Living Life

Small town living is different than the city life I lived for more than 40 years. First, when you want to go “out” you should plan on 30-60 minutes just for driving. Everything is spread out in small towns around lakes.

I’m used to a lively night life and you can always find something to do. Here is takes more effort to find things and you have to plan ahead. That being said there are many upsides – like the food and entertainment in the summer. I had a local draft brew with my pail of steamed muscles and crusty bread (for dipping my in the garlic butter sauce). Now I’m sitting on a bench enjoying live music outside the brewery.

Because we have such a high influx of tourists in the summer there is a lot of randomness – dancing in the street, couples on park benches enjoying ice cream, classic cars in the streets, shops and boutiques that close whenever the last customer steps out and that might be an hour later than what the sign says.

Loving the new pace of life!

Mediocrity

I consider myself a little old school. I learned the values of hard work and you don’t get anything for free. I grew up in the “give them the shirt off your back” environment where everyone pitched in, rolled up their sleeves, and helped (in some way, shape, or form).

Fast forward to today’s fast moving world where you feel double booked all the time and everything requires a 30 minute drive to get there. Today I reflected on mediocrity. While I cringe at anything done half-assed there are times when “just enough” has to work just to keep things moving (and I hate that feeling). For example, I have had dishes in my sink for three days. I would put them in the dishwasher but that is full of clean dishes. The house needs to be vacuumed, lawn work to do, laundry to do, dusting for sure to do, wash jars for canning and more. However, the weather was fabulous last evening and perfect for laying stone. So what of those things got done? None of it. I laid stone. The available time I had left after that was spent scratching mud (have to let the mortar set up), showering and grabbing a bite to eat. Then it’s time to get some sleep and prepare for the next day at work. The cycle continues. For me just doing enough to get by in certain areas of life is becoming a regular part of my summer. Until this project is finished I have to be okay with just doing enough to get by. I can clean inside when it rains.

Progress

This spring I tried diligently to find a contractor willing to give me a quote for labor on a large shop project on our property. It is a DIY project that got sidetracked and our physical resources got allocated elsewhere. After much searching, calling and conversations I got a quote. It was a bit higher than I was looking to spend but in my mind worth it to advance our project along.

That was about two months ago and little has happened in the way of progress. At least until about a week ago when I awoke at 7am on a Sunday to noise outside only two find a couple snappy young fellas working on the roof. Apparently the contractor subbed out some of the work. Hmmm.

Fast forward a week. My roof is done (except for where Menards shorted me materials) and the fellas have now offered to the contractor that they could do the rest of the work. In the mean time I’ve asked the two boys for a few other project quotes. It looks like I could get lots more done than I had imagined. Suddenly things are moving along.

The stone work is still a DIY and we are also cruising thanks to really good weather. The look of progress this past week has come in many forms. The “lawn” is getting bailed, the inside of the shop can now stay dry and the stone is going on. I’m happy.

Coffee

Some days there just isn’t enough coffee.

The weather has been interesting the past few months. It seems like we are dealing with the threat of severe weather about once a week. I haven’t lived in my home long enough to figure out all the sights and sounds and having as many windows as I do creates a certain amount of anxiety every time we have a weather warning. Each time we get an evening or late night thunderstorm warning I tend to not sleep well. The threat of high winds and hail creates a sense of uneasiness and the fear of broken glass and damage to my home.

Of course it never seems to occur on a Friday or Saturday night but on evenings before a work day. I am not a morning person at all and mornings are rough when you don’t get a good night sleep. I find myself stopping for caffeinated beverages most mornings and usually requesting an extra shot of espresso.

While this wouldn’t seem like that big of a deal the high influx of caffeine has also created some heartburn. That’s no fun. I am finding it tricky to strike a balance between total alertness and just fully functioning. I think I need more water…

Under Water

We struggled with wet weather last summer while trying to get our shop up. Now I am dealing with the same issue while trying to get it finished. We have not had a decent dry stretch of working weather for weeks. My driveway is a mud hole. The contractor I hired hasn’t even started although the mental effort is there. He started to bring out some of his equipment. Even my attempt to get stone laid on the front has been hampered by the weather. The only decent two days we had in the past few weeks had the heat index into the 100s. Not ideal for working outside in Minnesota.

