I’ve lived through a fair amount of construction. You’ll hear that living through construction isn’t fun and they’re right. It’s always a hassle and always difficult to live through. There’s always someone in your home, there is constantly dust and dirt everywhere, entire rooms will be out of commission, things will be misplaced, and worst yet, you have to have pants on or even be presentable at some ungodly hour in the morning. Shudder.
Now long-term readers will know that I live in an in-law flat at my mother’s house. My mother’s house isn’t new. Built in the 1940s, it sits between two crossroads on the top of a hill overlooking a swamp turned middle school. (No, I’m serious.) The previous owner did a lot of work themselves – poorly. The garage was clumsily doubled, we’re fairly certain one of the bedroom’s was added, the finished basement was roughshod, the kitchen linoleum floor was caulked down, the upstairs tub isn’t sealed properly and leaks into my closet at times… oh the list goes on and on. We once watched an electrician climb up a ladder, open up a ceiling light, and then fly back down, shaking their head in fear and horror.
Every single time we attempt something in this house, no matter how small, something expensive and catastrophic happens. A simple clogged kitchen drain turns into the house’s main line being snaked because of the way the plumbing was designed. Adding a ceiling fan becomes rewiring half the house. Changing cable companies requires three teams of people all to stare in vague disbelief at the house. Every single home improvement we do is a major event. Despite the trouble, each year we try to do something for the house. Sometimes those home improvements are laying down new flooring ourselves or updating appliances and other times it’s the more construction side of things. This year it’s windows and gutters. The star of the show is a window that takes up half the wall in the double parlor. We’re turned into into a bow window with a little shelf for
plants and knick-knacks cats.
But what does this have to do with witchcraft?
Let me talk to you about windows first. Windows are doors. They are gateways. They are reflective surfaces. They are both outside and inside. They allow you to see the world without being involved with it. Windows are the shit. Glass is pretty damn amazing all things considered and I could do a whole rant on the amazingness of glass but I’ll put it aside for today. Windows, like doors, can be used as entrance ways for spirits and magic, especially if you treat windows as a door. When I cleanse the house I cleanse the windows the exact same way I cleanse the doors and corners. They are spaces where two things are separate by very little, like veils between worlds.
So when mum said “we’re going to do the big window this year” I sighed and thought “well, shit.” This means I had to break down the protections on this huge double window in our living room that we haven’t been able to open for the eleven years we’ve owned the house. So I spent a few evening tearing down the protections and holding them out in a temporary state until the installation could be done. Plus I had to take down the barriers to ensure that any constructors workers that are psychic-inclined don’t get a massive headache from my barriers (known to happen as I do some powerful protections). Then it took several days to ensure that the new window protections meshed well with the old protections. I also cleansed the window and area from any crap it came with during the install.
And one doesn’t simply add a new window to a room without considering repainting said room. So I did that too. The inset transformed from red into a silver-white and the peach walls melted into a marine turquoise green. The room is now cool and clean feeling. It came out really nice all things considered and now I’m really pleased to say this will be the perfect space to do readings for clients that come to the house. Plus, I was able to install some of my older gaming consoles so it doubles as a joint gaming location for the household. Which makes it even sweeter. It still has some work that needs doing (touch up paint) but usable again which is super nice. The photo to the left is the new room. I just wish I had a before picture to show you the stunning change.
Then we turned our attention to the gutters. Actually, the installation of the gutters is being done as I type this, huddled over my computer sipping on too much coffee as the crews started at the lovely time of seven-thirty in the morning. We are not morning people and there was much bitching involved with this wake up call.
Gutters are a pain in the ass. Not only did I need to take down anything hanging on the exterior wall that could fall down, but I had to do some major landscaping and deal with the fact that my gutters are changing. Gutters are potential streams attached to your house. Water helps conduct of a bunch of things including energy. With new gutters up, I’ll had to ensure the corners where the gutters hang were well protected magically. I had to crawl into the depths of the house to find each corner and protect it. Luckily I didn’t have to climb on the roof but it was a near thing. (I don’t mind climbing roofs but the ground was muddy and ladders don’t do well in the mud.) I did have to dodge some possums that live in our garage attic. We usually stay out of each other’s way but I scared the shit out of them when I climbed up to do the spells. It was worth it as I can now incorporate a potential running source of water into its own self-standing protection during storms and inclement weather.
