In July of last year we bought a run down little earth contact home out in the back of beyond (see first pic). After intense renovations, it's beginning to look like a totally different house (see second pic).
This is the third fixer upper we have gone through in nearly as many states. But we are back in Missouri now and in tend to stay here. Unfortunately, we have gotten spoiled. The first flip house, we lived in for 3 months, slapped a coat of poly on the hardwoods, and some paint on the basement, and flipped it for a cool 50,000 over what we paid for it, and let me tell ya it wasnt cheap to start with. The second, required coats of paint,, kitchen and bath, low level redo(cabinet makeovers etc.) and we got an even return on our money. At least we didn't lose, and while we were there it was a comfortable little place to live.
But this baby-whew! She's a beauty. 3/4 earth contact, that when we bought in July we loved, but as winter approached, our sentiments became decidedly frostier. As in I had packing taped the windows shut to keep the cold air out in the bedrooms and bathrooms. I spent a whole weekend trying to get the storm windows closed and hunting up the glass that someone had pulled out and shoved in a back closet, I covered the bay window in plastic to stop the gale force winds coming through and ohhhh GAWD the spiders, everywhere, my cat and I had a confirmed 30 killed one saturday afternoon. Don't get me wrong. We knew there would need to be repairs, it was cheap, the rooms were paneled, not sheetrocked, and fake wood floors and dark paint made you feel like you lived in a cave. It was a cute place, nice little porch, acre and a half of woods for a yard, its own well, and we could afford it.
It wasn't until after that, that we realized all of the pitfalls. First it was too small, 1100 square feet, even for a close couple like my husband and I, is too small. So expand out onto the front porch and open up the kitchen dining, living area into one big room. Good enough. Light, with tiny windows, a bay window that did not function, and one boarded up, and a ton of trees, no amount of light was coming in anywhere hence the deep dark cave effect. First step drop some trees. My diligent husband is an Illinois farm boy- "land should be cleared", So I handed him a chainsaw, said " I want a yard bright enough for grass to grow-I'll tell you when to stop", and turned him loose. I now have a pleasantly large yard with new seedling grasses, and a barrier of trees to stop the dust from the gravel road. Next, windows, windows and more windows. The cheapest and easiest way to get windows of a major size is sliding glass doors. Thankfully they have much improved over the past 10 years, being much more sturdy, and usable. Insert two, one in living room area, one in dining room area, add a couple of levered windows at the top in the blank spaces just for added light, and special order the one for the once boarded up window that someone used as a chimney hole, New larger window in the soon to be kitchen area, and vwhala welcome to a bright airy home in the woods. Crappy poly siding was replaced with a gray/brown metal siding called "Burnished Slate", crisp white trim, matching paint on the concrete visible above the dirt, and we are off to the races. (Roof to be replaced with galvanized look metal roof after the next big storm tears off a few more shingles.)
With the outside done and functional, onto the inside, and start rippin out walls. So far the hallway now has a large pass through door, opening the rest of the house to the brightness, the dining room wall, window, and exterior door to the living room is gone, and most of the old exterior walls have come down.
On a good note, turns out there is clean sheet rock under most of the paneling- so slap on some mud and texture and we are done. Eventually, hopefully before winter there will be a new wood stove, good use for all those trees we cut, and new carpet -out with the cheap crappy fake wood floors too.
So, the house is a shambles, on a good note, all the spiders have gone, and this sucker is sealed up as tight as a drum. Soon the kitchen walls will come down, and new cabinets, sink, water piping, dishwasher will go in. Its exciting, and time consuming, and hard work. But, hopefully in the end, it'll be worth it. A large window factory just opened operations in the area, which is a huge boost to the economy and with 300 new workers with a good salary, they are going to be looking for homes to buy, if not, well we will have a comfortable place to reside until we move on.
But we have to ask ourselves when its all over, what now?
