Why This Year?

This spring of 2015 has many elements to it that have been missing from the last several years. Much of it is that my mental health is far better than it has been in years. Now I want to share what provided the impetus for my decision to make this a year of renewal.

Actually, it started in February 2014, when an ice dam buildup caused significant water damage to one area of the front wall. The contractors told me I also needed a new roof “because of hail damage.” (This was a bait and switch tactic – there was no hail damage, the roof was just worn out.) Unfortunately, I did, indeed, need to get a new roof. Big, big bucks.

In May 2014 I had a breakdown from all the stress. Fortunately, it made my psychiatrist able to diagnose that my main issue was anxiety, and she made a medication change that has been hardly short of miraculous.

With a great deal of loving help from my brother Bill, my son Joey, and my friend Hetty, I got through the worst of it while the medication began to take effect. I don’t know what I would have done without them, honestly. The interior repairs were completed, the insurance company paid up, and another friend referred me to a reliable and honest roofer.

New roof. I adore the color.

I love the coppery color of the new roof, but it doesn’t go with the dull blue-gray of the house.

The new roof was gorgeous. But now I wanted the house painted to complement the roof color, and didn’t have the money to do it.

A seed had been sown, though. In September I realized I could replace my boring, stained old shower curtain. (Why did I have to realize that? I have no idea.) I started thinking about things I wanted to do, indoors and out… but there was no money for big projects.

The first section of the dock has entirely fallen.

The first section of the dock has entirely fallen.

Then my dock collapsed. It’s beyond repair, and the estimate to put in a new one: $4,400.

That’s when I first thought about getting a home equity line of credit. What the heck, go for it! After a lot of unnecessary phone calls and emails – the woman at the bank simply could not wrap her head around the fact that I was getting monthly income from the bank through investments – the line was approved.

Then, more problems with the giant honey locust that overhangs my roof. Two and a half years ago a gigantic limb fell off it into the yard. In December a good-sized branch fell between the house and the privacy fence, scaring the hell out of me (I was standing right next to the window where it fell) and barely missing the roof. So now there was danger that other older limbs might damage the roof.

Price tag: $2,000.

Here are some photos of the limb that fell in 2013:

The home equity line is not big enough for me to do gigantic projects like remodeling the bathrooms (a dream of mine), but I’ll be able to get several less expensive things done. My daughter Angel, formerly a professional house painter, is going to do that, and also stain the rejuvenated fence, plus possibly doing some interior painting. My son Joey is coming here the last week of April to earn some money doing yard work. The unworkable slope garden will be taken out and rebuilt.

In February of this year I wrote a post called “Garden Sadness” in my personal blog, Echo’s Web. I spoke about the need for renovation and cleaning up before I could plant anything new. It was a sad post, but not long after writing it, I was fired from a job that took up a great deal of my time and energy for very little pay, and that was the turning point.

Being fired is always a shock, and I was numb for awhile – but slowly I understood that it was a blessing in disguise. I’d come within hours of quitting on the day of my breakdown the previous May. Now I didn’t have to worry about it – the company had made the decision for me. I was free!

And about ten days after being fired, I started this new blog, Echo’s Gardens. Renovation and renewal instead of buying plants was no longer a sorrowful idea – it was exciting!

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