We moved into our home at the beginning of 2004, with a small baby on my hip and a mounting fear of our urban life. This place had acres and you couldn’t accidentally run into a street. It had brambles and canyon and places to play a mean game of hide-and-go-seek. It also happened to be falling apart, but what do you expect with you live in Southern California and you want a little land. It was still better than the junkies smoking crack while crouched down behind my car, in view of my bedroom window (not kidding).
By the end of 2005 we had finally saved up enough money to start working on this place. We had plans for an add-on, kitchen remodel, landscaping. We couldn’t afford to do it all at once, but we were able to get started and after almost two years, I was restless to just do something productive. Never mind the fact I had two small children, I was ready to get my hands dirty.
It was just before we set these plans into action that we received a call from a friend. This man had been a part of our lives for over 15 years and we had done business with him in the past, netting us enough cash to buy the home we sat in as he spoke to Mark on the phone. He was starting a new business and he needed start-up capital. Could we help? Mark told him we’d talk about it and so the discussion began. It would mean waiting to do all the work we had planned. If it panned out, and it looked promising, the return on investment was really seductive. If it failed we’d be out a big fat wad of cash.
Ultimately, we decided that it was those things in life we didn’t do that garnered the most regrets. We didn’t want to be sitting here a year later wishing we would have jumped. So here we are a year later, still with our fingers crossed, our investment working hard. The potential is still so great, but I find myself restless and full of doubt. I keep reading of others people who buy a house and fix it up, turning a place where others once lived into their homes, and I burn with envy, my hands aching for a sledgehammer. I move through my kitchen cursing at the dilapidated, cheap cabinets and utter lack of space. I stare at the wall that once led to a larger kitchen and now houses a full bathroom with a shower we will never use for its location and I want to throw things at whoever thought that was a good idea. I walk the land and stare at where the hot tub will be or the grove will be planted and I instead of seeing the potential as exciting, I just get weary and angry that I cannot DO SOMETHING.
If I didn’t have these children by my side all day, every day, I’d pick up that sledgehammer and swing. For now, I have to sooth myself wrestling with small hands and wiping small noses and cleaning up and feeding and moving through each day, shielding my eyes from all the ideas. I make my lists, filling our wishing book and breathing deeply into the sight of the gash in the floor and the termite eaten door frames.
Tell me, dear Internet, how do you hold yourself together when all you want to do is break the world apart? How do you find peace in the burning desire of all you could do, if only x met y and joined to make the perfect z? And finally, anyone have a suggestion for a cheap home improvement that I can do with children under feet? ANYTHING, just give me an outlet or I’m gonna do something drastic.