NMC108 House Overhaul Preps

Daphine Mbithuka

Subject: A house overhaul project turns into a journey of new discoveries!

Have you ever been committed to something to an extent where you feel like other options wouldn’t work out for you – even before trying it out? If you’ve been following Rosa Linda Román for some time, you definitely know about her love for travel adventures. Spoiler alert, turns out Rosa Linda can fall in love with the idea of living remotely. Shocking, right?

In this week’s episode of New Mexi-Castaways, Rosa Linda shares her experience of how she got to fall in love with the idea of settling in their house in New Mexico, which happens to be in a remote area as she prepares the house for an overhaul. If you think you are completely sold on an idea and can never change your mind about it, listen to Rosa Linda’s experience first then evaluate after that. We hope that you enjoy the episode.

P.S. New Mexi-Castaways podcast shares Rosa Linda Román’s liveaboard journey, but this is just one family’s story. If you are also an “Untethered Adventurer,” come join the Untethered Adventurers Club where you’ll find the tech and community support you need to create digital content and share your story, even while losing sight of the shore. Go to UntetheredAdventurers.club to learn more.

Also, If you liked this episode check out our most recent episode:

NMC093 Ahava Needs Surgery

Episode Recorded: May 04, 2019

Location: New Mexico

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Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] Rosa Linda Román: Hello and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román. And I am starting this episode the same way I ended the last one looking at the stars, although there are a lot fewer right now because it's not quite fully dark out. I can still see kind of the city lights over the other side of the mountain. And the stars are beautiful and it's a gorgeous night here in New Mexico. [00:00:54] Rosa Linda Román: Let me introduce myself. I'm Rosa Linda Román. I go by Rosa Linda, and I am talking to you from our home in New Mexico where actually I was just about to go in, but I think I just heard coyotes. Let's see if we can hear them. No, those are dogs. I don't know if you can pick that up on the recording, but I can hear some dogs barking. But we are up in the forest. Our home is the home that we left three years ago, almost exactly three years this month when we moved onto a sailing catamaran, the Dawn Treader. When we left here we did this process called KonMari and it's a way that you downsize your belongings and you sort through and decide what sparks joy, what doesn't spark joy, and you get rid of anything that doesn't spark joy. And that's how we downsized and moved down to the boat. That's at least part of how we downsized. [00:01:43] Rosa Linda Román: The other part of how we downsized is we didn't, and that is that we rented this house furnished to a friend. And so now that friend, he's, actually, a pretty world famous drummer for, now I can say it because he's no longer living here. He is the drummer for a band called Symphony X. His name's Jason Rullo. If you go to New Mexicast on YouTube, which is New Mexicast TV, you can see an interview I did with him about some of his various adventures and ventures. But anyway, he lived here for the past three years with his kids, and we just left our furniture and so many belongings here. [00:02:24] Rosa Linda Román: Originally, the plan when we were moving onto the boat was to put it into like vacation rental situation, like a HomeAway or VRBO, so, as I was preparing to move onto the boat, I was looking at this house as leaving things that renters, you know, short-term renters would want. It turned out that since we rented to him long-term, I think in hindsight, I would've definitely not left all my junk everywhere because you know, like the toys, his kids didn't need them. A lot of the toys were like for Samuel's age at the time, and his kids were older than that, and the books and stuff that took up space during that time. So, I appreciated that they took such good care of our stuff and enjoyed the space while we were gone. [00:03:08] Rosa Linda Román: But now that... the reason he moved out is he's going on tour and you can just do a Google search for Symphony and you'll find Jason Rullo. Apparently, he's extremely well known and famous for being an amazing drummer. So, we got the good fortune of having him as a friend and having him rent our house. [00:03:28] Rosa Linda Román: So, he actually had had a drum... his drum set was set up in the garage, which used to be Nathan's man cave, my husband's man cave, and became Jason's. And it was really funny because my husband is a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and the whole man cave is all Green Bay Packers stuff. [00:03:45] Rosa Linda Román: Well, Jason is a Steelers fan, Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and so he converted the house a little bit and it reminds me of when we moved on to our first boat. We rented to a lovely family from Alabama and when we came to visit the house, I walked in and almost had a heart attack when I saw the entire house was decked out in Alabama Roll Tide instead of my beloved Florida Gators. So, that's kind of funny. [00:04:12] Rosa Linda Román: But anyway, so I came here, if you didn't listen to the last episode, I came here to just kind of do some prep work, assess the house a little bit, and do some prep work because over time we built this house when our now 14-year-old daughter was one. And over that time, the house has settled significantly. There's a huge crack across several walls, in particular in the dining room, there's a big crack. And