Dear Crabby, How Do I Survive Remodeling?

Dear Crabby,

We had a small fire in our house and now we need to have a lot of things repaired and replaced. I am excited to get things freshened up, but I have one major question – “How do I survive remodeling?”

Sincerely, Ober Wellemed

Dear Ober Wellemed,

Ah yes, the joys and pains of reconstruction.  I can remember vividly the process of having a disaster, then the clean up, then the quotes for new work, then the work itself.  It seems like a never-ending process while you are going through it. It makes you really appreciate what you had before and the hope of going back to that level of normalcy for sure. My sister once bought a home and had a water bed upstairs. They were filling it up with the garden hose while packing to go on a vacation for a few days. DearCrabbyUnfortunately, they left the hose where it was and then left the house unattended. While they were gone, some nice new neighbor kids decided to give them a house warming gift and turned the hose on full.  My sister came home to the newly formed waterfalls on their staircases and a completely ruined house. They lived in a hotel room for six months and had the entire house stripped down to the studs.  When they finally got to move back in to their house, nothing seemed sweeter then when they were able to sleep in their own bed – no longer a waterbed however, just a nice standard dry bed! Mrs. Crabby and I have had our own adventures in house repairs as well. I remember offering to get her new counter tops and a new kitchen sink one year. I thought I could arrange it to be done in a couple of days. Well about 2 weeks later, I was more than tired of hand-washing our dishes in the bathtub upstairs!  One delay after another kept that project from getting finished. The counter guy ran into issues with the material. Then the sink came in the wrong color. Then the sink we ordered did not fit in the cabinet we already had, so I needed to order a custom cabinet. Then the refrigerator would not fit once the new cabinet was installed. After almost a month and four or five times more than the budgeted expense, I decided my methods of saving on home repairs were not worth the hassles. We have found that the best way to get these projects done is to just not do them at all. If I end up not liking a color of a room, I blink a few times and suddenly it looks beautiful as is.  If Mrs. Crabby starts talking about a new kitchen, I start asking her about where she would like to go on vacation.  I find that if we just appreciate what we already have then there is usually no inconvenience of not having a kitchen sink or a bathroom for any length of time – that is priceless!  Let me know how you do and good luck.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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