April Fools!

April 1st 2020 was one of the best April Fool’s Days I think we will ever have.  This was the day that we closed on our new farm in Ewing, Kentucky.  In the middle of a global pandemic, we bought a 4 acre property that sits in between a rushing creek and an old railroad track! 

At the time that we were notified that we were actually moving forward, it was soon after I injured my hamstring and we were freshly going into this new normal of “social distancing”.  I have to admit that, initially, I was not too excited for the news.  We had been in the process of buying the property since Christmas, and we had basically resigned to the fact that it was never going to happen.  There was so much back and forth about the value of the home versus the loan being approved and we did not even know if we would be given a loan.

Perriee and I have a great way of altering our long term plans, based on the current goings-on of life. We already had about 3 different ideas of what to do if we did NOT get the house and we were getting excited about it. We then we got the call, a week after working from home full-time due to a pandemic, that we were about to buy a second home.    Everything was so uncertain.  We both felt like our jobs were secure, but I just could not imagine a bank being willing to move forward with a loan for a second home.  But they were ready, so we leaned in.   

We both took the day off once we confirmed that we would not be doing the closing remotely.  I sent a quick email prior to the day, just to make sure that we would at least be doing the social distance thing.  Our mortgage lender was already on it.  The seller was scheduled to get there after us, in order to stagger our exposure to one another, which really made me feel better since he is in the “mature” stage of life.  When we got there, we called from the parking lot so we could be let into the bank.  The lobby had already been closed to foot traffic.   Our lender’s office had a folding table set up at the end of her desk to increase the space between us and her.  It was super creative!  We brought our own pens, but she had some throwaways ready for us.  We brought masks with us, but we ended up not wearing them.  It was April 1st and we did not want to be the weirdos, even though I wanted to wear it.  The last thing I wanted was for us to potentially be the ones to bring coronavirus to Flemingsburg, Kentucky.  

After signing our paperwork, Marcus, the seller, arrived and was set up in a totally different office than us to sign his paperwork for the sale.  I chatted with our realtor for a few minutes when she stopped in for some last minute signatures and it was hard to not hug her for sticking with us through the process!  When Marcus was done, he gave us a key to the house.  He told me that this day was hard for him- it was the day he sold his childhood home as a final chapter to his parents’ lives.  It was special to be the ones to be on the receiving end of that day, since Perriee and I have the best intentions to do that property justice in its rejuvenation.  We tried to communicate that to him on more than one occasion.  As we were leaving, he told us he wanted to show us something about the water over at the house that was just repaired, so he met us over there to give us the rest of the keys.  

Marcus was our first guest at the house.  He stopped over from his brother’s house (from across the tracks) when he saw us pull up the driveway, gave us the rest of the keys, and kindly showed us where the water meter was (which happens to be on the other side of the creek).  He did not need to do that, but he did.  He also shared that he was happy that we were the ones who bought the house, as opposed to another family from out of town.  That was super special to hear as our initial “welcome to the neighborhood”.  

The grass was freshly mowed, and we took a quick tour of the house, before heading back home.  We totally had a jumping up and down and hollering moment, then Marcus came back to ask about the electric bill (I had already set it up to be transferred).  I wonder if he heard us celebrating!  I hope if he did, he found it comforting.  

It has been a little more than a month since we closed and we are so excited to be sharing this next chapter of life with all of you.  Each time we go we love it more and more and have already interacted with such wonderful people.  The feelings we get there are already so warm a fuzzy.

Homework: Be Flexible

I have heard that our perceptions of difficult situations is really what allows us to be happy in life. We can’t wait for perfection because I am afraid it will never come. Lean in to whatever is happening at the moment and find the way to make it the best.  We love getting excited about things, and during this process we got excited about getting this house, then excited about not getting it, only to be stoked to be cleaning it up and getting ready for the first renovation projects after we got the keys. I know I am preaching to the choir, but nothing in life is predictable; go with the flow, and learn to love the free fall (credit to Karen Kilgariff’s therapist for a similar explanation of life).  

The Party Barn

Silver Linings, Lemonade, Cup Half Full…

I am not going to lie: the last several weeks have been super heavy.  Things have peaked with plumbing issues, keeping the ducks safe and healthy, waiting on the closing date of a property we may or may not accrue, along with trying to coordinate our move away from Indiana.  When someone talks about the walls closing in, I think I can finally relate. In the middle of it all, of the stress, anxiety, and worry, I keep finding rays of light to remind us of the good things in life.

We broke down the tipi last weekend and it is all ready to move home to the city.  We were hoping to be able to move it to a new place and get the canvas all aired out, but we are not there yet, and don’t even know if we will be there, so it is all coming home to the city. Initially, we were pretty disappointed because we had hoped to only have to move the tipi once, but the universe has other plans.  

One of my two amazing brothers and my amazing sister came out to help us take her down.  It was so awesome to see the tipi in its bare state again with all of her bones exposed to the air.  Surprisingly, it was actually pretty easy. Four people and two hours was about all we needed to get it all broken down and prepped for the move.  We celebrated by having lunch at Jack’s Place on the way home. They make homemade carrot cake and peanut butter pie (which we snagged the last piece of).  

We weighed our options between driving a truck ourself versus paying movers and we ended up settling on Two Men and a Truck, ordered a 26 footer, and called it a day.  Let me tell you, it was worth it. Let’s look at a quick list of why:

  • Successfully pull up the steep, precarious driveway, without getting stuck in a ditch at the bottom, and get out without incident.  
  • Pick up and move the picnic table 
  • Move the cast iron wood stove
  • Successfully pull up our steep hill, park and unload said items above, and drive out of the neighborhood without hitting any cars.
  • Moving tipi poles alone, in order for us to get a smaller truck would have cost between 500-700 dollars.  

