Lessons from That Old House

There’s been a great deal of drama (and a fair share of comedy) in my neighborhood this week. We’ve had news crews camped out and helicopters circling overhead. Residents have set up lawn chairs to watch the story progress. Or not progress, as it turned out. And it’s all because of what everyone’s calling “that old house.”

It seems the Wills family sold some property they owned in a commercial corridor. On that property was an old farmhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To save the family home, they decided to move it onto a residential lot they own about a mile away.

map routes for kirby farm house move

As you can see from the map, there were two possible options. The blue route would take them down a wide, heavily traveled road and would likely require the temporary removal of two sets of traffic signals. The gray route would take them through a subdivision with wide streets. The chose the gray route to minimize “inconvenience.”

The map shows it to be a 3-minute trip either way by car (21 minutes walking, unless you’re me and then it takes about 18 minutes), but naturally you expect it to take longer when you’re hauling a house. A couple hours? A half-day, at most. NO ONE expected it to take three days.

Getting started was the first problem the movers encountered. That old house was adjacent to some railroad tracks, and for a short time, the house was stuck ON the tracks.

Once they cleared it and made the wide turn into the subdivision, the truck’s axle broke and the truck and house were left to block the street overnight. Thus ended Day 1.

The house moved about two blocks on day 2. I’m not sure who measured everything (it wasn’t me), but apparently trees, mailboxes, fire hydrants and streetlights were not taken into account. As the house inched (literally!) along, every obstacle had to be considered and cleared. This sometimes required chainsaws and jackhammers.

The house did suffer a bit of damage when the crew cleared the limbs of a threatening oak tree but seemed to miss noticing the stately magnolia on the other side of the street. Fortunately, the damage can be repaired. At the end of Day 2, the house approached a fire hydrant, too big an obstacle to be cleared that day.

On Day 3, that old house finally affected me. As it finally(!) approached its new home, it was stuck while utility crews temporarily removed some power lines that had also apparently gone unnoticed in the planning phase. Since I had no electricity, I moseyed over to check things out personally.

that old house blocking the road

Yep, it was stuck. As I stood there watching the house going nowhere, it occurred to me that there were lessons to be learned from its journey.

  • Planning is important in any endeavor. Anticipate the obstacles before you begin.
  • No matter how much you plan, there will still be surprises. Be prepared for them.
  • Some obstacles are so large, it’s tempting to abandon the journey. Continue. Always.
  • Sometimes you can get so focused on one obstacle, you miss another one completely. Both the big picture and the small picture are important.
  • No matter which route you take on a journey, someone is going to be inconvenienced. Life isn’t always convenient.
  • Some journeys take a lot longer than anticipated. Be prepared to wait.
  • Some progress is measured in miles, some in inches. It’s all still progress.
  • Even when you arrive at your destination, the journey isn’t over. Keep your bags packed.

At around 5 last night, the house was on the lot. It’s still on the truck because there are repairs and fine tuning that must happen before it’s set into place. The project took longer than anticipated, but the house got to where it needed to be…eventually.

As will we all. :)

“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
― Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story



Alphabet Soup: H (as in Hurry Up and Post Before Something Else Comes Up)

Despite appearances to the contrary, The Tippy Toe diet has NOT become a monthly or semi-monthly blog. Things just keep coming up!

But it’s quiet right now, so I’m going to sneak in my next installment of Alphabet Soup, the series in which I explore–alphabetically–the words and concepts that help me with weight management.

lower case h blue floral“H”, as it turns out, was/is a very helpful letter for me in dealing with matters of weight.

First and foremost, the concept of making healthier choices, even if not always the healthiEST choice, helped me transition from a mostly ridiculous diet to one that made me feel good and supported the path to a healthier weight. When I first started, especially, I didn’t worry so much about making the BEST choice, just BETTER than I’d been making in the past. As time passed, I continued to make even healthier choices until I’d eliminated most (but not all) of the icky stuff from my life. I’ll probably never have a 100% healthy diet, but 90% or so is a whole lot healthier than what I did before!

