#Write31Days 27: Part III of Rolling With the Punches

[Part 3 in a series where we talk about ways we’re dealing with things that are completely out of control]

When we were young tikes we watched The Smurfs, and it’s kind of weird that the villain is genocidal? Like, how lazy is it that She-Ra’s foe is just openly evil and delights in the actual pain of others? Inspector Gadget fought a bad guy who… just hated Inspector Gadget? (Wait, is that right: that was the whole conflict?) Captain Planet stops enemies whose motivations are just “wow I love spreading pollution all over”? I mean, none of these were antagonists with a lot of depth. It was confusing when we were young because who is even like that in real life?

Jack: If I could kill every mosquito on Earth I would. I want each of those tiny creatures dead for reasons they don’t even have the cognitive faculties to understand. I’m in my mid-30s and my 5-year-old self wouldn’t get that now I completely identify with Gargamel. I’m just a cat short of being the Mosquito Dr. Claw. Not only do I want them all dead, I can’t stop talking about how much I hate them and want them all dead. I sit up in my massive house all day scheming up ways to rid my life of mosquitos. Shall I hang up an electric light that will incinerate them alive while I watch? Maybe spray toxic chemicals all over the plant life?

Jack IRL if Emily ever let him get a cat

There’s a lot of terrible options for dealing with the mosquitos in our life, and by far the worst option is doing nothing. We’re not keen on a bug zapper, as it’s both inefficient and nondiscriminatory in the bugs it zaps. We want to keep the nutrient-rich biomass that took over our yard and use it to fertilize some flowers, grass, and veggies, so spraying our yard is strictly out of the question as we can’t find any non-toxic spray.  The short term method we’re using is coating ourselves with gross bug spray every single time we go outside. Sometimes we try the “ignore it and do nothing” option, and we’ve never not regretted it. It’s always a mistake.

How many mosquito bites do you count just on one half of a leg?

We love ignoring problems as much as the next person does, but it’s so rarely effective. Even when it is effective, sometimes it’s still not the right option. When we drop ice cubes on the kitchen floor – the quintessential problem that can be solved by ignoring it! – Emily still picks them up.

Outside of our home, past the annoyances of the mosquitos, there are innumerable real problems in our society that cause actual human suffering. Families are routinely devastated by problems we shouldn’t have in this country. Many of us are choosing the “ignore it and do nothing” option day after day, and it’s for sure the worst option.

We know if we continue the good work we’ve put into our yard, we’ll have few things that mosquitoes love, like overgrown plants and standing water, and many things that mosquitos hate, like marigolds and lavender. We don’t have to figure out what’s effective because it’s a solved problem. Lot’s of people have usable yards! Human beings have the solution to this problem already!

Likewise, the proper way of dealing with the issues in our city, state, and nation is to be civically engaged. One great example of that is being an informed voter. Go ahead and google “voter guide” – there are lots of high quality ones. We recommend the League of Women Voters and VoteSaveAmerica.com.

Beyond that, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with who represents you. Now that we’re in a new zip code, we need to find out which US Congressional District we’re in and which state legislative district we’re in. We also need to know who runs our town and what the issues are. It’s a lot of reading! Where to start?

Our strategy is to start by finding the names. List every single person that represents you, personally, from the current President down to the local comptroller. For each of those names you’re trying to answer the following questions:

What issues do they care about? Maybe you’re not well versed in consumer protection law, but your US Senator has sponsored seven bills on it? Maybe it’s worth being aware if your rep has an overwhelming positive or awful impact on others? You may be surprised!

What do their strongest critics say? Once there was a candidate we were lukewarm about until we saw the most legitimate shade his opponents could throw was “he said he quit smoking last year, but he was caught with a cigarette on the campaign trail! What else is he lying about??” It calmed our concerns about him. We’ve also been thankful to learn about concerns someone’s allies fail to talk about or address all that much.

Do they know what you care about? They need to. A lot of them even have staff specifically to help them learn how to more accurately represent you and your interests! Did your State’s Attorney General commit to anti-discrimination policies? It’s important to send Likes when they do positive things!

Do their actions line up with their words? This is as important as it is easy to answer. Your State House Rep says she kept each of her campaign promises? It’s great to know that she said that, but if you fail to research 1) what her promises actually were, 2) whether there are results or not, and 3) if she did anything whatsoever to cause those results, then you’re a 200 year old Russian literary classic exploring moral ideals, and you’re not a 200 year old Russian literary classic exploring moral ideals are you?

