This is part three of The Renovation Diaries, a week-by-week chronicle of Western Living‘s editor-at-large as she tackles a fixer-upper. To read past Reno Diaries, click here.

I’ve been slow with my update, because honestly, it’s been a slow week.

What I’ve learned so far about renovations is this: sometimes there are just slow patches. Things don’t happen at the pace you want them to, in the order you want them to, in a way that is convenient to you.

Is renovation just a metaphor for life? These are the kinds of questions I have time to ask myself as I wait for various faucets and light fixtures to descend upon my home like a swarm of chic modernist locust.

It’s not that nothing happened this week. I drove out to Tierra Sol to pick up the tile for the bathroom and fireplace… and the train crossing delayed us quite a bit!!!!! And then I wondered on the drive home if I’d remembered to order a few extra square feet in case of error!!!!! My mom was very excited when we went to Lowe’s together to look for black accent tiles and we didn’t find any but she had a nice time looking around anyways!!!!!

Like I said, low-drama.

We had some waiting to do to get schedules lined up for our very exclusive lighting consultant (retired electrician and true angel Uncle Bruce). It was worth the delay, though: he snagged us pot lights for $18 each, about $45 (!) less than we thought we’d be paying retail. (This is the other thing I’ve learned so far: get yourself an Uncle Bruce and NEVER LET HIM GO. )

Another great thing about having an Uncle Bruce in your corner is that he knew that we had done some very bad light math. “Can you get us 25 and maybe some extras?” we asked tentatively. “No,” said Bruce, blunt but kind. “That’s… too many.”

Do I wish we’d known that before Max and I spent a whole night tearing our hair out over the light map and having potentially-marriage-ruining terse conversations about where is the right spot for kitchen lighting and where is the smart spot for kitchen lighting? Sure. But better late than never. We’ve saved hundreds of dollars already and avoided major retina damage. If this is not a win, I don’t know what is. Though I suppose if we’d gone with the original light plan, I would’ve gotten as close as I’ll ever get to experiencing what it’s like to eat dinner on the sun. So. Some regrets there.

The apartment is either starting to smell better, or I’ve coated the inside of my sinuses with such a fine layer of plaster dust that cigarette stench can no longer permeate it. I wear a mask when I’m there but I tend to collect dust I bring with me, like I’m cosplaying as Pigpen. For instance: I popped out of the apartment at one point this week after begging Paul (heroic father-in-law-slash-construction-foreman) for the fourth time to pleasepleasplease let me bring them coffee so I could feel like I’d been useful. (I am the homeowner but also I am the intern. The power dynamic is… complex.) In the coffee shop bathroom, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror: glasses both askew and fogged, hair mashed into anti-gravity formations by the straps of my N95 mask, navy raincoat covered in drywall dust. It did not make any sense that I looked like I had pulled a Kool-Aid man and burst through a wall, and then maybe wrestled a fog machine — literally all I’d done that day was measure the baseboards and look directly into several potlights. On the plus side: I’m making an impression on the new ‘hood?

Follow along on Instagram and come back next week for more Renovation Diary updates!