A lot of times what you read here is simply a written manifestation of shit I have done. Like, I have built a thing -> I tell you about it. I have chased a chicken around my backyard -> I tell you about it. It is deceptively easy, given that I fill up a lot of my minutes doing things. I don’t have to dig deep into my psyche to find some philosophical topic to talk about. I don’t have to plan for what I’m going to write, which is good, because I spend most of my time planning for what I am going to actually be doing.
But then what happens is holidays and snowstorms and the fever to end all fevers, and I realize that in the last month or so, I have not actually done a lot of things. I mean. I did a lot of sleeping. And a lot of shoveling.
That’s… pretty much it.
And since I haven’t been doing things I’ve been spending that time thinking about why I’m not doing things. It’s been a nice, introspective way to start the new year. But, frankly, I’d rather be hitting things with a hammer.
Here’s the thing about roadblocks: sometimes if you ignore them– just pretend they aren’t there– you can plow right through them without a backward glance. And sometimes with roadblocks you have to take a moment to recognize them. Call them by name. Acknowledge that they exist. And then you can move them aside and go along your merry way. I’ve run into a lot of the latter recently, so here are a few of the projects I want to be working on, and the things that are standing in my way.
The Master Bath
Since the get-go over a year ago, this project has been going in fits and starts. Mostly fits. Hiring the demo crew to help clear it out a few weeks ago was a huge step forward, but I’m having a hard time getting beyond that, and here’s why:
- I need the advice of a plumber and I haven’t called one yet. I haven’t called one yet because of a.) holidays, b.) snowstorms, and c.) I’m just finally getting back to work after being sick, and I can’t reasonably take a day off right now to meet the plumber. (Also, my favorite plumbers don’t work in this area which means finding a vetting a new one.)
- There are some problem areas that I haven’t figured out what to do with yet. [MORE…]
- I can’t “see” it. Projects go quickest and best when I can envision the end result (or at least a few steps ahead of where I’m at) and I’m just not there with this one yet.
What I should probably do:
- Uh. Call the effing plumber. Well, find one first. Then call them.
- Again. Call the effing plumber. His recommendation will help sort out 85% of the “problem areas.”
- Start buying stuff, and make some small forward progress. Start with: a cabinet to refinish for the vanity, floor and wall tile samples, a tub.
The 2014 Plan
I’ve got big plans for this year that involve a lot of projects and even more planting and harvesting than last year. And guess what? You can’t do that shit on the fly. This farm is teaching me all kinds of planning and patience. But I don’t have an actual actionable list yet, and here’s why:
- Fevers are bad for planning things.
- I’m not sure where I want to spend my money, especially because I’m not sure how much a lot of things will cost. (For example, my whole year looks different if I decide to pony up for tractor this spring.)
- There are a lot of things I need to research, and research takes time. Which means instead of spending a couple of hours writing a list, I need like a hundred hours to learn everything I need to know about being a farmer.
- I don’t give planning credit as “real work” (because I’m not hitting something with a hammer) so I often feel guilty about taking a few hours down work on my list. And, honestly, I don’t feel as good about my progress when I’m done planning as I do when I’m done demoing.
What I should probably do:
- Avoid all human contact so I never get sick again.
- Use my time more wisely: using an hour over my lunch break at work or other times when I couldn’t be hitting things with a hammer to plan.
- Bribery. (If you get the plan done, you can buy yourself a new tool. There. Now go do it.)
Fixing My Garage Opener
Uh. So maybe I should tell you guys what happened to the motor of my garage opener, but, honestly, it was probably less than legal, and let’s just say that there was a small fire and maybe one of the parts in the motor got fried. I’ve been manually opening and closing the door for a couple of weeks now, and I really need to get it fixed, but:
- It’s not broken enough that I know I can’t fix it and need to call in the repair person, but I don’t know enough about electronics for it to be a quick fix.
What I should probably do:
- I mean, seriously? Just call the place and get it fixed or replaced. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me.
Telling Better Stories
It’s hard to believe, but the very first post I ever wrote about my house adventures was in December of 2004. That means this is my tenth year blogging about the sometimes-stupid sometimes-awesome shit I do to houses. That’s a lot of years.
In that time I’ve had a lot of different thoughts about what I’d like to do with this website. There was certainly a time where I thought I might treat it more like a business– spend a lot of time worrying about SEO and how to boost traffic and get my shit pinned or tweeted or liked– and there are rules to how you do that. To how frequently you post, to how you title things and what keywords you use, to pinning your own stuff and using the right ad networks, but you know what? I fucking hate rules.
What I like is telling stories. I don’t think the world needs more how to articles, or sponsored posts, or beautifully styled and edited photos. Not because there’s anything wrong with those things, just because there is already a lot of them out there. But I don’t see nearly as much authenticity, and just good old-fashioned storytelling, as I’d like to… so if I’m going to spend my time and my voice putting something out there on the Internet, that’s what I want it to be.
Here’s what’s standing in my way:
- Being a better storyteller means something more than pounding out a few hundred words just to get some content up on the website because it’s been three days since I’ve posted anything and the world is going to end. But that shit takes time, and revision, and it takes a hell of a lot longer than I’m used to. (I mean, you’ve read what I write on here… most the time I don’t even proofread it.)
- The redesign of this website has given me fifteen new gray hairs. Honestly, I’ve been working on it since JULY, and even though I had a great experience with the designer who did my last redesign, this time I’m pretty sure she took my money and ran. Getting the look and feel of the site to reflect the content is important to me, so I’m trying to figure out where to best spend my time instead of just frowning angrily at my inbox waiting to hear from the designer who hasn’t emailed me back in three months.
- Writers block. There is at least one big topic I’ve been avoiding for the last year, and while I don’t particularly want to write about it, I find that the more important authenticity is for me, the more difficult it is to just tell you guys bits and pieces of my story.
What I probably need to do:
- Commit to making some decisions about the site redesign, get them done, and then cut my losses and find another designer to help me implement them. Soon.
- Do something fun and different. My holiday video this year was a good example of that. (Don’t worry, I’m done drinking and singing until next Christmas.) But after ten years I’d hate to be the old dog that can’t learn new tricks, so I might be mixing up the type of things I post here in 2014.
- Talk about it.
There are probably a dozen other projects that I’m having a hard time making progress on right now, but these are the ones that are weighing most heavily on me at the moment. However, taking some time to talk about what’s standing in my way has helped me figure out what I need to do to move forward. Plus, you know, nothing like admitting it to the general public to give a person a little motivation to get their ass in gear.
What about you guys? Anything you’re stuck on this year?