Small Steps Toward Energy Efficiency (and Away from Moving Anxiety)
This is my beloved friend Eric's response: "Yet. You do not know how to do this yet. You are the alpha and the omega."
What he means is there is no right or wrong way to do this move. Yet, for me, there has been. I've been hesitant to do anything that might reveal I am an amateur or in any way mar my 84-year-old house. Paint a wall? Better leave that to the experts. Hang a painting on plaster and lathe walls? Seriously? I just learned what plaster and lathe are—how am I possibly equipped to drill into the wall? What are all those different drill bits for? And why is every color in my house some variance of red or brown?
For some strange reason, I feel like I should know how to drill, hammer and select perfect colors—and I feel mighty ashamed that I don't. Fortunately, I have Eric in my life to cut that refrain and remind me learning is incremental and I am progressing just fine. However, there is reason for my anxiety. Moving is one of the top 10 stressors in our lives, apparently ranking third after death and divorce. Add that to the host of emotions that accompany the postholiday letdown, and you have the perfect storm of anxiety.
Yesterday, Eric accompanied me/made me go to my town's giant home improvement store to get the supplies that were just beyond the scope of my family-owned, local hardware shop Cottin's. I try to frequent locally owned, independent businesses because buying localis a key part of being a responsible consumer. It keeps money in our local economies and supports our friends and neighbors. The prices are sometimes (not always) a little higher because a small business doesn't have the aggregate purchasing power of a big box store (that's buying items for hundreds or thousands of retail outlets), but that small investment goes well beyond the few extra cents we might pay for a bolt or screw.
Okay, back to the big box excursion. We entered the store somewhere in the lumber section. I felt overwhelmed by the dizzying number of planks, fixtures and gadgets I had no comprehension of and desperately wanted to leave. But, of course, Eric was doing all this incredible work to help me so I had to at least pretend I was into it. He looked for fasteners for the plaster and lathe and some of the energy-efficiency products on my to-buy list while I veered off and did the same. Somewhere during hour two of our big box field trip, I started to settle in and—dare I say—get excited about what I was doing. I picked up items I knew I would eventually need (ahem, snow shovel) and almost kind of started to believe I could pull this whole homeowner thing off.
A recent acquaintance, Charlotte, described this uncomfortable transition into a new home as the "getting to know you" phase, analogous to what happens when starting a new job or meeting a new community of people. It takes a while to settle in. So while I am settling, I have decided to slow down a bit and scale back to micro-movements.
The 5 things you can do to make your home energy efficient