Thursday, October 23, 2014

Knowing My Limits

I've made some noise lately about preferring real blogs rather than ones where everything is relentlessly and perfectly staged. So in the interest of embracing that philosophy I'd like to disclose:

1. There was a pair of jockey shorts on my living room coffee table all week. Clean, yes (and thankfully), but nevertheless--underpants.

2. My children's diet has lately been a modern American nightmare of breaded frozen meat things, processed cheese food, and canned soup.

3. I still don't have any decent photos for a blog post.

Despite the fact I was on total overload in several areas of my life, instead of being a grown-up-type woman about it I decided to leave town. Twice. While I'll blog about those October trips in a bit, getting away from the scene of the crime (and really, jockey shorts on your coffee table is sort of a crime) helped me make some sanity-saving decisions about when it's time for do-it-yourself to become don't-do-it-yourself.

My conclusions:

I am not going to deal with those #$%@-ing shutters another minute. 

Those old wood shutters that seemed so promising in the beginning:

Became this: 

I decided that while it was entirely possible to rehabilitate them, it wasn't without hours and hours of tedium (and additionally purchased tools) that added up, time-versus-money-wise, to new sets of shutters being the marginally less expensive way to go. Also? I was pretty sure this job was going to be at least infuriating and possibly soul-killing. To the curb they go. I feel better already.

Sometimes, getting out the checkbook is the right thing to do. 

Did I mention that I discovered a patch of dry-rotted siding and window sill on the northwest corner of the house this summer? Or take pictures of said dry-rot? No. Because honestly, it nauseated me to look at it. I admit I fretted around for a solid two months about what to do, until I realized that winter was coming, and I just couldn't take it on. I didn't have the tools, the time, or the expertise. More importantly, I didn't want to do it. I found a handyman that showed up, patched the siding, did a good job for a fair price, finished in a short day, put up my new storm windows on the front of the house too, and took a load of worry off my mind.

I'll be following up with a little caulk and paint, but I can do that part. The sense of relief on the rest was worth every penny. I'm also hiring out the sliding glass door replacement, and maybe even some of the house painting next summer.

I need to run the house, not the other way around.

I've posted about home improvement/family life balance many times before, and I am still struggling to make it work the right way. I made some good decisions in that regard so far this year, but they still felt more like random (and desperate) concessions than a well-thought-out plan. I'd like to get away from feeling like I'm alternating between scrambling around like a lunatic with a paint scraper or completely ignoring an enormous pile of work. Another problem? Home improvement has completely overtaken housekeeping, and it shows (please refer to aforementioned jockey shorts). A little more sleep might be nice, too. So once the exterior work season has wrapped up for the year, I'm going to take the extra free time to right the household and re-examine my strategies. I might even get the laundry off the coffee table.


  1. Good for you! I would hire some things out too, if I could find someone reliable.

    1. It took me a few years to find people. Word of mouth has been better than any other method, in my opinion.

  2. I'm in total agreement. After Cane and I did serious damage to our relationship and mental health by trying to paint the exterior of our house, I insisted that we pay someone to finish it for us. We did paint (and repair) the front and back sides. We paid someone else to paint the two remaining sides the next summer. Took the guy a day. Almost made me cry to think of how long it took us to do the parts we did. The money was totally worth it. If we don't have the necessary equipment, the skills, or any intrinsic this-sounds-like-fun desire, I'm no longer very interested in doing it. Life's too short to have shorts on your coffee table for a week if you can help it. :-)

  3. Goodness. All this time I thought laundry belonged on the coffee table. You have really burst my bubble. I think you definitely did the right thing by hiring professional to do those jobs. No matter how perfect those other blogs look, I bet they have jockey shorts on their coffee tables, too. xo Laura

    P.S. Nice to meet you :)

    1. Laundry is on my coffee table more than I care to admit. How else are you going to multi-task while watching movies. Nice to meet you too!

  4. Boy, been there, did that....have refurbished a couple of houses now and looking toward another soon. I think you're very wise to let someone else who has the tools and skills to get it done quickly take some of the load off. What you've done so far is nothing short of remarkable, and you've done a good job. In my experience, you can lose your vision an common sense without getting away from a long-term project from time to time. Don't fret. Take care of yourself and your fam....the projects can wait. (btw, I should show you pictures of our lousy paintjob on the front door because we were too tight to pay someone to finish this job correctly)....Cheers