I’m on a train. 

I got such bad sleep last night that my watch didn’t actually detect any sleep. 

It was sort of triggered by an unexpected invoice that came in from our architect. Not a break-the-bank one, but it was for services that I actually thought were covered by the last invoice and so it highlighted the whole unknown and unexpected nature of this whole house-building project and my body threw a bit of a hissy fit. 

Since it came through my shoulders and neck have been in spasm and I’ve been wondering if we’re doing the right thing, working with the right person, spending too much, being taken for a ride …. etc. etc.

Because we’ve no real frame of reference, you see. It’s going to be tens (super plural) of thousands in professional fees (mainly the architect) before we even begin the bloody project. That feels so out on a limb. I feel sick thinking about it. This wasn’t the way we’d envisaged doing it. 

I suppose if we hadn’t been able to afford it (and were it not for G.’s book deal we wouldn’t have been) we would have been forced to partner up with a developer when we had less information and it just would have been less clear what we were getting for our “money” (where money = land).

I just can’t help feeling like our architect is really expensive and charging us for stuff that we maybe don’t need. 

He reminds me a lot of my ex-partner in Japan with whom I spent five years running a business. The same rigidity of thinking around process and “One True Way” of doing things that is the “right” way, but feels more expensive. And even though it feels more expensive, it’s probably structurally more sound and longer lasting and stands up better to the winds and whims of unknowns when it comes to development. 

And yet, there were quicker, shakier ways of architecting systems that would have gotten the job done for many of our clients. Especially as many of them were starting up business ventures that didn’t necessarily need to scale in time or load. 

But you just don’t know. 

Also, I know that I’m a lot like that when it comes to designing systems. But I suppose the difference is with software engineering and architecture, I understand the costs and the choices being made. With house architecture it’s all greek to me, and so we get invoices for unknown work and feel like we’ve no way of guessing what things are going to cost, and we just pay ’em. 

Anyway, G. helped de-spiral me a little last night but looking up standard operating procedures for the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, and yeah, while we’re not at the lowest end of the cost-spectrum, neither are we at the highest.

It’s all within acceptable parameters. And the work items being worked upon are all firmly within the remit of what an architect does. 

It helps me to think about the path we would have taken were we not able to afford this out of pocket. It helps to realise that there was another option and it’s not only that we’ve been able to undertake this project due to pure luck, but that it’s been an active choice – we’re retaining control for as long as possible because we’ve been able to. It is cleaner. It is better. It is the choice we would make for the project if faced with it again. 

I suppose when we first looked at it a year and a half ago, we sort of ignored the costs down at this end because we figured we’d have had to partner up with a developer already at this point, and they’d be the one bearing those costs – for better and worse. 

It’s useful to look at it and make that choice explicit. 

I suppose I don’t like our architect’s continual assumption of that choice. But then again, maybe that’s what he defaults to until informed otherwise.

Anyway, I’m oscillating back and forth on just paying the invoice and getting it off our plate and waiting a couple of weeks until my next pay-check. I don’t enjoy having unpaid bills living in my brain like a weight, but also it’s just before Christmas and I think it’s pretty usual to take up to a month to pay an invoice. I wouldn’t mind putting it into our January budget rather than December. 

I suppose it doesn’t really matter one way or another. I’ll wibble over it and donate way more brain space to it than it deserves for another week or so, I guess. 

I probably just need more time to settle and accept the actual costs of this project and feel like we’re choosing a particular path through it.

It’ll all be fine. Right?