Downtime & Other Real Things

The thing I worry about most as a person who has been telling stories on the the internet for the past decade is… well, actually, when I’m single I worry a lot about dudes who are interested in me* that I don’t want to date finding this website and being able to keep tabs on me for the rest of eternity. That is so goddamn creepy. The good news is my dad got me an AR-15–and what he calls a bug-out bag–for Christmas…

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So I’m totally prepared for a.) the attention of unwanted suitors, and b.) the motherfucking apocalypse.

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Word.

And, actually, that’s all true, but it wasn’t what I was originally going to say. I was going to say I worry a lot that I’m telling an unrealistic story. That people will read about things I’ve done and think, “I’m not that motivated” or “I don’t know how she gets that much done” or something else that makes me out to be a much better version of myself than I actually am. Or that makes people feel “less than.” Because that’s bullshit. I’m just as human as anyone– which means some days I’m funny and some days I’m not. Some days I eat oatmeal out of a measuring cup because I can’t find the motivation to be an actual adult and do my dishes…

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Some days I stay up late working on my house, and some days I just crash. Like I cannot motivate myself to do anything than lay on my bed and watch back-to-back episodes of Star Trek for hours. True story.

But when I’m motivated and doing things, well, that’s what makes a good story, so that’s what I write about. That’s what you read. And you could easily get the impression that I’m always like that.

Last week, for example, I was bound and determined to have the tub-surround ready for tile by this weekend. So after work, and, occasionally, the gym, I did stuff like mud the seams of the tile board…

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And say up until 1:30 in the morning rolling a waterproof membrane on the surround…

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(More on this later… I have a whole post drafted on tub surrounds.)

I also bought tile after work this week, and tortured a poor dude who works at The Tile Shop in the process. (They didn’t sponsor this post, they’re just close, and I get a contractor discount there, and they usually have good tile on-hand.)

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By the way, a thing this “hour a day” commitment to working on the bathroom has taught me is that when I use that hour strictly to focus on a house-project, I don’t do other things… like laundry, or dishes, or thoroughly washing the paint out of my hair.

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So, anyway, I got through the week, fully intending to kick some house-project ass on Saturday. I even made sure to imbibe a minimal amount of beer on Friday, got home early, and got a good night’s sleep.

Since my trainer (who, along with his wife and adorable son, are also a part of the collection of awesome people I know) was going to be in town to school me on some weight-lifting things on Saturday, I decided to spend the morning putting my life back in order. Figured I tackle some long overdue farm chores, do a  little laundry–maybe wash a fork or two–go lift some weights, and then come home and rock out with the tile.

And I did almost all of that, up to the weight-lifting portion of the day. But then I came home, went straight to my bed, and took a four-hour nap.

My body just shut the fuck down.

Even when I got up to do my evening farm chores my feet were dragging, my hands were uncoordinated, I laid back down twice after that before finally “getting up.” That’s a real thing. Just being wiped out from a long week and a lot of late nights. Just needing some rest for no appreciable reason.

The hardest thing in the world– for people like me, at least–is to just give yourself grace on days like that. To just say, okay, yes, I really want a finished bathroom and I need to get working on the tile to make that happen, but right now, I also need to rest.

Rest doesn’t make a good story. It doesn’t make good facebook statuses, or instagram photos, or blog posts. Sometimes it feels lazy and unproductive. It’s easy to gloss over downtime by saying “I was too busy to write” or some other such bullshit, instead of just telling the truth.

The truth for me is this: I love doing projects. I do. I get so much energy from building a new thing, or staring a new project, or fixing something up. But some days I also love relaxing. Just taking it easy, sitting with my computer on a couch, watching One Man’s Wilderness, drinking a bottle of wine, and writing a post that is basically about nothing.

But you’ll forgive me for the nothing part, because also…

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Fluffy donkeys.

Right? They win every time.

 *Just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about any of my ex-boyfriends here. My exes are awesome, and not just because they liked me (or put up with my shit for an extended period of time) but because they are genuinely good humans. Like, seriously, a collection of the most awesome dudes in the universe, and I love all of them… in a very, very platonic way these days.