so, we have some crews that are going to come in and shore up foundation and I don't know what they do, you know, wave a magic wand and do something to fix that. [00:04:46] Rosa Linda Román: And so, we actually, at the same time, we're going to overhaul the house, do a lot of work, and do some additions. And also, the road is pretty treacherous coming up here in the winter that is, or in the mud when it's raining. So, we're actually, oh, you can hear the smoke detector in the background. It's chirping and chirping this whole, I've been here three days and it just never stops because it's on this very, very high ceiling. I think Nathan told me it was like 30 feet, maybe high, and the smoke detector is at the very tippy, tippy top, and we cannot reach it. So, that's something that we'll have to have the work crews fix. [00:05:23] Rosa Linda Román: But one of the things we want to do is put a balcony on the outside so we can enjoy the view more. We want to overhaul the backyard. Oh, there went that chirp. I'm going to step into the other room. I just wanted to record a little because it's been an interesting time for me. I came here, basically, just to kind of clear things out of the house or at least out of the main areas that they're going to be working so that they can get to work while like, my kids still have another month of school. [00:05:49] Rosa Linda Román: Sorry, I'm closing blinds now, which is funny because we never had blinds up here. But right before we moved, we installed these nice blinds, so we have never used them ourselves. So, hopefully, Jason enjoyed those. Anyway, I came up here just to kind of move some of the furniture out of the way so that they could get to work. Well, our dining room table is this huge, massive thing and it took five, you know, strong guys to move it out of the dining room and into the pod. [00:06:19] Rosa Linda Román: But they did, and we moved several other big pieces of furniture out. And then the rest of it is little by little, I've been, you know, moving some of the. More important things that I care about out of here into the pod so it'll be out of the way so they can get to work. [00:06:34] Rosa Linda Román: Now, first of all, you can hear the change of sound. That's because I just came into my little nook. I have this really cool little nook in the back of my closet. It was just like a, the way that it's designed, it kind of comes around the corner in the closet. It just was a little extra space. And when my daughters, well, actually any of my kids were little, I used to have a pack and play crib back here and a chair so that, you know, this is where I would be able to be close to them, and nurse them, and then put them to bed, basically, in our room, but not in our room, so that we could, you know, have a monitor and be right around the corner. [00:07:10] Rosa Linda Román: Anyway, my kids have outgrown that by a lot. And over the years I realized I like this little... it's kind of just this little tiny nook. It's not very big. And so I think it was Mother's Day once my family got me a chase lounge that replaced the pack and play, and it's got a light, and it's got candles, and it's just a really wonderful little space. [00:07:31] Rosa Linda Román: As I came here, I honestly was not really expecting to like being here. If you guys go back through the archives, you know, it was my dream to move onto the boat. I didn't want to sell the boat. I wasn't in favor of it, and I still, you know, part of me wanted to get back to that, or at least traveling as a family. [00:07:51] Rosa Linda Román: And then I've enjoyed Round Rock, Texas, which is where we have been living currently. And our family has really been struggling to decide where we want to be, whether we want to stay in Texas, or if we want to move back here to this house. The timing worked out that our landlady is not going to renew us after the lease 'because she's moving back into the house that we've been renting. [00:08:12] Rosa Linda Román: So, it forced us to make some decisions and then add to that, the fact that Jason moved out, it seemed like the right time to really consider if we wanted to move back to New Mexico. So, we had lots of family meetings about this, but honestly I was one of the ones the most strongly against coming back. There's a lot of things available in the Austin area, and when we did a list of pros for New Mexico and pros for the Texas situation, Texas was basically the thing it has going for it, or at least where we're living, is it's like the land of plenty. Anything you want, it's ease of access, and pretty much whatever you could want available to you, world-class entertainment, sports, world class education. Like, anything you could really want would be there within like 15, 20 minutes of our house. [00:09:01] Rosa Linda Román: So, that was the argument for staying in Texas. But the argument for coming back to New Mexico is, you know, you have open space, and less people, and you know, there's natural beauty. And a big thing that kept coming up is the sense that you learn more potentially, that the kids would learn a little bit more to appreciate self-sufficiency and figuring out how to handle things themselves. [00:09:27] Rosa Linda Román: And the example I use is in Texas, my kids, you know, I could teach them to build a fire in the fireplace. Here Nathan could teach them to cut down a tree and stack it, and stack the wood, and build the fire, and flip the logs and all of that. So, it's a very different experience. And honestly, I wasn't sure that I wanted to come back, but then I came back by myself because Nathan, he had just had knee surgery a week and a half earlier. This was the only window that I had between when we knew that Jason was