How My House Ruined My Hunting Season

How My House Ruined My Hunting Season

You've heard the classic joke. It's as old as atom. #punintended

What did the neutron say to the proton?

Stay positive! 

I know, bad pun. But, I have to say that those neutron's give pretty good advice. 

I haven't updated my blog as much as I intended to recently, and for that I am sorry. There's so much I want to write and time seems to slip away. I said I'd stay positive, so here goes a bit of an explanation of my blogging absence as well as a great lesson about the power of positive thinking.

How My House Ruined My Hunting Season

The first Saturday of bowhunting season back in September, I was in the woods tramping around with a friend who is an experienced bowhunter. He's serious about it. Like, get-a-buck-on-opening-day-first-thing serious. Luckily for me, he's also super excited to share his knowledge so we were out scouting for deer sign when I got a series of texts from my husband. I snapped a selfie before the disaster truly struck. Enjoy that for a moment with me. I was so happy, so innocent, so ... unoccupied with a fixer upper.

The texts started with, "we need to take a look at the walls, there's sawdust coming out." And it escalated to "we might need to address this soon." I texted back "I trust you to make executive decisions here," mostly to stop the text notifications (#truth)... and also to show that I care about our house (#alsotrue #huntingonthebrain). Well one thing led to another, and when I got home I had no interior walls or insulation on the front of the first floor of my house. 

Um, what? 

Turns out we had a triple whammy of structural problems. The sawdust was from carpenter ant damage and we later discovered those ants were still actively munching on our house. Those carpenter ants were attracted to wet wood, and the wood underneath our vinyl siding was wet in a whole lot of places. We had rot all along where the deck attached to the house. And BONUS! Long before we lived here, there was a second story deck that had the same problem. Somewhere along the way someone tried to repair the damage. Great, right? Wrong. That person never addressed the water drainage issue and it looks like they didn't actually repair, and instead just replaced. The second story of our house needed to be better supported, and the water damage needed to be repaired.

The Bad News

This bad news killed my hunting season and my blog for the month of October.

This bad news also showed me how powerful positive thinking can be. My husband Josh is a smart guy and all-around Mr. Fixit. He makes furniture and some other stuff out of wood for a living. His resume includes jobs in electrical contracting, tire sales, tutoring, and home renovation. Turns out all of his past experiences have paid off in some way on this project. 

The Good News

The good news is that our house is almost completely sealed up for the winter. After seeing the front yard from the back of my house (through the gap where a wall used to be!) it is very refreshing to look at it even in the state it is in now, with sheathing across the whole front. Windows and doors are on order, and we'll be adding a porch and some other design elements to really make it better than it was.

Lessons Learned

I am taking away several great lessons from this experience.

  • God provides. Have faith, pray, and be positive.
  • A positive attitude helps large tasks seem doable, turns drudgery into opportunity, and finds friendship in hard work done together. My husband has felt from the beginning of this project that he can make our house better than it was before, not just "good enough." That positivity is powerful!
  • Discipline is effective. Being disciplined about waking up, sticking to a routine, and purposefully starting the day with a smile (even when you have to force it) can give the right perspective to accomplish mighty things. 
    • The shooting sports are an excellent way to teach discipline!
  • A roof over my head is not to be taken for granted. Nor are the people who take the time to build things right (like my helpful husband)!

The chaos of living in a construction project was pointed out to us this weekend when the cable company sent a contractor to move the cable line. Josh went out to check in with the guy and talk him through what needed to be done. He was amazed and said, "And you guys are living here?" Ha! Yup. These are the cards we were dealt. We could throw up our hands and say we won't win. Or, we can take the long view and keep playing, knowing we have the skills and determination to get through it. So that's what we will do! 

So What's This Got To Do With The Shooting Sports?

Nothing. And lots of things.

My house project is keeping me from shooting. But, in a way, it's going to get me back into it. My husband's positivity and determination to see this through and make it even better are inspiring! I know that if I apply the discipline I've learned over the years, I will be able to compete again in air rifle. Putting first things first, I need to lose some weight. When I started trying to lose weight in March I was successful - I lost about five pounds that stayed off over the summer. But that hardly put a dent in what I need to lose to fit into my shooting suit. 

The only thing worse than failing is quitting. So I started a health plan and have made some serious progress! I thought it would be overwhelming to add this to the mix of everything. But as it turns out, having a purpose with each morning, each meal, is helping me get through this project and get really excited to get into shooting shape again. I will be sharing some shorter, quicker updates about my #aimforfit journey, along with more typical "how to" content related to target shooting, archery, and hunting.

Making progress toward my goal!

Making progress toward my goal!

Thanks to some great outreach, I'll still get a chance to hunt this fall. A wonderfully generous QDMA volunteer has offered to guide me on a hunt near Littleton, NH on opening weekend of rifle season. I'm glad to learn what I can from this very experienced whitetail hunter! And, I will be helping out with some firearms training at Pinnacle Tackle in Newport, NH. If you're local, keep an eye on Pinnacle's website for training opportunities! 

So between my job, my house, grad school, my health journey, hunting, and target shooting, I've got my hands full. But I wouldn't have it any other way. 

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