January 30, 2006

Busyness As Usual

Hot on the heels of getting married, slogging through some difficult family passings, and my first year of self-employment, I find myself inadvertently taking on more and more duties. SXSW is looming (as is the rest of the work for the two panels I’m on), I have plenty of client work to keep me more than occupied, and I just set about a more focused publishing schedule (backed up by another TBA side-project). As I step back and look at the technicolor blob that my iCal has become, I’m scratching my head and wondering how I ended up here.

Added to all of this, Liz and I will officially be homeowners in just over two weeks. The original plan was to “casually” look around at houses and likely move later in the fall. Before I knew it we were looking at multiple houses every week, and talk drifted from “what a nice house” to “let’s make an offer!” in no time flat. Such is the danger of having a restless wife (and it’s still damn weird to say that).

Buying a house, especially your first, is an odd new mile-marker in one’s life. You find yourself wandering through unoccupied houses, some of whose owners have clearly just died, and trying to mentally place all of your belongings there. Some of the same things went through my mind when finding apartments in the past, though something about the idea of purchasing a large structure and land makes the prospect a tad humbling. The process of house shopping starts so calmly, but once you decide to make an offer time moves into high-speed and all of a sudden there is a 6 inch stack of papers in front of you waiting to be signed.

Needless to say, I’m excited as hell. Even though sleep has become a prized commodity and I’ve been working around the clock, I can’t help but love it. The new year has brought some big changes with it, and some rather large challenges as well. I know as soon as we move, I will instantly have many new house-fixing projects. That’s alright, I think I seek out work and opportunity, because I may really fear wasting away. I just have to keep reminding myself that I work much better under pressure.

Commentary (20):

1. steve says… jan 30, 2006 | 11:27 am

Ha, you think you’re busy now, wait until said restless wife develops here iCal Honey-Do list!
Welcome to the world of home-owner hell! A true double edged sword.

2. Aaron Gustafson says… jan 30, 2006 | 11:37 am

Congrats on the house… it’s a big step. Home ownership is a great joy (I hated renting… always felt like I was throwing money away), but it is also a full-time job in itself. It’s really tough balancing client work, a marriage and a house, but, as you mentioned, it’s definitely worth it. Best of luck & let us know when the house warming party is ;-)

3. Michael Hessling says… jan 30, 2006 | 12:16 pm

Add a baby to that stew, and you’ll really see how you work under pressure.

4. june says… jan 30, 2006 | 12:25 pm

Congratulations on the house!

I have a tendency to do things out of order … so Aaron and I ended up buying a house before getting married (which will happen this may).

For me, the hunt was practically a full-time job and a little bit of an emotional roller coaster…but we ended up getting a brand new house for less than its appraisal.…so the sweat and tears were well worth it.

I’m pretty into gardening, so just knowing I’ll be able to enjoy the things I plant for years to come makes home ownership worth it to me.

Oh, you’ll also probably end up spending more time in Lowes than you ever imagined possible.

5. Nick S says… jan 30, 2006 | 12:54 pm

Congrats Jason.
Buying a home for the first time is exciting. (moving, not so exciting…)

Before you know it, you’ll have filled up all the space you thought you’d never fill - especially one day when little jasons come along.

‘06 seems to be off to a pretty good start. cheers all.

6. Buno says… jan 30, 2006 | 1:54 pm

Wow, it’s funny, I know exactly what you are talking about, also freelancing, just got married, and bought a house in south florida.

I am not sure where you are buying yours but down here the prices skyrocketed in the past year and a small houses in decent neigborhood starts at 250K… I know, paintful.

For sure, buying a house is gratifying.

Good luck Jason.

7. Jonathan says… jan 30, 2006 | 2:15 pm

Such is life I suppose. Come Spring, my wife and I will be looking for a house and I imagine that it’ll be much the same experience as you’ve had. We’ll probably start out with the intentions of looking casually and be making offers in no time.

Congrats on your new house!

8. Nathan Smith says… jan 30, 2006 | 4:15 pm

Congrats on the house. It does initially feel weird saying “my wife,” but it’ll wear off after awhile. I still twirl my wedding ring though, which I’m told is a sign of being a newly married man.

