It is gettin’ hot in the kitchen

Talk about taking our own advice!  As a recap, the last homework assignment  THREE WEEKS AGO, I had instructed you to toss some pasta.  Well we have tossed some linguini, spaghetti, bucatini, TUTTO (everything)

Since we last spoke, we upgraded our laptop, purchased a microphone and pop filter to start a podcast, and started a print-on-demand Shopify store (vocalyokelmerch.com).  That is also precisely the reason it has been so long since I have last posted anything.   I have to prioritize the time that I do have and spend it where it is most likely to be fruitful.  By fruitful, I not only mean financially, but emotionally as well. If it would be too stressful to sit and write a blog post, I would be wasting my time doing it.  The whole point of this grand experiment is to spend more time on meaningful things, right? We can do anything, but we cannot do everything.  

Perriee and I have made a commitment to make some moves.  Since we have gotten the new computer, we have been regularly doing one thing, however small, each evening after work to move towards our goal.  Looking back, we have accomplished a lot!

Computer

I surveyed my nerdy coworkers (as a fellow nerd, I write that with love and affection) to see what they would buy.  Out of the five who responded, four of them recommended the Microsoft, Surfcace Pro and two of those also recommended the MacBook.  We have enjoyed our Surface Pro so very much!  

Podcast:

In order to help prepare for the transformation of the tipi, into a dream getaway spot, we want to start to survey our guests who stay here as well as other Airbnb hosts to get their perspectives.  Perrriee and I truly get a gift of some sort from every guest we have ever hosted here, and we would love to share that unique perspective of our guests with you. Examples of some of the gifts we have received: a private viola recital, a copy of a book authored by a guest, leftover beers, photo slide shows, and all around amazing conversation. I really belive the type of people who use the shared-housing services as hosts or guests have a special perspective  and wouldn’t it be fun to share that with the world? We have already recorded a five-minute pilot episode which only my dad has heard so far. He gave us rave reviews, so consider this your teaser!  

Our first set-up: August 2019

Vocal Yokel Merch

It is a progressive thinking online tshirt store.  This is where we have been spending the most time over the last few weeks.  Perriee has been wanting to make tshirts for so long, so we finally took the plunge and it has been so much fun! We set up our Shopify storefront and got our @vocalyokelmerch on Instagram up and running.  Samples have been ordered and we are getting pumped to start taking pics in the new gear so we can post them online. Wowza it has taken some time!  We had no idea the print on demand hustle took such effort getting set up. Hopefully, once we get rolling, it should work on its own for a large part of it. It has been super interesting to see how the different programs integrate with one another and learn the different systems.  If nothing else, it is keeping our minds sharp to learn all of the systems! By working with different programs in my day job it has really awakened my ability to learn the new ones we continue to encounter.  

Homework

Purge your calendar of a few things that aren’t moving you forward.  If your time is anything like mine and Perriee’s, it is limited. To make the time to spend on these side-hustles, we have had to replace our evening tv time with working on our projects.  It has only been slightly challenging .

Luckily we get to work on things we are so excited about. Even better is the fact that we get to do it together!  Even if it is 10 minutes, you have to schedule it in, and be consistent! We pick one thing every night after work and spend some time on it.  Some nights it was making tshirt designs, sometimes it was figuring out how to upload them or edit them. We did something to make sure we were a step closer to our freedom so the next moring we felt a little bit closer. 

Keep throwing the spaghetti on the wall!

What??  Throw the spaghetti on the wall?  Yes! Keep throwing it on the wall.  One day it is going to stick! In case you haven’t heard about that before, when you cook pasta, you can toss a piece of spaghetti on the wall (or ceiling, if you are feeling feisty) and when it sticks, you know it is done.  I don’t think I would recommend throwing a lasagna noodle or manicotto on the wall. Although it would be impressive to see, it might leave a big glutenous smudge. Long spaghetti seems to be the best choice, or perhaps a delicate angel hair or hearty bucatini.  Once again, I digress.

Perriee and I have been tossing the spaghetti on the wall for a few years.  Most of the time, it falls off. Sometimes, it never even reaches the wall, but we have had a few small wins for sure.  Ok- maybe just one sizable one: Airbnb stuck. This is our 5th summer hosting! It is hard to believe we have been rolling with it this long.  I am hoping we can develop our space here a bit more so we can charge a little more and generate longer stays by offering the kitchen space for use.

One little project that slid down the wall was hosting dinner parties through a site called Feastly.  Although fun, it did not generate any income at all!  We made this amazing dinner with spaghetti and meatballs and homemade cheesecake.  It was delicious and our friends who came loved it, but it never stuck to the wall or generated any momentum outside of our close friends and family who both humored and honored us with their presence.  It did stick to my waistline. This side-hustle pre-dated our time hosting through Airbnb. The silver lining? It served as a bit of a catalyst to get the guest space together enough to show it off to strangers and the improvements haven’t stopped since. 

