Week Two Construction and Downsizing Update

I think there is an inverse correlation between the frequency of blogging and how busy someone is. The silence here should be indicative how exactly how insane the last week was for the both of us. However, as far as making progress on our dreams, this was the best week yet.

We started off at a fairly calm pace. Mark and I did a large quantity of tree pruning, replaced one wall of paneling on the old detached garage and finished getting the porch squared up and ready to go. Grace continued getting ready for our estate sale which was scheduled for this last Saturday.

My house painter, the excellent Kevin Jefcoat (if you are looking for someone), got us squeezed into his tight schedule and started making great progress on the house exterior. We were also able to get a yard crew in to do some serious rehabbing on the yard, long neglected by yours truly.

It wasn’t till Wednesday night that Grace was finally able to pound it into my thick head that we owned a lot more stuff than I ever understood. Thus began two very long days and nights of hauling, sorting, stacking and pricing.

It has been less than a year since our last garage sale and I had thought we had already made a lot of progress. This time around has taught me a bit about my personality that I really am not fond of. I’ve spent an enormous portion of my life collecting an incredible amount of what could be politely described as detritus and more accurately be termed as crap.

Some of this is your standard consumerism stuff but a lot of it is my obsession with old oddities. In this group, there are true oddities such as weird balances for measuring the specific density of substances, fossils dug up on childhood camping trips and WW I trench lighters. But, there were many more perceived rarities which turn out to be anything but. One example was an extremely beat up old copy True to the Old Flag, by G.A. Henry, a history of the American Revolution from the British point of view. Turns out this book is well known, has never gone out of print and is available in any number of formats.

No matter what, I think it will be extremely important for me to put my “Ooh, that’s odd” and “Ooh, that could be useful someday” natural attitude to acquisition in check if I’m ever going to make living in 200 square feet really work.

However, this first extremely large pass at downsizing went well, if at a frenetic pace. We were able to get the vast majority of stuff ready to go for the sale. Even better, we were able to sell a huge quantity of it in a massive one day sale that started at 4:00 AM. I owe an especial level of gratitude to the many old and new friends that made an effort to come by and pick up a few items!

By the end of the day, we were more exhausted than I can remember, but felt extremely satisfied that so much progress has been made towards this big change in our lives. Grace commented today that the emptier house is her first indication that this is really going to happen. I can second that motion.

Today, we were kind of forced by soreness and sleepiness to work at a much more leisurely pace. We mostly spent the day attempting to put the remaining house back into some semblance of order, assisting in the pickup of some of the larger sold items and to start boxing up the rest of the items that will be donated to charity. Of course, all we really wanted to do was to be like Opie on a nice sunny afternoon . . .



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Week One Construction Update

It’s been amazing to see what can get done in a week if you can get the time to focus on it.  I started this week with a laundry list of home and garden tasks, some of which I had been ignoring for years.  I end this week with some major projects done and progress on many others.

The major task of this week was my front porch which has been long needing to be re-decked. With diligent effort, Mark and I were able to finish this, which is the most daunting of my repairs, within the week.


I spent this weekend was spent clearing brush, shrubs and trimming trees, especially around the building structures in preparation for the exterior house painting.  Now I have several dozen trees to chop up and put in the dumpster.

In the mean time, Grace has been frantically working to keep our business up and running while also priming the front porch and prepping us for our estate sale which is happening next weekend.

We have a lot of irons in the fire, but so far we are keeping up with them all and it’s great to finally see real progress towards our dreams.

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It Starts with a First Step

It’s been a frustrating few weeks for me on the home liquidation front.  Partially, I felt stuck in a rut of analysis paralysis; constantly planning and no action.  However, mostly it just not finding time to get anything done. Between my day job, my side work on Fore & Aft Design and just the stuff that we have to do to keep our lives afloat, there just wasn’t enough hours in the day.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to arrange three weeks off work to get to work on house repairs and to downsize like crazy.  Plus I’ve been able to twist my father’s expert arm and he’s agreed to provide some much needed expertise to this undertaking.  Even the first day, which has mostly been logistical work has felt like more progress than the entire last month.

Today we shopped for lumber, appliance parts, ordered a massive dumpster and did some minor repairs.  It might be a small step, but it really feels like actual progress. Call me excited.

Tomorrow begins the porch rebuild . . .

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A New Dream

For me, it started with a dream of boats and wide open spaces. While growing up in Oklahoma City can’t be described as exactly living in a concrete jungle, it also wasn’t the exactly the great wide open either. I then spent several years in Chicago, which really was the concrete jungle before returning once again to Oklahoma.


And yet, my favorite memories are of traveling through wide open vistas, whether family camping trips through Big Bend, TX, backpacking in New Mexico or any number of bicycle trips. After seeing quite a few of those American vistas, I thought the next wide open space to visit would be the ocean.

Grace wasn’t so convinced. I mean despite the fact that I don’t know much about sailing, I might have an issue with sea sickness and I don’t have enough money for a yacht, I didn’t see any real obstacles. However, we judiciously decided to set our sights a little bit more conservatively for our next plans.

Grace never had the chance to travel much and while I’ve traveled quite a bit in the US, I’ve never spent long periods of time out in the wild.

So, that’s where this new dream of getting a travel trailer and heading out to see the United States. This blog will tell our story as we start paring down and prepare for our great new adventure.

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Lake Overholser Water Release

This gallery contains 11 photos.

After 3 years of endless drought, we here in central Oklahoma at least, were with desperately needed rain.  It’s gotten so extreme, that our city reservoirs must release water to prevent flooding. After a tip from my Mother, Grace and I took a little photo date down to the Lake Overholser Dam to catch some photos […]

#30DaysofBiking Day 22-23: Back to the Grind

#30DaysofBiking Day 22

I guess the best thing about day 22 was that there was nothing unusual about day 22.  It was the first day in awhile were I just rode to work and back.  The headwind on the way home was a bit strong, but it wasn’t too bad.  Little did I know what the next day had in store for me.

