Kentucky Home

After we decided to move on from our Indiana life, we began looking around to see if there was any land within our financial reach that we could handle on our own.  Having spotted a couple of places on the “interwebs” that looked promising, we inquired about the ones we found online. The realtor we were connected with was really awesome at explaining what may or may not work based on what we were looking for.  One of the spots had a little cabin on it which coincidentally, was in almost the stage of build that our a-frame was in! Laura, our rep kindly let us know that the place it was in may not always be passable in inclement weather, and it was such a large plot of land that it might not be the best place for us, who would only be there on weekends.  She said that it would be very likely that folks would wander through when we were gone. Thanks and no thanks! 

Once we narrowed down the list, we set up an appointment to go look at a few of them.  The first stop was to look at a house on a little more than acres of land. It was explained to us ahead of time that the place needed some work.   I was expecting the worst and totally did not want to get my hopes up since both the price and the location seemed perfect. Surely, it would not be what we wanted, but it seemed like a great starting spot.  

The Farmhouse

About a week later, on my birthday, we took the hour and a half ride down the AA highway in Kentucky to take a look. It was a drizzly morning, but pretty warm for mid-December.  It was apparent from the landscape that were in Kentucky. The hills and rushing streams escorted us the entire way there. Our first glimpse of the property included a short ride up the perfectly level gravel driveway- a far cry from the steep, choppy driveway that we had to navigate each time we went to the cabin..  It was a dream! The house was white with a green metal roof- probably the same roofing material that we used on the cabin. Was this a sign? Once inside the house, we could see the remnants of years of history. Wallpaper and paneling lined the walls, old encyclopedias were stashed in the corner of one of the rooms and an old farmhouse staircase led to the upstairs.  

Nestled on a touch over four acres, the property lines were defined by an old railroad track on one side and a rushing creek along an open field on the other.  There was a barn with electric and water in addition to a mobile home and a couple of other “out” buildings.  

We had the pleasure of meeting the son of the previous owners, who had passed away not too long ago, but who had lived into their nineties.  He shared stories about growing up there and how they used to farm tobacco in the open field. His dad raised pigs in the barn. The feelings and memories were warm.  

After the tour, our realtor took us to see some other properties in the area, based on what we were looking for.  We saw some beautiful acreage with some spectacular views and they all had the ability to add electric and water pretty easily.  One of the properties even had an old log cabin upon it, which had been discovered when the owner started demoing the house. The wood, by our realtor’s account isn’t even around anymore; it is extinct! There was even an old stone fireplace with arrowheads embedded in the facade.  

All of the properties had no restrictions, meaning that we would be free to build, say, another a-frame cabin or put an amish barn on them.  They all had a minimum purchase of about 10 acres and had a nice mix of woods and open field. We went home with a top three but the farmhouse was the one that spoke the loudest, and in fact is still on center stage right now.  We made an offer!

Homework: Keep Moving Forward

Be ready to turn the page. You need something to look forward to.  Life is to short to mull over the past. Learn from it, but then move on.  

After we got home from looking at all of the different properties, all we could talk about was all of the things we could do at the farmhouse.  We could plant flowers, grow vegetables, host events, and do Airbnb. We can bring the cats, like right away if we get it! There is plenty of room for or family to sleep there with us when they come to visit.  The list just goes on and on! Leaving the cabin was a hard choice to make, but having a plan for the future that we can visualize is what really gets me excited!   

Keep searching for those things that make you want to get up in the morning.  Those goals are the ones that get you through a hard day at work or help you face a difficult situation that you would otherwise avoid.  Currently in this holding pattern, it has been hard getting through some recent weekends when I am missing working on challenging projects. To help me along, I ordered some seeds that I will plant at the new place and we have been dreaming up a storm about the things we can do at our little farm, if we get it.  That, my friends, is what got me up this morning. Stay tuned!

The Gamblers

We spent a weekend in Las Vegas not too long ago and it was ah-ma-zing!  The hotel we stayed at was Mandalay Bay in a gorgeous room. For thirty bucks a piece we scored a day pass in their beautiful spa.  Call me sheltered, naive, or uncultured, but in my opinion, it was magical. You got a giant robe and sandals to wear while visiting, along with a locker and all of the towels you could want.  There were greek or roman looking fountains spilling into hot tubs and a cold tub at the center of the spa, all surrounded by lounge chairs. We spent our time going between the dry heat room and the eucalyptus steam room, then to the cold pool to bring it all together.  

