Life Updates – Building a House?! And Other Ramblings

Happy Fat Tuesday evening! Or at least it is right now, but won’t be by the time you’re reading this. I have just crawled into bed with a tummy full of sushi, my humidifier and fan both going and my silk scarf wrapped around my hair. I wanted to give you a little update on what I’ve been up to, because it’s the start of a brand new season, which for me is kind of like the start of a brand new life!

Me and the cold don’t mix. I should really be a southerner, because from November through February I am constantly cold and my electric blanket becomes an appendage to my body. But as soon as the weather turns, everything changes. My entire being blossoms and my true self is born again. Like the trees and the grass and the daffodils, I come back to life.

In just a few days’ time I have already prepped and planted my early Spring garden! Lettuces, kale, peas, radishes, beets and carrots have been sown into fresh soil under the greenhouse cover, and 40 pounds of grass seed has been spread on the lawn. I’ve already put out two new reels on Instagram detailing the garden prep and planting, which you can watch here. I’m so excited to clean up my outside space and get it ready for lots of use this upcoming warm season.

I started shopping some new Spring and Summer wardrobe pieces as soon as the holidays were over and have a few new dresses for this year, and some new walking shoes to break in. I am taking full advantage of temps near 70 this week and taking daily walks. I’m looking forward to hikes in the near future as well.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent. I am still trying to decide what my Lenten obligation will be this year. I’m thinking that I will commit to being 100% plant-based for these 40 days, as opposed to the 90-95% that is normal for me. Giving myself those little bit of liberties makes me feel free instead of restricted, but I also love challenging myself as it helps develop discipline. I also know that I only stand to gain health and reinforce habits from that commitment, so it is ultimately a great choice for me.

I wanted to jot those things down before going to sleep for the night, so I’m going to shut off the computer and get myself settled in. I will be back tomorrow with more of what I’ve been up to.

Hello again, Friends, and happy Ash Wednesday! Mother Nature has given us yet another beautiful 70-degree day here in Southeast Missouri, and I’m taking full advantage. I am on my lunch break, and sitting outside in the sun, generating that vitamin D! It does make for a tough time seeing my computer screen, but there is nowhere else I would rather be!

Things I’ve been up to lately – I have finally finished my kitchen backsplash and am now, little by little, getting a fresh coat of paint and sealer on my cabinet doors. I’m hoping to finish that in the next couple of weeks so that I can start on the doors and trim, then paint all of the walls in my main living space for my Spring & Summer project this year.

Michael and I have also decided (well, Michael has always wanted to, but I’ve been a hold out) to build a house! It has always been my dream to restore a 19th century Georgian or Federal home. There is a Federal right up the street from me that I pass on my walks, but it’s one of only a handful in town and the only one in a good location to live. I finally accepted while on a walk last week, that unless I move to the east coast or the south, that is a dream that has extremely slim chances of ever coming true due to lack of availability.

So I finally conceded to a new build, as that is the only way I will ever get to have the style home that I want. Michael was beyond thrilled that I finally gave in and has been busy designing and redesigning and redesigning. I’m happy that he is able to be our contractor, so that we will have control over labor and materials. My beef with new builds is that new constructions, especially spec homes, are so often done sloppily and with inferior quality to homes of the past.

This is attributable to a change in production and standards during the industrial age of the late 19th century, during the Victorian era. Machinery was finally able to manufacture materials that had previously all been done by hand, allowing for more intricate and ornate designs than had ever been possible before. This was an incredible thing!

But, as with most things, you can have too much of a good thing. As time progressed and demand for housing soared, production increased and speed and profit eventually took precedent over quality. By mid-to-late 20th century, even something as simple as an interior door was cheapened, moving from solid wood to hollow composite. Labor prices to build also skyrocketed. So what we are now left with are lower-quality homes built at a significantly higher price (in relation to incomes and the economy) than in the past. Spec homes are especially bad because the builder is choosing everything and they have a tendency to choose the cheapest options to maximize profit. It is also evident that they are not accustomed to interior design as often times the finishes are not very stylish or aesthetically pleasing.

Anyhow, coming back from that tangent – we are in search of a lot, which is proving about as difficult as finding a 19th century home to renovate! With me working from home, unlimited high speed internet access is a non-negotiable. I also want at least an acre lot so there is plenty of room to garden – which also means southern exposure and NO TREES in the back yard! Because of this, we almost certainly will have to be outside of town because city lots tend to be about 1/4 acre, occasionally 1/2 acre at best. But when you get outside of town, internet access is rarely available (where are you with those satellites, Elon Musk?!). And when you do find it, it’s in one of those subdivisions with a rigid HOA that wants to have control over everything you do, right down to the rose bushes you plant in your yard – over my dead body!

We are looking at a couple of years before starting to build so that, by the time the house is complete, both of my boys have graduated high school and we will not be confined by school districts (Michael’s son, who will live with us half of the time, goes to a Catholic school so school districts don’t matter for him). That gives us time to find the right lot…which we need because it is proving to be a challenge for sure!

Everything else has been life as usual. I’m working on my nutrition certification continuing credits, keeping up with my daily workouts and cleaning schedule, and staying busy in my day job. With the weather on an upward trend, I am thinking about a new routine that expands into outdoor life. I will keep you posted!

Some things to come on the blog:

  • fitness journey update
  • routines that keep me grounded
  • garden planting and growing season
  • more nutrition posts and food photos!

Thank you for reading, and I will see you back here soon!

Love,
Loren

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