The subtitle for this post is “On goals, to-do lists, excuses, guilt and mojo.”
A year ago, I was the annoying perky pixie brightly declaring the projects I was going to accomplish over the coming 12 months. Today, I’m the dour, scowling troll who depressingly growls that I’ve done nothing. I suuuuuuuuuck.
I had four goals for 2013:
- Living room fireplace
- Laundry room
I can cross not a single item off the list.
On landscaping, I can say that I did something. I built a new garden around the well, weeded one of the front gardens and planted a new border of grass, leveled the old fire pit at the top of the driveway, established a new fire pit behind the driveshed, graded the turnaround, laid a brick pathway across it and planted a few flowers. It was somewhere in the massive tear drop shaped expanse of dirt that is the turnaround that my work ethic abandoned me.
The garden was just too big. There weren’t enough plants in the world to fill it. We had just gotten a dog, and I’d rather spend my time with him. I have a week’s vacation, but we’re having record high temperatures, and I can’t really be expected to be outside gardening.
By mid-summer the weeds were taller than me and so thick that Matt–aka “he who does not garden”–took matters into his own hands and waded in with a shovel. It was clear that I had given up.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that last we saw of my mojo. People ask us often what we’re working on around the house. They usually find it funny when my response is, “Not much. I’ve lost my mojo.”
But it isn’t funny. Sure I was relaxed in the air conditioned comfort of my freshly renovated basement. Yes, I was bonding with my dog. But I was wracked with guilt.
When we hosted our annual month-before-Christmas party at the end of November, I realized that the walls upstairs looked exactly the same as they had a year previously–right down to the drywall patches. Ummmm, yes, welcome to my home. Can’t you just see what pride of ownership I take in it?
And now, a month and a half later, the walls are still not painted. In fact, I’ve added a few more drywall patches. I’ve sanded all of the walls (which previously were somehow the texture of sandpaper). I’ve mopped the ceiling (yes, mopped) and bought fresh white paint. I’ve slapped up a few colour samples. If anything, the walls are looking worse than they were before.
And what about the fireplace? Well, we got a quote. And then I threw up. Then I fainted. I said, “There’s no way.” Then we talked ourselves into it because “we’re going to have to do it sometime.” Then our solar panels application regenerated (I’ll share more soon), and we realized we needed every single penny, nickle, dime, quarter and dollar we possessed and then some. So all other projects, especially expensive projects like fireplaces, were put on hold. Although a warm roaring fire would have come in really handy during the ice storm.
And then there’s the last holdout from the basement reno, the laundry room. This one I’ll pin on Matt. See, the first thing that needs to happen is to fix the leaky foundation. Matt kind of fixed it by putting a piece of plywood against the wall to funnel water away from the house. We hadn’t had a leak in the house since then, up until this weekend when a mid-winter thaw resulted in a puddle on the laundry room floor. The wall really needs to be dug out and waterproofed. This task was on Matt’s honey-do list for the summer, but he was so burnt out by the time summer started that I delayed giving him the list until we were well into August. By that point, his mojo was in no better shape than mine, so outside the wall still sits with its plywood water guard and inside the laundry room is still in its original ugly state.
So that is the saga of my very unproductive 2013. I did say last year that my plan was to avoid any other massive all-consuming projects and spend slightly more time enjoying rather than working the farm. I guess I was successful at those two goals. I’m not sure that makes me feel any better.
However, it is a new year, and you can be assured that my lack of success last year is not going to stop me from setting more goals for 2014. Stay tuned for that next.
What about you? Did you set any goals for 2013? How did you do at accomplishing things around the house?
Those are mighty big goals. You need to break them down into smaller goals.baby steps even.
Like Forrest Gump said “shit happens”. Like life.
What about your entry area? You did an awesome job there!
Yes, the entryway was definitely an accomplishment that I can cross off the list. Thanks for the advice about breaking my goals down into baby steps. I actually have a post coming up later this week about that.
In my defense, I did spend half the summer looking for our runaway dog. That’s tiring work.
I do not blame you in the least, and you and our dog are worth more to me than a painted hallway or a dry laundry room any day.
We had the same issue…took so much effort to get to the point that we could just occupy the house that we completely stalled out over the summer. Got some energy back to put up the siding in the fall only to lose it again over the holidays. Here’s to setting good goals for this year! Cheers and good luck!
Thank you. Same to you!
I agree – break those down into a smaller goals. If you are a list person, it feels good to cross off items, so break them. It will look like a longer list, but will be more satisfying because there will be more to cross off. Also, sometimes you just need to live in a place a while before doing anything major – need to get a feel for it, and prioritize what has to be done, what fits into the budget etc. So pick a couple of things that will have high impact for little money (like painting), or the things that HAVE to get done – like the waterproofing. You have to prioritize your goals and your budget. It’s funny, I had just asked my Mom this because every house we lived in growing up, we renovated. Now that we are doing things to our house, I asked her how to prioritize. She said if money is an issue, then do the inexpensive things that will have a big impact. You want to come home and feel good coming up to your house….so some gardening, painting front door, etc., and the entryway (which you’ve already done), along with painting our main living spaces will be our priority.
Oh, and going room by room and writing everything down helps. That way, you can see if there are similar projects in each room that could be done at once. Or do one complete room so you can close the door when your mojo take a break in the middle….lol
That’s great advice, Meghan. I love the “close the door” option. Your Mom is also very wise.
I didn’t have any real “goals” for 2013 since I had just moved in with my BF and I did not want to move in and just start changing a bunch of stuff. We spent the year just adjusting to living together and our dogs adjusting (which both went PERFECTLY well!). But in 2014 I do want to set some goals. Probably landscaping, and our entry/mud room. But my biggest goal should be to tie up some projects that have been started and not finished!
Go easy on yourself! Start slowly. It’s a new year!
So glad the adjustment has gone well, Sarah. I find I always have to balance starting new with finishing up all of the little details, as well. Thanks for the encouragement.
To me, it looks like you’ve done tons of work! Keep on keeping on!
Thanks. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I have accomplished a lot.
There’s an invisible part of every project, and it’s often the biggest part: the groundwork. In many cases it’s like an iceberg, where the part you see is actually only ten percent of the whole thing. I would say that means you’ve done quite a bit more on your goals than it might look like. In the case of your turnaround garden, it quite literally IS groundwork – that must have been a tremendous effort to level and grade that whole thing. It’s SO important to look at the hard work that you did and acknowledge it. Next summer you’ll be able to plant out there, and that huge, labour- and time-intensive project won’t be standing in the way (just a little weeding, lol.) And patching and sanding walls – definitely groundwork. Tiresome, labour-intensive, not particularly rewarding. And now that it’s done, when you paint you’ll get high octane results for what will definitely be a smaller amount of work. You got the quote on the fireplace, and now the groundwork for that will be to save up the money, which you can only do when it’s possible to do so.
I think you did an incredible amount this year. It’s too bad so much of what you did wasn’t on this list, so you could have crossed it off and felt better. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be gentle with yourself – you’re awesome! 🙂
Thanks so much for your support. I like your way of looking at all of the projects. Your perspective is definitely much more encouraging!