• Home Improvement

Expect the Unexpected

By The Foreman Household

Recently I attended a conference, and I was struck by one of the speakers.  As he was speaking about positivity and resilience, one phrase stood out.  Expect the unexpected.  So much so he suggested that when we get up every morning, we should ask ourselves, “I wonder what unexpected thing I should expect to happen today?”. 

As we have carried along through all our Live Net Zero challenges, especially the Home Improvement challenge, the phrase “Expect the unexpected” has rang true time and time again.

And sometimes all you can do is just laugh.  For example, when the contractor was installing the windows, he was confused when he couldn’t find one.  Oops.  We discovered, we forgot to order one.  And the siding was already off the house around that window.  This resulted in a hasty call to the window company to place a rush order, for which the window arrived in…December.  Brrrr.

Having not replaced our windows before, we also discovered on the first morning of the install that materials were not included.  Oh.  This is why folks say to always overbudget; otherwise known as expect the unexpected.  We have learned through these challenges to expect the unexpected budget items over and over again.  We also learned that we should have a budget! 

Lots of lessons!  Thank goodness for the Canada Greener Homes Loan.

The irony of our window install is that it happened during the Electricity challenge when we were supposed to be focusing on reducing our electricity usage, not having to turn the heat up because all our siding was off!  It was also discovered when the siding was off that our house does not have a wrap (which helps keep drafts out), with our house having only exterior foam then siding. 

Expect the unexpected! 

The contractors sealed the exterior foam insulation with tape until we install a more permanent solution. 

Alas, a house wrap will have to be an item we budget for…in warmer weather!   

Speaking of warmer weather, I would recommend changing out exterior doors when it’s a tad warmer out than in December…during a four-day power outage.  Expect the unexpected.  We were not expecting to not have power during our door install!  Good thing the contractor was able to use hand tools!

Not all love is lost though!  When the drywall came off so the knee wall could be built on the exposed foundation (so we could add spray foam insulation), the fun discovery was a level sitting, well perfectly level.  The level had been drywalled in!  As my husband exclaimed; “A freebie!”.  Expect the unexpected! 

The other freebie was the ant colony we discovered when the drywall came off ☹

Another awesome bonus that we did not expect is the health benefits of having a better air sealed home!  We now understand the significance of our heat recovery ventilator (which helps remove many of the pollutants in your home like excess moisture and moulds, household chemicals and bacteria).  After replacing the motor, we instantly noticed the difference in air circulation, including having less moisture in the house.  Also the windows that had mould have all been replaced, which in itself is a huge health benefit!  Expect the unexpected!

Yet through it all, we have persevered…together.  The unexpected gift that we did not expect to have, is togetherness through all the craziness of these challenges.  Ok.  It has not always been sunshine and roses, but we’ve stuck through it together.  All of us.  The true gift is that the kids have been on board, thinking of ways we can address the challenges or video ideas, and they have been eager to help…most of the time! 

Children are catalysts of change.  Children are the future.  Their positivity, resilience and creativity will change our planet and address global climate change as a whole! 

Expect the unexpected!

Written by The Foreman Household

Read more of their stories as they vie with the other seven households to reduce their carbon footprint.

Meet the The Foreman Household
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