Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I'm Not a Realtor

Not a house we looked at. This was in Seattle.

Looking at houses for sale on the internet is addictive. So is driving by them, and going to open houses, and pestering your mortgage broker dude and realtor.

I don't want to do anything else. It's weird. Like I'd imagine a junkie would act--only looking for fixes, not caring about, say: writing, learning more about Scrivener, paying bills, eating healthy, or going to yoga class. But maybe junkies don't do any of those things anyway.

Saturday Ali and I went to two open houses, and yesterday three. But then we drove around for hours looking at more that weren't open and peering in windows, striking addresses from lists because a house was in that neighborhood, or it didn't have a big enough back yard, or it looked too small for our needs.

After we got home, I went through another six pages of listings in the online version of the Eugene Register Guard. I've started a new list of drive by addresses, and one list for the realtor of houses I definitely want to see the inside of. Seriously, it's as time consuming as first setting up your profile and browsing the singles on OK Cupid. Or Facebook.

Of course, this is all very pre-mature, as are lots of things I tend to do. We haven't even met with the mortgage broker to see if we can, together, get pre-approved for a home loan. That's tomorrow morning.

Moving in together will mean big changes for all of us, but mostly not-so-big changes. While Ali likes and genuinely cares for and worries about my teenage children, he's never lived with kids before. I'm worried that occasionally he'll need a quiet place to time-out in (not so much different from traditional parents, actually), away from the noise, chaos, or drama teenagers sometimes bring--depending on the kid. I'm sure Ali worries a little about this, too.

That--plus our three large dogs, and my desire to garden and raise chickens--creates some unique (but not strange) housing needs. We're quite obviously looking for a large fenced lot. And we'll need a certain amount of separation of space in the actual living quarters, not to mention the general square footage required for four people, three dogs, lots of art, and myriads of books.

In our preliminary searching, we've found one in particular that we keep using as a reference. Do we like this house as much as the other one? No? Then, strike it from the list.

As with every home, even "dream ones" you construct yourself, there are things about it that are not quite perfect. You'd change them if you could. But, generally, the positives far out-weigh the bad, and that is the case of this "reference" house we've found.

The back yard isn't as flat as I'd like it, the location of the home isn't in my favorite neighborhood, and one of the bathrooms would rarely be used--given its location in the house. Which just seems wasteful. Other than that, though, it's pretty near perfect to suiting our needs. The property taxes are lower than in some places, the dogs wouldn't bottle-neck in the hallways, there's a great place for Ali to escape to, AND it boosts an artists' studio. With at least three artists in the family, this would be great fun to have.

And, in lean times, if I couldn't manage my rent downtown, I could use the studio as a place to practice massage out of. It has an outside entrance, and an accessible bathroom--one that wouldn't have clients traipsing through my dog-haired living room, or messy kitchen.

All in all, pretty nearly perfect.

But here I am waxing poetic on a house I don't know for sure if I can get a loan for, a list of eight other homes I want tours of, and twelve more I'm going to drive by. Just to see. They fit under the category of: Eh. It might be cool. But it might be too small. I can't tell by the pictures. And I don't even know where Myoak is.

I swear I could make a full time job out of looking for a house to buy. I certainly spend enough time on it--it's even bleeding over into my writing! Though pretty soon I will be sick of it, and will just take whatever house I'm looking at the time. Which is why I'll never be a realtor.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Procrastination: It Happens To Everyone

If you dispute this title’s accuracy, you’re no human I know.

I’m being hit hard with it today. Case in point: I was supposed to be at my studio office to start writing/marketing at 9:00 a.m. this morning. Instead, I: walked the dog, ran a quick errand, ate some food, tried not to fall asleep, read a couple chapters in Wicked Good Words, wrote a page in my journal, thought about stuff, made some masala chai, wrote a ‘to do’ list (blog post wasn’t on there; neither was anything I just listed), and finally made it to my office–though it still took me 40 minutes to start working on this post.

(Side note: the procrastination  time wasters I did after coming to the office included vacuuming and taking out the trash.)

