Saturday, October 4, 2008


I've been fighting depression.
It comes and goes, and I have a history with it, but I'm usually pretty good at keeping it in check. It's often hard to tell with me because I'm pretty laid back and quiet most of the time anyway, but I start to feel numb and overwhelmed by things going on in my life.
It's been that way more lately.
Thankfully it's not nearly as bad as it was some years ago. I was dealing with an emotionally and financially messy divorce, and my father was dying from cancer.

I imagine I was not easy to be around back then. Thankfully I had a couple of close friends help me through those times.

Sadly, it's usually money matters that get me down these days. When work is steady and the money is coming in I'm more optimistic about what I can accomplish, in paying down my debt, keeping up with bills and maintenance, expanding my business, and working on my house. That seems to be the running theme.
I do try to remind myself how well I have it compared to most people. But it doesn't change the fact that I feel stressed about some of what's going on in my life. Leslie starts to sense it, my children start being affected by it. I slip into a funk, and I'm not at my best. I'm not completely present.

But money is very tight right now. My car needs work, I'm still trying to finish a bathroom remodeling project that started back in May of this year, and my house desperately needs a new roof. A complete tear-off that's going to cost at least $12,000. I've had leaks in my bedroom and studio ceilings for a couple of years now, and it's only getting worse.
I also need to have the 2nd story of my house re-shingled. That won't be cheap either, but it has to happen within the next year or two.
I've also put off the purchase of new computer hardware and software to help my business. I don't have a working printer, and I'm still on my old Mac G4. I really should be on a Mac Pro if I want to stay productive and expand creatively and professionally.

These are the main things. There are at least a dozen other things that warrant repair, upgrade, replacement, or monetary expense of some sort.
I try to find encouragement in the things that I have been able to accomplish this year so far. I had to replace my hot water heater early this year, and that's been done. There is the bathroom expansion and remodeling, which is looking great, and will be a sound investment in comfort and resale, ..and Leslie and I have been tackling some of the prepping and priming of the interior rooms. That doesn't require much money, just some focused spare time and sweat equity. The difference is startling, though, and that's been a bright spot. I'm feeling less like I'm living in squalor. Now I just need new drapes and furniture. I've had the same shit for 25 years and it's getting old (well, it was old when I bought it, as I used to be into antiquing).

Sometimes I do feel like bailing on my house. It's been a real ride so far, I've done quite a bit of upgrading already, and it's an amazing house in a great location, ..but it has been an almost constant struggle to live here and find the extra money to fix the place up. Again, I try to remind myself that I've been doing this all on my own, while I've been paying child-support and half the tuition at a private school for my children for the past 5 years. That's something I could feel good about.
But again, it doesn't change the fact that I feel tired and overwhelmed by everything that still needs to be done. I find myself looking on-line at the real-estate listings in places like Portland, Oregon or the West bay area of Northern California, for the next chapter of my life. It's tempting and inspiring, but it's not a practical consideration right now. My kids are still in school here, and I couldn't get much for my house with the shape it's in and the way the real estate market is right now.
My best bet is to hang in and wait things out.
In another 4 or 5 years the house will be in much better shape for sale, the kids will be about done with school entirely, and the market will have (hopefully) made an upturn.

I still consider staying here much longer, as I initially intended, just not as frequently as I used to. I'm aware that I'd have to keep doing things to the house to make it adequate for the long stay, but the longer I stay, the more equity I'll build up. Again, I'm in a great location. I live on a nice tree-lined street a block from the beach, and the area is only going to keep getting nicer in the coming years. I've seen a lot of good change in the 9 years I've been here.
I just don't know if I have the patience to wait it out in hopes of a big return. There is more to life than this particular real-estate investment, and I really don't know if I can stay here another 10 or 15 years.

Ugh, I need some sleep.