Home Ownership

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I’ve been thinking a bit lately about motivation.  In part, I suppose, because that is part of my job these days.  I should be keeping my techs motivated to do good, accurate work.  It’s tough, though.  I suppose I try to just be fair and lead by example, and maybe I haven’t gotten much further than that with it right now.  And that’s institutional motivation anyway.  Everything is different when working within an organizational framework.  One needs to consider corporate culture.  Ethics.  The law.  It’s complicated.

Shouldn’t personal motivation be simpler?  Sometimes it doesn’t seem so, but I’ve been keeping at it.

I really got my ass kicked in broomball Thursday.  It was a good night, let me be clear.  I got my first assist, and I had some shots on goal–even if they weren’t great ones.  But man did I push myself.  I was aggressive and kept pushing.  In the second half, I started to go too far and felt it immediately.  I was playing wing, and I could feel their defense getting tired.  I scrambled like mad on a few back to back plays, sprinting harder than I had since basketball in high school.  I rotated back to the bench a minute later, out of breath and panting like I’d just gotten run over.  My breaths came so deep and hard, for a second I thought I would hyperventilate.  Right there, mortified in front of these teammates who are still very new acquaintances to me.

Things cooled down. I caught my breath, and in the end we chalked it up as a somewhat successful loss, as for the first time this season we were playing with some real teamwork and putting pressure on goal.  I spent the next day completely laid up.  I’m getting old, man, I can’t keep doing this.

And yet I do.

I’ve been striving for discomfort lately, and from it I’ve been finding a new reserve of self motivation.  It’s tough when you’re in your thirties, and so many things in life seem to be on…. I want to use the phrase “cruise control” here, but instead I think I’ll say schedule.

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.  You have a career–an organization and a set of peers that have daily expectations and challenges for you.  You have a home–a never ending set of responsibilities and projects.  You have a family–where do I even begin with that one?

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.

It’s easy to lose your motivation when locked into a circle. A routine that can seem as meaningless as it can directionless.  I’ve taken to the inconveniences to break it up and keep me moving.  The problems, the challenges.  Too many people let go and let the schedule make all the decisions for them.  I mean, it’s easy.  I can’t even call someone lazy for simply checking in every day and meeting those tasks of career, home, family.  After all, there are many who fail to even do that.  Those destined to wipe the schedule clean and start over.  Once, twice, maybe again and again. We all know a few of those folks.

It’s tough, but I’ve been at it in little ways.  Playing in a more competitive broomball league is just an example.  It’s hard, it’s kicking my ass, I have no idea how successful I’ll be, and yet I’m keeping at it.

I woke up today sore as fuck and yet as refreshed as ever.  Decided to hell with stopping by the office on a weekend (I had planned to go in).  Today I’ll set my own schedule.

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Right, so I took sort of a break there for a bit.  Actually part of the reason for that is incredibly ordinary:  my web browser at work was having problems with php.  Which means that I couldn’t view, nor update this page until it was fixed… months down the road.  I like posting on here on my morning break or my lunch break.  When I get home from work, I’m really not on the internet so much.


Things also had not been good at home.  The situation with one of the roommates had gone very south.  Not gonna post anything about it here (because that would be foolish), but thankfully that is now over.  I have a new roommate.  She is amazing.  We have all been getting along very well.

So now I am finally sleeping well at night and abandoning some of those negative habits I’m so prone to when under stress.

In fact, I’m gearing up to start P90x.  Got it from a friend of mine, and it looks really cool.  It’s made for people who are already in shape, and while I know it’s going to kick my ass, I’ve been doing a little pre-training for it.  For example, I gave the dive bomber push ups a try, and it hurt my left shoulder like fuck.  So, I’m gonna work on rounding out a few areas before I jump into the hard stuff.  Also: I need to install a chin-up bar. 

Specifically, the bar that I want is this one: The Stud Bar.  (Just try saying it to yourself: “the Stud Bar, yeah! Y’all wanna come over and get ripped pumpin my Stud Bar?”  I think you will agree, by its name alone it is perhaps the single most essential equipment for any home gym.)  I’m looking at some steps to convert a corner of my basement into a genuine fitness room, and I want that to be a part of it.  It’s gonna be a project taken in increments, though.

