Saturday, 15 August 2015

Work In Progress

Welcome back! It is Saturday afternoon and I am sitting at the dining table in our new home. Matthew is painting the hallway, and I have just finished washing the walls in the bathroom. We are slowly starting to feel at home in the new place.

We got the keys on Saturday 25 July and moved in on Wednesday 29 July. Between Saturday and Wednesday we took down the musty old window coverings, had the bath reglazed (I wish I had taken pictures of the giant black scratch marks in the bathtub! It looked like a horror movie set), removed two ugly kitchen cabinets and a whole bunch of ugly shelves and hooks, and painted the bedrooms.

Here are some photos from the first and second day:

Literally the first thing we did, take down the old curtains and rails

Second thing we did, taking down the ugly kitchen cabinets. Since then we have experienced a bit of regret because we have nowhere to store our food. But it looks better in the kitchen.

Look at all the patching!

Even just undercoated it looks better.
We quickly decided on a divison of labour: Matthew fixes and paints, and I clean. Matthew did handy projects to improve the kitchen, bathroom, walls and laundry. On Thursday and Friday (30th and 31st) I personally went on a 14-hour cleaning binge. Of our new AND old apartments. No seriously, I cleaned two ovens and two fridges and two bathrooms in two days. It was gross. And Aunty Lorraine lent us her carpet shampoo vacuum. It is a true modern marvel. I shampoo'd the floor three times. They almost look spotless. Certainly the black spots are mostly gone. A very satisfying labour.

We ate fast food for every meal for 10 days straight. We went to Home Depot every day. It was cathartic. And it was important to keep busy, because we both were feeling that pang of displacement between the old and the new. We confessed this to each other on the weekend after we had moved in, an abiding feeling of loneliness. Lucky we have each other.

We also welcomed our new flatmate, Rachael. Rachael a good friend of ours who I met in UBC English, and who just happened to need a new home at the time we were moving in. She has been most patient with our home improvement projects, and we are very grateful for her move in, because it means that we are motivated to finish livability and beautification projects asap. She has also brought with her a large and edifying book collection, to make our living space a veritable library.

Matthew and I were saying to each other: we don't think this apartment has ever been loved. It was untenanted for some time before we moved in. All the fixtures and materials are "builder-grade". All previous repair or decoration efforts were patchy and temporary. (Aside: in the storage locker downstairs we discovered some swinging saloon doors for the kitchen! For a hot minute we considered re-installing them, and then our common sense prevailed.) This apartment will probably never be stylish. But we are planning to be here for a while, so we are doing our best to make it cozy and welcoming. It is a work in progress.