Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Renovator's Prayer

We had friends over for dinner on Saturday night, & it had been nearly a year since they last visited. All was going swimmingly until 2 seconds after we welcomed them through the front door & those nightmare words were uttered 'We've been so looking forward to seeing how much you've done to the house since we were last here, bet it's heaps!'... clunk, thud came the sound of my high spirits falling in a crumbled heap on the floor.

Now not being particularly religious, I'm a High-days only Catholic & MOTH's a Scotch-drinking, heathen Presbyterian, we don't do a lot of praying. But as I was putting the empties out about 1.a.m., I stood on the garden path, looked up to the night sky & thought it high time I had a little something on standby for debilitating, depressing moments like the one I'd experienced earlier in the evening. So I adapted one prayer I sort of knew, although not from personal experience I hasten to add!

God, give Millie grace to accept with Serenity that her friends will laugh at her for the slowness of her renovation, Courage to ask her friends to not judge her by the quantity of her work but by the quality, and the Wisdom to keep her mouth shut & not tell those same friends to take their $100,000 designer kitchen & shove it up their fully imported, commercial-grade stainless steel range hood.

Living one Electrician's outrageous quotation at a time, on Enjoying the completion of another overdue project with humility, Accepting certain friends derision as a pathway to getting her come-uppance, Taking as Greg at Stirling Mitre 10 does, MOTH's sinful word about completion time of the Bathroom-From-Hell as it is, Not as it really will be, Trusting that the load-bearing beam supports that MOTH took down 2 years ago & hasn't replaced yet won't cause the Living Room ceiling to collapse when she's sitting watching The Biggest Loser on the telly, If she surrenders to MOTH's renovation time-line, So that she may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with a beautiful, completed house & a bunch of contrite, embarrassed friends who've realised they got mightily ripped off by their Builder forever in the next.

Image: Annas Rom


  1. Millie~ I have to believe that your good friends really want to enjoy yours and MOTHs wonderful company.
    Renos are slow in coming for some...I've been waiting soooo long for my new counter-tops that it almost {geeez...did I say THAT} isn't an issue any longer.
    Some things are just worth waiting for. I do think that MOTH and my DH are cut from the same cloth. They take their time, do it themselves if they can {if they can being the questionable phrase here}. I am pretty sure that your home is warm, welcoming and that you and MOTH put on a small dinner for friends that rival any meal prepared in a 'designer' sleek, stainless steel kitchen.

  2. LOVE IT Millie! I am hearing you too. Our reno is into its 7th year!! The creation of two small people kind of slowed things for a while and now we are just starting to pick it up again....but it is relentlessly slow going and I would love a fairy, genie or the like to appear in the pile of glass and ceramic I keep digging up in the borders to come and wave a wand and it is all done, just how I want it...but thats no fun!

    Stay strong Miss Millie. I will use your prayer next time my peers come round =0)
    Ness xx

  3. It's easier over here Millie - it's dark by 4.30 so when friends arrive for dinner, it's too dark to see anything on the outside and the interior is well lit with candles so the only thing noticeable is the gorgeous scent wafting through the house.....but then, on second thoughts, it's probably cheaper to complete the reno than ship everything to the north......Susie x

  4. Dear Mill's,
    First of all, sorry that I've missed a couple of your posts. I seem to have been a little busy with food, drink, food, more food and birthday celebrations. Many thanks for your birthday wishes. I am very touched that people have given their precious time to wish me a Happy Birthday.
    Re renovations....we have lived in our house for 26 years and I don't think that we have ever finished a room properly. We have never had that ultra-modern kitchen with gadgets and gizmo's and our bathroom is probably one of the worst rooms in our house. Apparantly, kitchens and bathrooms are what sell a house so, it's a good job that we aren't selling !! Victorian houses never did have wondrous kitchens, and bathrooms were often outside !!....and...I don't care. I love our house. I love all that we've seen of yours and your garden must be the envy of everyone you know..... I think that I will print your wonderful adapted prayer for those friends that I know whose houses are like department store room settings and show houses. XXXX

  5. Don't worry Millie,

    They would have gone home and probably talked about you and Moth the next morning over their coffee, blah blah blah...and I bet they will be back again next year.

