Yesterday, I spent the day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity assisting them with building a home in Waukesha. Since Brittany got a new job (you go girl), I’ve been overseeing the Employee Engagement Team at work. One thing that I really wanted to focus more on was community involvement. Long story short, we now have an Employee Volunteer Policy that allows employees at Corporate to get paid for up to 8 hours of volunteer time.
Surprisingly, the days that we had ‘reserved’ didn’t fill up completely. In total, we have 23/30 spots filled which I think is still acceptable for it being our first time working with Habitat. A lot of thoughts went through my head as I was working on projects yesterday. One of them being that I don’t know why people wouldn’t want to utilize that paid volunteer time. If you’re willing to take a PTO day for yourself, why not take one to help others? (Yes, I know building a house isn’t up everyone’s alley, I get that). We’re going to have more opportunities for volunteers later in the year so hopefully we have more people who take advantage of the program to give back.
I was the only girl who volunteered with a total of 8 men yesterday. I’ll be quite honest, I was a little frustrated at first. I kept getting assigned projects like “sweep the basement” or “measure these and mark them” — aka things that they thought a woman should be doing. I wasn’t offended by it, don’t get me wrong, I just wanted to use some power tools! There was one point one of the volunteers needed help moving a big piece of wood board, so I offered, and he was like “are you sure?” and then when we moved it was like “are you ok?” and I wanted SO BAD to be like… bro, I lifted heavier weights than this this morning; but I didn’t. You should’ve seen the look on their faces when I finally just grabbed the power drill and started using it. #mindblown
As I was putting together a bunch of door hangers by myself, it allowed for a lot of thinking:
Owning a home is hard.
I am single (clearly) and from experience I can tell you that it is absolutely more difficult to own a home as a single person versus having a partner. There is no one around to help you 100% of the time. All the cleaning falls on you. All the maintenance falls on you. All the yard work, updates, bills… it falls on you. It’s stressful as fuck. I couldn’t even tell you how many times over the past two months that I’ve sat (usually on my kitchen floor) and just cried from being overwhelmed. Nothing ever goes right. Nothing ever gets done in the time-frame you expect it to. There’s always shit getting added to the to-do list. Budgeting is a real thing. Service calls are real. Yardwork isn’t something you do once a month, its every week. For a single person, its a lot to handle.
Today, for example, I finally had time and motivation to mow the lawn. Got it all ready, filled the gas tank so I wouldn’t run out. Picked up dog poop. Moved things out of the way… and the GD mower won’t start. I tried for 10 minutes. And then I cried for 10 minutes. And now I’m on the couch eating ice cream because f*ck being a homeowner.
However, yesterday made me realize how much I’ve learned over the past two months. I learned how to mow the lawn, what a weedwacker is, how to re-fill one. I learned how to use a power drill for 1000 different things. I learned how to change a door handle (which I hate doing, by the way). I’ve learned how to plant vegetables (TBD on whether or not that’s successful). I’ve learned SO MANY things that I didn’t know before.
Is that worth owning a home? Unsure. Like I said, I’m sitting on my couch eating ice cream because I couldn’t mow the damn lawn. Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind with how much I cry from stress. My dog now knows when I’m upset and offers to “give me her paw” to make me feel better. Weightloss is no longer a thing for me because I stress eat like a MF.
The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I’m doing this all on my own. My parents did not give me money for a down payment (although I would have gladly taken it) and they don’t give me any money towards rent or bills. I own this house and everything in it. I bought this house. This is MY house. And that feels good. Most days are not easy, but I try to be hopeful that things will get easier as time goes on. Hopefully someday soon I won’t require ice cream to be stocked in my freezer, or to have at least 5 bottles of wine on-hand. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, go volunteer. Whether its cleaning up a highway, doing something with kids, building a house.. whatever. Spending your time helping others will make you a better person, I guarantee that.