Category Archives: Downsizing

New Dream: Slum Lording.

I had never spent much time wishing to be a slum lord. Actually, no time would be more accurate. That is until 4 days ago. I saw an apartment building on “the strip” of my town listed for $75K. 3 units- each 3 bedrooms, about 1000 square feet with off street parking and walk out basements. Two units are currently rented for $750 a month and one unit was just sitting there empty, waiting for my family to move in! I am going to be a building manager, people!!! The best land lord this side of some river. I’m picking out paint colors and planning to refinish hardwood floors. THEN, the Quicken man just shot me down. That was harsh (and very short lived…)! Just as I was firming up my (mental) plans, they ground to halt. Apparently, 3 bedroom apartment buildings are classified as “investment properties” and do not therefore qualify for the first time home buyer program. I erroneously assumed that if I was going to live in one of the units for the minimum required length of time (one year), that it would qualify. I actually had let myself slip down the rabbit hole far enough to plan to change the building rules to exclude the use of the backyard. That way, at the end of the 12 months, I could build my tiny home in the backyard and rent out all three units. Solid plan. Shot down. Bumming. People seem able to take my ideas away from me as soon as I generate then. This could get me down, yes it could. I could actually sink into a deep depression and need medication. Thankfully, I am like the unsinkable Molly Brown. I’m like cream, always rise to the top. One chapter ends, I write another. Novel ends, I turn it into a series. Yes, with in moments I came up with plan 1,658. By a camper of course! Duh!!! Just buy a camper! I swear I heard the angels sing (more likely the lazy drone of fall insects, but whatever). I think, lets buy a gutted camper (read- super cheap) and rebuild it like those ones in the blogs I read. So I haul the husband and children an hour away to look at one. No go. The hubs cannot see my vision. Undaunted, I find another craigslist ad and put my kids back in the car and head an hour in the opposite direction. This time, I can generate no vision for this terribly overpriced and rotted out caravan. My three year old told the owner that his camper was not pretty. It was that bad, even a three year old could tell. Again, I could allow myself to succumb to the crushing disappointment. But, undaunted I press on!!! One more ad. This time only 20 minutes away. Buckle in my kids, who no longer ever want to see a camper let alone live in one. They refuse to even go in this one. On the other hand, my husband and I just looked in the door and we just know. We just know that this is the one. I don’t even need to go inside, I don’t need to ask any questions. It was love at first sight. I love it like I loved my Mallard. My husband loves it more that the Mallard. We bought it. That was step one. Step two: Figure out how in the world to transport this 36′ long hunk of awesome. Step 3: Find a place to transport it to. Step 4: Build bunk beds in it for the kids and install a wood stove. If you want to ask me what my plan is, I say, “Slow down! One step at a time! Sheesh, everyone is always in such a hurry!”
PS. I assure you that the irony is not lost on me. In the span of 4 days, I was going to be a slum lord and went to look at a 3000 square foot “investment property”. I then planned to renovate a gutted camper into an awesome off grid, rain collecting, eco trailer. After discarding that vision, I went an bought an enormous, beautiful, gorgeous, amazing 288 square foot pent house! Again, I say, just be patient. If you aren’t living one of your dream lives today, just go to sleep. Dream something different. If that doesn’t pan out, take a nap. If you generate dreams relentlessly, you are bound to end up living your dreams over and over again. Don’t get hung up on one dream. That could be foolish and result in the need for medication. Keep dreaming people. Keep dreaming.

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Adult ADD strikes at night!

