When life hands your family too many challenges, coordinated prioritization helps you stay sane


It’s been five weeks now since I moved out of my former home and into my wife’s home. Since then we’ve found ourselves unexpectedly facing a surprising number of unexpected and unwanted serious life challenges. They consume us.

We’ve kept making time to talk through each day’s events and figure out our priorities. And that’s key, because we don’t always agree on those priorities at first. One of mine is to get our house in order. We are blending two complete households and have stuff piled everywhere while we sort it. I hate clutter! Living with it really makes me nuts.

If I could, I’d make sorting the house our first priority. But Margaret needs us to resolve other pressing matters first. So we worked it out. Getting the house in order is still on the priority list, but it is at the bottom while we push through these other challenges. We both are moving forward with the house when we can, as best we can. In these five weeks we’ve made respectable progress, all things considered. But we’re also pushing powerfully through the other challenges.

Blogging has cleared my personal priority bar, albeit at reduced capacity. You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that I’ve posted some reruns, and that new articles are pretty fluffy. But sitting down to write is a pleasure and a wonderful distraction. I’d be ill served to give it up entirely.

Photography, however, does not currently clear the bar. When I moved I had a half-shot roll of expired Konica Chrome Centuria 200 slide film in my Spotmatic. I did finally finish it and send it for processing. The scans are back, and they’re all badly underexposed, so now I’m looking for time to see if I can make them usable in Photoshop. And I’ve been playing with some manual-focus lenses on a DSLR when I have five or ten minutes to spare. So I’ll have images to share soon. But otherwise, I’m not really taking pictures right now.

We are pushing through our challenges. They will end. And then we will get our house in order, and I’m sure time and energy for photography and more serious blogging will return.

I can share the photos I took as I walked through my old house for the last time. Because Margaret and I had two completely furnished homes, we each got rid of some of our furniture. This was surprisingly easy. In the wake of our divorces we had both accepted unwanted furniture from family and friends. I like to joke that we both decorated our homes in “early post divorce.” Neither of us were attached to very much of the stuff. And then I got a giant break when the young woman who bought my house offered to buy any furniture I wanted to leave behind. For saving me the hassle of having to donate it all, I just gave it to her! So here are the photos of my final walkthrough, with everything I left behind still in place.


17 responses to “When life hands your family too many challenges, coordinated prioritization helps you stay sane”

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    In other words, after an extended break-in period, marriage really begins. :) It is sad that so many never figure out how to give up or delay a little of their own agenda in order to build up their marriage. It is certainly not something that comes easily or naturally. But it makes dealing with the other challenges so much easier.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Heh yeah, this marriage has definitely begun. The volume of crap we’re slogging through is pretty extreme, though.

      1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

        Sorry to hear about the crapfest, those are never pleasant.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          We’ll get through it. None of this is impossible. All of it is hard.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks for the reblog!

  2. […] via When life hands your family too many challenges, coordinated prioritization helps you stay sane — … […]

  3. Jon Avatar

    You are a good man Jim. I’m sure that young Woman appreciated that kindness. Good luck to you both with your pressing issues, and your unpacking.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks, but I think we did each other a mutual solid. Not having to dispose of that furniture was an enormous blessing.

  4. DougD Avatar

    Bathroom still looks good. Nice job…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks man!

  5. analogphotobug Avatar

    We’ve just put the finishing touches on a remodel that started a year ago…….Still putting our house and our lives back together. Moving has its challenges, but wait until you start remodeling………

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My first wife and I added a room onto our house. It about did our marriage in!

      Might have saved me the world of heartache that came when the marriage did end about a decade later.

  6. Sam Avatar

    The house is looking good Jim! I give you credit that you can even blog under these circumstances!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It helps keep me sane, my man!

  7. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    Something about the last shot of the garage is always kind of sad. Though it’s generally more pleasing than the “before” image…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The garage itself was kind of sad. I always wanted to fix the drywall and paint.

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