When we started this project we had an idea of how much work was involved and how much time it would take to do it. The plan was this would be a part time second job. We would work on the house in the evenings and hopefully keep our weekends mostly free. With this approach we’d spend 15-20 hours a week on the house, ideally both of us. With that kind of time commitment, we projected we could have the first floor refinished in about a year. Today, seventeen months later, the first floor is mostly demoed but a long way from finished.

Looking back, I still believe our time estimates were fairly reasonable, but they completely failed to account for a double whammy: having a baby and Sarah going to grad school. If it was one or the other, one of us could still work on the house while the other was occupied with school or the baby. Both means that while Sarah is writing papers and attending class, someone has to watch the baby. Both means there’s not much time to spend on the house.

While the time available to work on the house has plummeted and progress has ground to a near-standstill, we have gotten a few things done. I got the first floor bathroom window removed, the last of the hardwood floor is up, we’re sorting through the room full of lath, and we’ve filled the garbage toters with debris at least a few times. The problem is this progress has been over the course of the last several weeks. I wish I had a solution, but short of paying someone to do the work the only solution has been my mom coming once a week to watch the baby while I go downstairs and work for an hour or two and getting some work done on the weekends.

Things are slow on the permit side, too. We’re still waiting for Zoning to decide if we can have a front porch across the front of the house. We got them the new plat of survey with the neighbor’s building setbacks, more recently I sent them color photos of the front and back of our house and the neighbor’s (the two houses to the North and two to the South). Even though Green permits are supposed to be “expedited” they’re apparently backed up. The way things are shaping up, we won’t be done with the first floor for a very long time, and that’s just the first part of the project.


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