overwhelmed, despite a vacation.

15Jun08

We were away last week– visiting our aging grandparents in Michigan & Kentucky. It was good to get away, and good to see our families. I hardly thought about the house or the businesses for an entire week, which is a huge luxury. Luke didn’t get to bask in the luxury quite so much, and still had to answer phone calls.

We’re back now, and somehow the vacation didn’t quite “take,” I fear. We’re trying to do too much, but unsure of how to change the patterns or reduce the stress. Owning a small business is stressful enough– add to that the task of completely rebuilding a house from scratch with little cash, very little hired help– and it is a recipe for burnout. Our problem is that we want 3 things from this project: we want it “good” (designed to our specifications, and well-built), we want it cheap, and we want it done quickly. The old adage says that you can have 2 of the 3, but never all 3 at once. I don’t know why we think we can break the universal laws of building! Up until now, we’ve let the “quick” part go by the wayside, but it is starting to feel like progress is painfully slow, and we’ve got to change some things in order to get a place to live. It’s only June and already I can feel the snowballs hitting us in the ass. We don’t want to be a burden on our landlord/ patrons, we’re trying to pay for things out of pocket as much as possible to reduce the double-triple-quadruple payment that comes from having your life mortgaged to the bank. We’re stretched as thin as we can be (gas prices aren’t helping!). Sometimes we feel like building this house the way we are is making a huge investment in our financial future– putting money into a savings account that we can draw on in the future by not having to slave away to pay off a big mortgage. But the price is that we’re “slaving” now– giving up all our free time, all our disposable income, and every shred of disposable energy. We don’t have time to make friends here, and right now that feels like it makes life a lot harder. Neither one of us is spending time doing things we’d like to do just for fun. We work 7 days a week, and indulge in only three luxuries: Netflix, burritos at Jose’s Taqueria, and occasional self-pity. (I especially enjoy the last one.) We keep telling ourselves that there will be a big payoff at the end– that it will all be worthwhile in the end, and that we’re getting a great education in the process. Can you tell I’m a little blue?

Anyway, complaining aside, here’s a few pictures of the house at the moment. The pictures are a bit old now– I posted them on Flickr before we left for our trip– but things haven’t changed much and I haven’t had time to upload more. More pics on the Flickr page. Thanks for reading, even though I’ve been an irregular blogger recently.

Happy Pappy’s Day, Dad.

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3 Responses to “overwhelmed, despite a vacation.”

  1. Not true! You’re made progress since these pictures… although after my visit yesterday I can understand why it feels so painfully slow. You guys have taken on a monumental task. The house is going to be beautiful, but I’m sure it feels like it will never be done. Somehow, as one of my “gurus” says, there has to be a middle way (between perfection and burnout).
    I love you guys and will help out however I can!
    Your sis–

  2. 2 Nancy Miller

    Hi! Had a great “vacation” with you two. It was a bit crowded here with the party happening and all the people coming, but I especailly enjoyed our short time alone together. Thank you so much for all your help. I remember when we were trying to refinish this farm house, and it seemed so slow to get anything done. Finally, it came together. Hopefully you can pull together a living space before winter. (camp kitchen) Nancy

  3. 3 lauracm

    Hi Nancy–
    It was good to see you too. We can’t wait for the day when we have a house as nice as yours (except I’d like mine to be much less HOT in the summer.) The solution to the housing-before-winter is DEADLINES, and right now we’re scrambling to get ready to pour our concrete floor before the end of July…. we’ll see if it happens or not. Take care, L/L


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