Things I Do When I’m Having a Bad Day

So, listen, you don’t buy a farm with a 150 year old house and pick up fun little hobbies like “drywalling” and “tearing bathrooms apart” if you like life to be easy. I’ve never been interested in easy. And, with few exceptions, every day of my life is filled to the brim with hard work… but it’s also almost always good work.

You could say I’ve learned to make good investments with my energy when it comes to people, projects, and working hard on things I love to do. The return on those investments is priceless, so, for me, the hard days are very often the best days. And bad days? Well those are usually few and far between.

Usually.

But lately? Shit, guys, lately I’ve been having more bad days than good… days where there’s no appreciable return on my hard work, and that’s…. tough. And also exhausting. That type of work can take a lot out of you in a way that makes it almost impossible to spend energy on the type of work that energizes you, and when that happens–especially on a farm that requires a constant level of work just to maintain–things can spiral out of control pretty quick.

I started to feel that way last week after a particularly long and difficult day. A solid 13 hours of work and I couldn’t make it into town in time to have dinner with my family for my cousins birthday, and I could feel this whole litany of frustrations and complaints welling up inside me, and then, right before I said any of them out loud, I realized what I was doing…

I was being a whiny bitch.

Seriously. Not every day has to be a good day, and, hey, maybe if you’re having more bad days than good you need to sit down and reevaluate some shit. But that is no reason to start spewing negativity out into the world, okay? So at 8:30 on a Tuesday night, after a long-ass day, I decided that with 3.5 hours left before the day officially ended, I was going to turn some things around, so I came up with this:

The Stop-Being-a-Whiny-Bitch Scavenger Hunt

With 3.5 hours left in the day, I had to:

  1. Fix something
  2. Demo something
  3. Appreciate something
  4. Do something to make tomorrow easier
  5. Do something ridiculous

And here’s what I “found”…

1.) FIX SOMETHING: Like, this picnic table, for example…

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Yeah, it’s this one. I built it six years and two houses ago, and it’s been out in the elements ever since. The wood itself is all in pretty good shape, but the fasteners had started to pull out of the holes, and it got to the point where trying to pick the table up and move it without it falling to pieces was… pretty much impossible.

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I’ve had this on my “I should fix that” list for, oh, probably a year. So I finally did…

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30 minutes and a little creative fastening, later, humpty-dumpty was back together again. It wasn’t a full rebuild, but sometimes good enough is good enough.

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2.) DEMO SOMETHING: Oh, I’m looking at you white vinyl kitchen floor that I’ve been resisting the temptation to pull up for the better part of three years now…

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I know, right? That escalated quickly.

But, listen, there was a dumpster right outside and demo makes me feel better.

I managed to get about half the kitchen floor up in an hour because instead of pulling up the tiles, I pulled up all of the luan they were glued to. I also knocked out 3.) APPRECIATE SOMETHING at the same time, because I really, really appreciate how strong I am right now.

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I’ve been lifting weights for 2-3 times a week for the last two years, and it has paid off in the ability to lift heavy shit when I need to. This heavy-ass fridge when I couldn’t roll it over the torn up floor, for example. Not a problem. Also, tractor impliments (but that is another story for another time.)

Anyway, my muscles and I managed to get this much floor torn up in an hour:

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The cat, by the way, did not find this at all amusing. He’s all, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, HUMAN?!

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Then he quickly accepted it and moved on with life, because a.) he’s a cat. And b.) he’s lived with me through nine years and three houses…. this ain’t his first rodeo.

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And, just to finish off this story, the rest of the floor came up Sunday (with the help of my mom) because we were rained out of garden work.

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As far as I’m admitting that’s the beginning and end of any “kitchen remodeling” I’m doing at the moment… clearly I have far too many other projects going on. But having that floor up feels real nice. (I know there’s something wrong with me that I prefer a subfloor covered in staples as opposed to actual flooring material, but let’s be honest, you don’t read this website because I’m 100% normal either…)

4.) DO SOMETHING TO MAKE TOMORROW EASIER:  I had nine hours of meetings scheduled for the following day, and not a spare minute for eating, so instead of subsisting on granola bars from the vending machine, I decided to make my day easier by doing the easiest meal-prep ever…

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Microwave rice, microwave vegetables, and one scrambled egg… done.

