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Age 58: House Renovation 101

“If the plan doesn’t work , change the plan but never change the goal”

Yay! October is our lucky month.

Happy birthday to us, my sons and our house 🙂

Yep! Thirty years of working as OFW (overseas Filipino worker), the first thing that comes to mind is to buy a house, and we did! But plan change, the two years contract was extended to thirty years! And the house was rented. Some of the previous tenants were caring, unfortunately, the last one was a tyrant! OMG! , I can’t imagine how they live. We always do repair before a new tenant comes in and we are sure that the last tenant receive the house in good condition. Shocks! The house was not livable when I received it, everything was upside down 😦

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2009 when I became a single parent, a sole provider… it was not planned but reality at times will shocked our nerves and when it hit me, I did not back off, instead I stand firmly , prayed and hope I can passed the difficulties. So many things happened in between, I can tell you it was not easy for all of us but we surpassed the expectation!

I was brave to spent my savings and earning to send my sons to college and they were able to graduate with honors. I was crazy to think I am done after graduation 🙂 Sometimes I would say to myself, It’s ok to be selfish at times, think about when you grow old when you cannot work anymore, no steady income, no pension but I also think what will happen when I go back to Philippines ? No house and no pension, that’s more  scary! Time is ticking …it’s a disguise of invisibility..waiting to expire, but no! I won’t be fool by my advancing age, I like to think what I have been through, are my armor to whatever mishap I may have in the near future.

The tuition fees I paid for my two sons to study abroad, I could have bought a big mansion and a nice car but What shall I do with it? Education came as priority. Travel was second, why? Well, I don’t want to wait till I am old and can’t enjoy the scenery because I don’t remember where I was hehehe… talking about being forgetful 🙂 And renovating the house became the last in the list.

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Once again, My inner me,.. says renovate the house, but I have no savings left, only my service award for five years.Besides , it’s a conjugal property. I like to file for annulment, actually saving for it. You see the irony in Philippines, We are the only country in the world that doesn’t support divorce and we also don’t have any program for single parent. I can’t file for housing loan, I am two years away of my retirement. The government should look into the predicament of single parent, this is not only to free from their spouse but to get support for education and shelter. There are a lot of separated/divorced couple that supports each other. Why can’t we be broad-minded on this subject for the sake of harmony and stability? Instead of paying a big amount of money to lawyers, spend it to other more important things like sharing for the education of children. However, out of no where, I received a quit claim and  the whisper is becoming louder and louder…renovate the house…renovate the house…

Drum roll… here are some photos of before and after renovation!

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the only post in the middle was turned into decorative cabinet

Renovation 101 🙂

I calculated my service award and I said to myself, just do what is necessary and you will be fine financially.I went home, got my architect/contractor – Arch. Rosario Valeza and discussed what I want for my house.The budget of 1.8 increased to 2.5 M, oh la la la.

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Shall I go for it? The inner me… Go!

Alright brave lady, Let’s do it! I talked to my boss to lend me an advanced money but with the economy going down, he cannot promise anything. Luckily, my contractor agreed that I can pay on installment basis. Wow! I am so lucky 🙂 Indeed! She also did a lot of extra work for me without even asking for extra money. Like I sent her to get me the appliances I need from Elba . I am too far away to come every time so she was so kind to extend her helping hand.Hmmm do I really think there’s no extra? Well, of course there will be but she is just so kind to ask and I am taking advantage of it :-)… joke!

Did it went well?

Well, I would say the finished renovation was beautiful compared to the old one but honestly , being far away from home while the house is being renovated is a big stress! Especially when the communication is kind of strange, timing is important, at times, she is free and at times I am not. Having internet is a plus but it is still different when you are there, in the actual site. I’m lucky also that I have my brother Eng. Kelly, who helped me visualized the outcome. Although at times, there was some disagreement between the Engineer and the architect but at the end professionalism works.

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Sketch done by my bro Engr Kelly Mariano to help me visualize how it will look

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the actual renovated view done by Architect Rosario Valeza

Some TIPS on renovating house when your far away from home and with a stretched budget on hand:-)

1. hired a trusted architect/contractor – this will lessen your stress but of course, it should be mutual. She/He should trust you too (financial wise) double wink ** I had some problem in sending remittances, two of the big remittance center in Jeddah was suspended and there’s also limit how much money I can send which shouldn’t exceed my monthly salary. I really appreciate the patience of my contractor.

2. have a concrete plan of what you want to change from the beginning. Think what is your priority. A bigger bathroom?  A bigger living room? Pushed everyone to be a part of the plan, even when they say, “Whatever you like mom” still insist on getting what’s in their mind. Don’t start until you get the plan, finalize and start.

3. Get a support from trusted Engineer, friends and family who has experience in building a house. You can get some tips but stick to your liking ,listen and make your own decision.

4. Think what appliances / gadget in the kitchen. This is very important so the cabinets can be adjusted accordingly. I ask a lot of questions from my chef’s son of course 🙂 I rather have a small but equipped kitchen than a big one with too many appliances in disarray.

5. Have an ample allowance to estimate the finishing date, so you don’t end up having double expenses of renting a temporary condo. Plus your excitement will not be overshadowed by frustration because of extra expenses. Remember you still have to furnish the house 🙂

5. Save money from the start even though you’re not thinking of renovating because it comes handy later on. I think it is better to just demolished the old house and start from the scratch.I didn’t dream of a big house, I always like a single detached bungalow.

Cute ..Simple.. and cozy.

6. Have faith, no one can defined one’s vulnerability and difficulties. I believed my courage comes in faith. I am always thankful of any blessings no matter how small it is.

Ladies, I am so proud to say at age 58, I feel fulfilled ,having done my obligation with so much love and passion…oh don’t give me that look!…yeah don’t say I failed in one aspect “marriage” (Please bring down your eyebrow) well, I survived 25 years isn’t it? Besides, It’s a mutual decision, sometimes you just have to let go in order to process the pain and be healed in time.

” Sometimes, falling is not hard if you know how to get up with grace..What is important..stand firmed and hit your goal”

Drum roll again! Life is beautiful 🙂

Oh, I forgot to mention ,say hello to our new fam member “Arya” the puppy 🙂

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Cheers,

jamilamimi @beautybeyondfity

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