Who would have thunk it? What was to take about 10 weeks now has no end date in sight?
My husband and I gratefully sold our home in December – finally free of repairs, stairs, shoveling and mowing. Two days later, we closed on and moved to a co-op with a fabulous view of the Hudson River, to commence Phase 3 of our lives – no major repairs, no necessary stairs and absolutely no shoveling and mowing. But for the baby grand, we sold most of our furniture and belongings, put the rest in storage, and moved in with only the basic necessities – bed, sofa, dresser and bridge table – just for 6 weeks so that I could really be sure that the structural and cosmetic changes I planned were exactly what I wanted. Oh – a blank canvas – I was finally going to create exactly what I wanted – in my very own home!
The renovation commenced right on time, and as scheduled, for just 3 months, we moved into a tiny rental- -175 square feet – around the corner from our co-op so that I could be near the renovation and work closely with our contractor. I hired the best, someone who had done dozens of units in the building, and immediately fell in love. He guided me in my decision making by affirming my design choices yet steering me away from the structural impossibilities. I trusted him completely and even felt confident scheduling a well needed 3 week hiking trip to Spain during the reno.
Four weeks of absolute bliss. I knew that living in our sardine can was temporary. We didn’t HAVE to cook, except breakfast, and my work, exercise and social routines were hardly interrupted. The sledgehammers, the debris, the dust, the dirt and the shmutz. The electrician, the wiring, the framing, the sheetrock. I actually got an N95 mask so that I could see the progress – we were on our way- and I was in heaven.
And then, BOOM! By March 1 we were all aware of the virus as Wuhan became a household name and northern Italy was being decimated. Spain could be next and I was starting to get nervous. Maybe this 3 week vacation was not such a good idea. And of course, by March 9, the virus had worked its way west and my trip got cancelled.
For two more weeks, the work continued but not business as usual. Just one man on the job. He worked alone and on stilts – and it took him two weeks to just about complete the taping of all the new walls. But on March 27, the Governor’s Executive Order went into effect and the co-op fell in line. No more non essential business – including construction/renovation work would continue.
And so, the nightmare of uncertainty began and the 175 square foot sardine can has gotten even smaller. We are here for the duration – cooking, working, exercising – who knew it could be done by two people in 175 square feet? I’ve even become a gourmet cook on two burners, no oven! Believe me – this tests your faith, your values, your strength, your patience and of course, your love. We are doing it and we are grateful that throughout this ordeal, we have both been okay. We’re healthy.
I’m sharing the photos of where the work stopped and hoping that at some point, I can also share the results. But lesson learned – We plan and God laughs. No two ways about it.