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Killing Us or Making Us Stronger?

It HONESTLY seemed like such a simple little job. So simple that I hesitated to even call it "renovating". You know, just a bit of bashing down - a wall here and another wall there, and erecting a more stable patio roof (FYI - Stephen still gets the giggles every time I say "erecting").

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Stephen, on the other hand, was slightly more nervous. Apparently it was a "big job", would "cost a small fortune" and "would take at least four months to complete". But seeing as though he exaggerates about EVERYTHING, I figured it would take a couple of weeks at most, cost next to nothing (how much could knocking down a few walls cost?) and be well worth the small disruption to our lives.

Famous last words.

Four months later, we are finally seeing the end of this mammoth project, and Stephen and I have only just started speaking to each other again.

Firstly, let me be VERY clear about the fact that I have been an absolute saint during this whole process. Not once have I moaned about the fact that our house looked like something post-Hurricane Katrina, or that there were so many people walking in and out of my house that I lost track of whether they were builders or burglars, or that Stephen mysteriously transformed into the Grinch That Stole Christmas whenever the subject of money came up.

Now, to hear Stephen's side of the story, HE was the absolute saint who somehow managed to keep a tight reign on our finances despite his spendthrift wife wanting to knock down "every bloody wall in the house." Apparently I sighed ALL the time, turned my nose up at the dust that filtered through every nook and cranny, and completely underestimated how much work goes into such a "massive renovation."

Which just goes to show how much Stephen exaggerates.

Just ask the builder, for example - the poor man who only wanted to make a bit of money before the Festive Season and somehow ended up facing The Wrath That Is Stephen every time he quoted us on something that needed doing.

"How much?" spluttered Stephen when he heard how much it would cost to paint the newly-renovated patio. "I could do it in one weekend with my brothers!"

"How much?" roared Stephen when the builder suggested replastering the lounge walls. "I can get two guys off the side of the road, send them on a plastering course AND get them to replaster the entire neighborhood for that!"

 "How much?" screamed Stephen when he heard the price of a new front door. "We'll just use the security gate and enjoy the breeze."

And then there's the saga of the driveway - something that has needed repaving for years, but which just didn't quite make it into this year's budget. However, when Stephen-How-Much-NT heard the price of the bricks we would need to build the patio, he rather "cleverly" decided to use the ones we already have. In our driveway. Which resulted in my 4x4ing into the garage every night while getting sand in my shoes, eyes and mouth. And trying to figure out how on earth we were going to be able to afford new paving without having to sell a kidney.

Now to be fair, the house IS looking beautiful (minus a rather unfortunate wallpaper debacle which proves that pregnant women should not make decor decisions. Let's just say that our lounge looked like the inside of a walk-in fridge. Or gay nightclub in Lenasia. It's hard to tell.) But other than that, we are deliriously happy with the changes, and the fact that our marriage has survived the past four months.

Only just. But beggars can't be choosers!

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