This is me stubbornly (and creatively) not doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

10 Ways to Procrastinate–and then what to do about it

1.  Dance to music you’ve starred on Spotify.
2.  Read an article from the dozens you’ve got waiting in your email inbox. You know. The ones from the newsletters you sign up for, but forgot you did, and still save  them anyway to read Later.
3.  Do laundry.
4.  Wash your car–even cleaning the dashboard and dusting the vents.
5.  Organize your books alphabetically.
6.  Make a list of other things you need to do.
7.  Go through your email inbox. That’s work, right?
8.  Write a real letter to someone. With a stamp.
9.  Go grocery shopping. Which shows how much you really don’t want to do whatever you had originally set out to do (or actually not do), because grocery shopping is the worst!
10. Go to a meeting. ‘Cuz we all know how time-wasting those are.

So, what to do about procrastinating? I did promise to say something about that.  I personally extend a lot of energy at my procrastinating, so I’ve done the following over and over in my own life. Does that mean it doesn’t actually work?–because I have to keep coming back to it? No. It means I procrastinate. And when it gets out of hand, I do something about it.
1.  Take some of that precious time that your procrastinating away and acknowledge that you’re off track. Some signs of this off-trackness are: restlessness, the feeling that something’s off/unsettled, the sensation that you’re spinning your wheels, feeling like nothing you do is working, or that you can’t seem to find enough time to do anything–your To Do List is miles long.
2.  Identify what the sticking point is. What item, or items, on your To Do List keep getting shuffled to the next day’s list? The ones perpetually un-done. Un-doable.
3.  Why do you suppose they are so hard for you right now? Is something else in the way? Do you have to get other things done first before you can cross the big bad one off? Recognize that there may be a psychological reason that is blocking you from getting it done. Maybe it’s fear of looking dumb if you do it, or fear of failing if you try. Maybe it’s just not your thing. Or maybe you just don’t want to do it. And that’s okay.
4. If you’ve done your personal work to see what is lurking underneath the not-doing-the-wretched-thing-on-your-list, and you’ve discovered it’s not the right time in your life to spend energy on it, or you can delegate it away, or it turns out you just don’t care about it like you thought you did, give yourself permission to cross it off the list FOREVER. Just don’t do it. What’s the worst that could happen if you didn’t?
5.  If you’ve done your personal work and you have determined it needs to stay on the list, probably the item is to big to be on the list. An example of this might be: Pack up the house. (For the move you know you’ve got coming up this summer.) In this case, you’ll need to break it down into smaller workable steps. Pack up the house could then become:  Decide what I don’t want to bring with me from the living room. A much more workable step. A general rule of thumb is, if you can’t get a project done in 30-60 minutes, it needs to be broken down.

I hope these tips will help you get moving on your projects and lists, and that procrastination (with a capital P) doesn’t keep you detained for long.

What things do you find yourself procrastinating from? What tips do you have for me?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Could

What to do with an unexpected extra afternoon of time?

Any number of things.

I could be productive in so many ways.

I could procrastinate by making another list under the guise of "time management."

I could call Writer's Digest and ask them to tear up the check I accidentally sent them for almost three times more than the monthly subscription was for. (I sent them my car and rental insurance money instead. Online banking can be treacherous--what with the payees being alphabetized and the teeny payment boxes so close to each other.)

I could do some required reading that I've put off for months and months and months.

I could figure out a way to buy Turbo Tax to do my taxes (but I don't have the $79.99 to buy it), or I could send my info to my accountant (but I don't have the $120 to pay him.)

I could keep eating chocolate.

I could email my ex-husband about the visitation changes I need to make for the summer.

I could mow my lawn.

I could clean my son's bedroom.

I could make a behavior chart for my son so he knows what needs to be done before he can play video games.

I could read my book.

I could journal some of my angst away.

I could make myself lunch.

I could write a real blog post.

I could update my LibraryThing and GoodReads wishlists with the new book titles I want.

I could put the last edits into the e-booklet I wrote about grieving.

I could do some playing on Pinterest  social marketing.

I could write my talk on art and processing negative emotions that I'm giving next month.

I could call a winery and chocolatier about sponsoring an event I'm hosting.

I could email my graphic designer and ask her WHY I still don't have the event poster I ordered at the end of March.

But I'm frightened that I won't actually do any of them, and then tomorrow I'll be complaining that I just don't have enough time in the week to get my things done!

How's that for irony?