moving out and when the kids, the end of the school year. And Nathan really wanted them to be able to start the work because it takes a while to do construction. So, sooner they start, the sooner we might get it done. [00:10:14] Rosa Linda Román: And so I just decided to drive here from Austin, and I came here by myself and it was weird. I didn't even bring my dog. Usually, Nala or other dogs we've had, I've always had a dog with me or kids or someone at the house, right? So, this was my first time spending the night at the house by myself, certainly, in three years but even longer than that, I usually always had someone with me. [00:10:38] Rosa Linda Román: So, I try to really be present and let myself process everything in silence. I did have, you know, sorry, I'm going to make some noise because I'm going to, since I'm in my nook, I might as well light my candles. And by the way, the candle holders that I have are all pretty special to me. Some are candles that my kids gave me, some came from my late mother-in-law and Brown Goldfein who gave me these really cool sculpted metal ones, or I don't even know how to describe it, but when they get hot, they just like have this beautiful flickering dancing light. [00:11:13] Rosa Linda Román: And then some of the candles, the ones I'm lighting right now come from a movie set that I directed a movie called Cookies for Cali, and these candles came from the candle holders were part of the opening scene of that movie, and so I kept them as a souvenir. [00:11:30] Rosa Linda Román: So yeah, every single candle here is significant to me and that was part of why, well, let me back up. So, one other thing that's there is a weeping Buddha, I think it's called, and it's this really cool sculpture that I've been told that it has to do with like, when a wood carver learns that their craft, one of the tests to see like if they have mastered their craft is to create this weeping Buddha. And it's like, I believe it's all from one piece of wood and it's just beautiful. So, I'll have to take a picture. If you guys want to have access to like all the pictures and stuff that I talk about on these podcasts, just go to newmexicast.com/crew and learn more about how I share those in a private group. [00:12:16] Rosa Linda Román: Anyway, so this morning being in this space by myself has been very interesting, especially 'because it doesn't quite feel like my space. And it's just that somebody else has been living here for three years and so, you know, my stuff is here, but it's not like, didn't feel like my space and honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to like it here anymore because part of me wants to still go on grand adventures, but we're getting to a point where the conversations more and more were gravitating toward the fact that like Ahava is about to start high school next year, and she really wanted to be in one place. She wants to stay put, which of course is very opposite to her mommy's tendency to want to roam and travel. [00:13:01] Rosa Linda Román: But it's her chance to need to stay put, to go to high school and enjoy her experience then I certainly am considering that. So, I came here kind of pretty skeptical about having any interest in actually being here, but being in this space has been surprisingly amazing, and I've come to realize I'm a different person now. [00:13:23] Rosa Linda Román: Part of why I didn't really like it here back when I was eager to get out and go to the boat is because it's remote. I always felt isolated and it was hard to connect with people, and I'm a social person, so that was always something I struggled with, especially, because Nathan traveled so much for work and I did do New Mexicast and I created the show. But I was doing it as a one-woman band, and so that made it even more lonely because the time that I working on a story, other than the time that I interviewed the person, the rest of the process was done in solitary confinement, you know, where I was by myself. [00:14:01] Rosa Linda Román: So all of this to say, I kind of came back here thinking that is how I would feel about it. And I love New Mexico, don't get me wrong, but it was lonely, and when you have little kids and you're in this remote place, it's very hard to not feel lonely, right? So, I got here, I started working on the house and organizing things, and just kind of moving things out. And it wasn't until this morning and I still was like, I don't know, I saw everything that I thought was wrong with the house, the things that I don't enjoy about the house, you know, certain... [00:14:35] Rosa Linda Román: We designed it when we, again, Ahava was one and our family was smaller. My husband was in his medical residency and so like financially, we didn't do top of the line everything. We were on a budget and you know, just lots of things have changed and so most of the past two days doing physical work, just moving things and handling things, and all of that, and looking at anything that needed to be fixed. So, I was making a list of where the cracks were on the walls, and you know, where the lights are broken, and just whatever. Anything that I saw that was wrong, I was writing a list of it. [00:15:14] Rosa Linda Román: Well, with that focus on what was wrong there was certainly no way I was going to rediscover the joy of the place, but last night I could not sleep. I had some things on my mind and it actually had to do with New Mexicast. I made a huge error in how I handled, I don't even know if I want to talk about it yet, because it's so fresh. But basically the song that I used for my video podcast with permission from the artist, Dorian Spencer, I neglected to let him know that New Mexicast was going to air on the local