Daily Archives: 07/07/2015


The Glamorous Life of a Real Estate Investor

Today I painted a kitchen. This house we’re working on. Man, it’s taking forever. Ben has done all kinds of fancy stuff but I don’t know how to do many things so I’ve just been painting. So far, I’ve painted the upstairs, which is a gigantic angular bedroom and bathroom; the laundry room; the walls of the downstairs bathroom (thankfully Ben did the bricks, which I’ll show you soon); and one coat on the kitchen (everything but the laundry room has needed two coats).

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Wet paint looks bad!

Here are a couple “before” pix, which show that my work today did nothing to improve matters. I’m hoping the second coat helps and that I’ll find the motivation to clean the shit out of the trim and beadboard, which will be painted a nice fresh white. The tenants who lived here before we bought this house never cleaned. I don’t even want to tell you about some of the things I had to scrape out from under the upstairs bedroom trim.

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We’re painting the cabinets and giving them new pulls, installing all new appliances and a little islandy-type thing from Ikea, adding some new lighting, and putting in a new sink and counter. We don’t love the floor (it’s faux wood, and I regret to inform you that a previous owner removed all the original wood floors from the back half of the house) but it’s serviceable and will stay for now.

Our hope is that the finished product will be nice but not fancy, so nice but not fancy people can afford to live here with their animals. It’s somewhat boring work, but I kind of feel that providing a decent place for someone to live at a reasonable price is in some small way contributing to society.

Also! You haven’t met our new chickens yet but one of them is already laying! Look at this cute tiny egg!

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The Future

Nothing’s for certain, it could always go wrong
Come in when it’s raining, go on out when it’s gone

—The Grateful Dead

Yesterday I gave notice that I’m leaving my job of 10 years. I don’t have another job lined up. I’m not looking for a job. I don’t know when or even if I’ll have a job in the future.

This was a hard decision to make. I went back and forth for days, resorting to tears on more than one occasion.

So what the hell am I doing? Hey, that’s a good question!

First, we’re working on growing our family through adoption. We’re at the point in the process where you make a book about your family, which gets shown to women who are choosing adoption and hopefully eventually someone who sees your book picks your family. So this book contains everything you want her to know about you and your lives, so she can see what it would be like for a baby in your family.

This is a difficult project. I like to refer to it as bar-exam hard. I’m motivated to get it done quickly but I want it to be perfect and sometimes when I want things to be perfect I put them off and have a hard time working on them because I know they won’t be perfect so I don’t even want to try and fail and even if I know I can revise it later I get stressed about having this imperfect creation out there in the universe. BTW this is why I haven’t written a novel yet — the shitty first draft’s mere existence will cause me existential angst.

I’m still torn on how much to write about adoption. I wasn’t going to write about it at all, but that seems almost unfair because I’ve benefited so much from reading blogs about other people’s adoption experiences. I’ll figure that out as I go, while always maintaining a high degree of respect for the process and everyone involved in it.

The adoption is what got me started thinking about leaving my job. I love what I do — legal editing is a good mix of working in the law (which I find fascinating) but not practicing law (which I didn’t particularly enjoy) and writing and editing. But there are some parts of my job that are very problematic and, if I can get a little hippie for a minute, I don’t like the way the negative feelings I get from this radiate to my outside life and make me a more negative person. That made me realize when we do get a baby (assuming we do, which is hard because the idea that eventually we will get chosen and there will be a baby seems super abstract to me) I’m not going to pay, like, half of my take-home pay every month for daycare so I can deal with crap I don’t want to deal with at work and I would quit my job.

So then I thought if I’m going to be home anyway, what if I homeschool Soren. I’ve spent the past few months researching it and based on the information I have, homeschooling is quite possibly the best idea in the world if you can make it work. And he’s totally into the idea. After I was pretty sure I wanted to do it, I asked him, “Hey, what if instead of going to kindergarten at a school, we do kindergarten at home?” “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I’ve told him it could get boring. I’ve told him he’s going to have to listen to me. I’ve told him he might get tired of me. And his opinion has never changed. He is stoked for homeschooling. (At least for now. If that changes in the future he can always switch to a traditional school. This is a two-person team effort and I’d never make him do this against his will.)

I’ve slowly been formulating my homeschooling approach and buying curricula. Apparently all first-year homeschoolers go overboard and buy way too much curricula, and I’m no exception. And let’s not even talk about the art supplies. I don’t even know what you do with some of them, but that’s kind of what makes it exciting. Soren’s going to be learning so much, and I’m going to be learning, too.

Our homeschooling journey, which will officially start next month, is something I will blog about, a lot. I’m really excited about it and want to share it with you, plus there aren’t a whole lot of homeschool blogs written by people who aren’t religious and/or trying to sell you something. Even finding curricula/books/resources that aren’t religious is hard. (One great resource for information on non-religious homeschooling, if you’re into that sort of thing, is secularhomeschool.com.)

We’ll keep up with the sports and music lessons Soren already does, and I hope we can find some good local homeschool groups/co-ops to help fulfill his social needs that don’t involve people trying to sell us anything (I’m equally terrified of people trying to sell me Jesus and people trying to sell me MLM products).

These are some big changes! And aside from adoption (which was easy — I’ve wanted to adopt for almost as long as I’ve wanted to have kids), these were very hard decisions to make. I keep feeling like what if I’m jumping into a deceptive puddle and there’s not really any water in there and I get hurt? But the only way to find out is to try, and I want to be the person who has a big idea and tries it, not the person who sits there thinking about it all the time but doesn’t take the chance.

On to a new adventure!