#renovation economics

We continue our long slow preparations to pour the concrete countertops. We dare not calculate the cost of the countertops in terms of lost rental income as they drag on, undone, from one month to the next. As the first of each month approaches, my stress level goes up, as I realize we are going to have to dip into our renovation funds just to clear another mortgage payment. With each passing month, our ability to complete the renovation is depleted by the financial exigency of making it past another payment.

Now the stress is taking its toll on my body, with tendonitis in my left rotator cuff. No more heavy lifting? Are you kidding? Now how are we going to get this finished?

Today I am going to put the finishing coats on the test counter pieces. These are forms we have built to mimic the pour for the real counters. This will give us a chance to go through all the steps of the pour, including the troweling process, before we do the real thing.

We have no one to blame, but ourselves, for this delay. Deciding to put in concrete counter tops seemed like a good idea at the time, and I am sure we will cherish them forever after they are done. But now, with so many months of difficulty behind us, as we realized just how hard it is to build concrete countertops with Ikea cabinetry, the economics of our decision no longer makes sense. We have transcended material economics and entered the zone of aesthetic economics. Aesthetic economics are the way we rationalize our activity when it does not make sense on a dollar for dollar basis, but it makes sense on a heartfull, or spiritual basis.

These concrete countertops means something to us, beyond their beauty and presence in the suite. They also represent our willingness to invest in things that give us a sense of the unique, the quirky, the essential values of life that cannot be measured on a banking sheet. These countertops have come to represent the price we are willing to pay for the quality of experience, the sense we are going to have, everytime we walk into that suite.

These counterops mean something to us, because this suite is where we plan to grow old and eventually pass on. We have designed it to accommodate our future, old, frail bodies. This suite is our retirement plan, the place that we will live, in 20 or 30 years, when we can no longer handle the stairs in the main house. These concrete countertops are a gift, from our younger, more able bodied selves, to our elderly, limited selves. They say, “Hang the expense. We are going to do this anyway.”

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