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Top Ten Remodeling Tips

My husband and I just completed our first remodel. It was a period renovation of a Victorian Gingerbread Craftsman. (I'm so thrilled I can talk about it in the past tense). We haunted architectural salvage houses for just the right windows, bid on eBay for period-correct light fixtures, spent an entire afternoon driving all over L.A. for a screw that they stopped making in the thirties and generally worked to the point of insanity. Tiptoed up to the line but never crossed it.

So here, ripped from the headlines so to speak, are my Top Ten Tips for Remodeling. Read 'em and weep.

1. There is a solution to every situation. But it's not necessarily yours. You go where the solution is - it doesn't come to you.

2. There is no medicine for whatever ails you quite like hard, exhausting, purposeful work.

3. Chew your own food. Don't make your problems other peoples. They've got their own.

4. I'm not psychic. Maybe you are. Guesstimates of time and money are just that. Reality has a way of intruding. When in doubt - go with Reality. (I don't know when I'm going to die either).

5. Pain fades with time. Remodeling is like giving birth. When you're in the middle of delivery you swear you'll never do it again. But then the kid turns out to be a looker, a few years go by.....Yadda yadda yadda - you're in escrow.

6. There are no problems - only opportunities for creativity, action and collaboration.

7. You're born alone, you die alone - you don't have to win alone. Everyone can win. Some win more than others but there's enough in the pot to spread around. If you squeeze a vendor to bid a job so low that they can't make money, harbor resentment and cut corners - you both lose.

8. Nobody owes you anything. If they help you it's because they're generous people. Acknowledge them.

9. Everything comes to an end. And then it starts up again.

10. Remodeling really is like Improv. You show up without a script. You have no idea what's going to happen next ( except you can be sure that whatever you think it'll be - you're wrong). You're dependent on others for their performances. So help them shine. You make it work by paying attention to everything and dealing with whatever Reality presents to you. Do the best you can with the resources you have and don't forget to enjoy the ride.

11. Okay, I lied. There are more than Ten Tips to Remodeling. There are actually thousands. This last one, though, is the most important. Don't forget to put yourself on your own Punch List. No pressure of work or money is reason enough not to eat right,sleep enough, monitor your health and appreciate your family.

Mary Rosendale is a Certified Life Coach, Author, Speaker and serial remodeler. Visit her on the web at and sign up for her one-of-a-kind newsletter.

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