9. Jonathan says… jan 30, 2006 | 4:40 pm

I have to admit… I do the same thing as Nathan

I still twirl my wedding ring though, which I’m told is a sign of being a newly married man.

10. wayne says… jan 30, 2006 | 4:57 pm

i twirled my ring for seven years…and now i’m getting divorced. i’m not saying there’s a correlation or anything.

11. Greg says… jan 30, 2006 | 10:08 pm

I still twirl my wedding ring though, which I’m told is a sign of being a newly married man.

Nah, I still do it after ten solid years of marriage. I keep hoping that one day I’ll turn invisible and fight off Ring Wraiths.

12. Jason Santa Maria says… jan 30, 2006 | 10:26 pm

Yup, I do the twirl too… part of that is me being terrified that I will lose it or forget it somewhere :D

13. cat says… jan 31, 2006 | 12:44 am


Congratulations on your first year on your own, your new wife which means you are no longer alone, and your upcoming new house where you can share not being alone together.

Being your own boss, a new wife, a new house - every bit on their own would mean more work. With that in mind I wish you and your lovely wife heaps of luck as you juggle here and there to keep your schedule sane.

But you can always twiddle that ring in times of stress …

I no longer twiddle my rings, but if it’s not there my thumb is forever reaching for where it was. So I guess you could say I have a reversed twiddling habit.

Take care, it’s comforting to read that you are doing so well.


14. Michael McCorry says… jan 31, 2006 | 1:34 am

While we’re on playing with wedding rings, a word of warning. Be especially careful if when drying your hands with paper towel after visiting the ‘mens’. When drying my fingers one time I inadvertantly pulled the ring off and discarded it with the paper towel. I spent the next 5 minutes sifting through a nightclub men’s room trashcan, and getting uncomfortably close to the floor. In the end, a drunken reveler found the ring on the floor for me. I bought him a drink to say thanks, and a bouncer threw us both out, because apparently, the bar staff was told not to serve him any more drinks, and he thought I was his buddy. Been paranoid about it ever since.

15. bearskinrug says… jan 31, 2006 | 5:43 am

The great thing is, once you’ve got that “House” goal out of the way, you can move on to that “Monster Truck” goal you were always talking about.

16. Jeff L says… jan 31, 2006 | 7:33 am

Hey, congratulations. It’s a great step, my fiance and I just purchased our first place together this past fall, and are getting married this spring. Now we are starting to plan all the things we need to do to make this place ‘ours.’ Free time? What’s that?

17. Paul V says… jan 31, 2006 | 12:55 pm



However, a word from one who knows is in order. The next step in your restless wife’s plans is a little Santa Maria, of this you know, I am sure.

But before you start those long nights of even less sleep, you will fall prey to the endless renovating and remodeling which accompanies said restless wife’s nesting instincts. Be prepared to spend even more dollars in your search of the perfect abode.

Those remodeling and house chores will erode the endless time you now spend tinkering with and standardizing the web. And we shall miss you, Jason…

Abandon hope, all ye who enter…and have a great time!

18. Jason Santa Maria says… jan 31, 2006 | 3:12 pm
Those remodeling and house chores will erode the endless time you now spend tinkering with and standardizing the web. And we shall miss you, Jason…

I think spend more time breaking things on the web!

19. Drew says… feb 8, 2006 | 2:45 am

Dear Mr. Santa Maria,

How can I say this? When you get married and get a house, your life is over.

I’ve found however, a certain level of satisfaction that isn’t possible when you’re renting. With a house of your own, its “this is mine for the improving”. Where before it was just, “I’m paying to live under somebody else’s roof, and nothing I do here is of any real consequence.”

It’s like moving away from a blogger template and building a layout of your own that has your individual stamp on it.

I’ve found that life gets more real when you have more tangible interest in the things around you; ownership, if you will. A wife to look after, (or maybe women look after us, i dunno) a house that used to leak but now it doesn’t, not because you had to call your landlord, but because you had to climb your ass up on the roof to fix it your own damn self and now you are dry, and can watch the superbowl in peace without the lady griping.

On second thought, your life is over. Oh and, beer. Beer helps.

20. Andy Budd says… feb 26, 2006 | 7:30 pm

Me and Mel just had an offer accepted on a house last week, so we’ve got all that to look forward to.