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Winter Burnout


We’ve been taking a break from nitty gritty house projects for the past few weeks. We totally earned it, and any energy that remained after our bathroom remodel was destroyed by the blank grayness of winter. This is my least favorite time of year in Central New York, and I’m sure I’m not alone. February is no peach, but by early March winter feels endless. You’re cold all day, every day. You’re surrounded by dirty snow piles and slush. It rains, it sleets, it snows – often all in the same day. Everything outside is disgusting and wet, and everything inside smells like funk because you haven’t open a window in 6 months.

If we hadn’t spent all our money on trim and tile, we’d be flying somewhere south right now to soak up some vitamin D – sun and warmth are the only thing that seem to cure my winter blues. But I’ll survive. In another 3 weeks, the sun will start shining again and CNY will get a single warm day that’ll make everything better. Until then, I’ll be on the couch moping. Chance for productivity? Slim to none.

Though I’d like to blame winter for my current house-hate, I think we’ve also hit a two-year wall. We’re just not enjoying our projects like we used to. They’ve all become “have to’s” instead of “want to do’s”. We like to pretend it’s all fun and games here at the Fixer-Upper, but the truth is sometimes renovating a house is just plain stressful and exhausting. When you don’t take breaks, it wears you out. We’ve hit walls like this before, so I know there’s hope on the other side. I am confident our motivation will come back stronger than ever, and probably sooner than I imagine. But for now, we’re slowing down the pace and enjoying a few weekends taking bubble baths.

Inspire me! What’s your favorite way to escape your house and recharge yourself?

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Alex had this to say on 03.04.07:

Our favorite way to escape our house… Wendy tends to cry and I just keep working on the house.

In all seriousness, I don’t really tire of it, but Wendy does. When particularly exhausted, we go out to dinner, go to the movies, take a weekend B&B trip somewhere, something along those lines.

But when really burnt out, there is a quick thing that we often do to energize. Wendy has made me books each year of working on the house from Each book contains photos of projects from the year (volume) of the book. We sit in a finished room and look through the agony that we have already endured and the end results around us. It really puts the spark back in our engine.

Pam had this to say on 03.04.07:

Have friends over so that you can OD on all the OOOOOooohs and AAAAAA’s. listen to all the comments about how beautiful the house is, what a great job you’re doing,how they wish their husband/wife was as handy as your husband/wife….yada,yada yada…….then actually wait until spring to tackle something else. Go on a winery tour for the weekend.

Hailey had this to say on 03.04.07:

For me, there’s nothing like giving the house a good cleaning. Something about floors without dust or grime makes me love the house again (and therefore willing to mess it up with a new project).

Kevin had this to say on 03.04.07:

I work on my 1980 MGB. ;) When you’re finished you drive to the beach and a change of scenery…

colleen had this to say on 03.05.07:

when i get burned out i start planning like my spring garden, its actually time to start those little seedlings. its another project but not that deep down boring kick your butt work. our first yr here we moved in dec and worked every day + evening until the following oct, on our anniversary that july we usually had been going camping to colorado that yr we stayed home and did 3 small projects [ justified it as the 12hrs of driving time] and also found local sights to enjoy that weekend did some r&r too fun. our concern was we would get so use to living in an unfinished house and not feel compelled to get it done. then you cannot realize your investment. actually the process really never ends but it gets more fun and a whole lot less work. good luck!!!!!!

Daddy-O had this to say on 03.06.07:

Teague & Mindy,
Time to re-energize, seasonal-affective-reorder, take a break, romance, visit a fish hatchery, think of spring, arm-chair travel, play a high-stakes card game (with Monopoly $), perform pseudo-summer acts, take in a comedy show, spend a night listening to the Plunkett Brothers Band !!!! Take a suana and an outdoor sun shower (at -25 degrees), break from the predictable pattern just for a day, realize how lucky you both are and how far you’ve come — take a reward.

Luv, Daddy-o

Laura had this to say on 03.07.07:

You take a vacation to Hawaii to visit me!!!!! :)

Just checking in on you–the bathroom looks fabulous!

Ma Wags had this to say on 03.18.07:

Oh, I’ve been in your shoes! When we were building the log hulk, I mean “house,” the project was always looming over our heads. Weekends, you’d like to do something, but there was…the house. I got to hate “the house.” My husband was a workaholic and just couldn’t take a break…and if we did go somewhere, he’d mope because of all he could be doing back home. Don’t ask me what changed him…maybe getting older and realizing how valuable our time is. We did get some inspiration from the famous “Nearings” who divided their day up into a kind of 4-4-4 schedule. Four hours of work, four hours of some kind of intellectual pursuit, and four hours of relaxation and play. That made every day doable. When we went to work on our Bar Harbor cottage, we managed most times, to stick to that principle. Work on the never-ending repairs in the morning, pack a picnic lunch and go play, then read, play guitar, watch a film (as opposed to a movie!) in the evening. You have to really MAKE yourself stop and stick to the plan. After awhile, it gets easier.

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