Things have . . . life has . . . been too staggeringly and debilitatingly frantic for us these last few weeks. But, with today comes the first day of the rest of my summer. I think.
Seriously, I don't think we've EVER been so busy as this last little stretch of time. One would think that we must have been . . . and maybe we never remember those times for what they were . . . but I just don't remember such an awful, disheveled time.
Since Tom quit at the Rez, an unexpected and undesired side-effect has occurred: he's never home. It feels like a year since he was working that 8:00 - 5:00 job (it's only been 8 weeks as of today!), but the fact was that he was home in the evenings and on the weekends. Now, the light-out-late evenings lend more hours for working any one of his many new jobs as do the weekends.
The most prominent job has been his new Mr. Fixit company, Trapper Cabin Handyman Services (check out the website which I'll have up soon: www.trappercabinhandyman.com). The motto is "Lotsa jobs may be too big, but there's no job too small!" :) (He is a one-man show, remember!) So far, he's had three jobs: two private and one that he had to bid on (and won, obviously!).
The first job was cutting and installing 3 windows in a (basically) windowless log cabin. Then he replaced the front door which was no small feat due to the complete LACK of "square-ness" in the cabin.
(This first picture, both of these are courtesy of the home owner, is a bit terrifying: where he once had a perfectly sound log wall, he'll soon have a gaping hole!)
The second shot is of Tom routering out the logs so he can install the window frame. (Keep in mind that many of the locations Trapper Cabin Handyman is called to don't have electricity - such as this one. That means he has to lug the "portable" [that's relative when it weighs somewhere around 75 pounds] generator to each site.)
The 2nd job was some miscellaneous yard clean up / organization followed by re-roofing a potting shed and re-siding and roofing a small greenhouse. He's still working on that job.
Today took him down to the job he bid on in the county south of us. The work site is about a 2 hour drive, door-to-door. There's a new development on a tiny lake there, and each of the building sites needs to be marked by signs that the developer had made. Tom's mounting the signs and putting them in the ground (which is difficult since the ground is pretty much nothing but ledgerock in that area). There are 33 sites, if memory serves. There were also 3 large signs that needed to be put up at main intersections. My dad went down to help him one day last week with the largest of the signs. Does that mean that Tom's business is big enough to sub-contract work out now?! (Ha ha.)
Anyway, with a job like that - so far away from home - and him having to drive the big one-ton pickup due to everything he has to haul, there's just no sense in him coming home at nights. There is one spec home built on that new development, so he stayed down there last week. There was cold water, a microwave, and roof over his head - but no bed nor heat. So, you can imagine that sleep was limited. Because of that, we've almost decided that it's worth it for him to come all the way home in between . . . or, at the very least, to our cabin just east of town at night. A bad night of sleep has an amazingly large effect on a person's day!
So, besides the handyman business, I had Trapper Cabin Tommy hoppin' to get ready for his first art festival over the July 4th weekend! And, while people oohed and aahed over Trapper Cabin Woodworks, Tom has pretty much vowed that that was his first and LAST art festival. Not that he won't make more items to sell in the future, but he's NOT a happy camper at those things: being "ON" all day, every day for three days straight; smiling at every single person who passes your table; chit-chatting with strangers to pass the time; trying to tout your own crafts without sounding boastful . . . you get the idea. It is exhausting. I have impressive blisters on both feet from the weekend that are just now beginning to dry and peel off. (Aren't you glad I shared that?) But, Tom did sell one of his beautiful tables for $125. Can't beat that with a stick . . . especially considering all the materials (except the glue, screws, and varnish) were 100% free! (Think we remembered to take a picture of it before it sold? Nope!)
And, finally, Tom's THIRD job has been painting for a friend who owns one of the most respected painting businesses in the county. Unfortunately, the development they've been working at is 65 miles down the shore! So, the little Yaris has been racking up the miles: 2,400 already in only 30 days! (We GOTTA get that in for an oil change!)
And then there's the computer consulting business that Tom's trying to get going plus the alternative energy (mostly solar) sub-contracting that he and my dad are doing.
So, are you beginning to understand, now, why Tom is never home?! This weekend was kind of the breaking point for us, and - while we know that this period of "establishing" ourselves in whatever jobs are going to bring the most money / happiness will not last forever - we also realized that we have to take a good look at prioritizing things. I've not been home this past week, either, and I wasn't "home" mentally the weeks before, prepping for the art festival. Meaning, the house is a DISASTER (I know I've said that before, but I REALLY mean it now), and we haven't had a healthy, home-cooked meal since I-don't-know-when (thank you, frozen pizzas and Subway). Neither of us are happy about that, and Tom - who never asks for ANYTHING - said this weekend, "I want my wife back." And, I, too, MISS being a wife - a homemaker - a proper (i.e. spending enough time to do the job[s] right) farmer. I've been doing my own part to try to bring money in lately, but, as I said, we've got to sit down and prioritize. All we've been doing is putting out the proverbial fires. Running around doing "just enough" to avert major disasters. But, in the midst of all those attempts, of course there are failures. I've lost a duckling, a gosling, one chick, and two turkey poults in the last couple of weeks . . . and an itty-bitty bunny. But, those are stories for later. (Be glad I've gotten THIS far!)