No, I have never been tested and diagnosed with ADD, lol! It is just an easier and shorter way to describe an overactive mind that likes to be fully engaged and busy and working, and solving, and inventing all the time. Even though I am living one of my dream lives (subject of a previous post), I find the tasks of sorting laundry and washing people’s hair and cooking eggs and grocery shopping and listening to reading lessons leaves lots of spare room in the ole head for *thinking*. I do truly envy the ability that a few people have of focusing exclusively on the task at hand and using all of their trains of thought to get it done in a timely fashion. Like right this minute for instance, I am enjoying listening to Chopin along with my nice hot tea, and squirming around very close to me is my daughter who needs to fall asleep. She is in her bed, right next to mine….. If I were to shut down the thinker and pretend to sleep while snuggling her, she likely would be asleep. I don’t have time for that people!!! Instead (don’t worry super parents, her head is on my arm. I am half snuggling her) I am plotting out how to turn my 900 square foot apartment into a very large tiny home. “Hmmmmmmmmmm…” you say with your left eyebrow raised quizzically. A 900 square foot tiny house, whatever. My husband (whom I love insanely by the way) doesn’t feel convinced that a tiny home will work so much for him while we are a family of four. He says we are a family of 5 if you count our big Boxer Max. He thinks we would be crowded and won’t have room for coats, talk about crazy!!! Dogs don’t need coats!!! Yeah, ok then. So I have been looking at all the beautiful pictures of tiny houses that I dream of living in and picking out the things I can have in my apartment! Compromise, right?!? Composting toilet, alcohol burning range and oven, a beautiful nook to store every beautiful thing we don’t downsize out the door, custom designed trash and recycling bins, multifunctional hand built furniture, solar power, solar hot water heater, nice floors, beautiful art actually on the walls in frames….. So many things! Oh, and a murphy bed, not because I don’t have room for a regular bed but just because I want one. I found a hardware kit to buy so we can build our own! And, I would really like a wood stove designed for cooking on, maybe even a fancy one with a built in oven!!! How awesome would that be??? Since I don’t actually know anything about building houses of any stature, I think an accessory building project is in order. Our town manager says as long as it is less than 100 square feet and no more than 35 feet tall, I do not need a permit. So, I am thinking of a 3 story 10 x 10 with storage lofts. Would that even stand up? Or would it just fall over like a good game of jenga? What do you think, if you could incorporate tiny house innovation into your current acreage, what would you add or subtract???

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Life Recapped.

DSCF2177In the flurry of recent changes, I haven’t taken much time for tea with The Earl of late. Change is good, but change is overwhelming too. In the matter of a few months, we have turned our schedules and priorities on their heads. Turned them upside down. Made a one eighty. Tossed convention out the door. Made some bold moves. Ok!!! You get the point, right? Over the summer, we decided to work harder to get out of debt faster than the minimum payments will allow. As a homeschooling family on a single income, we just don’t have that much wiggle room in the ole budget to pay down much of anything. So, my husband picked up some side work to add to the 6 days he already works regularly. He works 6:30 to 3:00 at his day job Monday to Friday and then 6 or 7 hours on Sunday afternoon. Add to that washing the windows at our local hospital and all their associated buildings, filling in for a friend cleaning a school at night, and stripping and rewaxing a floor. We sold some things too. All told, many weeks he worked about 80 hours. We saw him for maybe half an hour or an hour a day. I did not choose to meet The Earl to chat during all these shenanigans. I chose to aim for survival and we did just that. During this time of upheaval and stress, I participated in an E-course on downsizing. We did greatly reduce our possessions, although we have more layers to peel back and clean up. Throughout this time of horror, my children and I thought we would die without our guy around. It was truly horrible. With the big window job finally done, sitting at the table staring at our finances with that big fat paycheck in hand, all I could think of was how can I buy my husbands time back for myself and our children??? In the end, we did reduce our debt, but we stashed part of that money. And we bought him back. Yes, you read that right. We bought him back. This is our first week having him back, and while it is an adjustment, it is an awesome one. I began the downsizing course desperate for a tiny house of my own and ended it buying my husbands time and energy back instead. He is still working 6 days a week. But now he leaves at 5pm and gets home around 11pm most days. He brought me coffee in bed this morning. He helped our son with his reading today. He helped him begin building a wooden box to hold his treasures. He made our daughter breakfast and showed her how to plane wood. And debt? Whatever. It will get paid in time. Some extra work now and then will be ok. Not sure that the extra money will go right to the debt though. Maybe it will buy a piece of land. Maybe it will take us on an adventure. Who knows. I do know for certain that time is the most precious thing we have right now. Time with our children while they are here in our care. We can never buy that back. In the end, I am learning to downsize future regrets and to supersize life where ever we end up. Stay tuned. I’m just getting started.

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