The first email I can find about the project was from the middle of March.
(Please read to the end. Sometimes I need to warm up to the depression part)
That was 5 months ago. Then, it seemed like only a matter of weeks and the garage construction would be underway. With three estimates in hand and conversations with all three contractors, we had made our choice.
March turned out to be the height of the lumber cost spike.
New build costs were soaring and even getting a contractor to return your call was a success story. They had their choice of projects. I know I called five companies and got three bids in writing. My story was one of the better ones. Now it still took weeks to get all the bids in, but we were on our way.
Having dealt with the local building inspection department before, that process had the promise of a quick turnaround.
Well, building a free-standing garage has a different permitting path than building an additional deck on the back of our house. And once the inspector arrived, we discovered the county’s rule about front set-back. Complying with this zoning regulation required locating the front survey markers.
Then the true property line could be identified.
My first attempt involved borrowing a friend’s metal detector. In theory, I should be able to use it to locate the iron marking stake at the corner of our property. On level ground without brambles, wire fences, and electric poles, doing this would be simple. And while I uncovered some metal trinkets, I could not find any of the three property markers related to the front edge of our property.
Next, I hired a surveyor to find the property line.
Well, once again, I made four calls and finally got one to call me back. He said he could find the line, but his schedule was booked weeks in advance. So, we waited. On the appointed day, he went to the courthouse to obtain the actual survey documents filed with the court. Except the courthouse was closed for a local holiday.
A week later, the surveyor was able to complete the job.
While we only needed two points to mark the property line, he found all three along the front of the property. This provided a bonus. We discovered that our property went further around the bend in the right of way. We actually own more of the forest than we had expected.
With the property line officially marked, I called the township again and the permit inspector returned.
He looked at what the surveyor had marked. From there, one hundred feet was measured, signifying the minimum distance the garage could be from the front property line. Our original plan had the garage seventy-five feet from the property edge, keeping much of it on level ground.
Pushed back to its new location, the project was going to require more foundation and a raised entry area.
Now four months from the original start date for the garage, we met again with our contractor. And while lumber prices had cooled, the new location was going to require more block and more rock as a filler. So, the contract price remained the same, adjusted for the new location.
Two weeks ago, we reconfirmed the contract and new start date.
Today could be the day. Our contractor has another project in the area. Once he gets that going, he is to begin our construction. This is slated to begin between Tuesday and Thursday of this week. So here we sit on the front porch. We are “all dressed up, with no place to go.”
Several things strike me about this morning. (Here’s the depression part)
First, I am thinking about the future. I am planning, anticipating, even looking forward to something that has not happened yet.
Second is the fact that I am doing this without jumping into unhelpful thinking. I am not catastrophizing about the fact that our contractor did not arrive yesterday. Thoughts of his company being financially ruined yesterday did not appear in my mind. I had no thoughts of them having had a huge construction accident that would postpone or even cancel our project.
Finally, I am relaxed and calm as I sit on the front porch, coffee in hand.
There is no sense of dread. I have no need to time-travel or become a fortune-teller. I am here in the moment, enjoying the cool air. There is a bit of happy anticipation and this I am enjoying.
27 months ago, I would not have thought this day was possible,
Then, the most I could see was the wall I was up against. My future was at best day to day, sometimes hour to hour. There was no planning for the future. I could barely think about the next hour. And my goal those days, if a goal was even possible, was to figure out a way to get back in bed as early as possible each evening.
By changing my attitude, I opened up a range of possibilities I had forgotten existed.
Once I told depression I was not going to play its games anymore, things began to change. While it hasn’t been a straight line forward, I know that I am on a much better path. Naming depression and identifying tools to help me gave me a future.
I am thankful for the chance I have to lead a balanced life with depression.
By naming depression, I set in motion a series of events that have gotten me here. I am excited about the future, I am planning, anticipating, and looking forward to the future. And I love being in the moment. This is still a work in progress, but I am catching myself doing it.
Sometimes, it is just me, enjoying the moment.
I am extremely thankful for all the help and support that have gotten me to this point. Medicine management by my Psychiatrist, Peer Support from On Our Own, and the discovery of SMART Recovery, WRAP, the Change Triangle, and other tools have made this moment possible.
Each day, I remind myself that, “I have depression, depression does not have me.”
And while every day is not like today, I know I am living a balanced life with depression.