19 Responses

  1. I love this post :). it’s so important to keep it real and show the other side of things. I also might love it because I totally planned to spend this weekend turning scrapwood into a dog food stand, and removing the medicine cabinet built in from the half bath and replacing it with drywall, and also building a cord cover for my mounted tv….. but instead I’ve watched at least 9 episodes of Gilmore Girls and will probably watch 3 more before bed. Because I’m tired and my head hurts and even though I love sawdust I also love shutting off my brain after a shitty month. /endrant.

  2. a) Thanks for keeping it real. Bet a few someones needed to read this today. I know I did. Annnd b) Fluffy donkeys. Alone in my house and laughed out loud, harder than I have in a while. You be meds for the soul, girl, post after post.

  3. Thank you for this post! I haven’t taken a just-because-I-can nap since I bought my house 1.5 years ago. I too forget to do things like just watch Dateline and not watchdatelinewhileipainttheshelvesandpaintthetriminthebathroomwhiletheshelvesdryandwashthedisheswhilethetrimisdryingrepeat.

  4. Southerners have always understood that slowing down is just another way to fully savor life. Hope you take the time to practice with your gun. Just curious, what is in the bug out bag?
    Margaret

      1. By the way, I hope you have those guns locked up and hidden somewhere. Some crook reading this blog could view those as a theft opportunity.

        1. That’s not a picture from my house… so some crook who reads this blog and expects to find that arsenal here would be very disappointed.

  5. I think that even your downtime counts as productive because of the effect that your blog has on people. I just put in an offer on a house today – my first house – and its a fixer-upper. I don’t know yet whether I’ll get this house, but if I do it will definitely be a lot of work and I definitely fall firmly into the category of “plucky but totally ignorant” when it comes to anything other than painting.

    HOWEVER – and I hope these words don’t come back to bite me in the ass – I feel I’ll manage somehow, and that little spark of confidence comes almost entirely from reading your blog. I’ve been following the blog for a few years, and when I first found you I read my way through the entirety of the archives while I was meant to be studying for my second year law exams (time well spent, btw).

    Reading along as you mastered all of this construction stuff, and seeing all the amazing stuff you do, has really made me believe that, with the right tools and the attitude of “fuck the naysayers, I’m just going to start and see how it goes”, a single not terribly tall girl who also has a professional day job can accomplish a hell of a lot.

    So essentially…go on wit yo bad self, girl, and watch that Star Trek marathon! You’re still accomplishing stuff even laying around in bed =)

    (Oh, and if I DO get this house I could really use a little bit of advice – or even a post! – on how to go about choosing some preliminary tools, based on your own experience. I.e. demo…should I get a reciprocating saw? Corded or cordless? Big or small? that’s just one tool and I’m already wracked with indecision!)

  6. You have fire power for almost every room! Awesome! And downtime is real and real makes great posts! I need a bug out bag!

    BTW…The Sorrel boots you recommended about 3 years ago…worth their weight in gold this winter in CT!

    1. omg. yes. yes. and yes.

      My boyfriend works like you, I’m very good at the relaxing part. I just remind him how I’m healing my body from when I do work hard, which is much less than 24/7.

      @Guerrina, I think we’re going to be needing waders, though. Do they make insulated ones? Let’s be thankful we’re not in the Boston area.

  7. You are the least likely victim. Ever. For God sake – you know how to chain saw! Any moron dumb enough to mess with you is just compost. Glad your body and mind got some rest 🙂

  8. Man, There must be something in the water – I could not move this weekend!! I have the last 5% of approximately 4 projects sitting and staring at me each day. I was going to finish the drywall patching this weekend, but instead, i didn’t get out of my pajamas.
    Thanks for keeping it real. Taking care of yourself is totally productive too! It’s hard for me to feel that though, when i’m sitting in my jammies at 6pm on a Sunday. 🙂

  9. I second that your blog is helping even when you’re resting. I took that “one hour a night” to heart and have been making sure I do a minimum of 1 hour of work on my kitchen a night. It’s been torn apart since October and any progress is good progress!

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