Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Year Goals

When closing out 2017, we made lists of all we'd accomplished in 2017, and then the longer list of crappy things that had happened.

But, we also made a bit of an exciting list. Things To Accomplish In 2018.

I don't really want to share all of them here, but it was fun to come up with things to focus on this next year, to have a blank slate in front of us where we have no more time/money/energy we need to devote to family building, because it's built. Happy family of two right here.

That's not to say that I don't get sad, that I don't think about how different the list would be if it had worked out in the way we'd hoped, but I do have to say that I feel so much better, so much more at peace, and so excited to see what this life is going to shape into.

A lot of things on the list were related to making our home perfect for our new situation. Everything before was about accommodating a child in here, making space for a third person, and it was real hard to imagine staying with everything as it is. Now, we are more in love with our house every day, and thinking on what we can do to make it even better so that we can enjoy our time together in it.

One thing is that we want to build a garage at the end of our driveway, which would involve moving our little shed and getting an architect and probably a morass of permits and things from the town(s), because I live on a dead end street that belongs to TWO different towns, and the line goes through our backyard just enough to possibly cause an issue. BUT, let's assume for a moment that everything sails through and we can have this garage that we are planning and dreaming up in our heads.

It will have space for up to 3 cars, but one can be behind another car as it would be for if Bryce decides to fulfil his dream of "winter car, summer car" and get a sporty little number for the warmer weather. No midlife crisis here, ha ha. It would also relocate his woodworking workshop to space either below or behind the car part, over the ravine. So pretty heavy duty electrical would be necessary, but that would open up our current garage that's connected to the house to become a family room of sorts. Or, a "woods-view, screen/window haven, listening/music playing, reading, yoga-doing room." But that's further down the list.

It would also have a woodburning stove that we have from Bryce's dad, that hasn't been used yet because I am afraid of setting the house on fire, and a sort of studio of sorts for me, either behind the cars or under, since the back half of this thing will need to be on stilts I think or built into the ravine behind our house (which sounds much fancier than it actually is). Then I could read, or write, or just relax, in this woodland cabin thing in our backyard while Bryce does woodworking.

Does that not sound amazing? One of my pet peeves for this house is the lack of a garage, as I am constantly cleaning off my car early in the morning before school, which adds a good 10-15 minutes to my routine depending on the amount of snow that fell overnight. I don't care if it's not connected, to trudge through the snow to a garage where my warm, dry, clear car waits would be HEAVEN. Also, we have a single driveway, and with the placement of this fantasy garage we would be able to swap cars by parking them in the garage and then just backing out at different times. Which I guess isn't swapping at all, glorious thing that is!

It would give us more space, it would need to look like our shed (so New England-y charm and maybe a weathervane/cupola thingie up top), so that it doesn't look hideous out in the woods. How exciting is that? We are going to look into actually designing this thing up, because it would basically solve so many of the problems lingering with our house, and we wouldn't have to move. You know, just build another outbuilding, but whatever! Hopefully it doesn't cost the same as a house. I don't think it should, since no plumbing required, and just three areas -- carpark, woodshop, studio. Maybe a little room for gardening stuff. Maybe. I mean, we hope to retain the shed. So I guess we'll have a bit of a compound going on.

That's a big goal for 2018 -- adapting our home for our needs, now, and not for "what may be" that turned out to happen...not ever. Spending some money for our own haven.

Another goal is to plan an international trip. Not to take an international trip, since in The Year of the Qual Exam I just don't see that happening, but to plan one out for 2019. We're sort of in a tie between the Nordic countries and Tuscany or French wine country. Honestly, I'm feeling Nordic happiness -- Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Denmark... But a trip of this magnitude requires some planning (and recovering from the garage construction if that can be brought to reality). And a little prepwork to make sure I don't freak out, because international travel makes me real, real nervous. Probably not much more airtime to Scandinavian countries than to California, honestly, but there's something about flying over ocean that gives me the twitches.

Bryce wants to pass his Qual Exam, of course, and get some publications in.

We want to host a dinner party. Not talk about it, not plan it in our heads and never execute, but put our new extendable table to use and have some people over for dinner and drinks, for real. We want to have people over more often. Which will be sort of hard given the prep for the Qual Exam, which is now pushed into the spring a bit more, but we can figure it out. It will be fun. I think. Yes, fun.

