It's been over 100 degrees every day for the last month here in Tucson. Once I ride eight miles on my e-bike in the early morning, I'm mostly indoors with gratitude for A/C.
It may look like I'm just sitting in my recliner with my laptop. But I'm really doing a bazillion little things.
We are remodeling the daylight basement of our family home in Brier, a Seattle suburb. Last summer I found it was difficult and sometimes painful to carry the laundry basket down the stairs with dirty clothes, and carry it back up with clean, folded ones. Aging hip and knee, you know. It was time for single-story living. Since we split our year between Tucson and Brier, it wasn't practical to lease a condo or to buy anything. So we decided to create a one-bedroom space downstairs, with a wet bar (municipal code doesn't permit a stove, because that would define an "accessory dwelling unit," not allowable in our small city unless the lot size is 20,000 square feet. Which ours is not).
The project is nearly complete, and we'll return to Washington next week to settle in and do another massive downsizing. We'll be living in 780 square feet - larger than our 620-square-foot place in Tucson. And one of our kids will live upstairs with his family.
There have been a bazillion little things. My husband Art came up with the design with my input. My contractor son James agreed to do the work, except for the electrical which Art would be responsible for.
How do we create a light and bright space? By moving windows and adding a sliding glass door to replace a regular one. By installing ceiling lights on a dimmer.
How do we add a food space? By dividing a regular bedroom into a very small bedroom and a small kitchenette.
How do we want the kitchen to look? Several hours spent at Home Depot, choosing cabinets. Art is the kitchen person, and he wanted a lot of cabinet space and adequate counter space. He wanted an under-cabinet microwave, a dishwasher and a garbage disposal (both of which I do without in Tucson).
Should we keep the 40-year-old vanity in the bathroom or change it out for something contemporary? Art wanted to keep it since it was still functional, but James told him it would cost more money to restore it than to replace it, so that's what we did.
And so on. Paint colors, flooring (we chose vinyl planking), where to put the cable for TV and internet, what to buy from Amazon, Overstock, Wayfair, Home Depot and Lowes, and what to scrounge from stuff stored in the garage.
I thought I was doing well with the bazillion little details - several hours a day online to buy what we would need: microwave, Keurig coffeemaker, countertop convection oven/toaster, countertop double-burner to replace the not-allowed stovetop, rolling laundry hamper, ceiling lights. I had to create a new address for our Brier place: Jason Myers (our oldest son, living upstairs with his family) for Art. Otherwise, the smaller items might have been forwarded to us here in Tucson, or sent back to the source.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself for managing this project 1200 miles to the north, making sure everything was taken care of and ready when it was needed.
Then, yesterday, I talked to my auto insurance carrier. I'd called to take the Ranger, currently in Brier, out of storage, and to put the Accord and the Prius, currently here in Tucson, in storage. I do that when we move back and forth, to save money on insurance. Art had flown to Seattle on May 22 to launch the remodel, returning to Tucson on June 23. The insurance person said to me yesterday, "I show the Prius has been in storage since May 22." Oh, my gosh. I had forgotten to take the Prius out of storage when Art returned to Tucson in June. So he has been driving around without insurance for THREE MONTHS!
My friend Ellen told me this morning that it's because I'm getting older. I don't like that explanation. I think it's because, if I'm responsible for a billion little details, I will probably make one mistake.
I hope my opinion is the correct one!