Stuck in the Space

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When I was pregnant with Nelle, we started talking to a contractor about putting an addition on our house.  We knew what the additional space would look like, how much it would cost, and had a contract in hand.  I was going back and forth with the contractor on some of the particulars of the agreement when Nelle died.

The contractor knew that I was pregnant – visibly so – and knew that the reason for the expansion was to accommodate our growing family.  I had to email him and tell him that we had lost our baby and were not in any emotional shape to take on such a project.  I asked him to follow-up with me in a few months.  He did, and by that time I was pregnant with Iris.  I told him that I was expecting again but that I wanted to wait to start the project until closer to when I was due, in July of that year.  Then Iris died.  And at the time the contractor followed-up, I had to tell him that we had lost another baby and the project was on hold, indefinitely.

Flash forward several yeas, and our rainbow baby, Autumn was born.  We rearranged the space in our house to accommodate a nursery.  During the time since Nelle and Iris had died, Ger had also started working from home, needing a more dedicated office space.  Even with reworking our existing space as much as we could to make the best use out of it, our house felt cramped.

For Ger, this brought on a lot of anxiety.  As long as I’ve known him, he has always wanted the “big house.”  It took a lot of convincing when we bought our current home, because he wanted something with more square footage and I didn’t want more than we needed, not wanting to dedicate so much money to a mortgage.  But in the time since buying, our needs had changed significantly, with now having two people working at home, plus a new baby.

I thought that the underlying reason for him wanting a bigger house was because he equated the house with “success.”  I told him over and over that people lived in far smaller spaces than us, and yes, while more space would be nice, it wasn’t necessary.  It took therapy to unearth the fact that it was a reminder of his childhood: of growing up with very little money, in a house that was beyond cramped with 12 people living there.  He wanted to have a different experience with his own family.

We hired an architect to re-imagine our original plans for an addition (architect was awful – but that’s another story).  I went back to the same contractor for a bid.  Finally, we had final plans, a survey, and a building permit, and we broke ground at the very end of November.

Weather and an issue with the architect plans that had to be redrawn aside, everything went swimmingly well.  The contractor was in constant communication, and we had a foundation, walls, siding, roof, and electrical wiring in short order.  I started planning what the new mudroom/laundry room and office/bedroom were going to do for our family.

Then, sometime in February, everything slowed.  Then it slowed more.  We stopped hearing regularly from the contractor.  A crew would come out one, maybe two days per week to work on the interior, and the progress was slow.  I emailed the contractor and asked him when we could expect the work to be finished.  He said end of April.  Longer than I would have thought, based on originally talking to him, but there had been some delays, so fine.

End of April came and went.  I sent a scathing email regarding everything still not done.  Received an apology that it had not been going smoothly and an offer to paint our kitchen (extra work that we had requested) for free.  Which was nice, but now we are several weeks later and not done.  The frustrating part has been that it is so close.  About 95% done, and just need the final details to call this complete.

As the project has stagnated, for me it draws out how I felt during the months before I was pregnant with Autumn, and then throughout my pregnancy with her.  That the progress was so slow and there was nothing I could do to make the days go faster.  I could see the end, but not reach it.  It was a very hopeless feeling.  Like I can see the next phase of my life, but it’s not a reality yet.