Getting Humble

In the late 2000’s, as the mortgage industry tanked, we found ourselves re-evaluating mortgage banking as our continued source of income. No matter how we sliced it, a career change was going to mean significantly less pay. We wanted to step off the commission-only pay schedule though. Establishing consistency seemed to outweigh the fear. Regardless, we were nervous.

We traded in our brand new 3,000 square foot custom home, our Hummer and our Denali for a white Mazda minivan, a little red commuter car and a peculiar (yet charming) 1,800 square foot 1950’s rambler.

For awhile, it was like waking up in someone else’s life. As I exited the grocery store, it would take me a minute to remember how I got there. There was no way that I arrived in that minivan… 😒

When you are used to owning things that are new, I think it’s fair to say, you are probably not accustomed to the increased frequency of (routine) maintenance issues. We certainly weren’t.

The silver lining to our new (but old) home was its location. Living within a mile of my parents has been a blessing in countless ways.

My dad did a lot of coaching (and head scratching), as he watched us fumble through our first year in this house. Dad has always been handy. He was our go-to guy. If he wasn’t up here working on something, he was teaching me how to use a tool that I was about to borrow.

Two years ago, we hired a company to replace our (barely functioning) cedar shake roof. We knew that, once it was replaced, it would then be time to (finally) conquer cleaning out our nasty attic space. What we couldn’t foresee, was the can-of-worms that would follow.

We now had a beautiful new roof and zero budget for anything else. So we had two choices… curl up & cry OR put on a full body suit & a respirator.

Into the attic Josh went.

Two tons of filthy insulation and many (fifty year old) treasures later, the attic was cleared out. At that point, we had exposed our (badly) damaged duct work.

Again, choices. This time, curl up & cry OR buy a zip-tie cincher and learn what mastic is.

Back into the attic we went. Together.

The night we finally finished installing our new duct work, I was climbing out the attic door onto the ladder and snow started to fall. My back and knees were aching from crawling around and balancing on rafters for two full days. My hands were so cold, I could barely bend my fingers. Despite the fact that hours earlier, I had a full sobbing meltdown, I was now laughing and celebrating. We had just completely redone our duct work. All by ourselves! It was an amazing feeling.

We haven’t really stopped since. Each project has empowered us to try the next.

I have come to realize just how much I treasure the days we have spent wading through each project. You start to see things differently. You get resourceful and very creative.

Our attitude multiplies itself.

Gratitude brings joy.

I have decided I want to chronicle these adventures. I want to sit-with, internalize and then articulate our accomplishments so that we can better celebrate each moment with a fully grateful heart.

I want our children to be able to look back on these stories and relive the details through their mother’s words and photos. I want them to remember what it was like to hear me rambling about the next “crazy” idea and to know exactly where their imagination can take them.

I want them to associate the memories of never-ending drywall dust, the lingering scent of construction adhesive and the thundering sounds of the air compressor tank refilling (yet AGAIN), with accomplishment instead of inconvenience.

Many of our best days and most significant moments have come out of the ashes of something else.

I don’t miss that minivan but I am really glad we ended up in this old funky house.


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