I’ve started making notes for this other blog project that I’ve alluded to on occassion.  I could end up working really, really long hours all summer, so I don’t know if it will happen now, but I may soon start making some preparations for it.  It is possible I could roll it out in the fall, and it’s actually something that could pick up a little bit of steam (and would be more interesting to most people than this journal–one of countless random journals scattered across the internet).  I’m looking at posting weekly, and I would try and keep a stable of posts ready in advance.  We’ll see how/if it comes together.

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Oh, summer!  It seems you just arrived, and now you’re almost gone.  I guess it must always be this way.

I’ve had some family drama crop up, and that’s kept me from my internet endeavors.  Forgive me.  Well, unless you’re Twitter.  In which case, indulge me.  For someone who used to hate on Twitter, I’ve really come around.  But I’ve been kind of ignoring my blog here and some other things.  Anyway…

Yeah, so things are evening out.  I spent most of today in true Sunday fashion.  Grabbing brunch and chilling out with some friends on the deck all afternoon.  I did get some painting done.  I’m redoing the downstairs bathroom, and I’m pleased that the color I chose looks great.  I picked up new hardware too, so over the next week I’ll be replacing all of that.  I think I might need to get one of those laser levels if I want to get my towel racks mounted even remotely even.  Or at the least, one of those ordinary old fashioned levels.

The other thing I’ve been working on is burgers.  Hoping to have some folks over soon for a housewarming, and there two things that you get when I am your host:  mini-burgers and margaritas.  I haven’t made margaritas all summer.  Jesus, that just goes to show how I’ve let the social life slip while I work on this place.

To that end, I bring you Peppadew seasoning!  Saw this in Wegmans the other day.  I’ve known Peppadew peppers for a little while, but had no idea that they’d branched out.  The sweet and piquant peppadews add an amazing dimension to a seasoned salt mix.  And it goes great on burgers!  Check it out.

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I’ve been searching for energy lately. It’s been rough. Buying this house and working on it and the transitions at work–I’m finally appreciating just how burnt out I was getting. So the past few weeks I’ve just been pretty wiped out. If you’ve run into me, then probably that’s been pretty apparent.

But things are calming down. As I type this the asshole contractor who I’ve been fighting with is replacing the shit tile job he did in my bathrooms. This is a relief. My third bedroom is ready to go, and I may now begin the hunt for Roommate #2. This is also a relief.

I take a measure of pride in myself whenever I pull through a tough stretch, and this will count as one. It’s not epic or legendary, but it has yielded some very tangible results.

As I cool off and prepare to resume a more normal routine, there’s something I’ve been thinking about: vigor.

I miss the vigor of my younger days. I mean, one of my friends at work has been emailing me this morning talking about how crazy her week has been: staying up late, getting up early, always busy and basically running on fumes. I miss that. Well I miss some of that. I don’t really need to go back to my “4 happy hours a week plus 2-3 dance clubs on the weekend” days. But I do miss the energy that propelled me through it.

When I hit a rough patch like lately… man, it just makes me feel like an old man sometimes. I guess this is life past 30.

But I hate feeling worn out like that, so my big goal for the next couple weeks is to just be more energetic. Maybe a few tweaks to my routine. Maybe some more time in the gym or some healthier eating. Maybe just being a little more social.

And maybe that sounds a little cheesy. But sometimes this is the best thing that life can offer you: a big cheesy goal.

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I’m hiding out from the heat in my office today. It may be roasting outside this weekend, but in here it’s wonderfully cool.

I’m hoping to make it a productive weekend, actually. My tentative plans all sort of unraveled before they came together, so I resolved to have a weekend of staying in and getting things done (and not spending anything!). I’ve got things at the house close to at what I suppose you might call a good stopping point. It’ll be nice to relax and pursue some hobbies as opposed to housework every night.

The next thing will be getting a second roommate. I’m a tad apprehensive about this. Despite having had plenty of roommates, I’ve always lived with someone I’ve known. Sometimes it’s worked out better than others, but in each case there was a familiarity and, well, trust there already. I’m going to be bringing in someone who at this point is a complete mystery. I mean, it could go so many different ways.

What I’m hoping is that I’ll be able to be pretty picky and find someone who’s going to be a good personality and lifestyle fit. I can afford to wait (although I’d really rather not–this rent will be financing some forthcoming weekend adventures). Right now I have myself convinced that the perfect roommate would be a liberal arts type grad student–someone with good taste, quiet habits, and, most importantly, a busy school schedule. But who knows. Maybe I’ll find some young professional gamer geek who I’ll click with immediately.