5.) DO SOMETHING RIDICULOUS: At this point I was pretty much done for the day, I grabbed a shower then went outside to call the cat in, thinking I didn’t have much time or energy left for ridiculousness, and then I realized I was standing outside in nothing but a towel and muck boots, shouting very rational ultimatums out into the darkness, trying to convince the cat to come inside. With logic. I figure that counts…

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And that’s how I convinced myself to spend time doing things that make me feel good, instead of whining about shit that makes me feel bad… Might not work for everyone, but it definitely worked for me.

25 Responses

  1. That is an amazing way to get past a bad day.

    I had quite a bad day myself yesterday, so this was very timely. I found a beer in the back of the fridge that I didn’t know I had. Small things. Here’s to better days ahead!

  2. Seeing your cats suspicion of the kitchen floor reminded me of the time we peeled off a peel & stick floor. Cats don’t like sticky floors. Smart cats run across fast. Not so smart cats stop to try and shake off each paw, which leaves the other three more firmly stuck.

  3. I.love.this.
    I have 0.000000001 acres but a very old house so I feel a tiny bit of your pain. It’s easy to focus on all the things I’m not getting done (I’m looking at you dishes and laundry) instead of being proud of the things I have done…which is not enough ridiculousness. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Way to turn it around. This is such a testament to your overall approach. Way to go for getting past the whiny and figuring out what you need to feel better. I hope this week has gone more smoothly for you… or that you’re at least finding those moments of fulfillment that you need.

  5. Is it just me or does it already look great with just the subfloor? The room looks so much better already. I love your list and I am going to save that to do, not only on really crappy days, but as a good rule of thumb to make any day a little better.

  6. You’re awesome. Thank you for not being one of the 99% of bloggers who blow sunshine up our asses about their perfect life.
    BTW, I didn’t realize Carhartt made women’s boots until I started reading your blog. They are my go to boot now for outdoor work!

    1. Those boots are the best! I was just talking about how much I love them last night… that’s a real thing I do in my spare time… talk about how much I love my workboots. ha.

  7. This post made me realize 3 things:
    1) I’ve been a real big whiny bitch lately
    2) My keys to getting out of a funk include cider, getting my hands dirty in the garden, and animal cuddles
    3) I need to start lifting weights so that I, too, can lift a refrigerator (or other heavy item) without being all whiny bitch about it and asking for help

    Thanks for the reminder that life is pretty god damn awesome most of the time, and a bad mood can be easily turned around with the right “ingredients”

  8. Please, learn from my mistake. Until the kitchen floor is completely torn out, wear some kind of shoe that covers your toes in the kitchen. There is nothing worse than going into the kitchen, sleepy and shuffling your feet a little than to get one of those wood splinters stuck in your toe. Even just some ballet flats help.
    Replacing my kitchen floor was one of my most rewarding projects.

  9. This was my absolute favorite part of last week! While i didn’t demo, you inspired me to complete the other 4. thank you, thank you, for keeping it real 🙂

  10. Funny, my first thought was “Wow that looks so much better with the sub-floor!”. I have THREE layers of ugly linoleum over my gorgeous oak floors. Yeah, that’ll come off. One day … .

    Appreciate the turn-around advice. We’ve all been there. You forgot the wine instead of whine that I always rely on. Unless it is a G&T night. 🙂

  11. Well done, and very entertaining. Now, next time you’re in a similar mood, bang those staples down, get out a roller and pan, and seal that OSB floor with water based varnish. Done!

  12. No, I don’t read your blog b/c you’re 100% normal. I do, however, read it, because you’re 100% real. And I’ll take that over normal any day. Loving this idea of turning bad (whatever) around. I’m in my late (really late, but not all the way late yet)….well damn, I’m 48, for another 3 months. I’ve decided it’s time for change, so I’m interviewing in 2 weeks for an awesome full-time job (I have worked part-time for the last 8 years). And I just started doing Crossfit. And I can already tell a change in my ‘tude. Just by being pro-active. I was missing something and your list was an ah-ha moment. Mine might not include demo something, but it will definitely include ridiculousness!

  13. Thank you! This has been one of the worst weeks of my life personally and you just made it better. The pain isn’t gone but I did crack a smile and that’s worth so much!

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