Work and Play...and finding the balance
It's been a whirlwind of a couple weeks. You certainly wouldn't know we were a couple who ran away and quit our jobs by looking at our calendars the last couple weeks. Somehow when i flip back through the weekly view there's dozens of appointments and scheduled items. Many fun, many personal rather than business...but we've been feeling pretty rushed lately and i'm guessing that's part of why.
Jen's been pushing to get our taxes and other logistics done...and we're still having trouble getting plates/title for the sprinter. Shouldn't be a huge deal but a delay from our dealership has meant that we've had daily calls trying to get the thing legal (I'm guessing this is why more people don't buy vehicles out of state). I also seem to be inundated with clients. Maybe im still just struggling to say no, but if i look back at the numbers we're still saying no to far more than we accept. The city has a timeline on the waived fees for ADUs and it seems to have resulted in a mass interest in designing/building ADUs and small homes, or at least in pulling permits before the deadline in July. Good business for zenbox...not good for our relaxed calendar.
We swore early on to only take those clients and projects that absolutely excited us, clients who we got along fantastically with, and who had stories we were drawn to and wanted to help support. Apparently i underestimated how many cool people with good taste there are in this town! As of earlier this week we are now juggling 7 clients. A long stretch from our original intent of working with one or two neighbors at a time.... But we are excited about each project and looking forward to seeing where they go. In addition, this week had one project get permits so we can break ground, one past project going for it's final occupancy permit and another well into framing.
It was an odd mix of emotions walking onto the construction site yesterday and seeing the structure we designed almost fully framed in (seemingly overnight). While Jen and I have tackled any number of remodel/renovation projects, we have never built from the ground up and have always done most of our projects by hand; typically meaning a very slow evolution and certainly not one that made great leaps forward without us being there. Pulling up to see this project racing ahead was a whole new experience for us, but one i look forward to seeing again and again through zenbox.
This week already we spent time onsite with 3 new clients. Discussing their hopes and outlining what they should expect from the whole process. I can't say we fully enjoy the few hours that follow...walking around and measuring their site in the wet and windy PNW winter; but the process of taking an old broken down garage and transforming it into a groovy modern living space - i'm not sure that will ever grow old. All good things and all for good reason... but part of me just wants an empty week to focus on the sprinter build out that i wake up dreaming of each morning!
Ive also been focused over the last month or so on trying to streamline the process to take away the parts i don't enjoy as much as others (the last project got city approval/permits without me having to draft or spend a single day at the city...a HUGE step in the right direction!!). But im also trying to see how many friends i can involve along the way. The only way i can imagine enjoying this "work" (or whatever you call it) any more is if everyone i dealt with along the way were also friends. During each project I have to spend time with (and give money to) contractors, drafters, engineers, etc...how great would it be if in each of those conversations i got time with friends and could actually help support their work and lifestyles in the process!
Luckily, somewhere in the midst of what feels like a hectic schedule (but, by our own admission only feels that way because we've become accustomed to a very slow pace around here) we are still finding time to breathe, relax and enjoy. We've been planning a trip to mexico with friends next month to kick off our year of being free to travel again (and couldn't be more excited). We took a midweek journey to wine country to play with "borrowed family", and we've been hitting the rock gym for the first time in what we figure is a 7 year hiatus. Still have to solve that reoccurring annual goal of being healthier and more active, and this seems like a pretty fun start.
As I type the sun is shining, for what seems like the first time all year. December was the wettest month in Portland's history and January seems to have followed suit (thus our pending trip to mexico). We are exited for things to come, for more sunshine, and to catching our breath and reducing the items on our calendars a bit moving forward.