Or maybe I’ll end up renting to some psycho. I guess we’ll see how this goes.  Wish me luck.

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Do you know what I don’t understand? Why don’t painters have bodies like athletes?

I got back to painting this weekend, and all I’ve got to say is holy shit, man, what a workout. Through the move and all the painting and everything, I’ve actually gotten toned up a bit. This is great, since I haven’t had time for the gym. Today I actually threw on a polo shirt that the last time I tried to wear it was a little tight in the middle. Not today. Pushing that roller up and down for hours at a time. It’s an upper body workout that’s hard to get on any fitness machine. My chest and arms feel great for days after painting a room.

But what about people who paint houses for a living? You’d think that such people would have the bodies of swimmers or something. Hours and hours spent breaking in that body. You’d think that desperate housewives would have painters on call instead of pool boys.

In either case, the progress on the house continues. I’m hoping that after this week I can ease off and take it easy, most of my immediate projects being completed. I think the next big thing will be painting and re-hardware-ing the bathrooms. That and upgrading some security items.

I think there still might be some summer left for me to enjoy once this is wrapped up. Which is good because I’ve been out of touch with like everybody lately. And let’s not even talk about the last time I did something as leisurely as read a novel.  Buying and working on a house mostly by yourself is some pretty time consuming shit–especially if you’re as dogged as I am about making it not just livable but enjoyable.  But then again, I have more than occasionally been accused of having a one track mind.

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It started with me climbing out onto my roof to nail a piece of siding back into place.  Not exactly how I prefer to start the day, but sort of exhilarating in a way.  Probably, I would have rather gone jogging.  Or slept more.

My home is inching closer and closer to equilibrium.  And thus I am starting to destress.  A little.

I successfully pressured a contractor into coming back and redoing my tile floors.  The kitchen is done.  The bathrooms get done this weekend.  As satisfying as it is to have a new, correctly installed kitchen floor, I hate arguing with people.  The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve strived towards a live and let live approach.  So having to fight with people puts a pall of negativity about me.  I hate it.

But all in all I think I’m liking this home ownership thing.  It’s too bad I couldn’t have made it happen sooner, but ah well.  There’s something deeply satisfying about being in a place that I make better by the day.  There are few things that can calm the mind as powerfully as a collection of small successes.

This morning I repaired my siding and saved myself from having to pay someone to do it.  Possibly a couple hundred bucks.  Win.


My home is starting to resemble a home.  I am no longer sleeping on a matress unceremoniously flopped onto the floor.  I have curtains.  I have started cooking dinner more often than getting carry out.

And yet, most of my stuff is still in boxes.  Grrr.  I’m simultaneously trying to work on the house, work long hours, and start having a social life again.  It’s rough.

I hate it when I go through lag periods on this page, so let me try to get back to regular posting.

In the meantime, here is a link that you may find amusing:

Artistic Statement Generator 2000

I’d paste mine in here, but I don’t want to ruin the joke.  It’s cute.  Enjoy.

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Everything is happening slower than I want it to.  I’m glad that I bumped the move up a week, because it’s taken a lot longer than expected.  There are still a few things left at the apartment that I need to pick up (I left my pictures hung because I didn’t have time to spackle the walls yet).

Just the move itself took twice as long as expected.  I do this thing right…. people, they usually assume I’m in my 20s.  I look young.  And sometimes I feel like I’m still in my 20s.  But after loading and unloading that truck several times this weekend, I felt like I was 50.  Despite having more muscle tone than I used to, I’m not the young buck I once was.

And now that I’m in the house, everything is taking forever.  My list of things I hope to get done this weekend is impossible:
– Reseal grout in kitchen
– Chop down branches in back yard
– Get the deck ready for company
– Get my lawn mower and mow the lawn
– Paint my basement
– Sort boxes and unpack more
– Hit up IKEA and put together some furniture
– Install CO detectors

Heck, I know there’s a bunch I’m forgetting.

I guess part of home ownership is learning to take things one step at a time.

Despite what sounds like griping there, I’m sleeping better than I have in months.  Oh speaking of sleeping, I now need to purchase a split box spring for my bed.  So there’s another thing to do this weekend.

And this is, of course, in addition to this weekend’s social events.

I guess we’ll see how it all goes.  One step at a time…

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