We went once in the morning to have a coffee and a sweat, then again before they closed after a day on the strip. It was perfect.  

Spa lobby, no cameras allowed inside!

We did not gamble that much, but threw a few dollars into some video poker, keno, and a Goonies movie themed slot machine, which at least gave you some extra steps to complete in between spins to extend your money a little bit.  

I ate some of the most delicious macaroni and cheese from the hotel room service menu and we left a half eaten plate of shoestring french fries because we could not finish them all!  What happens in Vegas… Our last stop of the night was to surprise some friends who got married that weekend at their hotel. We took the bus to Circus Circus, gave them a hug, then headed back to our hotel only to miss our stop and walk a mile back after getting to see the Welcome to Vegas sign.  

Perriee is the absolute best travel buddy I could ever dream to have.  We just have so much fun together everywhere we go. I know that anything that life deals out is automatically going to be easier and better if she is there to share it with.  

Saying that, I can now share that we are going to be leaving our spot where the a-frame cabin is standing.  Over the last year, it has become clear that although the exact spot where the cabin sits along with the tipi is absolutely magical, it is not the land that shines, but our energy when we are there together.  When we have thought about our future there and the things we want to do there, we have had some difficulty envisioning it in alignment with the what the other family might want to do in the future. 

We started poking around on the internet and have found that it might even be possible for us to find our own place.  I had not even considered that as a possibility since we started this journey over two years ago. Because of that, we are moving on.  We were at a point where we could invest a good amount of time and money into the cabin, but decided to first talk with the group about some things that have been weighing heavily on my mind for a long time now.  I have not mustered the courage to bring it up until now. Once the words were out it was clear what the best move should be, and it is, which is to leave. We are all adults and have found ourselves to be different in ways that just won’t mesh as a lifestyle and it is ok.  It is neither good nor bad. We are different and are all mature enough to recognize it. Things are a little raw at the moment, but I truly am looking forward to watching us all grow from this, even if it just through an Instagram post. I know Perriee and I feel a great sense of relief over it and I hope everyone else does too. 

We don’t have any regrets.  Our time there has brought us so much.  It has been one, very long, team building session for the two of us and we have emerged stronger from it all.  And it is not ending! We are still Making Time for Tipi.  That is not ending. In fact, it is very active as I sit here writing this post right now.  We can’t wait to take you on the next leg of the journey.    

Homework

Trust Your Gut:  Over the last couple of years I have found myself in some situations which were uncomfortable to me.  I am working on building up the courage to speak up for myself so eventually I was able to get out of them. The real practice is to have the ability to not get into those situations in the first place.  

As a child, I was constantly reminded to suck it up and deal with the situation at hand, no matter how uncomfortable it may have been.  My childhood was a bit of a roller coaster so I mastered the art of “grin and bear it” amidst some pretty heavy stuff. At the time, that was super useful.  I was a kid and had little control over decisions that were made on my behalf so a good survival technique was to make the most of a bad situation and keep pushing forward.  

In my new found forties (42 now, thank you very much), I am realizing that as an independent adult, I don’t have to just “go along” with things that I can literally feel eating away at my gut.  I need to recognize that feeling early on and learn to say, “no” with intent. For those situations that I miss the signs, it is imperative that I face the discomfort head on, and move away from it as soon as possible.  That is so hard for me!!

Life is too short to waste on negativity that is doomed to persist.  Whether it is a toxic person, relationship, environment, or whatever, we need to be able to see that some things will not change no matter what.  That takes courage to do and is super scary for people like me. Hopefully a lot of you don’t have this courage deficit that I have. If you do, just practice.  Put yourself first. Know that the feeling of the freedom from that toxicity in your life is so much better than the feeling of marinating in it. Save yourself!  

As 2019 comes to a close, I can say that I feel pretty good about how it ended.  Last year on New Year’s Eve I made a promise to myself to have more confidence. Good job me.  Leaving the partnership with our friends where our spot is, Camp Good Enough, was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done but it has already opened up a space for better things and I am proud of that.  

I don’t know what lies ahead, but I will make sure it is interesting.  Happy New Year everyone! Happy new decade!  

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em 

Know when to walk away and know when to run

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done

The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Heaters and fires and woodstoves, oh my!!