That wasn’t the only change going on though. When you start doing work on one part of the house, you tend to start looking at the other parts of the house and think “well, that looks like shit. I bet I could change that.” Which is what happened to me.
I already mentioned I had to do some landscaping. When the previous owners built the trellis and planted the grape vines, they also put a gutter on the garage roof (which you can see there in the photo hanging down a bit. I damaged it during my demo). I have three mature grapevines and a climbing rose bush that propagated itself so now there’s something like four of them along that back wall. I kind of let the vines do their thing for years and they were in some dire need of trimming and shaping. So I hacked them all down to what you see in the photo. It was several days of tiring hard work. It wasn’t just cutting them down. I had to cut each vine piece into a size that would fill a lawn bag. I’m already at ten lawn bags as of this writing and I’m sadly not done. I also had to rake out the leaves on the patio and the leaves on the memorial garden on the other side of the garage (my bittersweet nightshade is a monster that will not be tamed). I also had to beat back my Audrey III in the front yard. In the summer we let it the creeping jenny wind around the front porch and provide some serious shade but every few months I have to go out there and hack it down to size. Creeping jenny will go everywhere if you let it so I had to make sure it didn’t make it’s way down to the mailbox. Followers on my instagram saw my work in progress a while back as I tackled Audrey III. It worked out though since I needed to clear out the front anyway so they could put the gutters up on the porch.
I’m still not done yet though. Although the garden’s now coming along nicely and will be pretty damn sweet come the summer, I’m also tackling three more painting jobs. The dining room (actually the second half of the living room since it’s a double parlor) and the greenhouse/storage/exercise room, and my staircase into my apartment are also being painted. (Yellow, green, and multicolored, respectively). I might even do my own kitchen/sitting area too if I still have enough fucks to give by that point…. Yeah. Half a house later and I’m satisfied with the house. Until next year that is.
I know I’m not the only witch to deal with construction so here’s my tips on how to survive, witchy-style. This list will also work for those of you apartment dwellers who have landlords that drop in with a “hey, we’re going to be doing work on your place. Deal with it.”
- Be certain you know when they’re coming, going, and to have all your paperwork in order. Put a “notice me!” type spell on paperwork you’ll need (and some pens!) so you can locate it in the chaos to follow.
- Secure any breakables, expensive stuff, and well-liked things. Thievery isn’t unheard of. Put down some badass “do not touches” on stuff and some extra protection on things you want safe. Plus thieving spirits will get into everything since your protections will be moved around too.
- Get a box and put your witch shit in it. This depends on you but if you’re not out about your craft and you want them to not know of it, get a box and tuck the most damning stuff in it. Stick it in a closet somewhere. Put your altar in a second box by itself. I highly recommend, especially for long-term constructions, moving the altar to a room that won’t be touched or to empty out a drawer somewhere and put the altar in that. If you’re open about your craft and don’t mind people knowing (like me) then just make sure your witchy stuff isn’t going to get knocked over or trip anyone. (I’m looking at you, cauldron).
- Cleanse the house before anyone comes in. This gives you a baseline for finding out if anyone’s hauling in new stuff or any negative energy that might come in. Plus it’s nice to have a breather before the chaos. Also, clean. It’ll cut the clean up after the construction in half.
- Make sure the new parts of the house mesh well with the old parts of the house. Each house has its own personality and spirit. Some spirits are livelier than others so make sure the house knows what’s going on and what to expect. [UPG]
- Determine if your protection spells need to be altered, adjusted, or taken down. My home protections are layers upon layers. Most are designed to be “dropped” at a moment’s notice for reasons I won’t get into here. My household is made up of misanthropic hermit-hobbits so we have excessive protections to ward off… well, everybody. Most people don’t do that apparently so YMMV but you may need to put aside some protections for the mean time. If you do, remember to boost your personal protections and any protection spells for individual people or things that may need it.
- Cast a luck spell. Not only will this help things go smoothly but it may speed up the time of the construction or save you money. Do any other necessary spells before construction begins and plan any regular rituals you might hold around the construction if possible. If you do big spells or spells with lots of components, start making those things now and put them aside. (If you use an anointing oil for example, make that before you begin construction)
- Find the devices and items you use every day and enchant them with a “notice me!” spell. I do this for all my remotes as well as my cellphone but you might also find it useful for things like medication, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and so on.
