So What?

I am doing some of my favorite things.

Laptop on the deck listening to the night sounds of bugs and Kind of Blue, enjoying the slight cool of after dark on a muggy day.

I am seriously behind on my writing projects but will do a little housekeeping in that department right now.

I feel good. The porch project is complete and lovely. I spent two weeks bonding with a cool cat named Jake.

Finished Slate 1
Finished Slate 1

While I was generally too tired to actually re-explore Old Town Alexandria, or meet with many local pals, I did enjoy blending into the dog culture of Old Town. And, I did have almost two full days of much needed down time that I spent almost entirely napping.

Finished Slate 2
Finished Slate 2

After a month long project, the last two weeks of which comprised 10-12 hour days on my knees, it was refreshing to be in any other position.

finished slate 3
finished slate 3

I have a few other tile/construction projects in the wings – one bathroom remodel in PA, 1-2 bathrooms in Centerville VA, and maybe a larger project putting a heated tile floor into a big basement and another bathroom remodel.

finished slate 4
finished slate 4

I have not yet decided if I want to knock the dust off of Renfroe Tile full time, but I am going to knock out as many of these projects as I can while the work is here to be done. Tile is physically hard, but mentally engaging. It is rewarding to see a project from start to finish, and working for yourself is always high in my book.

finished slate 5
finished slate 5

I have a few ideas of how to re-vamp the Renfroe Tile Operation and have had great input from my friend Maria and a pretty kick ass business name from my Mom. But there are still many kinks. The money is nice when you work alone, but you (or at least i) do go slower flying solo. And it is much harder on your body. Having an apprentice or partner is nice, but that can be limiting in its own way. Right now, my operation is highly mobile. Lots to consider.

finished slate 6
finished slate 6

Part of me still would like to know what having a salary and a schedule would be like. Part of me would like to have my own place to live again. But how much can you miss what you have never had? I have not really had my own place to live (CONUS) since I left Richmond in October of 2003. There are many many times that I have missed and wanted to have that again. But, being nomadic has advantages as well. Low overhead and the ability to travel are two huge pluses. But I do miss the stability at times – and I often miss having my own space.

Nice sight after a long sit in traffic
Nice sight after a long sit in traffic

I have several fantastic pockets of stability and places that my bud Karen would call “Safe Places”. I am in one of them (probably my favorite) right now. But there are downsides to nomadic life beyond not having your own home. As I discovered (very slowly) it makes dating rather difficult. That is not an immediate concern or a priority, but it is a piece of the pie. There is also a high degree of depending on the kindness of others. But I have come to find this more of a benefit than a disadvantage.

finished edges 1
finished edges 1

It does grate against my innate desire for self-reliance, but it also helps keep me connected to people. And there are ways to be a good guest. I like to think of it as a blending of kindness and sharing and mutual care taking, but that could just be a lofty way to gloss over the parasitic nature of nomadic life. Everybody needs help. And everybody with a house and a job has stuff they need help doing. I generally try to figure out what that stuff is and help do it. Usually this works out pretty well.

finished edges 2
finished edges 2

Tomorrow I have to try and get re-organized. I had a loose plan for the next few months, but it is morphing now as life has its own way despite my intentions. One of the bigger questions is also sort of job related. I believe I had a decent opportunity to do some good networking and perhaps even land a normal job. As things tend to go, while I was setting the ground work for that, these other opportunities fell in my lap. I do not think that I have lost this lead on entering the normal working world, but I don’t know right now if I actually want it or not. This is one of my unceasing difficulties with making large decisions – I don’t usually know what it is I do want. That also has pluses and minuses. Being open to trying new things has led me down an interesting path around the world and through many different kinds of work. But I do not really have any specialties.

finished edges 3
finished edges 3

I like not having a specialty. I am good at lots of things. If I do have a specialty I think it is TCB, Gettin’ things done. I do like facing new challenges. A lot of my life as a consultant was exactly that. Meet a client, listen to what they think they need, help them figure out what they actually need, then do it up.

Jake 1
Jake 1

That bit of meandering gives you a decent snapshot of what it is like in my head right now. Pluses and minuses, business names and ideas, and planning…

Jake 2
Jake 2

So, the tile!

I am really pleased with how this project turned out. It is beautiful, and it is one of only three tile projects I have done that I also get to enjoy utilizing!

Jake 3
Jake 3

As always, I see things that I would do differently but it came together nicely. I am so in love with Maria’s idea to use those pebble tiles to transition into the french drain and the yard. They looked great before, but with the grout, it looks so natural that it is hard to even remember what it looked like before.

Jake 4
Jake 4

There are of course more pics, but I think I will leave the full project photo album over on the Facebooks.

Thanks for reading. I am off to review the digital pile of half finished ramblings and see if any of them want to play…

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