The poles look pretty cozy in their new spot, and the things we moved into the city don’t feel at all overwhelming in terms of volume.  The backyard shed is pretty full at the moment, and we have a very large pile of tipi canvass in our basement/family room, but it is ok. We have turned the page, officially.  The sick feeling that I have had in my stomach for the last year, everytime we went there, is gone. That feeling would start towards the end of the ride to get there, until we unloaded everything and were settled at our spot, by the tipi.   Whatever the origin of that feeling was, it does not matter. It was not serving a purpose to enrich our lives so it needed to end. And it feels so good.  

Homework:  Look at how full your glass is and enjoy it! 

Now that we officially do not have to go back to Indiana, and have everything we own all in one place again, we are going to lean into the moment and regroup.  Although we still have a lead on a house, we don’t know if we will be getting it. Instead of worrying about that unknown, we will focus on the home we have and enrich our life here as much as possible.  We already have a list of projects we want to tackle, we have seeds growing for the spring, and are loving the extra time with the pets.  

Here is a quick list of our Northern Kentucky projects:

  • Build privacy fence along one side of the backyard.
  • Redo kitchen sink and install a door between the bedroom and kitchen (contractor please!)
  • Pour a concrete pad for the basement bathtub. 
  • Redo the basement bathroom area.
  • Epoxy the basement floor
  • Redo basement lighting
  • Tiny-house-ify the shed in the backyard? 

Being back in one place feels right at the moment.  In light of the whole mission of our lives to simplify and spend more time together, I think we are actually on to something! Yes, we are still excited about the prospect of the new property and have a ton of ideas about how to fit that into our mission.  But this time in limbo has given us time to reset and refocus what we really want. The cabin was amazing, but once done with it, we would still be in the same place we are at now. We would not have an alternate source of income, except maybe Airbnb in the tipi, which never felt right anyhow in light of the situation with the other family living there.

That time spent was not a waste.  We needed it to learn the skills that we will use in this next phase of life.  We grew closer because of it all. Now we reset and keep pushing forward. We are counting our blessings.  Yes, we have had a bit of disappointment in the last year or so. The true source of the “let-downs” is not failure.  The only real reason we have had disappointment is because we took chances. If you never take any chances, you cannot fail and cannot be let down.  We tried. And we will try again! 

We are simplifying.  We are Making Time for Tipi.  Our glass is half full of lemonade and it tastes so good.  

Leveling Out

Cabin Corner

The progress we made in the last week was a tad bit of two steps forward and one step back, but the next step forward will not take as long as the last ones.  Does that make sense? My brother came out and helped us level out our concrete form tubes, and the satisfaction of completing that task was beyond exciting.   It took a bit of time getting going, but once we found a rhythm, the three of us knocked it out.  It was amazing to see the 2 x 8 x 16s laying level across the tops of them all. If looked like the site of a home. It looked like we knew what we were doing. 

 

Another victory that arose was having the first round of materials delivered to the farm. The order was perfectly complete and I only ordered one item that needed to be exchanged. It was pretty exciting.  

The step back?  We made the decision to cover or concrete tubes with 2 x 8s across the tops with the tarp over it all. The tarp did not quite cover the tubes to the ground and it has rained since then…a lot.   I think we need some new tubes. The ones there are looking a little soggy. The plan is to fill those tubes up this weekend. We. Can. Do. It. The. Concrete. Bags. Are. Heavy.

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Perriee cutting threaded rod with the angle grinder.

Homework

Keep practicing the art of maintaining a level head.  I often get my mind-set on reaching a benchmark goal and then get frustrated when I don’t get that far.  Then, I lose sight of the progress that was accomplished through it all. Then, I feel silly when I see all that has really gotten done and realize I did not appreciate it.  It’s practice. I will keep practicing. I did pretty good this week.

 

New Beginnings

I started a new job yesterday.  Yes, I am still going to the office, but I will soon have the option to work from home one day a week, which is definitely in line with our future plans.  One day a week, not needing to drive from Indiana, is going to be big. I dream about sitting in an office warmed by a fire with some farm family while working on my day job tasks.  I can say with certainty, that I could dedicate more of myself to my office job if I could do it alongside Perriee. She could be working on something entirely different, but I would be so excited to have her as my “cube mate”.  

As it stands, I have not shared any specific tasks with most people I work with for many years.  We all do different things at the office already, we just happen to share the same space. I think there is a lot to be said about the companionship to get you through the day, working in tandem with others.   The day is a lot more relevant when you can bounce an idea off of someone or just share a fun experience that you had from the night before. Saying that, I will surely miss the coworkers that I am leaving. There were some good ones there.    

Last Year this Week

A year ago this week we put up the tipi.  It was so special because it was the same weekend of Thanksgiving and it brought us joy to have the chance to celebrate the Native American aspect of the holiday a bit more by putting up our native shelter.  It made me feel like I was paying respects to our native ancestors (even if the Cherokee did not live in tipis. I think they would approve).

 

We are so grateful to have had the help that we did to get that last pole up.  The last pole is the lift pole. The one with the tarp wrapped around it. The videos on the website make it look so easy!   It took five adults three tries to get it up. We got it though and it was glorious once we were able to billow out the canvas around the structure of poles. Thank you all AGAIN!  

Homework

Go for it.  When I applied for the position I have just begun, I was totally taking a chance.  It was something I had my eye on for a year or so, but did not know if I would ever be chosen for it.  Around the time I applied for the job, I was realizing how comfortable I had become in my role. That thought alone made me second guess my decision to pursue the new avenue.  I was comfortable. Would it be worth giving that comfort up to start at the beginning again? My cost benefit analysis said, yes.

We do not need to wait until we are in crisis mode to take a chance in a new direction.  Throw your hat in the ring.