New Eyes

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It's funny how you start to see things differently when you realise that someone else's eyes will be doing the viewing. We've lived in our house for quite a few years now, and we really like it, but I'm starting to see things through the eyes of a visiting family and realising that there are things we have grown accustomed to that probably need fixing, finishing or updating. I have always felt that our house is a very comfortable and pleasant place in which to live, and there's not all that much that I felt needed changing. Donna, on the other hand, is always thinking about things that can be changed... she moves furniture, swaps paintings from wall to wall, buys new accessories, even moves the plants around in the garden. I'm not sure how many of her changes are actually necessary... at the end of the day, I think she just really likes to change things. Actually, I suspect she just has an exceptionally low threshold to boredom, and making constant changes to the house is one way of relieving that.

Anyway, I digress...

Knowing that the Graces will be coming to live has prompted us to do some renovation rescue. We had a very ugly and poorly made closet at the end of the hallway, and although it was ugly and poorly made, we had just gotten used to it. The other day I decided to rip it out and build a new one. That plan soon got modified to just "rip it out". Whoever built it did a lousy job of building the actual closet, but a great job of attaching it to the walls, so when I demolished it it left its mark on the walls and ceiling. After much sanding, filling, sanding, filling, sanding, and eventually painting, it looks quite good. We bought a bookshelf to fill the void and the hallway looks much better now.

I spent today repainting the cedar windows and doors at the back of the house. When we did our first big renovation to the house we decided that we wanted the beauty of timber doors and windows. They looked fantastic, but we were devastated when, not long after I installed them, our dog decided that the best revenge for being locked out of the house during the day would be to chew on the doors in an attmpt to get inside. Needless to say, we no longer have that dog, but the scars on the doors persist. Knowing that another family will be looking at them for 12 months Donna convinced me to spend most of Saturday sanding and revarnishing them. They still looked chewed, but at least they are all more or less the same colour now.

And then there's the tree. We had a big Camphor Laurel tree just outside the driveway. It looked beautiful, but it was a nuisance. It dropped leaves, it stained the cars if we parked under it, but mostly it was starting to damage the driveway. Long story short, the council came and chopped it down this week, and we are currently in negotiations with their insurance company to have a new driveway laid. We have lived with the old driveway for ages, but knowing that our exchange partners would be using it made us realise just how unacceptable it really was.

So, I guess the exchange is working out to be a good thing for more reasons than just the obvious. Being forced to see things with fresh eyes is a good thing really.

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