There are times when we all feel stressed. Now is one of those times, as we are quarantined to our homes in fear of a dread disease that could make us direly ill and in some cases even cause death. And so... we are cordoned in our homes only going out for the essentials. Those of us who are lucky can telecommute, I personally worry for all of those who cannot telecommute but have been sent home. I feel for them, knowing that there's not enough to go around -moneywise. Been there. I also feel for those persons living with an abusive partner, that they may now be enclosed in a home or apartment with their abuser, and unable to get anywhere safe. I wish them all peace in these trying times.
Myself, I am bored to the point of insanity. I relish the arrival of the weekends so that I can escape the house. During th e weekdays I am tied to a computer, telecommuting, often on my lunch hour I will go outside and sit in the sun. but the
Starting a new year has different meanings for everyone. for some it's the end of an era. For others it's just the beginning of another year to struggle through. For some it's the the start of trying to remake themselves, resolving to improve themselves, their situation, or their life. Me, I don't make resolutions. And, I look at a new years as the beginning of a million new possibilities. I think I have a good handle on the overturning from old year to new.
A new year for me is like looking out over a vast expanse of ocean, and seeing it dotted with tiny islands. You just never know what your going to find when you hop in a boat or wade out to go exploring. You might find that island full of cannibals or poisonous snakes, or it might be surrounded by warm sand beaches, and magical swimming spots-Who Knows you might even find pirate treasure. But, I can guarantee you won't, if you don't get out there and discover what is just beyond the horizon.
To be honest, I have the same problems as anyone else, not enough money (there's never enough of that), not enough time, and not enough energy to do everything I want to do. I sometimes find it hard to cover all of the household expenses, sometimes I worry that I'm so tired I might fall asleep making the 35 minute drive to work. I worry about the spouse, the kid, the grandkid, my pets, needing new tires for the car, I'm just like everyone else in that respect. But, sooner or later it occurs to me that all of the things I worry about are just everyday life stuff that we all have. And, I remind myself that I need to let that stuff just fall away, because it's just life, and along with life, we all need a bit of adventure.
So, in with the new year, and a new adventure, there is always something new just around the bend, just beyond the horizon-Happy New Year- NOW GO FIND YOUR ADVENTURE!
Whats Green? Green is the smell of dirt, and growth, and sunshine, that's what green is. Its the beginning of winter, and even though I hadn't been looking to go back into the plant business. Plants just sorta find me. Green seems to sprout wherever I go. The first time round in Missouri I grew roses, and trees, and built a greenhouse to house a winter garden, In January I was harvesting bright red ground grown tomatoes. In arkansas I grew roses, and trees. In florida I grew Plumerias and bananas, and passion flower, and jasmine, and now again in Missouri the plants have found me yet again. Do you think they are trying to tell me something? My plumeria trees are doing nicely beneath the grow light , the banana tree seems to be doing well in the living room, as are the spider plants and the 6 Ferns growing on the clothes rack in the spare bedroom, and the Cannas are looking peaked, but still alive right beside them.
This morning while convalescing from a stomach bug, I applied for a job with a local green house. A week ago or so a family that my spouse had sold some wood too needed some help with some planted pots. We emptied them and I came home with Pampas grass, butterfly bushes, some Ivy and other growing vines, and 8 boston ferns 6 of which I still have. All of that and I knew I had to buy a grow light. The nice family jumped on the idea of having me repot for them in the spring.
So once again I am in the Plant business. Green House Tropicals, my new business has its own website, and blog page. Business cards are being handed out. Now all we wait for is spring.
How and when to jump ship on your career.
Sounds scary doesn't it? Well, it is. When you have depended on your regular income from your regular job to pay the bills, prepare for your retirement, feed and clothe the kids, pay for a mortgage, make a car payment and insurance payments, etc.
When your daily job has paid for everything for so long, it is scary to suddenly step away into a new career.
Even now as we get older my spouse and I find it terrifying if one of us finds ourselves out of a job, even for a little while. Even though one of our salaries will cover all of our expenses plus a bit. We worry about what might not get paid, or what we will miss if we are down to one income.