- At the end of each construction day, take ten minutes to meditate and de-stress. Your home will be in chaos. Your home’s energy will be tossed around and feeling like crap. Find a corner of your house that is completely untouched by the chaos and go there. This might not be possible depending on the construction but try to find some place where you can have a moment.
- Keep your regularly scheduled woo and non-woo stuff on track. Do normal things. This will be one of the hardest things to do but it can be the most encouraging and supportive for you. Make your bed. It doesn’t matter if the entire family’s crashing on a mattress on the floor but the simple act of making the bed look neat will give a visual and mental reprieve from the chaos. Plus, you’ll have somewhere to sit and put stuff that you’ll need to find again in five minutes.
- Unfinished houses are in danger from spirits and woo the most. Protect them as much as you can. Try not to leave walls unpainted or spaces without where things can be tucked without your knowledge. Cleansing, divination, and knowing the energy of your place will help find anything amiss. [UPG]
- Enchant as you go. I placed charm bags in the walls of my flat when it was rebuilt. I use water or chalk to trace out protection symbols on walls and floors before they were finished. When painting, each coat has a new enchantment on it, depending on what my purpose is. If you’re a DIYer, definitely enchant as you go. Remember that blood is powerful but so is sweat and the energy you put into something.
- Determine if you’re setting up a permanent spell, a spell that will need to be maintained, or if it’s something that can be taken down when/if you move. For example, as mentioned many of my house protections can be dropped. Some of those protections are part of the house now and will never be taken down without someone going out of their way to do it intentionally, even if I moved. Layering protections like that can help but adding new bits to your home puts a discrepancy in between the protections. Make sure everything melds together smoothly when needed.
- Blessing your new space might be a thing you want to do. I tend to roll it into my protection rites and it’s less of a blessing more of a “Welcome to the Crossroad-Shire! We drink blood on Tuesdays and perform necromancy on Fridays. Pants are optional.” YMMV. (I’m kidding about the blood).
- Sweeping out the negative energy with the dust and dirt will be helpful. Expect to do this actively for a week after construction. Dust will be everywhere.
Here’s some non-witchy pro-tips for the construction-minded folks out there:
- Always have a contingency money set aside in case something goes wrong. I personally recommend and go with half of whatever you’re paying to have done available or on hand. Excessive? Sure. But if you don’t need the money then it can be plopped right into a savings account or spent on something nice.
- Many window companies will outright refuse to price windows individually or do only a few windows at a time. If you do have a company come out, see if they’re guarantee a price or do some windows at a time.
- Avoid using companies that don’t do the work themselves. Trust me. You can bitch all you want to the place you ordered your fancy new door from but they won’t give a shit because it’s on the contractor they hired out and that contractor is magically not insured or just poofed from existence.
- Rhode Island is one of the worst fucking states in the U.S. for construction. Hands down. We’re notorious for it. If you’re in the New England area, triple check any construction companies as they might be from Rhode Island.
- Make duplicates of your paperwork and keep it ALL in one place. Ideally, this should be the place where all of your important paperwork is kept whether a safe, deposit box, filing cabinet, or a beat up box tucked under your desk.
- Stock up on foods and drinks you don’t need a kitchen for. Even if your construction doesn’t take place on the same floor as the kitchen you may find yourself so stressed from dealing with the construction or people that you can’t be bothered to cook.
- Secure your pets and children. This should be incredibly obvious but it needs repeating.
- Buy an extra set of cables for your devices. There is literally nothing worse than misplacing your charging cable or was finding it in the sink under a pile of soaking dishes. This will invariably happen after the stores are closed in your area and your phone is at 10% battery.
- Have at least one set of shoes tucked under your sleeping space. Shoes are some of the first things to be misplaced in the chaos of construction. Hide an all-purpose set of shoes in your car for extra protection.
Now, here’s an unpaid promo. I cannot recommend enough Power Home Remodeling Group. They’ve always been polite, clean, and friendly. Always professional, enthusiastic, on time, and on top of their paperwork, they have excellent customer service. Plus the work they’ve done so far has been amazing. They’re the people we’re going through for all our windows, the gutters, and whatever else we can use them for. So if you need windows, doors, or gutters and you’re in their area, I’d use them.