“So you promised to repeal the new legislation, but then you didn’t, and now you’re saying you always supported the legislation? I’m so glad you cleared that up, here’s my vote.”

If you’re behind, then get started. Keep going until the problems are solved and we can all walk outside and just enjoy part of the Earth for a while.

#Write31Days 25: How To Blog With Your Spouse

Step 1: Be honest.

“I’m not saying your writing is bad, it’s just hard to read.”
-Emily, being pretty honest

Jack has tragically awful writing skills. Dear Reader, please stifle whatever instinct, whatever internal sense of manner or politeness makes you doubt what we tell you: his writing skills are so irrefutably poor that it has changed our lives. You’ll recall that we moved to the east coast so that Jack could go to law school in DC? That’s because he wanted to personally impact public policy regarding online privacy rights by starting a career where 99% (give or take) of his work would be huge legal memos and briefs. Every part of that plan was working out better than expected until it came to learn how to write legal memos and briefs.

He left law school and it took him some time to deal with the disappointment. It took a great deal of effort to even come up with the language to describe how 2016 went for us. So many unfavorable changes happened that year that it devastated our 2017. That’s when we were finally able to make a plan to change everything we needed to about our lives, including creating one where Jack’s writing skills don’t matter for his career.

During that time we’ve had to face very difficult emotional challenges together. That has required us to be honest with ourselves about our needs and about our feelings.

Jack: “I like the opening that I wrote better.”
Emily: “But you’re wrong.”

Facing those emotional challenges has also required that we be honest with each other. As you can see, we have absolutely nailed it.

Step 2: Be vulnerable.

“Yeah, you’re right, let’s change that line,” is something we’ve each said A LOT this month!

The first draft of some of our posts look dramatically different from what we eventually published. Some drafts lasted minutes before being finalized, some drafts were started weeks before we posted them. When the editing process goes smoothly, it’s because we’ve both reached a place where we can trust the other person enough to show them the parts that are imperfect.

Jack: I would say that the bulk of my notes and proposed edits are for Emily to punch up her language a bit, especially when talking about herself. She describes herself differently than I describe her. 

On our best days, criticism doesn’t feel like criticism. We’ve shown each other what it looks like when we leave our comfort zones to learn more about the world and the people around us. When we started reading books together, it was for fun. Our most recent book we started reading together is non-fiction, and it regards human suffering. Our world is imperfect and we don’t have a solution for some really important problems yet. That’s difficult to confront on your own, let alone having someone you love watch you clumsily learn.

Step 3: Be punctual.

One of us was in a meeting so the decision had to be made by the other one on their own, which is how one of our posts got titled “Punchess Diaries 2: Rolling Engagement“.

Things are gonna happen, and when they do you’re either going work together or you’re not. Your spouse is going to be able to rely on you or they’re not.

We spent more on a house than we could afford. We knew this was more than either one of us could handle, but we also knew this was a challenge that we would be handling together. No shade to people who got married when they were younger than we were, but we had each already lived on our own as adults for years and years before we lived our lives together. We know what we can do on our own, and it turns out there’s all sort of things we couldn’t do until we were a team!

Emily had done this blog challenge in previous years and before we even started attempted to establish a schedule that would get our posts out in a timely manner. She’s the timekeeper, always has been: (Tells Jack a movie starts 20 minutes before it actually does, so we can get their on time. That no longer works since he has been employed at a movie theater). So, when we got behind, and even missed an entire day, we both had to be understanding of the process as a whole.

But seriously, if you’re gonna blog, chill out on the schedule because you’re gonna fall behind, and you’re not going to catch up. You’ll try, but you won’t, so be serious about writing ahead of time instead of just on time.

#Write31Days 24: Taking Risks and Making Things Work

All advice is autobiographical, so we don’t look at advice as being good or bad but as being relevant or irrelevant to us. We don’t blindly follow advice just because we like the source, and we definitely don’t disregard advice based on where it came from – we welcome everyone’s opinion! We believe that when choosing to take a risk in life, this is the difference between being reckless and making a calculated risk.

Jack: A high school teacher once told me I didn’t need a college degree because I could learn all the same things for free myself. This was categorically bad advice that I did not take, but I have to assume there’s a non-zero number of people for whom this will be true. I’m proud of my degree and would encourage college aspirations in any given kid, yet I would never tell a teenager that they were doing life all wrong if they had a plan for themselves that didn’t include college. 

