Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Update: Things are taking shape 2 weeks in! It has been 17 day since we moved into a nearly abandoned house with everything we own in 5 suitcases and our 3 cats! I’m delighted to say that things are coming together! They’re not perfect and there’s still work to do, but we are definitely feeling more and more at home. Our initial struggle was clearing old, rotting furniture and rubbish from inside. We tackled “Shelob’s Lair” (the downstairs “storage”room filled with enormous spider webs and lots and lots of scary mold) with the help of Simplicio’s godmother, Dona Olga and her super helpful husband, Antonio “Tobé”. We were able to clear out the trash, clean, sort the remaining objects, and, then, we laid in a warm beige tile (we learned how to do this ourselves!) in order to begin the transformation into a laundry room! I’m happy to say that today we have a functioning laundry room with washer, dryer, utility sink, drying rack and a room that I actually enjoy spending time in! Carlos Costa, the husband of Simplicio’s former nanny, Luiza has become a vital key in our renovations and a dear friend. An electrician by trade, he dabbles in a little of everything and has been a huge help! We have changed out faucets, the shower, installed new toilets, taken out a bidet, installed utility sinks in the laundry room and my studio, fixed some of the lighting fixtures and more! And of course, I have begun placing rugs, colorful towels and little decorative elements that are helping make the cold, damp structure we found when we arrived into a warm home! We have had a lot of help and I already feel good in the house and the cats are out and about, exploring and playing in the halls. However, there have been a few bumps with the major things we wanted to do upon arriving. We have narrowed our priorities of things that need professional attention to 4 things: repairing and painting the walls (some walls are literally crumbling from within due to moisture and need more than just a little spackle), tearing out the carpet from the living room and stairs to replace the flooring with wood laminate boards, raise the front door to street level (the house was built before the road and there is a step up from the door to the sidewalk and this hole accumulates trash and water and it leaks into the house, plus the door is old and rusty and very difficult to unlock and open), and installing the heater system which we have already purchased. The initial quote was a whopping 8,000 Euros! We have since gotten other contractors’ opinions and quotes and the prices are better, but we still need to close the deal with one of them. It’s funny, I have seen a line between what can be done and what needs to be done and I am finding myself leaning towards getting the house to a comfortable but not necessarily perfect point where “normalcy” can by established. I'm not sure if this is a strong nesting instinct or perhaps resistance to making more mess and generating more expenses. In the meantime, I am pretty happy with where we are..