(I’m marking this whole…

(I'm marking this whole post Problems of Privileged People, aka That Cake is Too Big To Fit in Your Stomach, or You Got Yourself Into This Mess, Sweetheart. Just so we're clear.)

Pam gave us final numbers for the project yesterday, and it's not pretty. A lot of extras came in along the way, and while a couple are things we chose to add (pergola: $2500; second coat stain on trims, color adjustment: $850), most weren't. Just problems that became evident during construction that then had to be addressed. For example:

  • Sister joists in family room ceiling required by inspector: $500
  • Repair / rebuild wall between guest and library: $375
  • Porch repair, rebuild rails and posts, structural: $3290
  • Glass repair in old windows: $275
  • Additional insulation cost due to walls being taken down: $2450
  • Additional drywall cost and patching cost, see above: $4300
  • Install new window in turret: $125
  • Siding repairs: $1400
That's not everything, but it gives you a sense of where the extra costs came from. There's around $16,000 in extras from December - March. There were similarly more in the chunk before that. We authorized all of these -- I don't think we had much choice. But it definitely hurts the overall budget.

Even if we leave various parts completely undone (like the back yard soil, back yard path, and fencing), we still need to get an extra chunk of money from somewhere. And while we can certainly go take out a loan, we're going to need to cut way back on regular monthly expenses in order to be able to afford to pay it back. So I'm looking around for ways to earn extra money (anyone got some work-for-hire writing they need done? some extra teaching?), and we're trimming the budget. Sigh.

We knew this was coming, but it's still no fun. And it does entail complicated choices. For example, do we take the kids out of childcare for the summer, saving $6000? If we do, then how likely is it that either of us will get any work done? I'm teaching a class as it is, which means Kev would need to watch the kids for half of MWF when I'm on campus; Kevin's off from teaching, but if he doesn't do productive research this summer, he's in danger of losing his NSF grant, which would be a much bigger hit to our budget. And of course the kids will likely go a little bit out of their minds if they're stuck with just us all summer and don't get to play with their school friends. Especially if they can't go in the back yard because it's an unfenced pile of dirt. And when I'm watching the kids, the house gets pretty clean, but I don't write books -- and I still think writing books is likely the best way out of this hole. If anyone ever buys one of mine again.

It's unclear what the best decision is on summer childcare. We'll probably do some sort of compromise -- three days a week, or some such. I don't know.

Would you rather try to earn more money, or cut back on your budget? Normally, I would totally say earn more, but in this economy, I'm not sure how feasible that really is.

Off to go draft some calls for writing classes I can teach this summer. If I taught an online writing class, in addition to some local ones, any suggestions on which one would be most likely to fill? Beginning fiction, intermediate fiction, writing erotica, writing your identity, something else? Is there something you would like to learn from me, for about $60 for a three-week online class, $100 for the six-week version?

5 thoughts on “(I’m marking this whole…”

  1. Don’t know if this applies to where you live, but if you were in Toronto you (as a writer) could certainly make some $$ by consulting with artists (especially dance artists on grant applications.)

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Nova, I’m not even sure what that means, consulting with artists. I’m not sure it’s something we do here. 🙂

  3. Condolances on the extra costs. But few projects finish without them. That’s why a 15-20% contingency fund beyond the budgeted cost is recommended for remodelling work . As individual items some of them should have been foreseen, others were uncovered conditions. Almost all were first cost items and not revising what already was built. You should be proud that you created jobs, especially in the winter for the construction workers. :^)

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