It's Not Like Camping

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

I'm getting a new house.

That's what I keep telling myself.

And I am. In June, my husband and I decided that after 14 years of living in our "starter house," and with college for our eldest looming in four years, we might as well upgrade this one, because we sure as heck aren't up-sizing anytime soon.

It's an amazing, exciting thing: new marble counters and new cabinets in the WHOLE HOUSE: kitchen, and two bathrooms. That's what it started as. It soon became, as anyone who has ever done anything like this knows, a lot of other new things too: New outlets, plumbing, baseboards, light fixtures, ceiling fans, garbage disposal, toilet. None of those things were exactly planned for. The good news is though, we won't be electrocuted by our kitchen sockets, things won't leak, water will be saved and nothing will fall out of the ceiling a la The Money Pit. Which we watched on Netflix to prepare us for worst case scenarios.

I promised I wouldn't complain about the process. This is a big blessing, and I want to be present to it and grateful for it. The first day it disrupted our lives -- the same day our eldest started high school (what were we thinking?!?) -- I made a joke on Instagram. Look at my cool cardboard fort!

And when I considered the fact that we would have no sinks, no dishwasher, no garbage disposal and no running water in our house apart from in our upstairs bathtub for 3-4 weeks, I put a good face on it. It will be like camping! I love camping! I can do camping.

My friends. It's not like camping.

There are no redwoods or nights around the bonfire. There is no sound of the river. Instead, there is washing dishes in a bucket on my knees on the concrete (see outdoor dish-washing station, below), and then figuring out what to do with all the oatmeal and rice crud at the bottom of the bucket. There is coming home from running errands to the smell of dead fish because my ten year old has squeezed tuna water out of a can into my garden. There is brushing our teeth with hose water and spitting into the flower bed, where we also dump out tea and small amounts of coffee grounds next to the hose. Which is, incidentally, also the final resting place of our beloved Randall the Gecko who died in July. So not only are we living in unhygienic circumstances. We're desecrating the grave of our family pet.

There is also homework, soccer practice, chorus auditions, weeknight dinners to prepare (yes, thank for the suggestion to use paper plates but you can't COOK on paper plates), my speaking schedule to arrange and update on my website, and two back to school nights to attend, and my daughter's birthday party to throw. There isn't carefree skateboard rides through the campground with my husband, but standing under a ladder handing him tools, rinsing paint brushes (bathtub or on Randall's grave?) and making sure he stays hydrated while he scrapes cement board from the floor of our un-ventilated bathroom (water from bathtub or hose?). There's calling the cabinet installer's supervisor because the guy they sent over has a major anxiety disorder and a swearing problem and the dog he brought with him keeps barking at me. In my kitchen.

So I'm a little stressed out, I guess. Like all things that cause us stress, this stressor doesn't seem to care that others have it much worse. Still, forgive me for failing to be totally present in the blessing. Can you forgive me for needing to write about it? Perhaps I can at least make us all giggle?

I'm getting a new house! It will all be worth it. I'm blessed and lucky to even HAVE a house. So when you ask me how it's going, forgive me if I tell you again that I don't have a sink and won't for 10 more days. And when you tell me, "It's like camping!" I promise to nod and smile.

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