How to Build a House (in roughly 87,000 steps)

Okay, okay, don’t stop reading. It’s not really that many steps, but dang, it sure feels like it sometimes. We are mere days away from being at the end of this whole thing, and you know waiting patiently is not a strength of mine. There were some hiccups along the way (thanks a lot, weather and quitting contractors), but we officially get the keys next week. It’s been quite the process, let me tell you. I heard the other day that if your marriage can survive the building of a new house, it can survive anything. When I told that to my hubby, we both kind of laughed and said, “Well, we’re good then!” But, in case you find yourself wanting to build a new house and you have small children, here’s a summary of our adventure up to this point:

Step 1: Find builder, pick floor plan, choose lot, sign contract, get REALLLLLLY excited. Go to design center and try to imagine exactly what everything will look like with sample material that’s roughly one square foot and is supposed to cover an entire floor or countertop. No pressure. Then realize it’s going to take about 7 months to build. Get less excited, go home, live life as normal.

Step 2: Check in on the progress every once in a while. Get jazzed about a concrete pad and the framing stage; it kind of looks like a house. Watch 4 year old who has slight hoarding tendencies collect “creatures” (extra wood pieces and nails) and pile them around new house as we explore. Later, these will end up in the mailbox (and I’m curious to see if they’re still there).

Step 3: Sheet rock goes up and it gets real. Fast. So, panic. Gather all the boxes you can find and start packing all the things you consider “non-essential” and throw away ALLLLLL the things you’ve wanted to toss forever and now you have a reason. Stack boxes in hallways and corners. Feel accomplished.

Step 4: Change contractors THREE times. Wait three weeks for nothing to happen. Stare at boxes longingly, thinking, I hope I don’t need anything in those. Also, start to regret packing those fall/winter clothes because tank tops and flip flops might not get you all the way through to move-in day. Get discouraged and absent-mindedly peruse Trulia for houses that you could get tomorrow because the waiting (and the hubby’s ridiculous commute) is getting super old. Realize how first-world your complaining sounds and feel a little guilty.

Step 5: Sell your current house. Listen, sell your house to a friend if possible. Especially a close friend with the cutest family in the universe and little boys who like to play with your daughter while you hash out all the details and paint sample colors on the wall. This step was super easy. No cleaning, no showing, no rushing out at the last minute with dogs and kids while scooping up any remaining fur bunnies on the tile. No stress of waiting for offers or wading through prospective buyers. No negotiations. Perfect.

Step 5: Finally get a closing date. Make all the plans to move: price movers (no way, too $$$), so instead research moving trucks and find generous friends to help. Cancel utilities, notify little girl’s school and gymnastics of last day, lock in interest rate for the loan, order fridge and set delivery date. Schedule the cleaners and the painters for after move-out day to get house ready for the new owners (and friends). Get reallllllly excited and start counting down the number of nights you’ll be sleeping in your house. Also, pack all the things now. Clothes, toys, kitchen stuff. Leave only one or two baskets of toys and pray the kids don’t notice the rest are gone or get bored with what’s left. Get really lax on your screen time rules because, there is STUFF TO DO. Go through about six rolls of tape and go buy more. Start throwing random crap in random boxes. Resist the urge to burn all your stuff, because HOW IS THERE THIS MUCH?? Clear out one room at a time and stack boxes in a couple of designated areas.

Step 6: Find out closing has to be pushed back four days. Panic. Almost cry.  Then, put your big girl panties on and schedule moveable storage. Change plans with nice friends who will still help. Reschedule fridge delivery. Beg a friend to take the dogs. Find a hotel room to live in for a few nights. Take a deep breath. Convince self it will be okay, be grateful it’s extra days and not weeks.

Step 7: When your iPhone starts playing Oprah’s Super Soul Conversation with Eckhart Tolle in your car without being asked, listen. He tells you that you cannot control what happens, but you absolutely can control your reaction to it. FINE, Eckhart. I get it. Eventually (after much resistance) feel your blood pressure come down, find a kind of zen, get excited that you don’t have to clean for a few days and there will be Nick, Jr. on the hotel TV, and oh yeah, free breakfast.

Step 8: Get a text from the realtor that closing has been moved back to original date and time. ABSOLUTELY FREAK OUT. I mean, completely lose it. Call her panicking. Start to make a mental list of all the things to cancel and change back and decide to buy a mini-fridge to make it though ’til the rescheduled delivery (because now it’s too late to undo). Text all the people with all the bawling crying face emojis.

Step 9: Find out it was a mistake and we’re back to plan A (well really plan B). THANK THE LORD. Eat some chocolate. Be grateful you didn’t actually cancel or buy or change anything. Turn on Frozen for the kids and cook a nice dinner. Be totally chill by the time the husband walks in.

Step 10: (to be continued…) We still have packing up storage containers and the actual closing and move to get through. Hopefully with no issues. I’ll keep you posted. (I know you’re surprised at my naïve optimism here, me too, let’s hope it doesn’t backfire.)

Currently (Re)Reading: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I had to take a break from all other things and read a book on my Kindle app on my phone so I could pack the rest. This is one of my all-time favorite books, one I could read over and over. I just love it so much. And it makes waking up with the baby in the middle of the night (waaaahhhh) a little more enjoyable.

Currently Drinking: People, this tea. IT’S. SO. GOOD. A little bit of honey and a splash of milk and you’re drinking some dessert. I don’t know how this sorcery was achieved, but I don’t care. It’s amazing.

Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.

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