station in Albuquerque, UABQ. [00:15:52] Rosa Linda Román: And so I had reached out to him because I'm overhauling the brand, and I had reached out to him to ask him if I could potentially pay to use it for the audio podcast. And that's when I found out, he responded, basically, upset that I had used the song in this other way without permission and I felt terrible about that. [00:16:12] Rosa Linda Román: And I was up all night thinking about it, and I've written him a letter, and I'm not sure what the resolution will be. I'm just sharing this here because that's part of the process, you know? I'm a independent artist or creator and I made some really stupid mistakes along the way. I've tried to keep the content, you know, positive, upbeat, family friendly, tried to create a website by myself and do many things by myself. [00:16:36] Rosa Linda Román: But in the end, you know, there's a reason people hire people to handle the things they're not good at. And the thing that I'm not good at, I'll admit is the business side of the equation. I'm grateful that I have a husband who has a mind for business, but when it came to New Mexicast, I tried to handle everything myself, and that's when things slipped through the cracks. [00:16:57] Rosa Linda Román: I am happy to report despite this recent thing that I realized I made a terrible mistake, the last thing in the world I would want is to hurt him, and I think you should go buy his album right now to support him because his music is beautiful. He was so generous to let me use his song back in 2008, when New Mexicast, like nobody even knew what a podcast was. And New Mexicast was the first video podcast in the whole state of New Mexico, and I basically was teaching myself the technology. So, anyway, my point is, fast forward to now, I hopefully do learn from my mistakes and grow as a human, and hopefully, can find a way to make it right. [00:17:38] Rosa Linda Román: But I also have learned that being a one-woman band is, it may sound good. And for many years I, you know, went around telling everyone that, you know, I do New Mexicast as one-woman band. It was like a badge of honor. But really at this point in my life, I don't want to do that. I'm not interested in being a one-woman band anymore. [00:17:56] Rosa Linda Román: I'm interested in creating content that inspires people, that people feel good about, I feel good about, and I'm interested in working with and collaborating with people who I like and who have a different skillset than me and maybe a different mindset than me. And I know that's bad grammar, sorry it's late. [00:18:13] Rosa Linda Román: So, anyway, my point is I have started to hire, and if you're listening to this now, it's because someone helped me get this to air because another thing I'm not good at is follow through. So, if you're listening to this podcast, it's because my team did work out. I have an editor named Ryan. I have been working with a web development guy in India and his name is Raj, and I have been working with a friend, Kim who has been serving as a project manager. So, it's been good. And I've learned, I've made stupid mistakes for sure, but I've hopefully learned from that. [00:19:03] Rosa Linda Román: And all of this, I'm just kind of sharing these thoughts as I'm sitting here with these beautiful candles, in my little nook, because I came here expecting that I would feel the way that I did back then, three years ago, expecting that I would be chomping at the bit to get out of here, that I was basically, I honestly thought that I would come back here and just look at the house as what do I need to do to get the house fixed so that I can put it in the HomeAway, VRBO rental world, and like what's the bare minimum I could do and not have to stay here like long term. [00:19:38] Rosa Linda Román: But once I got here, I realized there's so many things I do love about this place, and being able to be here, and cure myself, think for a little bit without anybody needing anything for me has been very good. [00:19:38] Rosa Linda Román: And so continuing with the whole thing about Dorian Spencer, I was up all night thinking about it and just feeling so terrible that that had happened. And finally, it was probably like 4:30 this morning, I couldn't even pretend to try to sleep anymore. And so, I got up and I came into this nook, which was, it had not been used, and I had written a note. So, there's a dry erase board here and I had written a note right before I left to move onto the boat. I wrote a note on it that says, “Enjoy this wonderful nook. May good energy and joy find you here.” And it has a smiley face, and then says RLR, which is Rosa Linda Román. And I wrote that thinking that I was writing it for Jason or whoever else was going to be here, that they would be sitting in this nook and you know, reading, or writing, or whatever. [00:20:27] Rosa Linda Román: But he didn't use that space for that. He used the space as a closet like most normal people would. And so, got up this morning and I cleaned it. It just had like, you know, dust because no one had used it, and it had some blankets, and pillows over it, and it was an unused space since we left. And so, I cleaned it up, and I put out the candles, and I lit them, and I sat here, and I looked at some of the things that I had written, I have to turn on the light so I can read it to you now, that I had written on my dry erase board right before I left. One of them is this thing that I learned from Anthony Robbins from Tony Robbins called CANI, which is constant and never ending improvement, and what that is, is you always work… you strive to be better than you were before, you know, last week, last month, last year. [00:21:14] Rosa Linda Román: And so one