By: Revanche

A moment of gratitude and a spending check

July 24, 2017

Counting our blessings and taking the long view Maybe this would be more seasonally appropriate for Thanksgiving but it’s true now, and it’s never a bad time to remember the good things.

Driving home from another four hour trip to the home supplies store, that teleprompter style list of all the work still ahead of me started scrolling.

1:56 pm. 

Seamus needed dinner, a walk, his medications.

My work was piled up, the work that I had done little more about than shake a cranky stick at it in stolen minutes between bathroom vanity specs and researching and investigating flooring samples.

My stomach rumbles. Oh yeah. Also that.

Today’s purchases need to be recorded in the now 236 row spreadsheet where every single expenditure, delivery, pick-up, and delay was logged.

Drawing a deep breath to dispel the almost inevitable surge of rage-impatience, I let it out, surprised.

Nothing. I felt nothing.

Not an empty nothing but the nothing of calm and peace.

That was as weird as a new sore tooth – or the absence of pain. That’s when it dawned on me. I wasn’t irritated or grumpy or angry at the loss of half a day and interruption to my beloved routine. I was grateful.

I am grateful that all my hard choices and sacrifices to prove myself in a traditional work place up to now meant that I could have my days interrupted like this, that my career wouldn’t suffer from a temporary dislocation in my work routine. That my reputation was solid enough and my work relationships were strong enough up and down the hierarchy that if an email wasn’t answered in four minutes, no one was going to micromanage me over it.

That freedom was paid for in hard coin. Years of almost thankless toil in various corporate and non corporate jobs. Years of taking risks, pressing for well deserved promotions, negotiating for raises, knowing that women are punished for asking, then pushing forward to new ventures without being quite sure of the future.

Now? The payoff. I don’t have to apologize or atone for taking the time to make my life work because I’ll still  make sure the work gets done. The striving, even when it wasn’t crystal clear what the striving would be in aid of, was worth it.

It’s imperfect – of course. This isn’t easy, or fun, by any means working on the timeline we have ahead. But it’s considerably easier than if I were still doing shift work, or working for the unreasonable manager who played favorites like Russian roulette, or that manager who thought it was my professional duty to read his mind and be his best friend, confidante, and free babysitter. Until I’ve got Jean Grey’s powers and not Dark Phoenix, that will never be my job! Actually, even with Jean Grey’s powers, I decline that job.

I am grateful.

I’m grateful that I can take care of my family, that I have a family to love and care for. That I can take care of our needs under stressful circumstances. That I can do what I need to do, when I need to do it. That PiC and I are in this together and haven’t killed each other over the neverending details and decisions. That we can and have found ways to afford doing all this work without having to move in and expose our toddler to an unsafe living environment.

That our checks written in the first 3 weeks after closing have all been safely cashed without even a little bouncing: $45,000.

!!!

Labor and materials are $$$$$.

Our contractor wisely reassured me that my spending projections were correct – it will look something like an inverted pyramid. The worst of the scope creep and the labor costs are going to be in the early phases of the work. That’s when you discover terrible things lurking in your walls and foundation and roof. Once you pass the midway point, the weekly costs become less and less, until you’re just paying minimal costs at the very end to finish up.

He was also wise enough to tell me not to expect the site to look anything like a house until after the fifth or sixth week of work. At week 2.5 I felt some flutterings of we paid that much for this shell of a house?!

This too, shall pass. 

:: How do you keep yourself grounded during times of stress? Does it help to remind yourself of the long term things you can be grateful for? 

 

4 Responses to “A moment of gratitude and a spending check”

  1. “The striving, even when it wasn’t crystal clear what the striving would be in aid of, was worth it.” To be surprised by serenity in a crazy time is a real blessing. How satisfying to know that your past-self provided a foundation that your present-self and loved ones benefit from. I suspect your future-self will likewise be grateful for all you are doing so thoughtfully now. Best, best wishes as this huge move transpires.
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…The Pursuit of FIRE and/or Debt Freedom: Worth the Work?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It truly is, and it’s rare so I had to take the moment to appreciate it. I hope that we continue to make enough good decisions that it becomes more common for our Future Selves.

  2. Mrs. BITA says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment about how your hard work is paying off now. I find few folks realize that there are real benefits to not jumping ship every 18 months or so and proving your value at a place that values you.

    • Revanche says:

      It’s so true. I may be a Millennial by birth year but my temperament is to stay long term at most jobs and proving my value to swing those large raises. It’s very possible to do if you’re willing to learn how to advocate for yourself, your bonuses and raises. Or maybe I’m biased because it’s how I’ve done it.

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