|Don't you want to ask me why those posts are so tall?|
Despite not having posted here in a while, I've been writing a fair amount. Like emails and stuff. That's writing, right? Also, I've been writing drafts and pieces that will be published in the future and what not. So don't worry. I haven't given up. Somebody told me I seemed grumpy on my blog lately. I think it was ever since I kvetched about having to go back to work on the days my kids are in preschool, instead of getting paid to write about my feelings. But guess what? Working is pretty okay, after all.
I haven't done any teaching for a couple months, but I've been doing quite a bit of remodeling. I must admit that it's pretty satisfying and confidence-building to do something I have some expertise in. When I'm teaching or writing (or parenting), I often feel like a fraud, a hack, or a dilettante. However, when I commence to drivin' nails, there's not a lot of anxiety involved in the process. I was a little worried that I had lost my instincts, but a couple things convinced me otherwise. For instance, I just got done replacing all the windows in a friend/client's house. I always charge by the hour when clients are cool with that, because I think it's kind of bullshit to give them an estimate when all that really is is me trying to figure out how long it's gonna take and multiplying that by how much I want to make per hour, and adding as much as I think I can get away with on top of that, as a cushion in case I've underestimated, or a nice bonus in case I get done sooner than I anticipated. So instead of doing it the bullshit way, I say, "I charge x dollars per hour, and I think it will take me x hours to do the job." Anyway, when I got done with the window job and totaled up the time it took me, it was within a couple hours of what I had estimated. That might actually be more of an indicator of how crappy a businessman I am than how awesome an estimator. Still, that kind of thing makes me happy.
Now I'm building a deck. Actually, a second level on an existing deck. And building decks almost always makes me happy. The first encouraging note was when I gave the client a ballpark figure for the materials, off the top of my head, only later realizing that it had been a few years since I had priced redwood and pressure treated lumber. Then I did my takeoff and called it in to the lumberyard, and when they called back with the price, it was like, exactly what I had quoted. I was all, I'VE STILL GOT IT BABY.