I haven’t written in a while because I got very busy. First I was looking for jobs, then classes were ending and I had scary finals, then things with my parents’ house got real, by which I mean a realtor finally came in and told us all the things we need to fix before putting it on the market.
On a positive note, I did pretty well in all of my classes and I still think that I might get into graduate school, as long as I don’t do terribly on the GRE. The new semester starts Monday and I’ll be taking organic chemistry, anatomy, and psychology. Here’s hoping they go well!
I also got a year-long contract job doing grantwriting for a consulting company. It’s really similar to work I’ve been doing on and off since college, so it’s unexciting but good. I applied for lots of different jobs (night shift at a home for troubled girls, school photographer, nanny, etc) but none would have worked as well with my schedule or been as lucrative. Also, despite the fact that it still sometimes feels strange to me, I probably ought to accept that I have a career in fundraising. Hi, my name is Emma and I have a career in fundraising.
In addition to that job, another strange opportunity fell into our laps. Tony and I haven’t signed the contract yet, but it looks like we’ll be working as a freelance writing team for a technical college not in Missouri. It has many advantages, including potentially interesting writing assignments and a very high hourly wage. It also has a big disadvantage in that we have no idea how many hours per week it will be. I know I’m approaching this very pessimistically, but I’m worried that we’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of work.
At least part of that worry is rooted in these house updates, which have seemingly ballooned overnight. Most of it is basic stuff: ripping out the linoleum flooring in the kitchen, taking down wallpaper, painting painting painting. The only investment needed is time. Enormous amounts of time.
One of the interview questions I was asked during my job search was, “Describe a time you’ve had to work with a limited resource and how you overcame it.” My limited resource was time, and my interview-appropriate solution was that I prioritized tasks that were most important. The reality is, of course, that when faced with too much work and too little time I become stressed and overwhelmed and my back hurts. But the interviewer didn’t want to hear that.
There is a destructive pattern in my life in which I take on way too much work by choice, and then complete it with a chip on my shoulder. This makes me unpleasant in at least two ways: (1) I am very stressed throughout the project and (2) I am angry at people who I feel should be helping but aren’t. In an effort to be kind to myself, I should mention that I can get a lot done. I am a bitch, but a hardworking one.
Predictably, the house updates are falling into this familiar pattern. I am totally overwhelmed by the work, and we’ve only just started with the realtor-approved list of stuff to do. I’m already annoyed with family members for not helping with something they didn’t sign up for. Why am I the only one doing these updates? I wonder. Because you asked to be, the universe answers. This is the undeniable truth: Tony and I moved into this house with the express purpose of living here and doing updates before my parents sold it. No one forced me into this situation and, likewise, no one else asked to take this on.
The wikipedia article about the albatross as a metaphor is good reading. “The albatross can be both an omen of good or bad luck, as well as a metaphor for a burden to be carried as penance.” I am intimately familiar with that burdened feeling, but I haven’t lately embraced the possibility of the good luck albatross. The truth is, I am learning a lot about home improvement, the opportunity to live in this place rent-free has allowed me to go back to school, and I am occasionally getting to do my favorite thing of making something ugly slightly less ugly. The albatross around my neck might still be a good omen. A heavy, burdensome good omen.
On a lighter note, after doing the exhausting work of ripping out the linoleum kitchen floor (which, to completely negate everything I said previously, my brother helped tremendously with) I did a very rewarding project involving the kitchen fan. Of course I forgot to take a before picture but (luckily?) my parents’ room has a nearly identical fan:
The only difference is that the kitchen version also had four lights hanging below the blades. The extra light was nice, but the glass lampshades had a horrible country granny circa 1981 vibe that was…uh….not nice:
Imagine four of these shades hanging below those strange wood and wicker blades and you’ll start to get it. This was not just an ugly fan, it was an aggressively ugly fan.
My solution was to unscrew the blades, flip them over (to the non-wicker side), paint them white, and reattach them. I also removed all of the glass shades and replaced the standard lightbulbs with decorative globe lights. Here’s the improved version:
I thought I’d still hate the brass fixture, but somehow the white improves it (I think). I’m not 100% satisfied with the bulbs, since I don’t like seeing this light socket part:
If I end up finding some unobtrusive shades at Lowe’s I might buy them, but I’m not too concerned. I’m pretty sure the new owners will buy a different fan anyway, so this one really only has to be unobtrusive, not gorgeous. For $4 and 45 minutes of work, it’s good enough.