The first person we told about our engagement was Jack’s sister, Kristie. She was our first and strongest supporter! From there we have had mixed results; partly because we actively sought advice from colleagues, acquaintances, and relatives that we knew would be uncomfortable about the news, we had multiple conversations with people – before and after our wedding – who advised us that we should not be together. Our mixed-race, mixed-faith, mixed-football team allegiance household is one or two too many “mixes” for some registered voters still to this day. “Can’t she find some nice boy in that church of hers?” one person asked, going on to explain that they were merely worried for us that some people might, you know, be difficult.

This advice is garbage, but it has its value. Even bad advice can be illuminating! (For one thing, some of the advice we got happened to illuminate a couple names on our invite list that didn’t belong there 🙃) Inversely, sometimes you get really good advice that just doesn’t apply to your situation. Oh, a different major would have lead to a more lucrative career? Great, but that’s one of several important considerations, not the sole or dispositive factor.

Emily: I really have never been much of a risk taker. I’m the girl that always prefers to follow the rules. Even when Jack and I decided to get married, I didn’t see it as a risk because we had many important conversations about what the future would look like and how people might react. As time has gone on, I’ve grown more comfortable with taking risks  because I see the value both when things have worked out and when lessons have needed to be learned. 

We’ve had several great mentors and role models growing up, but none of them were perfect, infallible humans. From teachers to camp counselors, they each had their own experiences and perspectives, and now that we’re grown adults we have the luxury of choosing which influences to hold on to and which to let go of.

Jack: I once had a relative giving me a hard time about not having the courage to confront an important obstacle in my life. I was livid at the time. They had made a lot of big mistakes in their life and they weren’t in a position to lecture someone else on life choices! But that wasn’t the problem. What makes me seethe to this day is knowing that they were 100% RIGHT at the time.

With any important decision we make together, we’ve been advised to make any number of different choices. But of course, no one else is going to live our lives for us – we’re the ones that live with our decisions! We will always consider the safe option, but that’s not sufficient reason to pick something. “Safe” still fails sometimes:

Jim Carrey: So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying, I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it — please! (applause) And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order. It’s party size! (laughter)

My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.

I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

We had a lot of safe options to choose from when we were house hunting, but we made our choice based on what we were willing to work for. We’ve definitely taken risks that didn’t work out before – we don’t casually abandon “The Safe Option” when it’s presented! When we’re ambitious it’s because we know what it takes to commit to making things happen. After all, why take the risk of passing up Happily Ever After?

#Write31Days 23: Let The Sunshine In

We were raised by a society that wastes so much, but in our new home, we are determined to make changes that minimize our footprint.

Emily: Earth Day was always one of my favorites at school. I loved learning about how to recycle and the importance of taking care of what we had been given. One year we received a tree that we planted. Even after a storm broke it in half, mine still sits in the yard of my childhood home.

There are lots of positive reasons why we care about nature in addition to the one awful one: we want to have less of a negative impact on the life expectancies of future generations. We’re not parents, but we’re a proud aunt and uncle to a pair of darling nieces! But even if we didn’t have children in our family that we loved, we still care about humanity itself. It’s impossible to overstate the stakes of the issue, so we’ve given environmentalism some consideration in our decisions. We’ll mention more in upcoming posts about sourcing lumber, water conservation, and other renewable fuel sources. For now we want to talk about what we want from the Sun!

No big deal, but we want to impose our will upon a celestial entity and harness its power for our bidding, but like, in a literal sense. It shouldn’t be too difficult, but it definitely looks like we’re powerful enough to force the Sun itself heat our home in the winter, cool our home in the summer, and do the bulk of such mundane chores as washing dishes and doing our laundry.

All we have to do is transform our entire home in such a way as to make it unrecognizable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Step 1: Use a thermal collector to absorb heat from nearest nuclear fire burning in outer space, Step 2: pump warm water to tankless electric water heater (instead of boiler)
Step 3: pump hot water through PEX tubing embedded in our subfloor
Step 4: enjoy climate-controlled home with the bottom 8 feet of each room heated!

Before we can put anything on our roof, we need to replace it. See, we have these hip joints on our roof that makes the southern-facing side so small that every solar panel salesperson in the state has told me there’s just no way to wire up our house without re-designing our roof. That’s something we can tear down and rebuild ourselves, so we were undaunted by the requirement.

Our roof looks like the one on the left, with a point on top and triangles for sides. The last solar panel tech that came out to our home pointed at the house on the right (above) and said we “need a roof that looks like THAT” before abruptly bailing on me and running up to my neighbor’s door like a cat responding to a can opener.

