Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Blustery Day and Lightness of Being

It was a blustery day in the Hundred Acre Wood, and what a strange day it was. I found myself this early afternoon at a client's house to get a signature, and we visited for a while out on the patio near a burning chimenea. The wind blew the smoke toward me more often than not, and by the time I left I'm afraid I reeked.

Then I stopped by a house I had just sold to an out-of-towner. The seller had left a pile of brush on the sidewalk, and I thought I would do a kindness and stuff it all in a huge trash bag and haul it away. Well, my hair blew around so much I couldn't see, and the pile of brush was bigger than I'd thought. My heart sank when I realized how long this little project was going to take me, but then an angel from heaven offered to help.

Actually the neighbor walked over and offered me his trash can, which is VERY generous. We have automatic pick-up, and each household has only one --albeit very large -- bin. Being able to stuff the brush in the can made the task so much easier. Thank you kind neighbor!!

Today I feel a lightness that comes from breaking through to the other side of several stressful events. I have multiple contracts, all of which survived repair negotiations and other potential deal-breakers, and closings are on for May. On top of that, Kat's paycheck yesterday was nice and fat with overtime from Easter AND we got our tax return. The tax return will go straight to our credit card.

My parents come in tomorrow to stay with us for a few days. (I can hardly wait as I haven't seen them since Christmas). After their visit, my goal is to dig into finances and see exactly where I am with business expenses and income. I have an idea of where I am, but I haven't been tracking it like I should. That's certainly a necessary first step in assessing this business.

Monday, April 23, 2012

For God's sake Jim, I'm an Agent not a Plumber!

Miraculously the deal hasn't fallen through. Things are looking up, but closing is not until May, so plenty of time to worry some more.

The reason I started a business in real estate in the first place was -- not so much to start yet another career -- but to bring in extra money. It's a long story how real estate came up as a viable way to earn extra bucks, but let's just say that the person who got me into this assured me it was something I could do part time.

I don't think so.

Work part time and you have no business at all but LOTS of expenses. Maybe I should have done more research before jumping into the deep end. Too late now.

So here I am with a lot of training and some experience. I don't want to walk away from it just because my life has taken a turn I wasn't at all expecting. I made an impulsive decision to get into real estate, but don't want to make the same mistake getting out. (Or was it a mistake? Hmmmm. Telling. This blog is working already!!)

My partner earns enough to support the household, with some put aside for retirement and savings, but not a whole lot extra. I've been doing some not too lucrative writing, home-making, volunteering, paid consulting here and there. We've been ok with the frugal lifestyle, but we have some big expenses and a few wants and I'd like to sock away more for retirement.

The first thing I plan to do with this season of my life is lay groundwork, create habits that will support a more deliberate, informed decision-making process about what's next, and then a COMMITMENT to that thing. More on creating habits in future posts.

Today I should feel relieved and happy about that durn contract, but I feel kind of down. Maybe it's that I know it can still fall through, or maybe it's a completely unrelated phone call on a different house purchased by an out-of-town client that involves me going and checking on a water line or something of which I have no clue. That's why agents recommend their clients use inspectors and contractors. I'm not a plumber, people!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I am in a place -- mentally, emotionally, and financially -- that I'd rather not be. Some things in my life are lovely -- my partner being the main joy -- and some are miserable -- the primary culprit being my business. I tend to over-think, over-worry, and work myself into confusion, and all the while, what I'm trying to figure out is how to live life well.

I'm in my mid-40's, and I'd like to have things figured out already. But that's a pretty amorphous goal, so a more focused goal, with a deadline of September, is to decide what to do about my business. This blog is part of my discernment process.

My business is real estate. I got my agent's license in Texas nearly a year and a half ago, and I am beginning to think I'm spectacularly unsuited to the business of buying and selling houses. For one, I'm struggling to break even. Expenses are high and closings (with accompanying paychecks) are few. Right now I'm working a contract for a nice house; my fee will put a good dent in credit card debt. And guess what? Today I'm watching it all fall apart, which does happen, but for me it's THE straw. (And so this blog. Cheaper than therapy).

I work hard every day, and some weeks, like the last few, I barely have time to eat, and so I'm feeling more and more disorganized and discouraged. I'm hoping this blog will help push me to organize and keep on top of finances -- I certainly need to do that to make an informed decision about my work -- and will aid me in sorting through the myriad influences that affect what I do now and may do next. Tall order for a blog, but I need to start somewhere.

So welcome to Fumbling at Joy, which really is the heart of it all. Ultimately I just want to live my life well, with as much joy as possible.