Step 1: Contact contractors to see how much they would charge you to renovate two bathrooms. Find out that they all want at least $50,000 and for you to move your family and your pets out for at least 16 weeks.
Step 2: Cry about how $50,000 is approximately $50,000 more than you’d budgeted for. Since without a renovation you will not have a working bathtub, begin mentally preparing for your one-year-old to be the smelly kid at daycare.
Step 3: Convince yourself that you could renovate one bathroom yourself in 4-6 months, then the other bathroom in another 4-6 months. Even if each bathroom runs long, it couldn’t take more than a year total, could it? (Narrator: “It could.”)
Step 4: Blithely cross the point of no return by demo-ing the bathroom on a whim.
Step 5: Find out that the floor joists were not even attached to the outside wall of your house.
Step 6: Throw your time-line out the window
Step 7: Live without a sub-floor for a very long time and get weirdly accustomed to it.
Step 8: Spend two days wondering why there’s an ever-growing swarm of flies in your kitchen. Discover the opossum carcass in your exposed crawlspace. Remove the opossum with a shovel. Make a blood oath with your partner to never speak of it again.
Step 9: Learn how to do a lot of new things: plumbing, electrical, framing
Step 10: Forgive yourself for making mistakes, try again.
Step 11: Do nothing related to the renovation for weeks on end because life has other plans
Step 12: Find that it was surprisingly easy to get used to having your only sink and only toilet in separate rooms.
Step 13: Forget what it’s like to have people over to your house because its always a disaster – who has time to put the laundry away AND run the water lines? (and also your toilet is just behind a curtain and you can’t figure out how to have guests over if they have to use it)
Step 14: Crowdsource your emotional support for this project from strangers on Instagram.
Step 15: Continue to bathe your now two-year-old in the kitchen sink.
Step 16: Remind yourself that everything is fine. You’ll finish eventually!
Step 17: Freak out because what if you don’t finish eventually?
Step 18: Join the Spring ORC thinking it will help you finish. Make lots of progress, but do not ultimately come close to finishing.
Step 19: Make and eat a lot of pizza.
Step 20: Attempt to tile the floor. Make mistakes, fix them painstakingly over a period of 7 weeks.
Step 21: Listen to Hamilton approximately 2700 times.
Step 22: Join the Fall ORC thinking it will help you finish.
See? It’s so simple. Just follow these 22 steps and you too can gut renovate your own bathroom 18 short months!
In all seriousness, I am truly looking forward to the structure that the ORC gives me. I accomplished more in the last 8 weeks of that challenge than I had in the few months prior. The community that it helps to build is also a HUGE perk. Some of my best internet buds are participating and I can’t wait to follow along with them and meet some new friends too.
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