maintenance level.


Charlie is a maintenance man. I never grasped just how daunting of a task that was, to bring something up to “maintenance level” till meeting him. He makes a huge and beautiful space easy to care for (for a living!), instead of huge projects all the time, disrepair, and work always needing to be done, he knows what to do and when so that it never gets out of hand, the ‘to-do’ never too long.


{sun cat in the living room today, sleeping off a little sick bug}


I’ve always been an all or nothing type. I move into a space and there are pictures on the wall, flour in the jar (and cookies in the oven), and cozy cups on the end tables within 48 hours; I move fast. I go from not working out; to six times a week dripping sweat. But the problem is that the motivation wanes quick, the bandaids reign supreme, and I never get to the point where it’s just easy. Instead I put up art all over and then move it ten times and still don’t love it; and have ugly holes in my walls, because it wasn’t thoughtful. It was frantic. I buy the cheapest because saving up for the nice piece would take too long, and I just want it done.

I’m either MOVED IN or “I hate my home!” or I am WORKING OUT or I am “too fat and sad to do anything…” There is no happy medium.

Charlie is different. He works hard to get up to a certain level; be that in our home or his shop or his job, or… his heart. And then it’s at that amazing spot. Maintenance Level. He is dedicated to chipping away, slowly, at the list to do things really well and with quality work, even if that means living in “not perfect” because he knows what it is to be able to sit in a manageable spot, and that spot only comes with diligence.


When my words are sharp and I say something horrible to him, he doesn’t crumble. He knows our love is at that spot, where one false step carries little weight, because the huge foundation and work underneath it surpasses one bad fight. We have worked hard, and we have a love that is (as unsexy as it sounds) at Maintenance Level. And in that, I can see it’s huge benefit. And am only now seeing how amazing it would be to have the rest of my life sit in that spot of ready for change, but not needing it to feel okay.

Well, I’m getting there. I’m trying to find the Maintenance Level of alone time, making the gym a habit that I pour into myself, slowing down the home projects so we can just do it right, the first time. It has meant empty walls, glaringly empty. And spaces that make me feel a little frantic with how “undone” they are. But the pays offs keep happening. Because I’m not rushing out to buy the cheap rug to cover up a  space of linoleum I don’t love (and then end up buying a bunch of hooks for the entry way that are on sale, and an ugly art print because it’s the right color), I can save up and buy the stools for the kitchen I actually want. And, turns out!, waiting to get what you actually want is kinda amazing. And our house is getting closer and closer to that sweet spot, of just needing a slow and steady project a weekend, instead of feeling like we need to always be pouring every penny/minute/thought into it. We are getting there. And it’s big growth for me to see how living in a little discomfort and working slowly is worth it, and that in the discomfort is growth.

A big piece of that is this island. It was an exercise in living with an unfinished piece so we could tweak it, invision it differently, and eventually change it to bring out kitchen up to snuff for our families needs. But it meant that this wasn’t a two hour, bring it in and “done!”, kinda project. It was a “finish it” and live with it, change it, “finish it” again, and repeat. But, finally, we’ve found it’s end. And I love it.


{first draft of the island}


{nearly finished product}

$20 worth of bought supplies (we had stain, enamel, and white paint on hand. But the lumber/screw cost was only $20!) I have a pretty sweet little island. And the rest of this dream home is coming together too, slow and steady. With a lot of change and growth.

This is, by far, my favorite room. And Ever is cozying up my favorite spot.



  1. Marta Santana says:

    I’m so in love with every word you’ve written. I’m also a nothing or all person, and I read myself in your words. Keep on creating cozy spots, they are an inspiration for my future home.

  2. Growing up my parents were always renovating, but never borrowing money to do it. My mom lived with an unfinished kitchen for over 2 years and I never once heard her complain or get on my dad about it. She just kept cooking and raising us. Learning to live with serenity and grace in an imperfect mess is much more beautiful than a pinterest-worthy house.

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