First and foremost, don't jeopardize your financial security. If you want to step out of your old position into a new one, start slowly- do it part time, until it becomes a full time salary. Then step out.
So what will you do? That is entirely up to you-What do you want to do?
Personally, I like to write, so while still working my "Day Job" as a IT help desk operator for (state agency who shall go unnamed), I have begun a side career doing what I love- writing. I take gigs as a copy editor, I write my own blog, and I write novels. Am I successful at it? Somewhat. Iv'e been blogging for a while, and love it. While my readership is small, my affiliate websites are getting a lot of hits which is garnishing readership. I have one novel in the works, which will be ebooked, and I am currently accepting copy editing gigs. Once the income gets to an acceptable level I will step away from my DAY JOB, hopefully that will be sooner rather than later. I'm not in a hurry, I have a job, and a sideline I enjoy, so until that happens, I'll hang where I am.
Choosing a career, any career, when your young or mature like we are is hard. No matter how many of those " Who am I, and what career is right for me?" things you fill out, isn't going to help you decide what you really like to do. They also aren't going to tell you when or how to break into your field of choice. Sometimes you just have to stick your neck out there and try something new. If it works out, and you get paid for it, all the better. Never underestimate yourself, I didn't think there was anyone out there who wanted to read what I wrote, but there is, and its not just people I know.
When beginning a new career no matter how old you are remember to make sure you can keep yourself afloat financially before you sever all the ties to your day job- think of it as working " part-time" until you have the opportunity to go "full time", once that oppurtunity is there, go for it.
We all have problems staying the course, keeping on track. I am certainly one of the worst for following the nearest squirrel that catches my eye. My trend is " oh thats cool, let's do that", or " It was lovely to vacation there, let's live there". Immediately I'm packing our belongings and putting the house on the market. Bless my other half who rides along in my wake, happy to go where I tug, and help out on my most recent venture. It's a fault that I am fully aware I have. That inconsistency of nature, or flightiness. Even now at 50 something, I find it hard to focus.
Staying on a track that is going to actually lead somewhere is hard when there are so many options out there. How do you decide which way to go? How do you keep your focus? Well, the first step is a goal.
We all need goals, if we don't have them, then what are we working toward? Do you want a stable income? Or a new car? Do you want to buy a house? Or travel ? Choose one, just one, and focus everything you do on that one goal.
A few months ago, my one goal was buying a house, not because I needed one, I had a perfectly good rental. But, because there were other advantages for our family. Stability for one; a place to always come home too. Money for another, while the initial outlay might be a chunk, in the long run, my house payment was cut in half.
I was so focused on finding a house that I drove everyone crazy until we found something we could afford, in the right area, with the right acreage. Every weekend I was dragging my poor spouse to house viewings, until we finally found our house. It's not perfect, but it's something we can work with, and that's half the battle.
I can assure you, I did not enjoy my all encompassing form of focus, and my husband certainly did not. But, it paid off in the end, not just emotionally, but financially as well. Thats a goal I can get behind, and you should too.
Choose your goals wisely. Is your goal something that's going to benefit your life in more than one way? Or is it a temporary shot of joy? Long term goals provide the best payback. something that benefits the family in the long term, be it in income, happiness, health, or stability. Goals with a long term payback are the best goals to focus your efforts on.
Failures...we all have them, and like most people we don't like to admit it. Once we start letting failures mount up, its like water breaching a dam, all downhill from there. Moving back to Missouri when we did was a small failure. Yes, it would have been better to wait until spring, but we moved in October, and suffered through the first winter shivering in coats that weren't sufficiently warm, and feet constantly wet from the snow. Yuck.
The bad part is, a little prior planning, and we'd have suffered less. That's all it would have taken -prior planning.
Prior planning seems to be something that most people don't do enough of, I know I don't , but I'm learning. Really, it comes down to what you want. Do you want to always be struggling to make your life what you want? do you always want to be looking for a place to call home? For a career that suits you? I know I don't, so Iv'e stepped up in the prior planning department
Not really... Its been a long time since I was on a horse. And, even though I grew up riding, as in every single day of my life. I'm far older now than I was then, and the ground comes at me far faster than it did then. Now buy my granddaughter a pony and teach her to ride is another story. But that really isn't what I mean. What I do mean, is that its time to get back to the topic of this website, and work on some meaningful content.