Cabin Corner

We installed the two back windows last weekend!  Hands down, one of the easiest and most rewarding projects we have done on the cabin so far.  Special thanks to Jonathan from MunozStuccoPA for helping is out with his awesome YouTube videos! The only installation flub we had was nailing the bottom flange all the way across, as opposed to leaving some extra gaps along the bottom for water to flow out, if needed.  That was all my bad. Perriee questioned it and I confidently responded on the contrary and we did not rewatch the video to confirm. As directed, we did NOT use the flashing tape along the bottom of the window.

Check out our thank you videos: Before

After:

These windows were ordered at the end of June and finally arrived the week prior to us installing them  As you can imagine, we were so excited to get them installed so that is exactly what we did. Since we ordered two of the same window, I assumed they would match.    Several minutes after we got the second one in, I noticed that they are different! Ha! There were only supposed to be 4 panes of glass on the top and bottom sections of the windows and one of them has 6 panes of glass on the bottom section! This is one of those things we will call good enough because they are not coming out again.  One of them will technically be in the bathroom and the other in the kitchen anyhow, so you will be less likely to notice from the inside of the house anyway. We are blaming this on Mercury in retrograde and Home Depot, of course.  

Regardless, the windows open, they have screens, and nothing can mess up the view you get while looking out of them.  It is beautiful. I watched some crows dancing in the woods from them the following morning. Overall, it was a huge win.

 

Homework

Keep tossing the pasta!  You can only hope you will end up with a wall-full, but realistically, most will not stick.  Don’t be afraid to try different types of pasta either- if you want to try blogging one day, then a basic website the next, do it.  The only thing that keeps you from succeeding is not trying. I have recently been listening to a couple of inspiring podcasts that have been getting my wheels turning to think of new ways to make money and getting the guts to try.  

Failing Forward is a Cinicnnati based podcast with the premise that even failures can lead to our successes.  In that respect, you should hope to fail at some things. Learn the lessons and move on. Use them as learning experiences to do different things the next time.  Keep tossing the pasta! 

The Side Hustle Show has over 300 episodes packed full of ideas and success stories of people who are now working for themselves.  One hot tip was to make a list of 50 ways to generate income for yourself. By the 50th one, you will have a list with at least a couple of ready to eat noodles.  And if you don’t? Well, make another list.  

The mousenest of the week…
We said goodbye to the hoosier cabinet in the tipi and found this bad-boy behind the bottom drawer. It was its own ecosystem (spool of thred for scale).

Workin’ on the Country House while Lovin’ on the City House

Even though we didn’t make it to the cabin spot this week, we feel super accomplished! I placed the order for the next round of building materials.   Here are the next steps:

  • Cut the 16 foot 2x8s to 14 feet
  • Construct the entire floor and cover it with a 16×14 foot tarp.  
  • Cut the wall lumber for the front and back walls
  • Cut the roof rafters (angle at the top and notch at the bottom)
  • Order the 2x14x16 foot ridge board (special order, special delivery)-DONE!
  • Purchase a nail gun-DONE! 

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Our ridge board.

We met with our neighbor and he broke down the roof installation process for us as well as some of the finishing work that we had previously not thought of.  

To instal the metal roof, we need to attach 2×4 nailer boards to the rafters which we will attach the roofing material to.  We talked about the gap needed at the top to attach the ridge cap to as well as the types of screws and nails we will need for the framing and roof.  Come to think of it, i need to get the shopping cart loaded with these materials now. These all need to be onsite in order to get framed. Our new framing date is tentatively set for the weekend of the 22nd of March.

What are we working on at the city house?  We are currently listed on Airbnb (View On AirbnbLabbato’s on the Knobhttps://www.airbnb.com/embeddable/airbnb_jssdk

“>Labbato’s on the Knob, Newport, KY)

and are ready to step it up a little bit.  Up until this week, we have offered a full size bed in a cozy room, along with a private bath, mini fridge, and microwave.  This week we swapped in our newer queen sized mattress from the full size to offer our guests something a bit more than we have in the past.  We also rearranged the rooms so the bedroom is now in a the largest of the rooms and finished the transition between the bathroom and the hallway.  The last thing left to do is to put up a chain lock on the bedroom door.

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The new pictures I posted, as shown here as well, are not my favorite, but we are trying to get some new professional pictures done from Airbnb.   We think it looks pretty good though. My brother and his girlfriend are coming in from Cleveland to try out the new set-up this weekend and we have a friend coming to visit her mom the week after.  We will be sure to get some feedback from them about anything we might not have thought of.

Homework

Keep downsizing.  

Through our rearranging process, we continued to take some things out of the house that we were not using any longer.  It is not a one-and-done process. Every few months it is good to reevaluate one piece of the house and let go of the old and unwanted things that someone else may find to be useful.  There really is nothing more satisfying than looking at a freshly emptied spot. Don’t worry, you will inevitably replace some things, but you won’t feel smothered by it all like you could if you let it all pile up.