TV last night :( That funny smell it makes means its bad :lol:

We'll be fine, its just trying to take it all in, manage it, and handle it w/ just her being there most of the time. I'm the more management type personality, and I'll swing the axe tonight if I have to.
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Post by catya »

what really flipped me out the first few months is that there seemed to be no end to discovering new & unforeseen problems. It was a terrible feeling like sinking into quicksand. Altogether there were about 3 gas leaks, numerous plumbing leaks, roof leaks, city bldg. inspector citations, etc. I thought I'd patch plaster and paint in the first three months but here it is 6 yrs later and I'm now just finishing the plaster repairs. There came a point about a year or so into it where there was nothing new to be discovered and I could finally R E L A X. Now, safe and dry under a new 40 yr roof and new electrical and new r50 insulation, etc. etc. etc..... I actually like my house. It's finally becoming the house I imagined it would be or could be when I first saw it.

If you can create some places of refuge then you can live there and work as you go along. I grew up in a house being renovated --I think its a good experience for a child although the danger is he/ she may grow up to be another crazy old house person.

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Post by franklyspeaking »

I remember that fateful two week period in December 2003 when we moved into our old house. I had been working to rewire and replumb the entire house and was finishing up on the new kitchen and bathrooms when we put our house up for sale. It sold in a week and we had to move in something like 3 weeks. I began frantically to get things ready so we could move, while relying on my wife to get everythng packed at home. Everything went along on schedule until (1) I couldn't get one of the commodes to flush properly (2) One of the kids caught the flu. (3) I repiped the drain to the commode and it still wouldn't work (4) Another one of the kids got sick (5) My wife called a plumber who said the plumbing was fine, probably just a bad commode (brand new). (6) Kid number 3 caught the flu (7) Wife caugth the flu (8) Had to move most everything myself (9) Replaced the commode with same model as downstairs and it worked fine. (10) Got everything moved with the help of a crew from my church.

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Post by Pantherboy »

Wow - that's quite a story, Jerry.

I've come to the realization (after 3 years in our 1920's bungalow) that I will always have a wish list. The things I was so excited to start on back in 2004 now are being phased out of the scope of reality.

My wife is the slave driver, but it's out of a need to create and beautify, which I appreciate. After 3 years of stripping paint, wallpaper, and the floor in a 250 sq ft room, painting, insulating, wiring, and chasing bats out of the house, I am taking a stand for myself because I've reached burnout. I put a stop to all the work for awhile. As soon as it warms up, I'll be finishing the paint on the outdoor trim that I started in 2004.

We have portions of the trim in our hallway stripped, and we will probably tackle that next fall (although my wife just LOVES using that heat gun, so I'm guessing she'll keep stripping while I paint outdoors). I still get the urge to get to work on that hallway every time I pass through, but a little voice inside is telling me I need to have fun for awhile and clean up the basement and actually organize my tools (what a concept!).

So far, she's been accepting of my decision. We'll see what happens in a month or so when she wants that hallway finished. And now she's brainstorming about how to reconfigure/remodel the kitchen. (sigh)

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Post by jeepnstein »

You have talked me into my next tool purchase. I've got a Milwaukee job site radio on the way and that should tell you how hard I plan to hit it this year. It'll be new music in the evenings and bluegrass all day Sunday, our NPR station is really on the ball. The pointing and rebuilding will be done on the back porch in a few more days and then I'm calling it quits for a while. I wouldn't be so fired up about fixing the porch is I didn't plan on parking my lazy butt there all summer. At some point I'll do the front walk but pouring concrete is kind of like play for me since I don't get to do it that often.

The pace around my house has been pretty hectic the last couple of years. Who says it all has to be done right now?

Now I just need to find a new wading pool for the boys to splash in, yeah that's the ticket.

My wife has earned the down time as well. It's a wonder we didn't kill one another during the initial phase of the work.


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Post by MattStiltner »

Well what can I say.

We've now got the entire downstairs living area's almost done. The plumbing for the washing machine has to be reconnected to the system, the bathroom plumbing downstairs is complete. The kitchen has some fresh drywall, the floor in the kitchen is laid. The wiring is semi placed and setup (I think I got a junk line in the kitchen, but I haven't been able to completely trace it yet).

We are making progress. On Monday I managed to re-route the plumbing for the bathroom, the hot/cold lines were too far apart (about 24") :?
So I had to cut em, and re-do that. I ran the hot line side for the dishwasher (not there, won't be for awhile, but we wanted to prep for it now). Essentially the place is coming together just fine IMO. The entire house has been stripped of its nasty smelly stuff from the PO. The floors have had all tacks and nails pulled, the rooms are cleaned up.

Now I got my next project courtesy of Lowe's. A total of 35 rolls of insulation, R-19 to R-30 need to find a home in my attic, and crawl/basement spaces. That shouldn't take long, my only concern is that the batts might be a shade too big, but I'll make it work :). (That, and I think we have BATS, not BATTS in the attic) We found one hanging from a corner of the living room taking a nap. Wife thought it was dead, when someone grabbed it off the ceiling, and it started flapping and squeeking my wife ran a block down the street :lol:

No insulation really in either of those places and a Kenmore water heater from 1983!!!. The energy usage on it is listed as $243 a year, which on the surface doesn't look like a lot, till you realize they rated Natural Gas costs @ .43 per CCF, I'm paying $1.40 per CCF now. So that water heater is costing me almost $1000/yr to run. That won't fly, no sir, not when I can swap it out for a new unit that costs a true $240 a year. The ROI on that is a no brainer IMO. It'll pay for itself in max of 2 years time being conservative. We're starting to easily identify the ways to cut energy costs tremendously in the home. I knew fully well that there was ways to cut down the bills, and I think we got all the sources of the problems nailed down.

I'm enjoying doing all this, and my wife is too. I think she was more frustrated with the helper than the actual work. She's learned how to hang drywall, skin it and what have you. So she's enjoying all that. Its just the time constraint we're on, and the aggrevation of hurry up and wait that we're dealing with.

We'll throw some more pictures down on the website in a day or two, I finally get this weekend off from work :P I'm gonna spend Friday - Sunday busting my hump trying to get things done. Essentially taking some of the heat off the wife and making her just do something she enjoys like painting. If I told her she could paint a new wall everyday for the rest of her life, she'd be ecstatic :D
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Post by Abuela »

If I told her she could paint a new wall everyday for the rest of her life, she'd be ecstatic
Please tell her that she has just won an all-expense paid trip to the east coast, at a very exclusive bed and breakfast in a quaint historic town just 15 miles from beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches, with the very special opportunity to paint a new wall every day of her visit before she heads out to the ocean, the tax-free shopping outlets, the museums, antiquing, or whatever her little heart desires! :lol: Offer good any time after June 5th, and may be used for as long of a visit as she'd like!
"Finished" is all a state of mind. ~Angolito

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

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Post by MattStiltner »


I love it Abuela.

Thanks for the well written humorous look at my wife's desire to throw paint on any vertical flat surface :D
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Post by johnb. »

Get that pool! We bought one of those blue ones with the inflatable ring on the top. It was affordable and kept the kids occupied all summer. We could work on the outside of the house and watch the kids at the same time. We got a 4' deep one and when we were done for the night (at about 10:30 or 11pm) we'd jump in and cool off! I think one of those pools should be in everyone's toolbox!

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