We remodeled our kitchen (finally!) and that got me thinking about the value of time. Ever since we’ve been married, my husband and I have done as much of our remodeling and home improvement as we could ourselves.
This was largely due to budgetary constraints. From our first home, which was a major fixer upper from the 50s, to our current home, which is a cosmetic fixer upper from the 70s, we’ve done our own flooring, fixture installs, painting, lighting, and even some of the plumbing.
And the occasional mural… whenever I have the patience and the time. I always end up hating myself for starting one though, because then I feel obligated to finish it, instead of just painting over it.
Of course, we’ve had wonderful family members with skills help us out on our various projects, including my uncle, a talented artist and drywall master craftsman who gave us coped ceilings and a custom-designed ceiling medallion in our little starter home that could have graced a mansion. I wish I could find pictures of those, but it turns out I’m a terrible at keeping photographic records. 😦
Buying fixer uppers was also more about budgetary constraints than anything else. We wanted more house and in a better neighborhood, so we searched for deals. And we found them. Unfortunately, with good deals come smelly, stained carpet, 70’s brass fixtures, and questionable paint colors. Not to mention the linoleum and dark cabinets in the aforementioned “kitchen of doom.” (Personally, I hate kitchens as a matter of course. My husband is the cook in the family, and I’m okay with that. Really.)
These projects take a lot of time, and as we get older, we feel the passage of that time more. When we were teenagers, we couldn’t wait to be first 16, then 18, then the all-important 21. After that, the years start rolling by at breakneck speed and the birthday milestones became less anticipated and more dreaded. Every moment now seems precious and valuable. Do I really want to waste it prepping and painting cabinets? I could be writing. I could be crafting. Better yet, I could be playing with my child and creating memories for her. What does our time cost us in the long run?
That was the decision I had to make when I got the estimate back from the painters that I called because I really, REALLY don’t want to paint cabinets. Anyone who has ever refinished cabinets will totally understand. 😉 I’m still at a stage in my life where budget does matter (otherwise I’d pay to have the entire kitchen gutted and a new one put in), so if the bid had come back too high, I would’ve had no choice but to do the work myself.
Fortunately, the bid fell within our budget and the timeline was better than I could have expected. Before we knew it, we had a remodeled kitchen that could have been brand-new from the appearance. Sure the odd angles are there, but it looks refreshed, not dated.
Now my husband has a beautiful kitchen to prepare his masterpieces and my time is my own again.
The clock is still ticking and I have that overwhelming urge to leave some positive mark on this world before I leave it. I don’t want to put all that pressure on my child, because I want her to be her own person, and not a symbol of my hubris.
So my mark must be something that comes wholly from me. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been writing so much more lately and have made a commitment to publishing no less than two books a year. I’m sure there are others who can write and publish six or seven books in that same time, but I know my limits. My books must be the best representation of my craft at any point in my career. The only way to improve is to accept your own failure. Then you learn to get better, through critique and practice. Lots, and lots, of practice.
That’s one reason I’ll be writing a serial novel for this blog. Also, I hope some readers will enjoy it and recommend becoming a follower to others.
I love being creative. Usually that manifests in my writing or drawing or painting or crafting. Sometimes, I use my creativity to decorate my home. I’m always happy with the end results, but I’m also always left with the feeling that maybe I should have hired out the most time-consuming and laborious work.
What do you think? How do you calculate the value of your time? What would you rather be doing than sanding and painting cabinets? 😉