Tesla is one of the companies that makes rechargeable batteries for your home. See, one of the problems with our insecure, patchwork electrical grid is that its unreliability is exacerbated by a “spike” in demand for electricity that happens at sunset from solar-powered homes. But if you run your entire home from a set of batteries, then you don’t need to draw from the power grid at all. This will stop the frequent power outages we experience, which always makes us worry about our computers and appliances!

That 6pm spike in demand? That has generated what is known as the “duck curve.” Our national infrastructure already can’t handle normal usage, so adding stress to the system is making our current problems WORSE.

Once we get all of our electricity from the sun and we have rechargeable batteries powering our home, the next step is to replace our gasoline use with solar electricity as well. All of this is going to co$$$t quite a bit, so we’re going to have to deal with some waiting and saving over the next couple of years. But once we’re done, we won’t have a natural gas, electric, or gasoline budget! Our Sun will power our commute, appliances, climate control, and more!

#Write31Days 22: Hands

 

We believe that what’s crucial to our creativity is actually creating things. Working hard is valiant, but creating is more than that. Fixing or building something with your hands requires problem solving and accumulates experience and practice.

Emily: As a writer, my favorite tools are pens and computer keyboards. I also like to do crafty things, too, which now includes auto maintenance (thanks to Jack’s help!). I do all of the basics on my own: from changing my own air filters and bulbs to  changing my own oil. And even when I don’t want to learn or do something because it’s too hard, he encourages me through it – even though I throw him a lot of sass! Jack has always said that my hands looked graceful. I have long fingers and ever since I stopped biting my nails 🤭 and started manicuring them, they look pretty cute most of the time.

Jack: I found it difficult to keep up with the maintenance on a car I rarely drove, and I couldn’t watch dudes at some shop offer her deals on changing her windshield wipers. Also, she has her own growing tool collection, which is great for me because now I can go back to being the only person mad at me for losing or breaking my own tools.

Our Yellow Rose is going to require a lot of manual labor. We’ve done a ton in the yard, which is an easy favorite, but with the upcoming renovation we are going to do some roofing, some framing, and even digging out a basement! Ourselves!

Little of it will be new. Emily has participated in many mission trips that consisted of new construction or gutting and re-building storm-damaged homes. Jack has done a lot of the same in his years working in residential and commercial construction. From rough carpentry and roofing to finishing work and painting, we each have enough experience to welcome the light renovations we have planned.

Refinishing the first floor, top floor, and roof will be the easy part, but digging out the basement will be a learning experience from start to finish! But we’ve been here before: at the start of an incomprehensible project. Neither of us had run a marathon when we decided to train for one. All we knew is that it was an unreasonable amount of running that we couldn’t imagine ever accomplishing, so why not give it a shot?

And you know what? Week after week we did the work, together. And now we hang up our medals, together.

Emily: Though I am still building my confidence, I am thankful for Jack’s skill set and his great patience in teaching me, so we can do the work ourselves.

Jack: I just want to stress that this is absolutely a relationship thing about spending time together and not me being lazy and Tom Sawyering my way out of chores.

Emily: (Why are you like this?)

So far the house has started us off with some light plumbing and handiwork, like fixing small leaks and tightening doorknobs. We have both found it endlessly frustrating to have to wait to start the major work, and we have both found it super luxurious to be able to take our time with routine maintenance that we don’t yet have a routine for: cleaning gutters, patching up chipping paint, and finding endless loose screws or nail pop-outs! We have both spent more than a little time whining about the amount of work that always needs to be done, and we have both really appreciated the opportunity to immediately enjoy the results of our efforts. We just hope that 12 months from now we still have the same enthusiasm for working with our hands!

#Write31Days 20: Emily’s Workshop and Writer’s Lounge


(Optional: you can play the video and read along)

Look at this setup, isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my workshop’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl – the girl who has everything?
Look at this trove! Treasures untold! How many wonders can one bookcase hold?
Lookin’ around here you’d think, sure, she’s got everything.

I’ve got card stock and ribbons aplenty,
I’ve got markers and stamp pads galore!
You want scissors or shears? I’ve got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal;
I want more!

 


I want to write where the people aren’t
I want some peace; want to write while lounging.
Sittin’ around in those… (whad’ya call ’em?) oh – joints
Sippin’ your tea you don’t get too far.
Calm is required for thinking, writing.
Typing along through a… (what’s the word again?) draft!

