From Where I Sit – Christmas 2005 Status Report

It’s December 11th as I write this. In two short weeks from today, our extended family will be gathering here for Christmas dinner. Yikes!

Check out this status report. The new dishwasher we bought in June is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen awaiting installation. What’s the big deal you may ask? When we decided to install laminate in the kitchen over at least two layers of lino and a sub-floor from renovations past, we lost some precious space in the dishwasher cavity. There’s also a quarter-inch difference between that floor and the adjoining living room. “The sunken living room Hazel’s always wanted,” is how Roy describes it. Like virtually every project we’ve ever tackled, this is not straight forward. And the clock is ticking.

Roy isn’t even home. He’s working his way back from Texas. I volunteered to host Christmas because it was our turn and the newly renovated basement would provide overflow space in our small house.

To add increased pressure, I began another big project. We’re converting an unused catch-all space into a fully outfitted office. So far, I’ve removed the wallpaper border, TSPed the wall, primed, painted three coats of a rich red, removed the carpeting, scraped the foam backing, as well as emptied and purged closet contents. Next is the installation of laminate flooring. Our electrician son Greg offered some time and labour saving strategies for expanding the power capability for a 21st century home office from a 1959 bedroom with two outlets. I explained this to Roy on the phone and assured him it was now safe to come home because the project got easier!

Red walls and laminate do not an office make. Occupying a good part of the basement party space are eight pre-fab kitchen cupboard sections. These must be installed for the built-in storage every office needs.

As the time draws nearer, I don’t hold out much hope for getting countertops, crown moulding, baseboards, new closet bi-fold doors, and window treatments all installed in time. I guess it’ll match the missing baseboards in the bathroom and kitchen.

Once Roy builds me the boxes, I’ve still got to do three padded valances. The sheets on the living room window will be replaced with three new roman shades, God willing.

And don’t get me started on the menu. Luckily my mom, sisters and daughter-in-law will all contribute to the meal. I have no qualms about buying what I’m incapable of or unwilling to do.

The tree isn’t up and the decorations are still all packed away. The staging, fluffing, and decorating are my favourite part of this whole process. Forget cards.

We scaled back our gift giving to one gift for the name we’ve drawn and one fun exchange with the larger group. This really reduces the shopping stress and prevents unpleasant credit card surprises come January.

Next year’s Christmas season had better be renovation-free, otherwise there may be divorce proceedings, from where I sit.

* Reprinted with permission