552: Home, sweet……aaawwwwww, HECK, no.


I bought a property upon which to live with my new husband. It is two half acre plots of land on one adjoining tract, so I have .01 more than one full acre, and it came with a trashed double-wide modular (trailer) home on it, complete with well and installed septic/drainfield. We can do the absolutely necessary repairs and upgrades, and live in it for hopefully less than three years while we pay off the┬átiny little mortgage, and build the new house we would like to have on the acre – and then we can sell the newly upgraded modular home to someone else to move it off the property – give it to my dad for an escape cabin, OR let the local fire department practice on it, and burn it to the ground…whatever it takes.

I totally understand that a modular home is all that many people will be able to afford in their lifetimes. I am not a housing snob. OK, maybe I am. What I have learned in the process of getting my hands dirty in the gutting of this place (putting a new roof on it and redoing the rotten flooring, ripping out grossly nasty cabinets and redoing bathrooms, painting and caulking, and building new cabinets and ……well, you get the idea……) is that modular housing construction in the United States of America is pretty darn shoddy.

What I have discovered is that it will cost far more than I wanted to spend to put this trashy, temporary, poorly built house to rights to be able to live in it for two-three years, even if I can eventually use the things I am purchasing in the new house, which, thankfully, I can do.

In the meantime, I am reading the books I asked for on interlibrary loan on straw bale construction, which is the house I’d like to build: super insulated, virtually totally fire-retardant, pest-proof, sound insulated, sized and priced for us and exactly what we would like to have for the rest of our lives. Finally.

I am drooling over house plans: www.balewatch.com

and reading up on construction details in a free e-course: http://strawbale.com/store/free-16-day-e-course/

and I really like what I am learning about building with straw bales in order to create my forever home. More resources:



550: Overwhelmed and undervalued

Teacher receiving an apple from student

The first year at a new job is generally more difficult than the succeeding years. You have the routine of the machine that is this particular organization (different one to the other) down to some manageable extent after the first year, and you somewhat know in advance what they are likely to dump into your already-busy lap, and know somewhat when they are likely to do it.

The reports that they wait (often) until the day they are due to tell you about (and sometimes the day after they are due) to tell you about. The routine processes that you need to know to perform your job on a daily basis, which they did not tell you in advance of performing that job, and left you to discover unpleasantly and then struggle to figure out on your own, or go crawling to someone who does know, confessing your ignorance and begging for a mini-lesson to get you up to speed.

The five different professional development courses, all running concurrently, that take up your 50 miserly minutes of precious planning time that you have each day – assuming there is not a parent conference scheduled, or an after-work meeting that you are required to attend, or an out-of-town meeting you are required to attend on what was supposed to be the time you have left over after work to actually live your life – assuming you actually have any such thing.

The planning you need to do so as not to appear a drooling, blithering idiot in the daily performance of your job (at least in the eyes of those observing, and YES, Virginia, they ARE observing).

All those things that were unwelcome surprises during the first year are familiar minor annoyances the second year, not panic-attack-times like they were that first hectic, far-too-busy, overloaded first year. The second year, you can look back on the chaos of the first and smile a little, knowing that you made it with your sanity largely (at least to casual observers) intact. So the second year is better. Somewhat.

None of that helps a whole lot while you are in the mentally and emotionally tense, gut-wrenching, hyper-ventilating maelstrom of the first year. *sigh*