    Just be ready next time though, I'll come down to Adelaide and help you style a few things to make it look like you've done many things,

    Because......if Moth's anything like my Andrew, nothings going to change.

    I often think if I die, suddenly what state will my house be in when everyone comes to visit my family. Oh the thought of it freaks me out.

    Even when we went on holidays I was trying to leave the house in a nice way whilst the family sat in the car waiting and honking the horn. You never know when your going to go do you?

    Not that I plan to go anywhere, I have too many things to do.

    Have a great day,
    xx Coty

  6. Come on over. I'm sure His Holiness will bless your sincere prayer.

  7. This is what happens when hubbie does the renovations ... it will never get finished I'm sorry to tell you.
    The same thing has happened to me .... but we keep moving countries every time we start to renovate the next room in our house (which is an old Victorian mansion house). We go into crazy mode, finish the reno, pack up our lives, move countries ... then come back for more ... live there for a few years, start another room ... then move countries again!

    Your answer is get a professional to finish it (which you won't do (if MOTH is like my hubbie) or keep doing what you're doing ... and really ... good friends dont mind the state of your home, but do enjoy your company (as Debra put it).


  8. Well Millie as some one married to a DIY PERFECTIONIEST I can simpathize. There are times when I don't want to pray I just want to SCREAM HURRY UP! HOW HARD CAN IT BE?
    My friends don't reno there still living in what they had 30YEARS ago so they thing we are NUTS.
    They make comments like what was wrong with what you had so you really feel like you've commited a SIN of WASTE and GREED.Take Coty's offer up and show'em
    Kind Regards
    PS: thanks for you kind words about my recovery the pain gone but I can't see out off the eye(SCARY )

  9. Hahahaha! Love the prayer. Four years ago we purchased the cottage next door The top dog in our pack promptly removed the ancient bathroom and so it has been ever since! We can't rent it, sell it or move into it! I think this is the renovation that broke the camels back for us after so many. Keep enjoying and before you know it it will be finished!

  10. Hi Milly,
    Carolyn sent me to visit you today & so glad she did. Your blog site is very beautiful, a delight.

    Your prayer is a good one for MANY situations!!! Once a friend told me these three powerful words. IT Doesn't MATTER!!! I carry them around in my pocket where ever I go.

    My hope is that, "that" person was truly looking forward to seeing what you've been up to..... because you are a creative person and she is probably not. It's exciting to see transformation take place, a miracle actually.

    Keep creating your magic!

  11. Clearly bribery is the only way MOTH will get a move on. Not sure what is suitable to offer him but I find that it works for many things in life from small children to husbands. I know its wrong but who cares. Seriously we have been in our house for 10 years, did a major renovation 7 years ago, other rooms in dribs and drabs, still have rooms I am doing - you never finish. You should have said to your guests - 'oh but it is finished. Do you like it?'

  12. Dear Millie, Amen.
    Those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.

  13. God giveth to those who wait Millie...so brace yourself cause the mother load is on it's way to your home reno very soon Millie!


  14. Hi Millie,

    Where to start on this one! I can remember when my husband and I first got married and he looked around at the house and said "within 10 years we will have finished renovating this house". Our 18 year Wedding Anniversay is coming up in April. I reminded hubby of this comment recently and he just looked at me and said he couldn't remember saying that!!!! Honestly....We know of people that spend squillions of their home renovations (that's their perogative)have everything done for them - even on a daily basis, house maid, people to come in and mow lawns, but have the cheek to look down on the people who do everything themselves. Don't feel bad Millie, from what I could see of the photo's that you posted at Christmas, your home is coming along nicely, gorgeous in fact. Now while I'm here for a chat what is it when people drop by unexpected....my house is always a mess when this happens, if they'd just come the day before when it was looking sensational(!!) I would not be feeling so embarressed. So next time when I am feeling a little insecure I will have to say a little prayer likes yours Millie. Have a great week.
    Take care
    N.W. Coast Tassie

  15. AMEN!!! I'm sure your friends are really only interested in spending time in your splendid company, and they were probably just making conversation, however I do think they were a wee tad short on tact, we all know what reno jobs are like, and its best not to go there unless invited for comment. Anyway you have your lovely guest room to show off. Surely that gives enough of an idea what fabulousness is to come.

