Why I Spent a Week Working Outside in a Bitterly Cold Windstorm


I struggled to hold on to the paintbrush in my hand. My face hurt, my lips were chapped, my hands were numb. I had been outside for hours in freezing temperatures and consistent 30-40 mph winds. My goal was to get all the trim put up and finished around all the new windows on our house before the rains arrived for the winter…and before our impending move to Hawaii the first part of this next year. Each time a portion of the work was completed, there was something notably missing; pride. You see, some of these windows had been waiting for trim for over four years. Four summers had come and gone and the work remained.  Now, there were a number of times when it would get so cold and the wind would have so much bite, that my 8 and 9 year old little helpers would have to leave me to go inside to warm up. Then it would just be me, me and my old foe procrastination.

The road to procrastination is often paved with good intentions

Originally I had not purchased the expensive trim because I had run out of money at the end of my remodel and didn’t want to take on extra debt for some of the finish work. So I put off the work for the day I could afford it. Well, that day came long ago but the work never got done. I probably thought about it a hundred times and each time I would come up with a reason to put off for tomorrow what I knew I needed to be done today. Look, the sun is out, let’s go to the park!

Another contributor to many of my remodel projects being put off was the sheer number of them. Being the young, firebrand homeowner that I was at the time, I had started an enormous amount of projects on our house. What I soon realized is that every one of them takes much longer than you think they will. I soon started to get overwhelmed just thinking about all the work I still had to do and it would sort of paralyze me.

My attempted solution

I started identifying some of the reasons for my procrastination years ago. One that I saw was that I needed to learn how to manage all of my to-do items. Right about that time a friend of mine told me about a book by David Allen titled “Getting Things Done”. So I quickly purchased it and read the first chapter. At some point as I was reading about the system that he was teaching my eyes glazed over as I started thinking about all the different compartments for various tasks and how to handle each of them blah blah blah. Oh the sweet irony of not being able to finish a book called “Getting Things Done”.

Spurred to action

Nothing will awaken a slumbering procrastinator like impending consequences. With our move to Hawaii set for after the new year, I realized that I had to get the projects done before we leave. Unfortunately it also caused me to add even more projects to the list. When you are leaving your house and you might not see it for a few years you start thinking about things that don’t necessarily need to be done right now, but might while I’m gone.

Preparing to move

Having previously gone through the process of moving out to Hawaii, we are much better prepared this time around. For the most part, we are only taking smaller items. It’s not worth shipping out larger items like beds, furniture, cars that you don’t have loans on, larger tools and kitchen equipment etc. It still doesn’t make it easy though, as every single item needs to be processed. What’s going with us, what’s staying to be stored, what are we selling and what are we giving away.

I’ve personally found the process kind of refreshing and I’m looking forward to showing up in Hawaii with just our suitcases. Besides, Hawaii of all places in the world, is a place where mold and rust can destroy just about anything.


I am still buying/selling appliances, just less frequently right now as I work on house projects and prepare to move. A few days ago I had someone call about purchasing a dryer I had up on Craigslist and, determined to get my projects done that day, I talked the guy into bringing his dryer to me to be repaired instead of buying the one he had called about. That enabled me to work right up until he showed up, and then take a 20 minute break to make $60 on an easy dryer repair.

I’ve been continuing to teach my boys the appliance business. My 9 year old now knows how to diagnose and fix most dryer repairs. He also handles processing of all the wholesale appliance parts orders from the ApplianceSchool parts store.

Blogging and life

I’m sorry I haven’t been writing very often. When you build a blog around a particular subject, it’s easy to tell yourself that people only want to hear about that specific subject. Though many of you have written and told me over the years that you enjoy the posts about everyday life, it’s still easy to believe otherwise. You might be getting a bit more of just what life is like for a family of 7 that is packing up and moving thousands of miles away to an active volcano. (Yes, the one you might have seen recently on the news.)

So, life goes on. I’m continuing to grow and learn from my mistakes. The projects are getting done and we are getting closer to our move. Never stop learning, never stop growing. Pressing on.

Hope you all are doing well.



  1. I know you were in Pahoa last time in Hawaii…that seems a bit out of the question at the moment, where are you planning on landing this time around?

  2. I am one that likes to read about whatever you write about. I am thinking about packing up and moving to New Mexico next year or the year after, and I would be interested in hearing how you decide what to keep, store, give away, etc. as I will be in the same boat when I move. I would like to hear about items such as: Are you renting a storage space for the items you think you will need in the future?

    I personally don’t want to move things across the country (from WI to NM) and want to go as “bare bones” as possible.

    Also, will you still be blogging when you get to Hawaii?

    • Thanks for the encouragement Jules, I would love to write that post about what we are going to be doing with all our stuff for the big move.

      I will still be blogging and I imagine things will get much more interesting when we arrive there and start over!

  3. You’re a SUPER inspiration. You’ve achieved so much in terms of discipline and order and responsibili;ty. I see you’re continuing to grow and improve and it makes most of us look pretty bad. But it also says if you can improve, we can too. Thanks for your time, which could be spent outdoors painting the trim.

    Best wishes with your upcoming move! I know you’ll be a great inspiraton to those around you there, and it will be a wonderful experience for your family as well.

  4. I started and never finished the same book so instead I finished the project that needed to be done glad to see i’m not the only one that does that. the used washers and dryers on cs are drying up a little with fall coming to a end but i also see prices going up on good used stuff. I pray you finish all projects before the big move .

  5. Ryan,

    I am also a big procrastinator of various things, so it’s good to hear your take on it, and how you improve. There is always room to grow, and I continue to learn from my mistakes as well. It’s always good to hear what’s going on with you, whether business-related or otherwise. I can only imagine how busy you must be getting with the upcoming move… I continue to be impressed with how well you handle everything, considering you have a family of 7, a business to manage, and multiple time-sensitive projects. Along with all the other readers of your blog, it inspires me to stay on top of my game. Knowing your willingness to succeed, everything will pan out soon. Keep at it!

    I’ll be awaiting Hawaii updates 🙂

    • Thanks Aleks, really appreciate that. It can be a lot, but my wife is an incredible help, as are our kids. I will probably write a post about the work our kids are already doing at some point. They really help out a lot.


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