Sometimes I feel like the vibe I’m projecting is far from the reality I’m actually experiencing. I’m a huge believer in ‘fake it to you make it’ but the last few weeks have been a vivid reminder of how much of a contradiction a ‘great life’ really is.

Last week I wrote about mine and Matt's Italian wedding in light of our 10 year wedding anniversary. In reality, I could barely look at the guy without getting furious because we had yet another job that was down to the wire. Matt had been working 16 hour days for the last week to get the job out and it was all hands on deck. 

I’m not against ‘all hands on deck’. On the contrary, I enjoy working towards a common goal with our team at HUCX. What I don’t like is doing EVERYTHING else as well. When Matt gets sucked into work, that’s all he does. I have to make sure that he’s drinking water and eating because he gets so entrenched that he forgets. I go from being a partner to a support coach that is making sure he has everything he needs to perform. 

While this is happening I’m working full time because that is how we feed our family. I’m also having to do all the school pick up and drop offs which slice the working day in half. When I did manage to spend some time at my desk, I was often interrupted by Matt asking me to quickly do something… 

“Hey babe, do you mind picking up some electrical cable for us please” 

“Hey babe, can you find some load skates* for us please?”

*Load Skates are exactly what they sound like - skates for heavy loads. Imagine a slab of steel about the size of an A3 with thick rubber wheels on one side and a rotating steel disk on the other. We used them to move the building outside the factory so we could get picked up by the truck for delivery. They weigh 10kg each but can hold 15 tonnes. I’m super lucky that Advance Cranes let us borrow some for a slab of beer - phew.

Needless to say, I was pissed. Unfortunately me being pissed isn’t helpful at all so I just have to knuckle down and do what I can. The best thing I can do is let Matt get on with it while I take charge in all the other areas of our shared life. I’m lucky that I have sympathetic clients who understand if I’m a day or two behind and looking after the kids solo is fine. In fact, we get into a really good swing without Matt - not that I’d want to do it all the time but we’re very good at making the most of a shitty situation in our family.

We’re incredibly lucky that this doesn’t happen all the time and it’s just a week long episode because it's not sustainable. Working that hard and being under that much stress is the hardest thing about running a business. It’s so relentless and consuming that it can be hard to explain to people who have never worked for themselves. I’m not suggesting that people who work for others aren’t stressed at all, shit no. But when the risk is all yours. The failure and the success are all yours. We’ve got more than just skin in the game. 

We’ve got everything we have ever worked for invested in HUCX. All of our money, our energy and most of all, our reputation. When weeks like this happen it causes us to ask why we’re doing this. Why would we put ourselves through such a harrowing ordeal if we didn’t have to. Why the fuck would you want to live like this. But we decided to do this. We want to do this. When I picked up the kids and took them home to our shitty rental that was 12 degrees inside, even though it was a 20 degree day. I remembered why we’re doing this. 

We are doing this because families like ours should be able to afford a quality, energy efficient home. It’s that simple. Keeping my family safe and warm is our number one priority and the house we live in, the only one we can afford right now doesn’t do that. The kids need to have electric blankets all year round, there is a constant breeze that flows through the house, when all the windows and doors are closed and depending on the time of year it's either possums or rats we have living in our leaking roof. 

To add salt to the wound the shitty landlords are selling their shitty house because they can’t afford to maintain it. The jerks even raised the rent the same week it went on the market. I feel lucky that we have a plan to build our own house. This situation isn’t forever but there is a massive percentage of people who live in this uncertainty and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Living in someone else's shitty investment is all they can ever afford. It breaks my heart and it's why we have to keep doing what we’re doing.

After writing my blog last friday Matt and I worked through till the kids school assembly which happens every friday afternoon. We’d been asked to both attend because Frank was going to receive a special award. The assembly progressed as normal with various children going up to receive awards. Frank still hadn’t been mentioned until the very end when his teacher went up the front, and with a quiver of pride in her voice, announced that Frank had won ‘Author of the Week’!

It took all my might not to burst into tears of pride and joy. Frank has struggled with reading and writing ever since he started school. His first two years of school were so disrupted with covid that he’s found it really hard to get any traction on the fundamentals. His journey combined with the week we’d just had created an overwhelming emotional tornado.

When you win ‘Author of the Week’ you get the opportunity to read out the winning piece of writing. Frank was too nervous or shy to read it out so his teacher did. 

Houses - by Frank Andrews

I think that everyone in a house can be relaxed and you can live your life how you want to.

I think you can be safe and warm.

You don’t need to eat junk food all the time.

You can have happy memories in a house. 

Fuck me. 

Without any prompting from us Frank’s bloody winning awards for his persuasive text about the importance of safe and warm housing. Matt and I both gave him a standing ovation with tears in our eyes. This is why we are working ourselves to the bone. This is why we’ve sacrificed everything to build our business. This kid standing right infront of us who has worked so hard to get these simple yet powerful sentences on the page. 

It all starts at home and seeing Frank standing proudly at the front of the hall with his medal around his neck after achieving something that was so hard for him makes us want to work harder. It makes us want to succeed for our kids. We have to build our house and business for them and their wellbeing. Next time however we’ll get Frank to drop in a line about using HUCX prefab panels to build the ‘safe and warm’ houses.

Video of the week
Emilia Clarke LOSES IT At Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Ridiculous Story | Graham Norton's Good Story Guide
Podcast of the week
The Imperfects: Tim Minchin - Lucky to be here
Font of the week
Sway: Font of the week by Mark Caneso

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