Up where I’ll craft!
Up where I’ll write!
Up where there’s silence, peace, and the the sun!
Coffees are free
Once we complete
(That) part of our home!

 

What we will give so we can live outta these cafes!
What would I pay to spend a day just on my book?
My room upstairs!
Writing up there!
But for now: another gal dreamer…
Bright young women sick of waiting – ready for change!

And ready to write what the authors write
Ask em’ my questions
And get some answers
What’s a deadline and why does it
(What’s the word?) burn?

 

When’s it my turn? I’ll be so fond when we explore that dream just beyond!
My own workshop! That’s how I’ll be…part of that world!

#Write31Days 19: Getting Ready for 2018 (Belatedly)

Emily wrote a post earlier this year on her blog, reflecting on the previous year and her hesitation for 2018. If you would have told us in February that we would buy a house 4 months later and be more rooted in Maryland than we had been in 6 years, we would have been skeptical. How?? There was no way to see the path ahead at that point.

The years 2015, ’16, & ’17, were filled with some turbulence in our lives. Failure, stress, and physical ailments only scratch the surface. Yet, a long distance support system, new adventures, and making a few close friends kept us going.

Time moves fast. It’s already been almost 4 months since we closed on our Yellow Rose. We still talk about how wild it is to have our very own place with our very own yard! Though we have barely unpacked and are living in a makeshift space as we plan renovations, it’s our space. There’s no deadlines other than the ones we set, and we can enjoy where we are at.

Emily: Jack made us record a video as we rang in the new year. I absolutely dreaded it because I could not imagine having to face another difficult year. But 2018 has surprised me. Sure, there have been some bumps in the road, but our path moved forward and brought us to a rhythm of life that we had not previously experienced since we moved to the East Coast.

The funny thing about not being ready for 2018 is that 2018 ain’t care. Ready or not, it’s happening, which is rather inconsiderate. Like Jack Sparrow said, that’s in the category of things we can’t control, so we’ve been focusing on everything else.

There’s plenty that we *are* in control of!

The major difficulties in our life right now are all very pedestrian, which we don’t take for granted in the slightest! Far from dreading the rest of 2018, we’re really looking forward to the future. It’ll either be tough – in which case we can handle it, or it’ll be fine – in which case we’ll enjoy it even more!

#Write31Days 18: Unlimited Spa Privileges

Our first Baltimore apartment had a skylight above the shower, and it was wonderful to experience the sunshine first thing in the morning! The natural light combined with the warm water brightened our moods for a new day. The rest of the bathroom could not have been more drab and boring, but just that one little touch made the space feel like some fantasy sky shower experience!

Emily: A long time ago, Jack told me he wanted to have a golden throne in his bathroom. It seemed rather outlandish to me, but I understood his desire for luxury.

Jack: No, but like figuratively a raised seat on two or three small steps with ornate arm rests and a 6-foot, overstuffed velvet back rest. Just gold colored, not made of gold.

Emily: 

Similar to our goals for our closet, we want our bathroom to be a relaxing and calm space. A bathtub big enough to stretch your legs straight! Double shower heads and a skylight for heavenly bathing! Twin mud baths!

Ok, we’re not really installing mud baths – but there’s nothing stopping us if we wanted to!

We’re starting with a small bathroom on the second floor and pushing one wall 8 feet back. We found a 6-jet bathtub for super cheap, which we’ll install next to an enormous shower space with double shower heads and a built-in seat. We’ll craft a custom double sink from concrete and for dirty clothes we’ll add a panel in the wall into the laundry room next door.

The materials are super cheap, and we can design it to be whatever dimensions we need for the space.

Like the skylight in the shower, most of these are ideas we’ve grabbed from other bathrooms we’ve seen. When we were married, we had two half-honeymoons. The first was in a casino in Detroit, which happened to have a four person tub? It was huge! It was less bathtub and more bathpool. In our hunt for an olympic sized tub, we found a bathjacuzzi!

Our second half-honeymoon was in Cancun with some newlywed friends at their destination wedding. This suite at this tourist resort had a shower that was just a whole section of the bathroom itself! It was about 8’x6′ and was separated from the rest of the bathroom by a 5′ tile wall. Why have so many of us been showering inside of tubs all these years??

We’ll more than double the size of the current bathroom and raise the ceiling.

What we’re actually going to do for the commode is copy an idea Jack saw at MIT. One of their conference spaces has a bathroom with stalls that have floor-to-ceiling doors. It’s like a 3’x5′ little room within a room! It’s not like you’re in a giant bathroom, it’s like you’re in your own little private space with a fan in the ceiling! We’ll make ours a little bigger than that, but it’s gonna be super isolated and private.

