If you’re going big, dream big right?
Just kidding. This post isn’t about big cars but it seemed a fun intro! This post is however about the connection between big jobs/decisions, and the corresponding big requirements and tools. My husband and I are in the process of helping take over the care and maintenance of my parent’s home and 3.5 acre yard. We have built them a handicap friendly apartment off the main house, which I’m happy to report today is almost completely finished. This has been a big decision/project for a big problem. My first lesson is when life gives you big problems you have to be willing to make big decisions. My parents needed help, of my siblings I am at the current stage of life when providing the needed assistance is a better fit. We’re learning lots along the way and maybe someone else out there will benefit from me documenting my progress and lessons. To anyone who may be dealing with the issue of how to help care for aging parents with big health concerns/problems I highly recommend this avenue. We are close enough to be of real help while still having separate living quarters – both of which have been suited for individual needs. For the first time in my married life all of our financial resources are going toward true financial independence and the benefit of more than just ourselves. And that my friends, is truly a wonderful feeling.
So the pictures I saw this morning that made me think of this post were these:
These two pictures of of the same area, the one on the left taken a few weeks ago when I began the process of clearing wild and unruly growth of weeds and such, the one of the right is the way it looks today after the cleaning job has been done. This was a BIG job and it required BIG tools. Actually, it required bigger knowledge than either myself or my husband had on what the right tool would be to begin with. Enter my next lesson, make use of your local tool rental business. And I’m not just talking renting their tools for jobs, I’m talking about picking their brains and experience for finding the right tools to begin with. Our local rental company has been great to work with. We walk in, tell them what we’re dealing with and the owner slaps down several options and suggestions. For this job we learned they make weed whackers with blade attachments. Who knew? So all it took to cut down all these nasty wild, thorny bushes and vines was a souped up weed whacker. Better yet, we were able to rent it for half a day for a whopping $25. No worries about breaking equipment, just put the petal to the metal and get the job done. Additionally, our first discussion for this job brought on other suggestions for yard problems we’re yet to deal with this year. All in all, a very successful trip!
Sadly, the one job that I’ve found still requires a lot of manual labor and simple pruning sheer is trimming fruit trees. The simple decision of the fiskar sheers with long handles provides enough leverage right at the point of cut that it works really well. The downside is it takes a long time and requires a lot of climbing and precarious positions to successful trim back the trees. Here’s my son after trimming just one of eight:
This is where having extra acreage works well because you can haul all these trimmings to a big pile in an empty pasture for future burning. Our pile is getting pretty big!
The next lesson we’re learning is how to break big jobs down. When looking at something a large as 3.5 acres you have to find a system or go crazy. A few weeks ago we decided we would take one hour each morning (weather permitting) and spend it together doing something in the yard. This morning we were able to get the garden cleared of last year’s corn stalks and tilled under. We were also able to move the last tree trimming and raspberry patch trimming moved over to the burn pile.
This sounds simple but it’s really monumental. It’s the reality that small, consistent effort yields big results. There is also great value in feeling you have a partner helping you with really big jobs. For me, it’s truly that “spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.”
Finally, I’m learning how important it is to pace yourself on big jobs and go step by step. When looking at a house that needs a lot of renovation and remodeling, it is easy to get overwhelmed. It is also too easy for someone of my personality to jump in taking on too much too fast. I’ve had to learn the value of recognizing that this is a process not just a project and I need to expect to implement the same monumental truth that consistent and paced efforts will bring the best results. This is difficult when you’re looking at projects in the various stages of remodeling! I have visions of how the kitchen will look when it’s finished and it’s hard to walk into it every day and know I can’t jump on those cabinets or floor yet. But I know I’ll get there because what I’m currently working on will enable me to start on those projects next. This week I started the process of removing sheetrock on two walls of a room we’ll be removing. The goal is open up the living space and move dining room furniture into that space.
Sometimes jobs just have to come piece by piece – like taking out drywall. But the good part of that is cleanup is also in smaller chunks! If you are or are married to an electrician then going after electrical issues isn’t a big deal. For the rest of us, I highly recommend hiring this service out. In fact, this is another great lesson learned – hire the right people for the right jobs that are beyond your abilities. Electrician and plumber are two jobs you want done right! We got the interior of the walls we’ll be taking out opened up so our electrician could come see the wiring and make some determinations about the requirements and time to safely move light switches and remove outlets. When his part is done later this week we can continue tearing out the walls and I can start work on my brown paper floor. Stay tuned for that day because there’s some fun decorative twists I’m excited to try with it!
So there’s today’s share. It’s nice to take a break from all that muscle building work and type for a bit!