Raise the Roof

While we were away for our fabulous all daycare expenses paid family vacation, construction on our neighbor’s house began. They are adding a second floor, finishing their basement and doing a complete gut and renovation of the main floor. The contractors are very nice, work from about 8 AM to 4 PM and their job site is extremely organized. Every time I look out our window, I see progress.   This, of course, causes me extremely undue stress. It is absolutely maddening.

Seriously, because our window isn't large enough, it's got to show me this everyday! Can you say

This is not the picture I was expecting to see in our picture window.

Hubs and I started the wish list of things we’d like to do to improve our darling little house the second we set foot in the first showing. We live in a modest ranch with two bedrooms, kitchen, dining room full bathroom and living room on the main level. We also have a finished basement with a huge room we use as an office, a play room a laundry and storage area and a second full (yet extremely cozy) bathroom and little workshop area by the oil tank. It’s not a shoebox, but in about two or three years, it’s going to feel really cozy.

We have already spoken to a few contractors regarding the work we’d like done, including adding a second floor. All have happily discussed the extensive work and cost of entertaining this endeavor and one smiled so big, I could see the dollar signs pumping out of his giddy little heart. It would basically take winning the lottery or doing something highly illegal (and not getting caught) to afford what we’d like to do. Even our compromise list is a stretch that will take a few years to achieve.

Enter my mother. Now, my mother is a practical woman. She’s very business savvy and has been known to have a slight flair for drama. Her answer?

You know for the amount of work you want to do, you might as well just tear it down and build what you want.”


How on earth would we afford that? She assures me that through various financial consultations, a small loan, and some shady voodoo she found on the internet, we could absolutely manage to do this in a few years.

So here I sit, planting my money tree staring out at my neighbor’s half house. All I see now is how fantastic that tarp is going to look on my former roof and how far, far away that vision really is. Then I panic.

There’s a lot of lumber stacked up over there. A LOT of lumber. I wonder how much that costs. I wonder how much per hour those guys cost? They drink a lot of coffee. Do I have to pay for their coffee? How long is this going to take? They said they were moving out for six months. How much is their rent? Oh my goodness, they have to pay rent AND a mortgage! We can barely afford our mortgage. Wait, we CAN’T afford our mortgage! We’ll be in this tiny little house forever. Wimper, wimper, sniffle…

And so on. A nasty little spiral of self-doubt, pity-party, first world problem sob fest. It’s incredibly pathetic and I feel absolutely privileged and pathetic every time. Some people don’t even have one floor, let alone two. Get over it!

It is so hard to recognize what we have and just be thankful for it, especially when bigger and better is right in front of you full of hope and promise. I still dream I’ll have to complain about my lazy contractors soon, watching them be hang around and chat while they nurse their Dunkin’ when they should be getting a move on building my house and not dragging out my hourly rate, you lazy…

We know we can’t afford it now, but we know there is opportunity. We want to stay here for a long time and will do whatever it takes to ensure it happens. We know we must wait our turn and it will be worth the wait. The trick will be realizing that what we have is good for us right now and not getting caught up in what the neighbors are doing.

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