Yes, we all do it, we all slide off sideways sometimes, not keeping our mind on the task at hand. I gotta say I'm probably the worst for that. Trying to work a full time job, run this blog, keep my spouse happy, spend time with the grand child, whew! it can take a lot outta ya, not to mention house cleaning, cooking, running the normal errands required of everyday life.
Often I find myself drifting away on some wispy thought when I should be concentrating. The end result is never too attractive.
So before New Years ever gets here, I'm making a resolution to PAY ATTENTION. We all want down time. Relaxation, fun. But, not at the cost of every thing else.
So start early this year, I did.
Iv'e heard of hygge- It's supposed to be some sort of Danish relaxation that the rest of the world needs to discover, and practice. Hygge, given that the northern countries are colder than we are, is supposed to be what you see in the picture here. Some girl sitting in front of a roaring fire, sipping tea, and reading a book.
Baa, that's not really what Hygge is and it isn't solely the forte of the northern climes. Besides if I sat in a night shirt in my living room on my couch with only a pair of socks to keep me toasty I'd be a frostbite victim.
Better yet, I strive for something more. To be a good person, to make others smile, to help. To be good to animals, and nature, and myself in the process. Doing that produces a profound change in all aspects of ones life. Not only are you more community minded, your more at ease in your own skin, and for those of us who have always had a problem with that, striving for that something more helps us overcome that unsettled feeling we have always carried with us.
For the last few years I haven't been able to settle, to breath easy in my own skin. But lately, I've been doing better. I have a good job, that I seem to be doing ok at. I can pay my bills, there's food, I have weekends off with my husband for a change. We aren't struggling so much to make ends meet that we don't have time for us. Now we do...except its football season. Which is ok, because there are things that I want to do that he doesn't. I am working on getting our current rental updated with new paint, and patiently waiting to get a full month of paychecks under my belt so I can start putting away money to build the next house. While that happens, I will cook good meals, spend time outside, feed the birds, work on my furniture, and be relaxed on my weekends off. Which for me is a huge step in the right direction.
Try as I might, I can't seem to get any calm in my life. As much as I extol the virtues of taking back your time. There never seems to be enough of it.
Yesterday is a perfect example. I worked all day(my second day at my new job, at which I still feel like I'm useless). Then I rushed to the market and bought food for supper, scurried home, and BBQ'ed the pork steaks, while my husband prepared potatoes, and after everything was done, we greeted our visitors (my best friend and her husband). I quickly made a salad and everyone sat down to eat Afterward, we sampled a lovely pastie, and chatted for a half hour before the menfolk hauled in the dining table they had given us.
By the time everyone parted ways, it was 9 ish or so, where upon I flung myself on the couch for 15 minutes of television just to wind down, then headed for the shower and off to bed trailing droplets of water in my wake.
This morning I was in town by 9:15 and sorting my way through the local 2nd hand store for furniture. I'm glad I did because I found a fantastic chair and ottoman which I LOOOVVVVE. Then I tag teamed my husband who picked it up and carted it home while I did the rest of the grocery shopping for the week, made some miscellaneous purchases. Tomorrow, we have to drop of a roaster, and booster chair I borrowed from my Mom, and a knife throwing target at a friends, when we get home I have to do laundry, and sew a button on a pair of pants. Plus iron what I need to iron for next week. Not to mention I still haven't finished painting the living room so it's two, actually three different colors if you count the bead board that has to be repainted.
I still haven't found any great comfy sweaters, or long sleeve shirts for work, let alone a winter coat of any consequence.
And, tomorrow is Day light savings time switch over, so we will be getting up at 4:00am instead of 5 every morning. Sheesh, how come things are going so fast? It needs to stop, I need to take real steps to mitigate the loss of my time.