Last night Matt and I realized we have been working on finishing this renovation as long as it took to lift the house, pour a new foundation, and set it back down again on newly framed walls. Little did we know, when you put so much into the structure and engineering, that the finish carpentry would take so long! However, throughout our decision making on whether we should go the extra mile to do something really nice, or skimp and get done sooner, it was that investment in structure and engineering that drove us to choose quality over speed.
We realize we are going to be living with the consequences of our decisions for many years to come. Probably for the rest of our lives. After giving the house a new lease on life with a brand new foundation, we just could not bring ourselves to cheapen the beauty of this old house with modern expediency. It was almost as if we were making a statement about what it means to be living in the modern age.
Many, many years from now, after we are long gone, and after many houses have fallen, this house will still stand. The tiling, the cabinets, the floors, the walls, the plumbing and the electrical will remain in good working condition. The finishes will be dented, they will be bruised, but, rather than simply turning shabby, as the Ikea products will do within months of installation, our choices of oak plywood, oak wood, concrete and stone will acquire a history of life, evidence of time and bodies passing, a lovely, priceless patina of age.
Yes, we have used some Ikea cabinets. If we had known then what we know now, we would have probably used the Ikea cabinet dimensions and hardware, and built our own plywood boxes instead of using Ikea particle board. But, that is the way it is. We have done the best we could with what we have. And that means something. Especially in this day and age when every living processes and entity has been reduced to a quantifiable object on a corporate budget sheet.
Yes, we have been irrationally persistent. Yes, we have been in over our heads for longer than anyone should, with no days off for over two years. Yes, we are exhausted, wiped out physically, emotionally, and financially. But, what does our life amount to, if it isn’t to leave a legacy of some kind for our efforts.There are others in the world who are struggling with far worse conditions and threats to their personal and family security. Perhaps our efforts can make a difference, a sense of what is important, what we value, what we believe in.