Dreaming about a bathroom may seem odd, but it’s a space we’re creating from scratch in our new home. If you had to build a whole new bathroom, how big would you make it? What features would you add? Maybe a towel warmer? Heated floors? An entire wall that was a fancy waterfall sculpture? It’s not too late to give us some more ideas!

#Write31Days 17: Winter is Coming

We don’t currently have a way of heating our home, and it’s mid-October. We had originally planned on being so far along with our renovations that we could install a new system sometime around now. Our plans took a dramatic change and a major delay, which has approximately one billion and four advantages, and one major disadvantage: how do we prevent our pipes from bursting?

Option 1: try and turn on the furnace we have in the basement.

Why? Because it costs no money and probably works. In fact, Home Depot said that for only $30 they’ll have someone come over and do an inspection of it (meaning we’ll pay someone to come over and give us a sales pitch, which they will also do for free).

Why not? It’s so old it was around to see the Baltimore Colts. If it were merely old enough to remember the last Bush administration it would be past its service lifetime, so we’re loathe to rely on something that should have been replaced before The Lion King was released.

Option 2: fix our space heater.

Why? It’s here and if we can get it to work, we know it’ll be sufficient.

Why not? We’ve already put too many man-hours into figuring this thing out that it’s more likely to just burn a bunch of our time and end up making the eventual option just take longer and cost more. Also, pellet stoves are worse for the environment than every other option on this list combined.

Option 3: get a new gas furnace.

Why? We have vents and gas lines already, so this will be the quickest and most reliable option available to us.

Why not? Anything we install in the basement we will have to uninstall in the spring once we start renovations. We don’t even want any gas appliances, anyway. We want a house run entirely off of solar electric power. Anything we buy now we’ll be working to get rid of as soon as we can. It’s the highest cost option and it’s what we know we don’t want.

Option 4: get a new electric furnace.

Why? Well, we know what we want, so we might as well forget about a temporary fix for this one single winter.

Why not? Our home already has more electrical appliances than the wiring can handle. We’ll need extensive electrical work done first. Work that we’d hate to have to re-do in the spring. Also we’ll be uninstalling it in the spring and then re-installing it, I guess.

As we consider our options, we want to hear from you! Have you been in this pickle before? Do you live in an old house? How would you approach this situation? If you are reading this, more than likely you know us and we would appreciate your opinion!

#Write31Days 16: Narnia

We are super excited to renovate our upstairs! One of Emily’s dreams is to create a walk-in closet that is a haven – a place of calm on hectic days. She’s an early riser specifically to create time for a leisurely morning, so we’re going to create a couple spaces to really savor that time!

As future posts will detail, these are the principles that guided us in designing a master bathroom and certain elements of our kitchen. The front porch and back yard also have their own place in our routine for calming the spirit, but the closet is a uniquely private space, so we want to make it a comforting place to gather one’s confidence before facing the day!

A space to pamper yourself is important! Emily already has a vanity she loves, all we need is the space to set it up!

We turned to Pinterest and discovered that a percentage of the internet is simply photos of glamorous walk-in closets. Dear Reader, we could no longer just build a dark corner with bare walls, throw some dusty boxes in there and close the door.

The floor, the ceiling, and each of the walls will all be built new. We control the future location of the built-in shelves, the windows, and the skylight!

The chandelier is a little much, but that seating is deluxe!

The entire reason we decided to make major changes in our lives is because we made a commitment to be intentional about taking care of ourselves. Because reasons, we’re living in a culture with increased anxiety, so we’re crafting a sanctuary as best we can! The bathroom will open directly into the closet, so all of the clean and dirty laundry should be contained, which hopefully will have a positive impact on the clutter that accumulates in the bedroom.

We didn’t buy a home with a huge closet, so in order to make the space we plan to convert one of the four bedrooms into a closet. Not only will it be luxurious to have a lot of space, but we purposely want to make sure that we’re not using it for storage of any kind. Our hope is that this will guarantee that every part of the space will add to the purpose of having a private dressing room. The lighting, the mirrors, the storage, the seating, the colors, and the art will all be tailored to provide an inspiring mood for the eager and/or grumpy person greeting the new day!

As we move forward with renovations, focusing on ways that we can take care of ourselves will be an important piece of the journey if we want to be successful in making this house our home.