Demolition (Wo)Man

So you’re home minding your own business looking through the newspaper we call life. There’s always sad things in the news, the editorials are crazy so you never agree with anything in them, sports is boring this time of you skip to the classifieds. Not looking for work or appliances, the real estate section catches your attention. You don’t know if you want something just built, something a few years old that’s for sale by owner or what. All you know is that you want something you can invest your time in. Something you can show the world. Something you can be proud of. Something you put your personal touch on to have it come out beautiful and amazing.

You’re about to put the listings down when you see a foreclosed property. You know the part of town it’s in. You’ve seen houses like it a million times before. Not all are run down or not maintained. Some are just abandoned. Still furnished…just waiting for someone to come along and spruce up the paint. So you hop in your car and do a ride by. Its previous owners treated it like hell. The siding is falling off and needs to be replaced. Windows broken. Grass needs to be cut…but that’s all cosmetic. And a time sink. You sneak inside one day and do a walkthrough to check out the interior. There’s a few tables and chairs there. The closets are huge. You immediately see the potential you sensed from outside.  A week goes by and ride by again. Each time you think about it, the house seems like a great idea. It’s a good fit for you. The floor plan is perfect to you and you already have ideas about how to maximize your space. It’s a lot of responsibility but you think it’s a good move.

Fuck it.

YOLO…isn’t that what the kids say these days?

At first everything is going well. You fix replace the siding. Patch the foundation make everything is super sturdy because you could possibly be here for a LONG time and don’t want it to fall down around your ears. Replace the windows. Cut the grass and repave the driveway. Lay new pavers for the sidewalk. Then you move to the inside..which is where all the hard work is going to be.

There’s a leak in the roof you didn’t notice before, so you fix that right away. It leaks from time to time until the shingles settle themselves properly. After that?  Never again. Next, you replace all the plumbing because what good is a house unless the plumbing works? Next is the stove, new fridge. You find some cabinets are an estate sale for a good price and install them.

Everything is going good..and then the doubt starts.

At first it’s a little thought here and there while you’re patching and painting the walls in the hallways. Don’t worry, the house is comfortable enough for you to consider staying in forever. People ride by, commend you on the job you’re doing, and ask if you’re doing the work yourself. You say yes and can’t wait to show it off.

More self doubt. Now, it’s the kind that keeps you up at night. You question your decisions.

Now it’s unbearable. You leave. You abandon something that you’ve put work in to. You opened yourself up to the idea of this…place that you’ve created for yourself. Finally, you think to yourself, I didn’t let my fears overcome me.

But you did. And now you’ve abandoned something that you’ve worked on for a couple months almost every weekend without fail.

As you pack yourself and load it up to leave, you tell yourself you just need a break to evaluate things. You’ll be back. There’s a very real chance you won’t and you KNOW it…but you tell yourself that you will. It’s scary to you. I’ve done these kinds of projects before but this is different because you got to do things YOUR way.  Screw it, your monetary investment was damn near minimal because you had almost everything you needed already. The only thing you can’t get back is the time. The crazy thing is that the more you think about the time, the more you want to stay. Your doubts are greater than anything else right now so you go back to the safety and comfort of your apartment with a superintendent and handy man. Something breaks, YOU don’t have to fix it. You’re comfortable with that. You don’t have to blame yourself if you mess things up. That’s somebody else’s fault.

That foreclosed house? It’s still sitting there. A few people know it’s yours. Nobody approaches you with an offer because they know that you like it a lot. They saw and heard the work you put into it. They know that you can throw ANY natural disaster at that house and it will still be standing after it’s all over. Why? That house has a soul and that soul is grateful for the time and caring you put in making sure things were done halfway right. Even if you didn’t know exactly what you were doing, you still tried. And you tried with the best of your ability. What more could be asked of anything on Earth?

Those same people in the neighborhood talk. They wish you stayed. You took a chance on that house that was broken down and dilapidated. You may think you did an okay job but everyone else sees a what a great job you did rebuilding that house.

Don’t be afraid to live in it.


  1. That just made my eyes well up. I know this feeling too well. This is an amazing metaphor for so many things in life. I want to say, “Don’t walk away from all your hard work. You can do it!” but I’d news to be telling myself. This hit home.

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