Big Sky Country

The First 100 Days

January 2018

Funny how 20 years fly by when you are not paying attention. I was 27 when I purchased my first house as a single mother. At the time I would describe the house meh. The plan was to be there for 5 years, definitely no more than 10 years. But then somehow here we are 20 years later.

20 years later the child is now a man, I am remarried, I have had several career changes, but now in my late 40’s I think life is finally settling in.

So why the move? It all started when I decided I could no long work in the bowels of a basement which lacked natural lighting. A friend told me that I would last about a year, I made it to almost 4 when we started the search. And of course there was the need for single level living for Andy. 18 months later we finally found a house that would be ours until the next one, in 5 years. (Check back, I’ll let you know how that planning worked out.)

After a 9 day closing delay which included a 3 day delay due to a hurricane; seriously, our lender was in Texas. We finally got our keys. Since then, the question has been, “Do you love it?” “How is the new house?” “Is it great?” I seriously don’t know. I have been too busy to notice and I miss my first house. I actually grew to really loving it and now I wonder if I am going to be the same way when I say goodbye to this one.

Day 1, the cars were already loaded and ready to go when we go the keys. And so it began.

Day 2, the assistant resigned, she was having “boyfriend issues” and somehow was unable to get to work. We did not ask her to come back. (That is another blog for another day.) The movers arrived for the first round of moving; the studio, the “warehouse”, my office and all the furniture for the new studio. One very large moving truck.

Day 3, More moving, attend a funeral for a friends husband.

Day 4, Woke up to full blown Vertigo and I am on the couch for the next SEVEN days. Had to cancel a show. First time in my career that I had to cancel a commitment. I just wanted to die!

Day 8, Moving resumes. Everyday, drive to new house with a truckload, unload, unpack, sprinkle in some light construction and home improvement along the way. Repeat for the next 20 days literally. By the end, we calculated that I moved the equivalent of a 24ft moving truck.

Day 29, the second round with the movers and 2 moving trucks; we sleep in our house for the first time but we are not quite living there yet.

The first 100 days in our new home was more like 90 days of day in and day out work. Get up, go straight to work, eat while standing and start again the next day. In that time, I opened every single box that was moved, organized them into new homes, re-boxed as necessary, and spreadsheet the contents and locations. I ate more fast food and processed foods than I had in the last 5 years combined. And I climbed an average of 30 flights a day going between the main floor and the basement. How do I know? I counted one day because I was curious, and that was a light day. I don’t remember the last time ass looked this good.

Life as I knew it was turned up side as my daily routine went out the door and routines became a thing of the past. I felt like I was in a race running to get things back to normal so that I could start living again. The to-do list grew faster than I could keep up. For every one thing I checked off I added 2 more. Everyday I worked to finish at least one project while I started 2 more.

Weekly I continued to drive 50 minutes each way to the old house to pick up mail and do a walk through to ensure that the heat was still working, no leaks had sprung, the lights were off (often they were not due to showings) and that no one had littered in or out of the house (showings again). Yup, the struggle was real. A real pain in my… Oh, then there is the 3 times a week driving Andy to PT sprinkled with all the other errands that Andy could not run. (I continued this until it was finally sold in June 2018!)

In the first 40 days included 3 trips out of state (a total of 15 days), an anniversary, yes another funeral, and a holiday. Three more holidays would happen before the end of 100 days. And Andy had total knee reconstruction. That is about all of the personal stuff other than the everyday living stuff of course.

On the business side, I picked up the slack and worked both jobs (Andy’s and mine) for the first 2 weeks post-op. Wrote 3 show proposals for 2018 which completed my bookings for 2018. Then of course there were the 4 articles for Lapidary Journal for 2018 and 2 more yet to be done.

By day 90 all but 3 frames have been hung totalling 88! Going from a house that had NOTHING on the walls for the last 10 years this was a welcome change. Seeing old family pictures that have been in boxes was like Christmas again.

There were 5 major construction projects that were contracted, to date (June 2018) 3 of the 4 were complete, and 3 of the 5 have failed. Of course the biggest, most costly project; the ONE luxury upgrade that I gave us is still not finished, to date. Contractor has not been paid in full. I find it interesting that I did not have a crew working for me but I was able to finish my 150+ projects by day 100. Hmmm.

The home warranty has been put through quite a workout during this time. The water softner was replaced, the furnace had been fixed, the drain in the kitchen had to be unclogged, and soon there will be a hot water tank.

Luckily the house was mostly move-in ready. Though I do not love some of the aesthetics, I am living with it until I have more time to think about it and of course more time to do something about it. I am learning that it is ok to take the time I need and not everything needs to be done yesterday.

The goal was to make our new house a home, to feel like it had been lived in for a while. I think I did a pretty decent job.

The hardest adjustment has been remembering where I had stored everything. I can’t find anything, thus the spreadsheet, which has come in quite handy.

The best parts of our new home? Our new neighbors who moved in just a month before we did. It has been 20 years since we have had neighbors we talk to, it is almost weird. So far the sentiment seems mutual and I am confident that it will continue. Then there is the new studio and office that I mostly love. And lastly, Cuyahoga National Park is at the end of the street, which means I can go hiking at any time.

For now I do not love our new home, it is just a house. It is not my forever home but it is a very nice home. Our hard work has afforded us a comfortable home and life. Mostly it is a place to hang my head and do my work. With such a busy schedule I have lived here less than half the time. I still don’t have a bearing as to where the house is geographically relative to anything. But who knows, maybe in 4 and half years I will hate leaving it.

 

The many boxes of the move. The office before.

My office after. The fireplace screen has since been replaced
with something from this century.

The New Studio!!!

Helping the renovations along. One of my late nights
before the move. 

One of the my proud projects. 

A small sample of the many house we looked
at, lets just say no.