It’s 4:30am and I just woke up. It’s almost time to start work. (Realistically it’ll take me all morning to write this.)
Blake and I have been talking a lot about life and we’ve come to the decision that we’re NOT going to move and that this house, despite its faults, is going to be our forever home because Blake only has to commute twice a week now (which was the main reason we were going to move in the first place), Madison’s going to be out of the house in a couple of years and Wes is going to follow shortly after so once they’re gone, it’s not like we’re suddenly going to need more room. It’s just going to be me and Blake and the dogs (Madison’s taking her cat when she moves out and another one will not be gotten).
Yeah, this house is not even remotely close to my dream house, but it’s redeemable and now that I know we’re here to stay, I can do certain things I couldn’t do before, like potentially the “teacup wall” or bringing back the wildflower garden (or a version of it). Sometime soon Blake’s going to have a dishwasher put in. I asked him if it would be possible within the next 10 years to put a roof on our porch so it would actually get used and he said that was a definite possibility.
We’re eligible for a mortgage 3x the size of the one we have now and we looked at a lot of really pretty houses that I’d love to live in, but there’s no point in getting a mortgage bigger than the one we have now for a house that’ll be too big in a few years and honestly? I don’t really want to have to clean a big house.
Once the kids are out of the house and it’s just us, we really only need a “home base” rather than a fancy house that impresses people when they see it. We don’t know what the future holds, obviously, but I haven’t seen much of this world and I kinda thought traveling might be a possibility, once the kids reach independence, and traveling is expensive. I’d rather have a small, functional house with disposable income for things like travel, as opposed to a nice, big, fancy house where your only option is to sit in it because you can’t afford to do anything else.
I’ve been saying this whole time that I wished we didn’t have to move because I like being 10 minutes from the the world’s longest freshwater beach and my whole mental health support network is up here, so this decision is not unwelcome.
Do I wish we had a nicer house? Of course. But now that we don’t have to be “safe” because we’d planned to sell the house one day, we’re free to do all kinds of things to it to make it the one we want to live in. I don’t know what all of those things are yet, I haven’t thought about it (we only made this decision a few days ago) but now that my imagination is free to go there, it’s gonna go there.
The teacup wall, as some of you probably remember, is something I came up with a long time ago, pretty much when we first moved to this house in 2005 and it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years. The original idea was to cut off the backs of teacups and teapots and stick them to the wall using something like maybe stucco or some other type of “outdoor wall cement” but now I’m thinking a better idea would be to leave the cups and pots intact so the morning glories and moonflowers have more room for their roots. Also cutting a teacup in half is probably a really difficult thing to do, especially when you don’t even have a saw. I’d still have to drill a hole in the bottom of each teacup for drainage but all I need for that is a masonry bit and I just watched some stoner kid make a bong out of a Patron bottle and a masonry bit, so if that kid could do it, I’m pretty sure I could too. Or Blake could. I think what I should do is put up sheets of that wood that has all the little holes in it, prime and paint it and then wire the cups and pots to that with stainless steel wire. Where I would get stainless steel wire or if that’s even a thing, I have no idea, but I would hate for the wire to rust and then 10 years from now my cups start popping off the wall.
Before I can do the teacup wall though, this whole room needs to be rebuilt. My office actually used to be a carport but they made 3/4 of it another room because they put in a gas furnace and didn’t have anywhere else to put it (the house had electric baseboard heaters previously). The problem, though, is that we doubt this room is legal in any conceivable way. They used chipboard for the outer walls. CHIPBOARD. We’ve had nothing but problems with the roof in here leaking because since this room was never meant to be a room, let alone a heated room, they didn’t vent the roof/ceiling properly so the warmth from this room causes ice dams on the roof which fucks it up. That’s going to be the next big project: fixing the roof. Again. This time though, I think we’re going to see if a metal roof is possible.
Since this room used to be outside, the whole length of it to my right has vinyl siding on it which means that hanging anything on that wall is pretty much out of the question. And that sucks. So when we rebuild this room, that’s coming off and we’ll put up drywall. Then we’re going to try and find something creative to do with the furnace. Obviously it can’t go anywhere else, but maybe we can build it in and make built in bookshelves around it or something.
Another thing on the list of things to do, since this is now our forever home, is improving the lighting in this house. You rarely see the inside of my house because the light, or lack thereof, in this house sucks, especially in the living room. We already plan on painting the living room, including the ceiling, so we’ve decided that when that project rolls around, we’re going to look into built-in ceiling lighting because as of right now, there isn’t any and it sucks relying on two yellowy lamps to light the whole room. I’d also like to put a ceiling light in the hallway because there isn’t one there either.
Something else I’ve been thinking about now that we’ve made this decision is the Springwater Guild of Artists and Artisans and next year’s studio tour. After the tour, the guy who keeps everything organized for the guild asked us to let him know if we’d be interested in doing the tour next year. I replied with a polite, “No thank you,” for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that we weren’t sure if we’d be here next year. But now we know we are.
The thing is though…it’s $50 for membership into the guild and for that you get to attend meetings to plan the studio tour, you get one picture on the main page of their site and one picture on your bio page on the site, that also has a link to your site or your shop or whatever you want (I link to Etsy directly from there). To be in the studio tour it’s $75 on top of that. I’m not getting any traffic whatsoever from the guild’s site to my Etsy shop. I sold 4 greeting cards at the studio tour, which I think totals $32 – minus the processing fees for two of the cards because the lady paid with Visa. I also volunteered a lot of my time and energy for the project with pretty much no return. Another “benefit” of being in the guild is that sometimes opportunities arise like when I had my work up at the township office for all of August, which are cool, but others aren’t so cool. (I have a really really hard time forking over cash for “exposure”…)
Financially, this is a no-brainer. This year I lost money on the whole guild thing. However, I am part of this community now for better or for worse (after 8 years of living here haha) and maybe this is really stupid, like throwing money down a hole, but I think paying $50 to be in the guild is sort of like…helping out your community? Or something? I like that the guild exists, even if it doesn’t really benefit me at this point…maybe it will one day? Does that make sense? And as far as the studio tour, I’m still thinking at this point it’s a tentative “no”, but we’ll see what I create between now and May-ish, when I have to decide. Who knows? It’s quite possible the studio tour isn’t even going to happen next year. Also, in the new year I plan on making smaller paintings (8 inches x 8 inches) with a lower price point, as well as a couple of batches of ACEOs, and I’m wondering if I had those at the studio tour this year, if I’d have sold any of them. I had two ACEOs on my table for sale, the only two I have left, but I don’t think people really knew what they were or what to do with them, especially since they’re the same size as my business cards, which resemble artist trading cards. I think if I were to do the tour next year and have ACEOs on my table, I’d have one or two in small frames as a suggestion as to what to do with them.
I just think, maybe, now that I know what to expect from the guild, from the people in the guild and the studio tour, that maybe I should do things differently in the new year. We’ll see.
And like I said to Blake a few weeks ago, maybe a better idea would be to take the $125 I’d be spending on the guild and studio tour and try running some Facebook ads. I don’t even have to do it to know that I’ll get a better ROI.
Like I said, we’ll see.