Monthly Archives: April 2014

Spring & My Aching Back

I never worked so hard in my life until I became a homeowner. I’ve lived on my own many occasions and in actual houses – not just apartments – where I was required to handle maintenance. I’ve always been self-motivated to do chores, perhaps passed on from my dad, who spent many a Saturday anally bustling around the house dusting end tables and scrubbing floors. (As a kid I was frustrated that my dad would not chill out and watch a movie with me instead, but now I realize that I had no clue what adults balanced.) I am an OCD-like spic-n-span cleaner too and get a lot of pleasure out of controlling one of the only things in life that can be – my home environment.

My Front Yard

There are a lot of responsibilities that come with owning a home. The one that plagues me right now is landscaping. Never before has my brain hurt like this from pondering “what should I do early spring before it’s too late in the year for South Carolina temperatures” and “what type of ground cover should I plant on that barren back hill that won’t take a decade to lush-up” and “should I have some of these trees cut down so that my garden and grass can get enough sunlight”. Never before has my back hurt like this from battling fallen leaves from 100 trees on my acre+ lot, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, pressure washing the deck and more.

I put this on myself. Never before have I had this much pride in my surroundings, wanting my yard to be a place of beauty, peace and functionality. It is also a nice source of unusual exercise. My perfectionist tendencies help is some ways – I’m detail-oriented to pick out a shade mix grass seed for my forest of a lawn. They hinder in some ways – I want to do everything as great as I can as fast and I can  and end up disappointed because it’s just not possible.

The gorgeous houses down North Main Street make it look utterly appealing and simple. Pristine mowing, shrubbery, floral plantings, stone paths and birdbaths abound, mmmyes. (I wish you could hear the sound effect.) The easy part is that they hire professionals to care for their properties. I can’t bring myself to give up yet.

It has begun as of April and will continue through October, when cooler weather sets in. We will all slave away with grounds keeping, both backbreaking and heartbreaking. I say kudos to those optimistic fools like me out there! I will defy Mother Nature for another season. But understanding my plight, I will show good faith and will not get upset. I am literally going outside after writing this article to rake and transplant ivy.

The Year of Change

I originally wrote this article on December 23, 2012. Fairly old and far from where life has taken me now but fitting considering I have some catching up to do. I left it as it was for purity sake. You’ll see several throwback posts like this as we go…

2012 has been the year of change for Aarika Woods. I’ve said this for a long time, maybe since January. But even these final months and days continue to mark this year full of turmoil, opportunity and transition.

My career has been madness, in the sense of Albert Einstein genius madness, but still. It started when I was blindsided by losing a gem of a job when my major local ad agency with historical clout closed. (I still can’t believe the amazing collection of people and work we were able to claim under one roof.) Then I was… Scooped up by a distinguished former agency client for temporary full-time employment with the State of South Carolina. Freelancing as a marketing project manager for a coastal tourism organization. Starting a new marketing contracting LLC with a partner. That’s three jobs. Now, thankfully, I’m down to one focus. I’m building a business, cultivating client relationships, filling the pipeline, facing my first taxation period and freaking out only a bit.

My family dynamic has changed. My brother moved to Richmond, Virginia, kicking ass and taking names and following his big sister’s footsteps in sales and marketing. My baby sister just turned 15. She is in high school and has her driver’s permit. My mother is on her own two feet but literally now uses a cane and figuratively still needs me as a crutch. My dad is stable and has at least not married for the fifth time yet. The rest seem so far from me. I struggle with being a “grown up” and the bigger person, letting them all know that I care but getting little in return. I’m moving into the role as a rock for this family, and it happened so fast.

My romance. Or lack there of since very recently. The tides have been turning for a while, the contentment slipping away like white caps at dusk. I sat on the beach taking it all in, until I blinked, and the gurgling waters were gone. I have to be poetic about this since the harsh reality is haunting. He’s the most traditional Nice Guy I’ve ever known. There was love, respect and consideration. I thought I had the recipe. But you can’t change your heart. You have to do what’s for the best, even if it hurts like hell. I know that perspective and time are the keys, and so far they tell me I made the right decision. I’m looking forward to a personal, individual journey.

I look back and can only think “wow.” I hope this summation sounds positive, because that’s what I am. A year of change equals a year of growth and enlightenment.

I’m Back

Well. Well. Well. After an unexpectedly long hiatus, I’m back in the blog world. I don’t know. Somewhere in spring 2012 I started a break. It never really was intentional. I just got busy, real busy, with all the complications of my “year in transition” – working multiple jobs, including starting a business and joining a professional trade organization to help further that, dealing with deadbeat family issues, dwindling in a romantic relationship, living in a real house for the first time with absurd amounts of yard work, etc. So I put the computer down, which I practically relied on every minute for my new livelihood and in this digital age became quickly fed up with. For a while, it was just a breather. I needed some space and having it felt good. Then it was harder and harder to carve out time to write. Because, just like exercise, writing is a lifestyle and when you slack off you pay for it dearly. I eventually missed my art though, missed the creative outlet. I missed feeling personally accomplished and hated the thought that I was constantly “going to do” something. I started writing again. Yay! I was all set to add a post to my blog for the first time in like six months when I realized… Hmm… GoDaddy, what do you mean hackers stole my bandwidth and deleted my template and archives? WHAT DO YOU MEAN? Big blow. Gosh. Thankfully, I was a smart girl and backed up all my articles over the last two years of regular postings. But how daunting is it to consider starting from scratch with a blog, even with copy and paste ability for pre-written content? For me, very. In fact, it’s taken me about another year to finally take matters into productive hands again – and stop the “woe is me, can’t believe this happened, too much to bear” attitude. One serious explanation later… I am now where I am. Writing and posting and fulfilling again. Hold on to your hats, public!