A Year of Building, A Year of Growing, A year of Love.


The year of building started a year ago today when my wife and I took ownership of our 2nd house. A 100 year old “fixer.” A house with “Character.” I knew from the little bit of home improvement stuff I had done on our first house that this project would consume me for the better part of 2010, and it did. The first five months were a sprint to dissemble and reassemble just about every piece of this termite eaten, water damaged, house of filth. You learn a lot about your house when you take it apart. You learn a lot about yourself too. You discover your strengths and your limits and you find a drive in yourself that you never knew you had. You realize what your body is capable of. You realize that you could work 12 hour days by yourself in a cold shell of a house because you know in your mind where the finish line is and what needs to be done to get there. There’s no better way to get to know yourself then working on an old house. There’s also no better way to get to know your Dad, than to have him by your side while you do this. While I learned a lot about myself during this project on the days I spent working alone, I learned more on the days when my dad was their with me. He made countless journey’s up and down the Jersey turnpike to spend a few days every week swinging a hammer with me in the cold filthy mess that I had gotten myself into. He taught me a lot about construction and demolition, but I learned more about being a dad. He never once complained and rarely expressed any frustration in a place where most would run away crying. He came to the project with the experience and expertise he had acquired from years of taking his own antique houses apart. He brought with him a calm that made every overwhelming part of this process feel manageable. He also brought with him my mom. She would join us for the long days and stay busy pulling nails from miles of trim, scraping, painting, sweeping, filling trash cans, whatever she could do to help. Being a new dad, I became very aware of how much kids need these stable forces in there life. It made me realize how much I am being observed. There were many many helping hands throughout the process and I’m forever grateful for all the friends and family who pitched in. It was everyone’s efforts that allowed us to meet the 5 month goal, but the most underrated position by far goes to our project manager, My wife Sarah. While I was off playing “Handy Manny” in my new “workshop”, she was the one ordering materials and appliances, ordering fixtures, returning wrong parts, hiring contractors, making them show up, ordering dumpsters, bringing lunch for the troops, balancing the budget, and packing our first house for the move, all while working her day job, caring for our 2 year old and carrying our second child. How’s that for a healthy dose of stress.
The year of growing started on August 6, 2010. Welcome Tessa Bean O’Leary. I guess the growing started about 9 months previous, but our family grew again on August 6th. She’s a very welcome addition and has brought with her a calm that we like to see in infants. She’s happy to sit back and watch everything that’s happening around her. Nonetheless infants still require time, and paired with a now 3 year old, spare time is now a hot commodity that rarely finds its way to our neck of the woods. I always imagined that 2 kids would be busier than 1, but wow.

At the end of the day and the end of a busy year I feel lucky. This year was busy for all the right reasons. A new home, a new second healthy kid, lots of time with my family and a wife I love.

The point of all this rambling is that 2010 was a very busy and hard year. I know we’re all busy and there’s nothing I hate more than bloggers apologizing that they haven’t posted in a while. by the way, sorry I haven’t posted in a while. During the busy times one of the first things for me to cut is my personal work and of course the blog posts go to the wayside. I knew going into 2010 that this would be the case so it was easy to let go for the year, but the year is just about over. I’m excited for all the projects that are already piling up on the front end of 2011 and for all of the personal work I have stored up in my head that will hopefully somehow find it’s way to a digital sensor this year. So long 2010. You were a long hard year, but I’m better for it. Happy 0-11′ -more to come.


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