Mistakes have been made.
One time, we bought a marble sink but the cabinet didn’t fit in the bathroom. We were pulling it out of the hatchback at Lowe’s to return it, and the sink dropped straight through its containing cardboard box and onto Jenn’s toe. “It’s broken!” I cried in grief, referring to the corner of the sink. But we later discovered it also applied to Jenn’s toe.
One time I baked a couple loaves of bread and completely forgot to add one of only four ingredients. “It’s still perfectly good,” Jenn said of the saltless bread. She was lying, bless her.
Then there was the whole fiasco where we bought a wee piece of land at auction to hopefully turn into a garden or orchard. The property lines were so confused it would’ve cost us thousands to sort out, even before we could start clearing the land.
I’ve gouged new paint jobs. I’ve cut things too short with the chopsaw. I’ve wired ceiling fans backwards. I’ve nearly lost a finger. I flooded our bathroom, and minutes later, when trying to turn off the water at the water main, broke the main.
We don’t talk enough about our failures on this blog. I suppose that means we’re optimists. Smartasses with an unforgivable love of puns, but optimists in the end.
I have occasional bouts of rage, but they’re less frequent now that I’m older, smarter, more careful, that stuff. Now I mostly get angry watching the Miami Dolphins play — and I actually focused that rage a number of years back to smash up a poured concrete walkway in front of the house. (The team isn’t any better now, under the “tutelage” of Jay Cutler. But my anger management has improved.)
I’ve learned to be flexible and patient in tackling projects around the house. If you watch and listen, the house will tell you how it wants to be renovated. You just have to pay attention to how you use it. Here’s a for-instance:
The Dew Abode used to be a duplex, and it formerly had two back doors with two back sets of concrete steps. One of the doors was closed up and walled off before we bought the place, but the steps remained. Eventually, we figured out that atop the steps was the perfect place for a little lean-to garden shed. And now we’ve installed a brick landing at the base of the steps that going to be a beautiful entryway to the forthcoming grape arbor. We didn’t envision either of these projects when we bought the place.
But I’m not going to lie and tell you we never get our heart set on something, or that it doesn’t hurt when that something falls through.
One of those somethings — a big one — struck us a couple of weeks back.
We’d been eyeing a little spit of land across the street from our house. It needed some clearing, but we thought we might be able to buy that land and put a good-sized garden on it.
No one had been able to track down the owners for years, though. It was tied up in an estate. So Jenn and I got with an attorney to help locate the owners, and we paid three years of delinquent property taxes on the place in a good faith effort to keep the property out of lien so the owner would look favorably on us if he were inclined to sell.
Well, we never got ahold of the guy personally. But he was apparently so offended that an attorney contacted him about the land that he just sold it to an investor — someone who seems to think it will be super valuable, eventually. (Probably because of all the work that homeowners in our neighborhood are putting into our streets. But there’s that anger again…)
We found out all this when we heard the new owner mowing it on a recent Sunday afternoon.
Over the course of the summer, I cut down a half-dozen small trees on that land. I cleared about 30 square feet of privet. I contracted the worst bout of poison ivy in my life in that lot — and I’ve had poison ivy so bad in the past that I needed ER visits. (In related news, I also killed all the poison ivy in that lot.)
And yeah, it was a gut punch to learn that neither the guy who owned it nor the guy who bought it gave a damn about any of that.
Yeah, I was mad.
This is why it’s important to remain open to possibilities, but not locked in on them.
We need to treat the future just like those concrete steps in the backyard. We need to be open to the possibilities, but let them reveal themselves in the right way.
We’ve now had two strikes on finding a piece of land for an urban microfarm.
But this ain’t baseball, so we’re going to keep swinging.