We aren’t talking about an occasional shower either. I’ve been dumping my rain gauge each time at the inches mark (yes, plural). Last weekend I had 6″ in one 24 hour period. Yesterday was 1.75″ and it rained overnight and has continued now into midday. I’ll be checking it again shortly.

I guess that means I’m supposed to work on something else. I would rather be outside doing physical labor. I can’t possibly mow my lawn so today will be spent doing some sewing and hem repair on a few clothing items, cleaning bathrooms, washing sheets, meal prep for the week, and catching up on some work. I foresee vinyl records turning in my future.

Give me a break! #EnoughAlready

Service

My family has been customers of the same Ford dealership for more than 25 years. Additionally, we have referred many friends to that dealership during the same time.

I’ll start by saying that in general, I can’t stand sales people. Especially slimy, insincere ones. Fortunately for us, this dealership doesn’t have any. Over the years ownership has changed, their pricing model has changed and even the line up of vehicles has changed (they used to also have Dodge and Jeep). However, through it all one thing has remained constant – the service.

When we started working with this dealership we lived more than 4 hours away. There was nothing convenient about it. Most of the time I wasn’t getting my vehicles serviced there. Once I took a price quote to my local dealer and said that if he could match the price I would buy local – they wouldn’t do it. Now in my 40s I can proudly say I have owned 4 different vehicles from this dealership. Our family has built a relationship with the staff. The last two times I have had the same salesperson help me. I trust them. I know I’m getting the best deal. They do things right because it’s the right thing to do. The service you get there isn’t like most car dealers. They aren’t paid on commission. Their job is to make sure you are happy with your purchase and taken care of. Why would you shop anywhere else?

I had let them know I would be looking to make a vehicle change within the next five months. It was a timeline my husband and I set based on the fact we didn’t want to buy tires again before snowfall. The day I went to see them and test drive some vehicles they did not have what I wanted. I had given them a list of wants, don’t wants and don’t care options to work with…from that they located a vehicle from another dealer and made arrangements to bring it in for me. Before I could get back there to see it, they called and said that they found out the vehicle had 6,000 miles on it but they were able to locate the exact same vehicle at another location. The new one was made later that same year and had some newer technology, it was brand new, and they would honor the original price they quoted me. Wow. I didn’t even have to ask.

Yes, I bought it. The proof is in the purchase. Small town service still exists.

Life is a Highway

Life is a highway. It is also a gravel road. This time of year it can smooth or full of potholes, bumpy or pitted, squishy and soggy, or a washboard. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve put a few miles on my car. I don’t always enjoy windshield time but the weather has been fairly decent and I am getting a nice left arm tan.

My travels have taken me through the Twin Cities a couple of times for some classes at the UMN. I’ve also been continuing with Cross Fit which adds and extra 30 miles to my daily commute. I’m on week 12 and still loving it. Yesterday was my worst day thus far and I learned a valuable lesson – all that stuff they tell you about sleep, water, and nutrition is absolutely true and I need to pay better attention!

I am finished with my classes and earned a Certificate in Organizational Development and Change Management. They even played pomp and circumstance when they handed out the certificates. Nice touch.

I’m trying to be smart about my travels and time on the road. I could have been gone four weekends in a row but opted for two. That means that a lot of graduation cards went in the mail – and that’s ok. I can’t be everywhere in person all the time.

Staying home hasn’t been super fruitful. Weather hasn’t cooperated much for outdoor activities. This weekend brought rain and unseasonably cool weather. The plus side is I got meal prep done early for this week, and laundry is caught up. Last weekend was 95 degrees and this weekend is 55 degrees. Much different.

I thought time would feel slower this summer but really it is the opposite. It is probably because there are things I want done and haven’t gotten to them yet.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the day we moved in and took the keys to our new home. It fly by! We have had some rocky moments but while cleaning today was really appreciative of what we have and what we have worked so hard to get.