  16. Hey Millie
    I grew up in a house just like this... the one day house! but it gives you something to look forward to!!

    Bit concerned about the load bearing beam... but love your prayer.. that'll take care of it!! haha xx Julie

  17. You are hilarious and I'm printing your prayer & putting it on my bathroom mirror! You're living my life sister! Oh, but I wouldn't trade it and at least your husband is handy. We are challenged with new light bulb installs (we I mean he). Hope you have a great week.

    Note to Millie, get Moth to put supports in this week...I'm a little worried!

  18. Hi, Millie! I've never written on a blogsite before, but had to when I read your post. First of all, garage sale girl had it right! My sister just had her kitchen redone by a "professional", and it was so quick, I was envious! That said, my very sweet sister will be the first to tell you that my husband's workmanship is far better than what she had done and paid the earth for. She would love to have her husband do the work, but he doesn't do any type of construction and has no interest in it! So, they pay. We are in our 4th year of reno, our bedroom has been our living room for most of that time, and the kitchen is a quick throw-together until the real one is done. (When we bought the house it had NO kitchen! The previous owners had gutted it.) We have pretty much everything picked out and much of it bought, but it's taking forever! That said, the delays have had their extreme positive side! We have a huge lofty attic that we were going to install a pull-down ladder to access for storage only, because we could not figure out a good place to put in a staircase. (Our cottage is tiny, and every place we thought of cut up the rooms too much.) One day after nearly purchasing the ladder install kit, my husband realized a perfect way to build a staircase. It looks like it's always been there! This has nearly doubled the size of our home. We will be creating two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. The two little bedrooms and bath downstairs will be gutted to create a master suite. And, yes, it's going to take forever! :) But that delay paid off big time! We've had other delay-caused epiphanies, but that's the best one. Hang in there, Millie! I can see by the responses, you're in good company!

  19. Hi Mllie, you hilarious woman! You took the words right out of my mouth (and then made them sound so elloquent!)
    Apparently patience is a virtue.... I have not found that so far, waiting to get things done around here, and I always feel as if I need to make excuses for why things are not perfect!! But I am told I am the only one who notices... hmm not sure! Thanks for sharing your prayer, I will borrow it from time to time!

  20. I'm with Anita - AMEN! And as I turn off my annoyingly noisy outdated little rangehood I say 'what's the point in doing renos if you don't take the time out to live in the garden over summer?' I know that didn't make sense so maybe you could say that to wonder reno woman next time ;-)

  21. Oh yes - remind me not to ask for a visit when I come over in November if you haven't fixed the load bearing beam section ;-)

  22. oh goodness, now i'm scared. very scared. hubby and i are doing a few renovations this spring. new kitchen counters, backsplash, sink. french doors to replace window. moving interior french doors. he's doing most of the work himself as he was once a carpenter (to support himself thru school). i'm printing your prayer as i type. i will recite it each night before bed. hope it works. pam

  23. You will get there.... one day.

    I'm still waiting for the new house to be finished - that is now 11 years old. Hmmmmmm.

  24. Dear Millie,

    For the first, um, well...for the entire four years we've owned our house, our response to our friends inquiries into what we've been up to is always the same, "well, you know, we're working on the house." For those who hadn't bought fixer uppers, they always respond in complete bewilderment and ask, “still?” For others who perhaps had fixer uppers of their own, there would be a respectful nod and a warriors understanding in their eyes.

    So from one warrior to another, I nod to your Renovator’s Prayer. Amen indeed. xoxoxoTrina

  25. Oh Millie, you are so sweet and I know exactly what you are saying.
    We wait and wait!
    Love your prayer and I think most people have houses that are a work in progress. I hope you get what you want.



And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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