We are going to sponsor two students for the annual 8th grade Washington trip. I'm actually going this year as a chaperone, which is brand new to me and makes me real nervous, but this is the year of trying to go outside my comfort zone, while also saying no to stuff. I just didn't feel like saying no to this trip this year anymore. I don't really have a great excuse anymore, and it's an experience I should have at least once, right? But it's expensive for the kiddos, and we always have more kids who need funds than we have "scholarships." So we're sponsoring two kids anonymously, in hopes that more people can go and finances aren't as much of a factor (although they are). I also want to get involved in fundraising efforts to make the trip as a whole less expensive for everyone, and make it more affordable for all families.

We are going to clean out the house -- the basement, the closets, the drawers that haven't been touched in forever. We are going to organize and streamline and make this house perfect, or at least a close proximity, because we love our home and we are sort of drowning in stuff. I feel terribly guilty donating or trashing things that were given to me, but I hang on to the weirdest stuff and I need to just let go. I just threw out a bunch of candle caps. Why am I hanging on to those metal or plastic caps to jar candles? No clue. The stuff that was given is harder. But, I'm going to go all Marie Kondo on most things (not books though--her view on books is simply barbaric) and cull viciously. I just want to find places for a lot of the things I keep out of obligation so I'm not filling a landfill. I hate waste. But I also don't want to drown in stuff, so there's that.

I am in the process of making a schedule for writing time. I need to make it more of a priority even when things get crazy at school, because I ENJOY it and I want to expand a bit. I want to write more. I want to write different things. I want to attempt some sort of project that scares the pants off me but if I never do it I'll regret it forever. I'll just let you fill in the blanks on that one.

2018 sounds pretty good, no? Lots of fun things to do, to accomplish, to stretch ourselves, to give back. I'm pretty darn excited.


  1. Oooh, I love your house goals! Efficient, beautiful spaces make me so happy! We’ve been doing a fair bit of that in our house, though less ambitious (no building or renos). I think one advantage of a small house is it does force you to not have too much stuff and to use space well. You can’t just put things away and forget about them. Well you can but then you end up with no storage space. Also older houses make me check my materialism because they don’t have the huge closets that modern houses do. I’m glad you have this vision of a lovely space for you two!

    1. Thanks! Beautiful spaces make us happy, too. I don't know if any of the renos will actually come to pass, there are a fair number of hurdles in the way. I agree with you on the small house thing -- absolutely! Part of our decision to make this house just what we want is keeping to a smaller house, in part because the bigger the house the more crap you can accumulate, and also because somehow it seems more sustainable, too. Less energy, less waste, and we can take money saved to go on those trips and make our house just what we want. Oh man, yes to the closet space. Apparently people in 1034 either had really tiny clothes or not a lot of clothes. The vision is fun to come up with, I hope we can make it happen!

  2. I want to write and say that I LOVE your ideas, and how you don't just do life, you live it. You are an inspiration. I definitely vote for the Scandinavian countries. . . most recently I have been to Iceland and the Faroes (flying into the Faroes, breathtaking!) and absolutely love Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

    1. Thank you! we try, you know? I want to get the most out of what we have. Oh, no I have to look up "flying into the Faroes" because I can sort of visualize that! Oooh, I see more Pinterest pinning in my future...

  3. Well, darn. I feel lame now (not your intent, I know).

    On the other hand, I have doubled my desire to visit you and your lovely home with all its happy spaces. Sounds absolutely fabulous, as does either trip!

    1. Oh no, definitely not my intent! I love thinking up these things, and I feel like for the first time they could be realities. It is so lovely to be "unstuck," to have fewer brake clamps on our movement forward. And YES, please do come visit! We are possibly going out to Colorado to meet up with family out West sometime in this year, and if we do go there I want to see if we can meet up! Rochester is always open to you, although unless you like flip-out couches you'd probably have to stay in a hotel. Little houses, no dedicated guest room... :)

  4. I love that idea of the garage. A wood burning stove would be awesome! And I would not be able to pick one of those places to travel to. Ugh. All of them???

    And good luck with your writing! I can't wait to see what you do with it! That's so amazingly exciting!!!

  5. I love your idea of turning your garage into a family room space. And sponsoring two students for the class trip is such a good goal! Sounds like 2018 is going to be a fun and exciting year!

  6. Living in a similar climate, I fully empathize with your desire not to have to clean snow & ice off your car in the morning...! We had a one-car garage at the old house, but it was so small, even if we had cleared all the junk out of it, the car would JUST barely fit inside (& I'd have to squeeze in & out of the car door...!). Our condo has an underground garage & we LOVE it!