Another Culminating Year: 2014 Summarized

With winds of change blowing through my whole life and being, keeping track, and writing it all down has been on my mind fairly often. I've had thoughts of creating a new space for this, and I still can't say I've decided on or against it. For whatever reason, I'm not ready to let the dream I had for this space fall to the wayside because my essence has changed. Maybe this space will be reinvented, or maybe I'll bid adieu and let you know where to find me instead. I do feel, however, that MaeLiveFree is as good a place as any to summarize 2014 for those who have may be wondering what's been happening in my life.

As I mentioned the last time I checked in here, a year ago, we bought a house. A lot of stress has surrounded the commitment and the move. When we realized we were locked into a dwelling that couldn't bring us the comfort we'd hoped for, things just spiraled downwards. The first issue with the house was a plumbing nightmare. Within days of moving in there was sewage backed up into our bath tub and we were unable to run much of any water. It was the main line. A full days work for David, his wonderfully helpful supervisor from work, who is also an amazing human and great friend, and another co-worker/friend, and they managed to shop-vac out the clog, only to find issue with the connections of the plumbing, which was brand new but terribly assembled. They say to be prepared for this sort of thing when you buy a house, that everyone has a hard first year, but we were in completely over our heads.

Then there was the cost of heating the place which has been a joke up until a month ago. The house has a brand new electric central heating unit, but it isn't connected to half of the house, and it costs several dollars a day to run. The shock of our first utility bill here has still not worn off. We bought a used pellet stove to try to remedy our heating cost situation, but after a month of running it and having issues with it and still being cold, we opened it up to do a major cleaning and found much to my horror, that a good yearly cleaning had most likely never been done. Especially disgusting and frustrating considering that the stove was at least fifteen years old. So we sold that, and have been running zonal ceramic infrared heaters and keeping cozy for a cost that's still more than we're comfortable with, but better than the alternative.

Maybe out of frustration with the house, that needs a hundred fixes still, we decided that starting our roasting business would be a good investment. What better time than now, right? Wrong. I think we were desperate for some happiness, but this hasn't worked out as merrily as we fantasized either. We started after the deadline for farmer's markets, so we lost out on an entire season of where our best revenue would come from. We also sorely underestimated how hard it would be to obtain all the legal permits and such for a roasting operation. In some states the Cottage Food Act permits home roasted coffee as long as you sell under a certain volume, but Washington doesn't. That left us to obtain a straight up food processors permit, but there are so many hoops for that we would have to roast at someone else's facilities. Without the demand for our product being enough to justify a higher volume roaster and costs that would rob us of any profit, that was also out the window. So the business is stuck in some strange limbo right now. The good news is that we've learned a lot, and David is developing pretty solid roasting skills. Plus the experience really helped me get a good coffee job.

In September-ish, we decided that getting David a motorcycle so that I could have the car, mostly for business purposes, was a good idea. He bought a bike while taking his motorcycle endorsement course, before he knew if he could ride it, and it turned out that the bike he chose was too large of a beast for him. Instead of practicing reason, we decided to go ahead and get one that he could ride before selling the first. As we deserved for being so rash, both bikes stopped running. So we currently have two useless motorcycle's sitting in our garage sucking away precious monetary resources and not being sellable. As if that weren't enough of a strain on our finances, things got worse when David totalled our Focus, with no collision insurance. So, we ended up forking out for another vehicle.

This year we've been chasing down our dreams hard but it's been more of a nightmare than a dream in most regards. The good news is I think it has helped us re-evaluate our life, dreams, and goals in a more realistic light.

With all of the debt accrued we started thinking that maybe it was time for me to get back to work. This of course sparked discussion about what we're doing as far as Lorelei's care and education. We intended to homeschool her, and were pretty resistant to give up that dream. Especially since we are not keen on conventional schooling and the whole "teach to the test" public school mentality. Luckily I stumbled across Waldorf education, and I'm smitten with the ideals of whole child education they foster. It's exactly what I wanted to give her myself, only better because she'll be part of a community of other children, so I am very comforted in the fact that we can send her to one. As far as her care when I'm working and she's not at school, that has worked out well. My father is moving in with us to be her Nanny Papa. This should be an amazing opportunity for our whole family, as he starts the transition for my mother and youngest sister to move from Idaho to Washington too, and makes up for time lost since we moved away when she was just one.

All of the let downs aside, 2014 has been one of those years for growth. You can't do it without the pains right? There are some things that have gone right that should breath happiness and goodness into 2015.

Here are some of the little things that have kept 2014 from being totally glum.

  • Making friends and trying to carve out a little place for ourselves in our community.
  • Being forced to upgrade to a vehicle that we really love.
  • Seeing Ben Gibbard perform live (having an actual date)!
  • Getting my middle sister and her hubby to move from Cali to here.
  • Bringing Edie home!
  • Landing a fantastic job to start the new year with.
  • Making it through with everyone in one piece.
  • Learning some decent latte art skills.
  • New perspective and goals.
  • Delicious coffee always at our disposal.
With all of the excess and expenses we've taken a good hard look at what "things" in our life our necessary. We've been purging our belongings and old ideas that no longer fit. We're making more space for what matters, time spent with people we love, doing things that bring us health and vitality, forging new dreams that won't wreck us. Seeking out some zen. I can't say I will miss this year, but nonetheless I am grateful. Bring it on 2015.

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