of the ways you do that is you ask yourself better questions. And one of the three questions he suggests you ask are, what have I learned today? What have I improved and what have I enjoyed? And so right before I left for the boat, apparently I wrote I have learned that I have been holding onto the past and preventing my true greatness from flowing in. So, that was one thing. And then the other thing I wrote is I have learned that only things, people, activities and relationships that spark joy belong in my life. And that came directly as a result of having just finished the KonMari process. So, that's kind of fun for me to see that still sitting there. [00:21:52] Rosa Linda Román: And then on the bottom of this dry erase board I have like quotes or whatever, mantras for myself, on the bottom that pretty much always lived there. And one of them says, I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy. I have to remember who that was from. I think it was from The Secret where basically, you know, this is something you say on and on and you know, like over and over the same day, but just like on a regular basis you tell yourself I'm whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy. And so that's one thing up there. [00:22:39] Rosa Linda Román: And then the other thing is these are just things that I've kind of… that I'm personally telling myself. It says, live my greatness, forgive and learn love fully, give much, smile often. So, that dry erase board coupled with the coziness of this little nook, it has a blanket that my mother-in-law gave me that says Rosa Linda on it. She had it made monogrammed or whatever you call it, with my name on it, and she's no longer with us. So, there's, you know, the added layer of comfort to have a blanket that came from her. And then my candles. And finally, there's floor plank from the stage of Albuquerque little theater. It's like a plaque on the wall, which makes me smile because the final play that they performed on this before they sold the planks as a fundraiser was Singing in the Rain in June of 2012. And I went to that with my kids. [00:23:33] Rosa Linda Román: So, they were selling the planks, and I sat at the next production, and I thought, “You know what? I'm going to buy one.” So, I have that in my nook. And there's this, my mother-in-law had gone to, I don't know where exactly it was. I think it was Chinatown in San Francisco and she had woman who was painting like were, I don't know, she just like framed artwork in Chinese. She had them write my name because it was in the middle of when I was directing Cookies for Cali and she had them write my name, Rosa Román, Director Cookies for Cali, but in Chinese. And then it has like the translation on the bottom. [00:24:08] Rosa Linda Román: So, anyway, all of this to say, I came into this nook this morning, early morning, and I sat here, and I felt so good, and I thought, “You know, I do love it here.” And there are many things about being here that I think that I could really enjoy. And that was a really different feeling than what I've been feeling, resistance, no, I don't want to do that, I don't want to, you know, it felt like giving up the dream of living on a boat or traveling the world with my family. It felt like giving up to say, yeah, we can move back to New Mexico, but not this morning. It didn't feel like that. [00:24:45] Rosa Linda Román: And really it's been a, you know, the accumulation of the last three days being here in this space and reminding myself of the things that I do enjoy, you know, walking around the property and the hummingbirds are, you know, buzzing by, and the birds are singing, and it's just beautiful. It's a beautiful, beautiful place. [00:24:51] Rosa Linda Román: So, I had a talk with Nathan after that this morning, so I wrote in my journal a lot. And then I just sat in the space, I didn't see a single other person today, and I just kind of, I didn't get that much accomplished. I got some boxes, and things sorted, and put in the pod, but it's nowhere near what I wanted to get accomplished on this trip. And yet I feel like I accomplished so much because I feel now that we could move back here and it wouldn't be a threat to my joy. On the contrary, it would support me doing different things and exploring new challenges. And you know, I'm starting to kind of form the thought that maybe you can have a home base as long as you create the things that are joyful around you, you can see the world, and have a home base. [00:25:54] Rosa Linda Román: So, that's kind of my new brand new thought. What would that be like to actually live here and you know, reconnect with New Mexico, and see how life would be here? So, that's what's on my mind and it's on my mind a lot. I've had a lot of time to think. I leave early morning tomorrow to Chicago for my sister's graduation from college. Congratulations, Becky, if you're hearing this, and then, I'm going to kidnap her and take her to Mexico to our condo in Mexico. So, I got a lot ahead of me. I got to get up early and so I'm not going to continue recording anymore, but I hope you enjoyed just hearing my process a little bit. [00:26:18] Rosa Linda Román: And I hope whatever big decisions you're facing you've found some peace with whatever choice you're making. I'm sure I'll be talking about this, and our decision, and probably changing my mind 20 times again on future episodes. But for now, I feel pretty good here sitting in my little nook. I'll take some pictures and share it with the crew so you can see what I'm talking about. [00:26:39] Rosa Linda Román: Thank you so much for listening to New Mexico Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román.

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