02 October 2015

Heights House 2: Buy Used Tools And Borrow From Friends

We learned within a day or two of closing on our house that we would likely be stopping at Lowe's or Home Depot nearly daily or at least multiple times a week if we were going to quickly pull this house together. And boy howdy, those trips can get expensive when you start buying things like tools and ladders, painting and yard equipment.

So I decided to start watching Craigslist tools and free stuff sections for good quality used tools and equipment. It's amazing what you can find when you look around for it. Sometimes I would find truckloads or tool benches full of tools for sale. Other times old ladders and things. Here is a little list of great things I've seen available for sale in the tool section:

  • Camping/Hauling Trailer with a dropdown tailgate & locking storage boxes -- just $400.
  • Band and Circular Saws with Table
  • Drill Sets
  • Vices
  • Rolling Tool Carts
  • Generator
  • Scaffolding & much more.
We also got smart that we have family and friends nearby who own ladders and other tools that they rarely use and are glad to let us borrow for a brief time. I am a real stickler on not putting people out and not being an irresponsible borrower. So I try to only borrow tools for a set time and try never to get lazy or forgetful about returning things as quickly as possible. Tools also get returned with a nice little thank you treat and card whenever possible.

There are a lot of expenses involved in fixing up a house and some tool and equipment purchases are necessary but if you can save money on your purchases or borrow the things you only need for a very short period of time, that savings can really stack up quickly.

Right now we'd much rather give that money to contractors we hire to do the few but major fixes we don't think are too smart to do or are too time consuming to do ourselves. First priority is getting the concrete and brick planter boxes out of the kitchen/dining room and filling in the space with matching brick flooring.

Thankfully we have found a way to solve the needed brick problem that I think is going to work out great. We're making final arrangements on that with the contractor and it looks like we can have the work done by the end of this week. That is some very exciting news and the number one major fix we want to make to the house right now. Can't wait to see it finished. More to come on the house fix ups and I have a post I need to write up about a great work/life/sanity balance lesson I have learned in recent weeks to give you a break from all the house talk.

Hope you are doing well. It's so lovely to hear from you on comments here, on Instagram and FB. It makes me feel not so far away from this world when I am at work for so many hours each week. I do love my job but I very much miss my daily interactions with blog friends and followers. Thanks for staying close. It helps me be brave to do the things I have to do and happy to feel connected to the things that make me very happy and feed my soul.

30 September 2015

Living In Daily Consciousness

As we have been going on this now somewhat long life journey of a move (8 months and counting), it has been full of good life lessons. One of those I've been thinking about this past week is trying to make sure I am living consciously in my body every day. Sounds simple enough, but what a challenge that actually is to live in the present moment, consciously in our own bodies. Our bodies talk to us, they are critical to us learning to enjoy and savor life, they warn us when needed and they teach us hard lessons when we don't slow down as needed.

I've always thought it was interesting that when our bodies tell us we need to eat, it starts with almost a simple whisper saying, "You need to eat." When we brush that off, our stomachs might growl. When we continue to ignore the alerts from our body we might next fall into an energy slump. If we continue to ignore the body's call we may end up with a headache or fainting spell - and eventually things will get much worse if the body is not fed. Our bodies actually have the capability to knock us out if it feels it needs to protect us. The body will continue to amp up the energy and attention grabbing it needs to get us to take care of it properly.

Learning to listen to the body in the beginning stages of a warning is much better than waiting for it to scream for our attention. Similar things happen when we don't get enough sleep, water, rest, etc. Just like we listen to our bodies warnings, we also have bodies that teach us how to enjoy life. This voice is also a whisper. We have to slow down to listen to this voice too.

I have once again recommitted myself to trying to live more consciously. To enjoying the little moments in life like eating a meal, snuggling with loved ones, a great sunset, meaningful work and many other moments that do so much to feed the soul.

A few weekends we started tearing up two indoor planters in our new kitchen/dining room. We carried out about 20 5-gallon buckets of dirt out of just the first one. We cut down some dying trees and it was pretty hard work. But we did it together as a family and I think for all of us it was really satisfying to work towards making our new home a place we'll love and enjoy.

We were hungry after many hours of work and when we got dinner at 9 p.m. it tasted so good and we were very much in the moment of loving a good meal. The next night we had dinner with extended family and then stopped by the new house again. We planned to stop by to make a quick list of projects for the week, but The Bug started sweeping the large flagstone patio on the backyard and pretty soon all three of us were out. We worked until after dark cleaning up the many piles of pine needles, leaves and dirt that had accumulated after a many months without any attention.

The view over the valley was so gorgeous and the sunset was stunning as usual. I realized that working on the new house is perhaps the best life therapy. Working near each other is relaxing and enjoyable. Being outside in the mountain air, even with a few mosquitoes, is refreshing. Knowing that we are investing in something all together is bonding. Being quiet and performing physical labor is an opportunity for the mind to unwind and clear itself.

The following Monday, my lunch of leftovers from the weekend tasted so fantastic. The fact that I was having pleasure in eating was a good sign to me. I find as a mom and wife, especially when you are cooking and trying to get a meal on the table, it's very easy to lose pleasure and enjoyment in meals. They become chores and a list of extended tasks that doesn't end until the dishwasher is turned on that night before bed. It's a challenge to sit down and truly enjoy a meal. So enjoying my meals more is a good sign that I am living more in the moment and more conscious of my body speaking to me.

I find myself stopping to drink in life a little more the past few days. I hope that spirit carries with us into this new home and new life here. I know it's my job to make sure that happens for myself and the to extend that out beyond myself. I'm going to try to have more conversations about living in the moment with my family and do more to point out those special moments we should stop and appreciate. Feeling more present in the moment is the best feeling of all. Regret haunts the past and worry tarnishes the future. But in the present moment all is well and we can do it.


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