Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baseboard Envy

The psychological effects of living in a dump, that will be our topic for today.

When I look at the lovely homes in a magazine, or on my favorite blogs, or in my favorite books, do you know what I notice? The baseboards. Yep, that's right, I notice the baseboards... and I envy them. Boy oh boy do I envy them.

I have been living in a half-done house for more than eighteen months and to be honest, it's wearing on me. It's hard to keep my head up through this transition. Right now, one of the biggest features in my home is dirt and one of the biggest features of my yard is trash. Living in an unfinished house is depressing.

I consider myself to be a well-edited person. I LOVE to weed out, and by any American measure, I don't have a lot of stuff. But with my house constantly in flux, I don't have places to put what I have. Our stuff is out, stacked about the house. Tools are also a feature in here, as are building materials. No matter what I do, there is clutter and construction debris everywhere. In some ways it's become a part of the visual landscape, so I don't always consciously notice it, but I still know it's there, it's still a part of the scenery, and it's a drain.

So that's 1. dirt, 2. stuff, which means the third component of the depressing trifecta is the fact that so much is still unfinished. It's next to impossible to keep sub-floors clean. The lack of woodwork leaves the place feeling naked. I can't hang actual curtains on the windows. The walls aren't done in much of the house so no pictures, no painting, nada. We live in a dirty, junky, unfinished house.

I am convinced that people take on the characteristics of their surroundings. People who live under bridges look like they live under bridges, they act like they live under bridges, the smell like they live without plumbing. People who live in penthouses look like they live in penthouses, they dress like they live in a penthouse, they're groomed like they live in a penthouse. There are probably studies that corroborate this phenomenon but this is just something that I've noticed personally. I mean, how do you feel when you come home to a clean house? Or when you paint a room a color you love? Or when your muddy dog is lounging on your bed? How you feel is directly tied to the space you're in, right?

Right now I'm trying to present myself as something other than the product of a dirty, cluttered, and unfinished environment. I'm trying to help my children present themselves like they aren't living in a dirty, cluttered, and unfinished environment. It takes a lot of willpower and conscious effort to overcome how the house makes me feel. Being conscious of the effect helps but some days I just don't have the ability to push past it. I'm about to head to grab lunch in glorified pj's, bed socks and Crocs. I'm a fashionista, let me tell you.

The house effect kinda spreads out across other areas of my life. My house shouts "You're a lazy slob" to me. It says "Why should you exercise? You're a lazy slob, you should have a nap." "Why should you eat right? You're a lazy slob, have another cupcake." "Why should you launch a business? You're a lazy slob, you'll never make it, what's on TV?" "Why should you get off the couch? You're a lazy slob, the couch is your natural habitat." Now, on an intellectual level, I know that isn't true, but it still affects my state of mind and my actions. It even affects whether I feel like working on the house. You'd think I'd be motivated but it's so overwhelming that I can barely get started. For example, Lucie's room only has about one day's worth of work left until it's finished. It's been waiting there for more than a month now. I just can't find the will to start. Weird, I know.

This is why D-day is so exciting! Friday a dumpster that holds three tons of trash will be delivered to our yard and over the course of the week, all of the junk from the yard, all of the junk from the basement, all of the rest of the walls that need to be removed, the old kitchen and the stuff damaged in the flood in the basement, the living room floor, the brick around the fireplace, the rotten deck, all of the crap left over from the last owner, and anything else that needs to leave, will be tossed in the skiff and hauled away. It's going to be cathartic on a level that I doubt I have experienced before in my life! Getting rid of stuff always makes me feel light and happy so three tons worth (I actually doubt that we have three tons) I'll be floating to the moon!

I'm scheduling a delivery for the drywall we need for the walls for the day after the skiff leaves. We have the funds to get the flooring for the kitchen and the hallway too. I can't wait until the house is finished and I have walls, ceilings, floors, and yes, I dare to dream big, even woodwork.

If you PROMISE not to judge me, I will show you pictures of the junk-removal progress. I've shared a whole lot with you, I've put a lot out there so be kind!

Until tomorrow,


  1. I love that you share Heather, and I can relate to soooo much in this and your last post!

    Be proud of what you have learned and all that you have done yourselves with the house, many people don't even try. And what a great job you have done with Lucie's room, I mean I have seen a lot of it in photos! And all of the classes you have taken in the midst of this, and how you have become so good at taking photos! And you write so well, and have such a great sense of humor.

    I read your last post earlier today, but I didnt have enough energy to comment right then. It was just after carrying the second hand sofa home. Yes, carrying. For about half a mile or so, and then our four stairs up to the apartment. It was me and my son, and we struggled so much that some unknown people in the street helped us half the way (but I couldn't face asking for help up the stairs, so we managed that on our own).

    This is because I live with a tiny budget as well, and I have been unemployed a lot between different temporary or project jobs. The last time I was unemployed for half a year (well, acutally sick listed for two of the months) and sometimes I have managed to go directly from one job to another. My current job is not a steady one either. I have had interesting jobs, but not a steady one since the 1980s (I studied for severeal years too though). I can totaly understand what happens when you don't have a real income for a while. I live alone, so I can't rely on anyone else.

    You guys are a lot smarter than I am though. You plan for rainy days and you save up for floors and things. I still haven't learned, I live from paycheck to paycheck. No credit for me either. Sometimes it feels like I have to spend my money fast, before they're gone. Stupid.

    I really think you are going to feel easier, cleansed, after the dumpster leaves with all the junk. I would need one too! I put my junk in the basement storage, but it's almost full. And I still have a lot of junk in the apartment to get rid of (and a little bit outside the apartment, in the staircase. I have had notes about it, that I have to remove it.)

    During some periods of depression my chaos has grown. Earlier I could managed to do big sweeps, clean out a lot fast. But know I so much more tired physically. But I'm not depressed now :-) I feel quite well.

    Let's take one step at a time, we will make it in the end! You will get your house done and I will get my apartment the way I want it to be, considering my budget. I will surley not judge you if I see photos of the junk-removal progress! I will show photos of my progress too.

    Big hug! Maria

  2. Heather, it's like you are living my life. I will second everything you have said about living in a construction zone, it impacts on every area of your life.

    I find myself hesitant to have people over, and I know the kids feel that too so it has a big effect on socialising.

    It's alright at first but once you get past the one year mark it really starts to get you down - particularly if you can't see an end in sight.

    I also feel the pressure that my eldest only has another three years at home and I really want to have a completed house for her to live in before she leaves for uni.

    But we'll keep plugging away - the Friday Dumpster Day will really help you feel a little better I'm sure.

    Cheers Janine

  3. hello heather,

    you need to tell that nasty voice in your head to BE QUIET. especially about your body and your health. who cares what you wear, but what you eat, and exercise really matter. get out and get some fresh air. take a walk. you are valuable.

    so, happy dumpster day. get rid of that clutter. and take very good care of yourself.


Welcome! I'd love to hear from you so please comment, it would make my day!

Note: Home Again Jog is a troll-free zone, nasty comments won't be published, period.