A home, a kitchen, and a woodshop

Even though one of my rules for writing is to never point out how long it’s been since I’ve last written (or apologizing for it), I haven’t written in a very long time. I mention this because, behind the scenes, it’s been eating at me every day for months. To combat this guilt, I’m taking a moment to briefly write about the big things in my life right now with the hope that this primes the pump and gives me the momentum to write more consistently.

Early last year, my wife and I bought a home. After a 2-year rollercoaster ride of searching, where owning a home never once felt remotely close to being achievable, we found a narrow window when the market was beginning to crash and the people offering well over asking were getting spooked. It also helped that we switched realtors to a friend of a friend in the neighborhood who moves at lightning speed—she found our home the day after we met, four days later we had an accepted offer, and a week later we were in contract. To put this in comparison, in the two years prior, we never got even close to having an offer even considered.

Me sitting on the refinished floor of our new home

When we bought the place, we knew we’d want to refinish the floors before moving in and redo the kitchen. (We didn’t binge Room To Improve through the pandemic and develop a crush on Dermot Bannon only to buy a turnkey home we wouldn’t touch.) This started a process in June of 2022 and, as of writing this at the end of March 2023, the end is in sight. We still need to wait another month for our backsplash tiles to arrive because they had a 14-week lead time, but we’re incredibly close …before moving onto our next project—HVAC. Welcome to home ownership.

Kitchen almost finished

Because our place has been a construction zone this entire time, we haven’t fully moved in—we haven’t repainted any rooms or unpacked all of our moving boxes. Since our previous apartment was a third of the size, this still cluttered space feels luxurious, and our patience has held strong throughout. The other day, we realized that when we’re finally finished with the kitchen, we not only get all the upgrades that come with the kitchen—including a dishwasher (!!), which was previously my job—but we also get the immediate upgrade of not living in a construction zone with masonite-covered floors, dust covering everything, and the daily routine of corralling the cats into the bedroom before the crew arrives.

Living in this construction zone, as inconvenient as it can be, has actually inspired the builder in me. For years, I’ve wanted to take a woodworking class. It’s incredibly on-brand for a designer or engineer to be into woodworking, but for me, this dates all the way back to art school where I almost switched majors from graphic design to sculpture because of the spark I felt in the woodshop. I’m glad I accepted my dad’s response of “Absolutely not”, but ever since then, I’ve been itching to rekindle that spark—I just never lit the match. Earlier this year, I found myself in a funk with side projects, so I threw my arms up, went to the Makeville website, and booked a class without thinking twice. I knew that if I thought too hard about making the class work around my schedule, it wouldn’t happen, but if I booked it and worked around the class’s schedule, it might work out—and it has!

Clamped table top in woodworking class

I’m in a 4-week intro course that has our class of six building side tables. Throughout each 3-hour class, I’m so energized that I can’t hold back my excitement—often turning to a classmate and bursting, “Isn’t this fun!?” (Yes, I’m that classmate.) I also leave the class absolutely beaming ear-to-ear and feel like skipping home, only to tell Jen all about everything that happened that day. I know that I need this additional outlet in my life now, so I definitely plan to pursue getting certified to use the woodshop on my own. I’ve also unlocked a new life strategy. Rather than waiting for the right time to take a class or go somewhere and end up only thinking about it, I need to just book the class or trip and work the rest of my life around it. This makes me want to fill almost every evening or weekend with something. Then, my day-to-day is less “what do I want to do?”, but instead “what’s next?”—always learning, making, and experiencing.

Well, how about that—I wrote a post. This felt great, and it was much needed for me. My slump of false starts with side projects and over-editing-never-publishing has been rough, but this is progress. I don’t need my next post to wait until I finish my new personal website or choose a new CMS—I just need to write using what I have now.