A Series Finale for our Condo that never will be:
I typically make tutorials or project build videos, but this project was different. This time, I used the process of making to come to terms with the fact that our dream condo will never become our home.
Here's the full story:
We're out of money, and Hurricane Ida left our house filled with sewer backflow from a poorly engineered sump pump pit. That moment changed everything - we knew we couldn't afford to fix it, we had already spent most of our money on mold remediation and other complications. BUT, the dreams we had for the house were still very real.
After months of designing, planning, interviewing contractors, supervising mold remediation, and rolling with all the punches, we deserved to see our dreams come to life. So, we decided to build the plans with something that we COULD afford - Gingerbread! The building experience was cathartic, sad, happy, exhilarating, devastating, and exhausting.
But it worked - we needed to grieve our loss, and we needed something tangible to let go of the house that never was.
It was such a vivid dream - I wanted so badly to host our 1920s flapper-themed housewarming and have you over in that large backyard, to engineer custom smart home tech and make every nook and cranny of that house useful, elegant, and custom-tailored to our lives. But the truth is that we just can't have it.
And that's the type of grief we're going through- this loss is so much more than financial. For me, buying a house represented my dream to focus my time and creativity on whatever crazy DIY project idea that came to mind, with the power to make any change I wanted. I thought of it as a self-actualization tool. I know that sounds like I was putting too much hope into it, but yeah, I sort of was. It was just a huge dream of mine.
We created the Gingerbread Condo the week of Christmas 2021. All of our plans were canceled due to the COVID uptick in our area, and we spend the 7-day holiday break in our apartment completing the gingerbread house. We got the idea from the TV show "Baking It" when the contestants were instructed to build their "dream house" out of gingerbread. We were like: "We have a dream house that needs to be built - and a ton of time!" and so we got to work.
It was a tough task to compile the story. How was I to write a tragedy? I'm typically a very positive person who tries to stay upbeat and cheery, hoping to pass on only good vibes and inspiration. And worse- a personal tragedy? The process of creating the video became part 2 of the catharsis. Finding humor in places we could and letting ourselves cry when it was necessary.
We tried to tell the story unscripted, but that wasn't successful. (You will see a few clips from our on-camera rant, but those were the fun ones, everything else showed us looking defeated and sad. I have to say, it was helpful to pull those emotions out of ourselves, but you didn't need to see it. :p) We were just so angry and those emotions work in opposition to clarity and coherence. So we ended up writing the voiceover that you hear.
The biggest cathartic breakthrough was a chance to cry about it together. There was originally a slightly different script at the end. We were sitting at the kitchen table and I was recording it. I got choked up at the end and you could hear it in my voice, so I stopped the recording and turned to look at Matt. He was crying - big floppy tears rolling down. We just sat there and had a good cry, together, focused on what we had lost. I don't know if we would have been able to get there and had that emotional moment together in any other way.
So the good news? Well, we saved a ton of money on therapy. We learned how to make food art, and we now have a relic of our ideas and a better understanding of our point of view in the world. That's the journey we were looking for in the first place. I hope you enjoyed seeing the journey too.