About nine years ago, when Dale and I decided to have baby #3 (later known as Neve), we knew the day would come that we would outgrow our little 1 ½ storey house. It retrospect, that was one expensive baby. In addition to needing/wanting a bigger house, she was the tipping point for the move to a mini-van. I sometimes make the mistake of imagining what life would be like for us if we had stopped at two. But I suppose any mental, physical or financial benefits of having only two children would be trumped by the joy that the third one has brought us. Some days I can hardly handle the “joy.” The kids have started reading the blog sometimes against my wishes, so I'd better clarify that I'm just kidding. I love you, Neve! Come see me and I'll give you a cookie to prove it.
Our little house was fine for three tiny children, but tiny children tend to grow into big children that wear big clothes and big shoes and have big friends over. So we did some house-hunting, but couldn’t find a house in our price range that had everything on our wish list. We decided that if we were going to live with things we didn’t love, we may as well stay in our own house and do some renovations. That was our first mistake.
Originally we planned to just add a dormer upstairs to fit in a bathroom and another bedroom. “Just a dormer” quickly snowballed to “removing the entire half-storey of the house and building a full second storey.” Months of anxiety, excitement, frustration, trips to Home Depot and appointments at the bank ensued. I won’t go into all the painful details - if you want to read more, go back to the very beginning of the blog.
Throughout the whole long process with all its setbacks, decisions, complications and expenses, whenever we mentioned the renovation to anyone, they would say – without fail – “Oh, but it will be worth it.” After hearing that about fifty times, I had to summon every ounce of willpower I had not to slap them in the head.
Besides taking longer and costing more than we expected (which we were somewhat prepared for since that’s what usually happens), the renovation actually went pretty well. Still, it took a long time before I would admit it was Worth It. Even now, I still feel some anxiety when I write about it. But I can’t imagine what our house and family life would be like now without the additional space. I realize these are totally first-world luxuries and we could have survived quite well without them, but we have gotten so much pleasure and use out of the second floor playroom, the new upstairs bathroom, and the front entrance. Just so I don’t appear all shallow and materialistic, I will add that the extra space has made it much easier to host people, have neighbourhood parties, and accommodate overnight guests. We’re actually giving back. In fact, it would have been selfish and cold of us NOT to do the renovation. So for that reason, I say it was … I think I can, I think I can ... Worth It.
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In other news that doesn't fall into the Worth It category yet, Chloe wrote her Learners test yesterday. She thinks she passed, but won't know for sure until after Drivers Ed class tonight. There was a problem with the computer network, so all the kids had to do written tests, which the teacher then had to mark by hand. How old-school. The thought of Chloe being able to drive legally is very exciting for all of us and leads me one step closer to a life of leisure. I can’t wait for her to drive herself and the other kids everywhere. *deep breath to prevent hyperventilation* That’s not entirely true. The thought of it makes my blood run cold. She’s practiced driving in the country a few times - I am in awe of driving instructors who put their lives in the hands of 15-year-olds, so I figured the least we could do is teach Chloe where the brakes were. She’s done well and I think she'll be a good, safe driver, but I’m going to let the instructor teach her how to drive in the city. I’m sure he’ll be more calm and patient than I am, and he has a passenger side brake.