Friday, December 07, 2007

Why renovating a house is like going on a diet

I know this sounds like a stretch, but it's true. Here's why.

Our house can now boast a renovated kitchen and two renovated bathrooms. New floors, new tile, new fixtures, new lighting. It took three months and thousands of dollars. Our house was basically uninhabitable, so we moved to our apartment in the city. I drove the children back and forth to school every day. Sometimes I had to do a double commute. On an average week, I spent about 12 hours driving back and forth. (This might not sound like much, but our house is two blocks from my kids' school, so in the average week, when I'm not renovating my house, I probably put 50 miles on the car.)

After all that, you'd think it would be a knock out. A show place. A drivers-slowing-down, traffic-jam-producing, wow-they-are-so-lucky envy-producing pleasure dome. But no.

What we have is a kitchen where the floor isn't rotting. The refrigerator is standing up straight, not tilting forward in a frightening fashion. My daughter has a sink whose stopper works properly, a bathtub that doesn't have the remnants of little flower-shaped keep-you-from-slipping decals, and a toilet that actually flushes. The downstairs bathroom's shower works. The faucets don't drip. The tile isn't cracked.

In other words, it's nice--but let's face it, it's also normal.

Well, losing weight is the same way. Say you lose 30 pounds. Or 50. Or 125. You've completely changed the way you eat, shop for groceries, and prepare food. You've cut out the beer, the real Cokes, or the cocktails. Every restaurant menu required deep scrutiny. You asked them to take away the bread basket. On top of that, you spent hours every week working out. Maybe you joined a gym or bought an expensive treadmill.

Basically, you put hours of time and energy into this project. It became your passion. You know dieting and fitness the way you knew your college major. And what's the end result? You look--normal.

I want to hang pictures of my house's "before" all over it so people who see it for the first time realize how much work I've done. And when I finish losing weight, I want to get a size medium t-shirt that says I Used to Weigh 211 Pounds* so people will realize that the normal-sized woman they see did not get that way without a lot of effort.

p.s. Pictures will come later, I promise. Right now I'm washing dishes and putting things back into the kitchen cabinets. And I have to drive downtown--whoopie!--to rescue my son's turtle. But I got to sleep until 7:00 this morning!

*OK, that was the day I gave birth to my son. It still counts!


  1. Normal, especially North Shore normal, is well worth celebrating. Cheers!

    BTW, your label is one of my family's favorite sayings. We actually work it into our version of normal conversation. We usually stop there, omitting the next line, "OOOOH! INTERCOURSE THE PENGUIN!!!"


  2. That is an awesome comparison. Here's to one finished project. I raise my coffee cup to you.

  3. I can't tell you how disappointed I was a year and a half ago, when I got down to my goal weight and realized that despite finally weighing the same as I did when I was young and cute, I was only a middle-aged woman who was no longer chubby. Not slim, not svelte, certainly not gorgeous, just not chubby. And my face still sagged.

  4. It's like my $360 toaster which really

    (It was a gift. Not that I didn't covet it.)


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.