We are filthy and happy. We were working on that wall behind us–see the wet mortar? Did you know that masonry work is a lot harder than it looks? Dillon was our mason, and he worked really hard, but the wall isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect. Things are uneven. There are gaps and holes and cracks in every home. We get to see them, fill them up with concrete, caulk, or spray foam, and then add some paint and trim and hope it holds up.

I’ve always wanted to renovate a home. I never thought it would be this one. My Grandpa Claude and Grandma Jane built this home when I was a toddler for their retirement, and I spent my whole life coming up here and feeding the ducks and exploring the roof on their earth-sheltered home.

When I first thought about renovating it, I was hoping we would not have to totally replace the roof. But we did. And then I was hoping that I could find an architect or a contractor. But no one wanted to work on this house.

So I figured out how to do it.

I came up with the plans for this remodel pretty much by myself. I poured over building codes for hours to figure out how to do construction.

I never thought we would be able to do what we are doing. I didn’t think we could figure out the system to get water from the spring. Or that I could figure out how to reframe the roof. Or that we could build everything ourselves. I thought that we would need experts who knew what they were doing.

And we can’t do quite everything by ourselves, but we have been able to do more than I ever thought we could.

Dillon works four hours away from this house, and so we get to work on it two days a week together. We work really hard those two days. I can lift and mix 80-pound bags of concrete now. I can jackhammer, cut rebar, and do basic carpentry.

It’s hard work, but I love it. I’m not in this huge rush to get it done (though I will be happy to have bedrooms at some point). Sometime I put timelines on myself, and then everything just takes a whole lot longer. When I remove this timelines, I feel much better about life. We are the only ones who care when it gets done, and I am happier when I don’t care much about the finish line at all.

I’m just enjoying the journey.

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