#30DaysofBiking Day 23

Blustery Monday

I thought it was supposed to be spring.  It’s not supposed to be near freezing with drizzle and harsh northerly winds.   Thankfully, I haven’t put my cold weather gear away, but I sure wish I could.  The ride to work was painfully slow with one point where the wind almost pushed me backwards.  However, it was still a nice ride, and as always, after about the first 5 minutes, I got warmed up and it wasn’t too uncomfortable.  I just hope I can quit wearing all of this gear regularly soon . . .

Decked Out


After work, I had an OBS board meeting which gave me a chance to take a longer ride down past Lake Overholser, which has been too long in coming.   With a wonderful tailwind and the joy of a night ride on empty streets, I had a blast coming home to a nice warm house.

#30DaysofBiking Days 19 – 21: Progress!

Still haven’t been able to get back completely into the regular posting schedule, but thankfully I’ve been able to keep riding!

#30DaysofBiking Day 19: Just Another Day at Work

I continue to get most of my cycling through my daily commute to work.  The big change I’ve made is to start riding more and more in my work clothes instead of always wearing a change.  My short ride is only 6.5 miles and, at least during the spring, if I take it easy I can arrive at work, refreshed but not horribly sweaty.  I think we cyclists can often make our rides too complicated and think we need more gear and kit

After work, I stopped by the project house to do some painting as we get the house ready to be listed for sale.  It feels better and better as we get closer to getting this house listed.

#30DaysofBiking Day 20: House is Listed!

Photo Apr 20, 12 46 16 PM

Spent the morning getting some last-minute cosmetic stuff finished up on the interior of the house and giving the house a good clean before our Realtor came by to take pictures and let us know if she saw any issues before we listed the house.  Thankfully, she didn’t outside of a little bit of painting in the garage and some landscaping in the back.  We are finally getting closer to getting the house sold.  If you are looking for a cute 1100 sq. ft. house on the northwest side, please give Jane O’Toole a call at 751-4848 or at janeotoole@remax.net.  The house has a new roof, new sewer line and new carpet.  It’s a perfect starter home and is move-in ready!

Took a nice relaxed ride home after we were done.  It felt great!

#30DaysofBiking Day 21: A Laid Back Day.

Stopped by the project house to finish up most of the little punch list items for the house including the painting and the leveling of a little earth settling in the back yard.  Took a wonderfully long nap in the afternoon.  After dark, I took a quick ride around the block in the still of the evening to get my ride in for the day.  A perfect relaxing day.

#30DaysofBiking Days 13 – 18: Failure, Triumph and Baseball

After a very long and tiring week, I’m finally getting a chance to catch up on my #30DaysofBiking posting.

#30DaysofBiking Day 13 – Failure

Not There Yet

Not There Yet

And then I have to start with a failure on my 30 day goal. As I’ve long been reporting, I have toiled away on the replacing of a sewer line. While it has been a great learning experience, a fantastic workout and the source of innumerable Cool Hand Luke jokes, it was also drug on much longer than I would have hoped or dreamed. Saturday was hopefully going to be my last day of moving dirt and finally this long project could start becoming a distant memory.

I got started about 9:00 in the morning after a nice night’s sleep confident that all would be done by mid-afternoon. However, when mid-afternoon came and went followed by late afternoon and early evening, things were looking bleak. By the time dusk rolled around, I knew that even after over 10 hours of solid labor, there was no way I was going to get the job done that night.

That disappointing news left me absolutely slaughtered. I crawled home and found a couch. After dozing off and on, I noticed it was getting close to the end of the day, but so depressed at not getting the job done, I broke my pledge to #30DaysofBiking and took the night off. I feel bad about it now, but at the time it just seemed like the only thing to do.

#30DaysofBiking Day 14 – Baseball

Perfect Day for a Game

Perfect Day for a Game

Sunday, I knew I really needed a day off. Thankfully, I had a perfect way to start making up for coming up short the day before and to get some stress relief. The OBS had put together a great little ride out to a Redhawks game. While the home didn’t come even close to winning, it was a great time out with a bunch of nice folks and with a nice 14 mile laid back ride to boot.

Riding Buddies

Riding Buddies

#30DaysofBiking Day 15 – Back to the Day Job

Monday was the day I had try to get caught up after the last weeks time away. Email backlogs and frantic post-vacation catch-ups don’t usually make for a nice return. Thankfully, I got a nice ride to and from work to help keep me calm and relaxed. After work it was back to the digging, which once again, given the short time, didn’t get done. However, finally, a lot of progress was made which left me with encouragement that in one more day, it would be done!

#30DaysofBiking Day 16 – Ding, Dong the Ditch is dead.

Finally Done

Finally Done

I got a pre-dawn start and while I was very late in getting to work, at least I was finally, at long last, able to finish filling in the ditch. You have absolutely no idea how good it felt to go to work with this weight off my shoulders. It felt even better for the ride home with the ability to a nice evening away from the project house.

#30DaysofBiking Day 17 – Rained Out

A stormy day kept me from commuting today, but I made sure to get back out there that evening for a ride around the block.

#30DaysofBiking Day 18 – Winter Returns

A Cold Morning

A Cold Morning

The morning started off rather cold and extremely windy. I don’t think I made much more than 12 mph all the way to work. All I hoped for is that the wind would hold out till the evening, which it did. Rode back to the project house to help with some painting work. The Realtor will be taking pictures this weekend, so there is a lot to get done in the mean time.