Hand in hand with making healthier choices is habit-izing those choices–making it so that it was hard NOT to do them. For example, I set up my exercise schedule for immediately after work, almost like an extension of my workday. Now that I’m not working a traditional work schedule, it’s a little more iffy on workdays, but I still get the exercise in most days. It’s just as hard to ignore a good habit when it’s not there anymore as it is a not-so-good habit you’re trying to eliminate. (Hello, full-sized Snickers bars!)

Moving on, unrelenting honestly is another big contributor to my success in (mostly) managing my weight. It’s also proving helpful in managing my life, but that’s a story for another blog. :) One little question completely turns almost any situation around for me: Is it true? Not only does it knock out any excuses and keep me honest that way, it also helps pick me up at those times when I’m certain ruin and mayhem lurk just around the next corner.

Finally, a sense of humor sure does help a lot. For so many of us, weight and size are emotional territory filled with many dashed hopes and dreams, past hurts and failures, etc. It’s no wonder that we take it all so seriously. For me to break free of those chains, I tapped into my weird but ever-present sense of humor and found ways to make it fun.

There are probably more H words I could discuss, but those are the big ones. As always, I’ll count on you to fill in the gaps! :)



Back to Basics

I’ve been whining a lot about my crazy schedule, but I’m pleased to say that this has been a better week for me. My schedule is still all over the place, but I’m feeling very much on point with my nutrition and exercise. That alone helps combat stress and fatigue. I’m hoping it will also help with getting the proper amount of sleep.

One of the things I’ve done to feel more “in control” is to return to full meal logging in sparkpeople. It takes only a few minutes a day and should be helpful for peace of mind, if nothing else.

I haven’t made any changes to what I’m eating, and if the first three days of logging are any indication, I won’t be changing much at all. So far, all I’m picking up on is that I’m still overestimating calories and portion sizes. Example: those roasted green beans I mentioned in my last post, saying I reckoned they were 100-125 calories? They’re actually about 75 calories. I’ve also learned that I need to up my calcium and my fiber intake, but I’ll figure out how I want to do that later.

Another back-to-basics move was to get myself back to the gym for strength training! Be still my heart! I’ve been getting plenty of exercise, but not as much of the “official” variety as I’d like. Between work-work, working on my kitchen, and working on Memaw’s house, I’m up and moving for about 8-10 hours a day, but there’s something about a structured workout that gives me more of a sense of control. I think I’ve figured out a way to get in at least two workouts a week and possibly the third one on weeks that don’t require yard work. (I count that as a workout since the power bar on my mower is out. :) )

It’s only been three days, but I’m amazed at how focusing on those two basics–nutrition and exercise–carries over into other areas. I feel much more “in charge”.

I must give credit for this re-focusing to Sally, with whom I spent some quality time this past weekend. This is always good for my spirits, because in addition to being exceptionally cute, Sally is a very good listener. :) sally playing with a ball

Sally has lots of interests, but three rise to the top: dinner, walks, and playing with the ball. As long as she has those three things in place, she lets everything else fall into its proper place. When I think about it, my interests aren’t really all that different from Sally’s, and that’s why I’m following her excellent lead and focusing on getting the basics in place. :)

Sadly, this might have been my last Sally visit for awhile. Her parents have selfishly decided that they’d like to live on the coast with its silly beaches and average winter temps in the 60s. Even more selfishly, they’re taking my dog with them! Okay, so technically, she’s their dog, but still. It’s just not right.

The upside is that they’ll still need a pet-sitter from time to time, and this one travels! :)

Besides Sally-sitting, another stress release was the selection of a yellow paint color for my kitchen and laundry room. I’m not yet ready to call it The Perfect Shade of Yellow. For now it’s just the yellow that’s going on the wall. I’ll know more when it’s actually on the wall.

yellow paint test strips on the wall

I’ll share the final (I hope!) results when the paint is up. It’s one of the colors shown above.

On that note of suspense, I’ll close this out. I’ve got a 4:30 a.m. alarm tomorrow, which means I’m already up too late. I hope you’re having a lovely week!