The temps are dropping for the season and we love staying in the cabin at now (as opposed to the tipi), so after our last night at the a-frame we decided to move forward on a heating solution. We settled on the Dyna Glo 20,000 btu propane space heater.  We believe it will be more than enough to heat up the cabin, once we get it up and running.  

Once again venturing into unknown territory, we did our YouTube research and bought a few parts that we thought we should use to get the propane flowing. Although we are clearly amateurs here, I guess I should not discount our experience with the one-pound propane green things, and Perriee did hook up our gas grill this summer.  But this time is all about indoor gas in a house.  We really don’t have a lot of room for error!  

What we noticed upon our research was that most people kind of half-assed their installations.  I mean, they did not have propane spewing out of their hoses or anything, but their processes were pretty far off of the manufacturer’s recommended instructions.  There was one kick ass family though, who rocked it out!  Really, the whole video is awesome from start to finish.  The guy gave a great supplies list demo, his partner (a bad ass woman) threaded it all together with their beautiful baby on her hip, and ultimately, did the final walkthrough to make sure he did it all right.  Ok, I don’t know these people, and I am making a lot of assumptions, but damn…

Per usual, we found our sweet spot somewhere in the middle of doing it “by the book” and doing it half assed!  We chose to hook up the propane hose that connects to the propane tank to a flexible gas pipe which connects to the heater.  Once we figure out for sure where the pipes need to be routed to, we will re-run some the gas lines with solid pipes. For now, however,  we can just push the propane hose through the roof and connect it to the pipe inside.  

When we went through this process, it sort of worked, but when we tested the leaks before firing the heater up (the ole dish soap and water trick).  We quickly found our line was not sealed. Perriee turned the gas on from the outside and I immediately heard the hissing of the gas on the inside. We soon came to understand that we were lacking a fitting and it would require a trip to the hardware store.  Being about 6:00 pm, I was miffed. It was already dark and the temp was dropping.  

For some reason, I was not feeling like sitting in the tipi for the night to keep warm by the wood stove that already had a nice fire burning within it.  I jumped into bed and covered myself up. Pouting, you may say. Luckily we had stopped back home in the city before heading to the cabin for “Big Blue”, the blanket.  Big Blue is this super heavy comforter that is what I imagine a weighted blanket to be like. It is both warm and heavy. So, I knew we werent going to be cold, but I was mad that we were stuck without a ready solution.  Perriee suggested that we make a fire outside and enjoy the evening. That was the tall glass of lemonade that I needed.  

I drug myself out of the bedand we collected some sticks and branches from around the homestead and made a beautiful fire.  The best part of it all was this video I took once the coyotes started howling in the night. They sounded a little too close, but it was spectacular to be witness to.  

In the morning, when I finally poked my head out from the cover of “Big Blue” ,  we huddled back up in the tipi for coffee and cast iron oatmeal. It is so funny how we are able to tolerate extremes when we need to.  I can’t wait until we get the heater going and have a warm space at the push of a button. That is fact. What I am worried about, is that once we experience the cabin with those comforts of heat-on-demand, we will feel like we can’t be comfortable in there anymore if we don’t have it.  

Enjoy the Best and the Worst

Totally digressing here, but it reminds me of the time that a friend of ours tried to fix our bathroom tub faucet.  He cranked it so hard that it broke the pipe. This all happened during the height of the recession- I think it was 2010 or so, and Perriee and I were consequently also super broke at the time.  To shut off the flow to that water, we had to shut off the water to the whole house. We had no money for a plumber and therefore no water. 

It was also really rainy at the time, so we started catching water in containers outside to supplement with bathing and such since it was there and plentiful.  We were like, “We don’t need water! We can just collect it all!” Once we finally saved enough money to call a plumber, fearing the cost would be out of our range of affordability, the water was back on.  It was awesome, and I cannot imagine collecting it all again to service the house. How quickly we adapt. I guess it is good that we are fast to adapt to either end of that spectrum of comfort.  

Homework: Women Can Build Shit Too! 

Expose girls to the home improvement projects, new construction, landscaping, D.I.Y. world from birth.  I truly hope you watch the looks of wonderment from the baby in the gas line video. She was soaking it all in and watching her mom hold her while she threaded the gas pipe moved me.   It was the best example of model parenting i may have ever witnessed.  

I am convinced that women should be exposed to all of the things that men are in order to form the baseline connections needed to utilize those brain cells, if needed, in the future.  I am not criticizing my upbringing by any means. I do remember my grandpa letting me hang out in his workshop and I watched him make some cool things, but I wish i had more knowledge to inform the things I am doing today.  I feel like it would all come a bit faster than it is. Yes, sillly, do the same for boys. Reinforce their desires to nurture and coddle like you do with the girls. Give everyone a fighting chance to be their best. Don’t limit children to those roles of,  “boys do yardwork and fix things while girls wash dishes and clean the house”.   

I understand that I am likely preaching to the choir here.  Lets face it- gender is a shaky construct getting ready to collapse.  THANK GODDESSES!! Lets just scrap all of those dumb buckets of his and hers and just teach all people to be their best.  It will be a simplified curriculum and so much more powerful for everyone.  

And remember: Women can build shit too! 

Happiness Engineers

Everytime we have friends and family together we get to see a bit of magic happen, and I have to admit that I get a bit of a high off of the feelings of love and smiles I get to see.  Just last weekend we got to break-in our cabin area with a proper gathering that was full of calm, comradery, food, and peace. Consequently, the world is in a state where we are in desperate need of as much love and happiness that is possible.  We need to keep recharging our souls so we can face each day out in the battlefield of life so we can return safely home to the those who would be lost without us: our partners, pets, children, parents, room mates- whoever.  

Perriee and I love hosting so much that we have both aspired to and succeeded, in some ways, at making it a part of our livelihood. We hope that we can continue to develop that aspect of our lives.  What better way to spend your time then to prepare for and then make others happy? After last weekend I could really envision that cabin space as a gathering place for many things: receptions, birthday parties, showers, team building, small conferences, fund raisers (wink wink, Crystal), anything.  

It would of course be a seasonal gig, with the hope being, that we could take off two or three months a year and recharge and travel and breathe.  Yep, that is crazy, but I don’t care. I am sure it is possible if we choose that life for ourselves. It would take a lot of planning and financial discipline, but we can do it.  Those are two of our very strong points. This idea of working several months, then taking time off has been in my mind a lot lately.  Originally, it occured to me that I could probably do anything long-term, if i knew i got to take significant amounts of time off. I thought, if only my job now offered that option. Sadly, I understand that piece is actually highly unlikely.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the requirement to work for money, and I believe as humans, we have innate drives to be useful and productive. I just don’t think we should all have to do it so much. I digress…

I know I have mentioned this before, but currently, we are hosting our second level of our city home through Airbnb.  We have been doing it since 2015 and still take great care to ensure our guests feel welcome and comfortable and special when they stay here.  We hope to expand our services to the tipi soon as well. We would only offer it when we are there, but we can already imagine the experience we want our guests to feel while visiting us there.  It is a special space.  

We are going to paint the sleeping pallet space and take out the hoosier cabinet which will be replaced with a wash area.  The floor is already prepped for water, so we should go with it! We will install a shower pan and which will be “plumbed” out the back of the tipi where we have already have a drainage ditch. Toss in a nice shower chair and a wash basin, and voila! You have a bathing area. There will be a gas grill, available to cook on, the fire pit, and the most beautiful night sky you could ask for.  Perfecto!  

Homework: Have a party! 

Aside from the money and the happiness factors, there are bonuses to sharing your personal space with folks.  It forces you to show off your good side. It helps you reset your environment. Friends once shared a funny meme with me in advance of one of them getting ready for a party:  Clean like it looks like no one lives here! One a year is a good way to give you a reason to clean the baseboards or dust the top of the refrigerator and toss out the old mail that has been piling up.  Some people don’t need a party as an excuse, but I do and the reward is always sweet.  

Hosting with Airbnb forces us to keep our home in the best shape possible, both functionally and aesthetically.  If it doesn’t look good and deliver, folks won’t want to stay here. I wish i could put more into it then we already have, but over the years I feel like Perriee and I have managed to keep it looking fresh, whether it be by buying new towels or a new area rug or redoing the bathroom (which we are very proud of, by the way). Then in the space we have, which can be see by our guests, we keep our junk piles to a minimum and make sure it is ready to look at should someone want to peek at while here.  I look forward to bringing this process to the tipi. It keeps us looking good which feels good to us too.  

To host an event at the cabin  will push it all to another level.  In the meantime, I will keep mapping it out in my mind.  So far, it looks amazing.

You might not be able to buy happiness, but you sure can create it.