Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A little about MY beginning...

In 2004 I was divorced, kids grown with an empty house. Hmmmm....what do you do with yourself after being a wife and Mom for 20 years? go haywire, give everything you own away and take off somewhere...I ended up in Wyoming working for Halliburton in the oilfields. Miss white collar, prissy girl in the muck and dirt with an 8lb sledge cleaning out oil wells. I loved it...I met my current spouse in the oilfields. I told him I was sick of the fast pace and trying to keep up with the Jones and I wanted a cabin in the woods where I could be self sufficient and grow my own food. He was all for it...well, how do you go about this? We both had Commercial Drivers licenses and decided to go over the road truck driving for 12 months. We figured we could live on the truck and save every dime we made and in that year we could purchase a piece of property, pay off all of our debt and build the cabin. 12 months of dreaming, planning and scheming. We ended up debt free with a little cash in our pocket but nothing near to what we had planned. The economy crashed and the trucking industry went down hill. We could barely make enough cash to run the truck every week much less save anything. So we decided it was do or die...we got off the truck, moved in with his parents and started hunting for a piece of property...we would have to have a mortgage but with careful planning could pay it off quickly. Well, the research we had done paid off. We looked at several...someone was smiling on us...we found this itty bitty wreck of a house that was scheduled to be bought by the city and demolished. We looked at it and fell in love...even thru the dirt and muck and garbage, we loved it. It was perfect. The city wouldn't let us have it though...they were tired of all of the out of town people buying up cheap properties and never maintaining them. The yards would be a mess, the siding would fall off, the foundations would go bad and they were a liability. There began the fight with City Hall. They treated us with contempt..they heard it all before, no, they would bid on this house and outbid us no matter what. Well, my guy, being the enormous teddy bear that he is...went to talk to the commissioner. Thinking reason could out weigh anything...nope! He finally got mad...which never happens. He threatened, cajoled, yelled, got red in the face...and then he threatened them with the historical society..hee hee! It worked, they agreed to outbid everyone but us...I was so terrified I wouldn't have enough money! When folks found out they were bidding against the city, they gave up, which gave me an in. I won the house on October 19, 2009 for $600.00.

I feel like this house bought me. I feel like I was meant to be here. We drove straight to the house and I actually got to see the inside for the first time. Wow...well, that wasn't the exact verbage I used. I knew it would be bad because the outside was horrible. I didn't care. I owned a house!

It was raining in the living room and kitchen. You couldn't touch anything without turning black, it smelled to high heaven and the cobwebs were thicker than the curtains. It had no bathroom, the electrical and plumbing were in awful shape... I was overjoyed!

My dream was coming true, it wasn't a cabin in the woods but it would do nicely. I started with the outside. All of the junk cars, parts and garbage had to go, right now!
My first move was to rip the old oil tank off the garage, cut a door in it and WA LA! A burn barrel! I gathered, piled, sorted, burned...for 30 days straight. I pulled weeds, mowed and raked. We had the local junk collector come and take the cars, freezers and old appliances off. Some of them were filled with meat and food still and they wouldn't take them. They smelled so bad! We had an enormous trailer. It measured 8ftx16ft long with 8ft sides. I filled it up seven times! When I started on the house, I did the same thing. I sorted and piled. During this time I had no electricity and it was cold out so we installed my old wood cookstove in the house which enabled me to heat the house and the water. We borrowed a generator so we had one light. I spent every day for two months cleaning 10 hours a day while my guy pieced together plumbing parts from family members, neighbors and friends. We gleaned a wood stove from a friend who no longer used it and installed it in the basement. We had to remove all of the gas pipe and the furnace because it had sat so long it was leaking everywhere and that included the water heater. It was beyond our means to fix it. My guy spent every week end day cutting down trees for people or cleaning up blown down ones for firewood to heat our house thru the winter. Driving to the gas station one afternoon, we spied a bathtub in someone's yard. We stopped, asked if they would sell and they said "make an offer...real cheap..." I offered them twenty five dollars and they took it. Every dime I had to my name...literally as I paid them in quarters, nickels and dimes lol! I was now the proud owner of one claw foot bath tub in incredible shape! I took it home, parked it in the living room on a tarp and ground off all the old paint, primed it and painted it. Another neighbor said that he had a toilet and sink that we could have if we came and got them...score! As soon as we had the toilet plumbed in, we moved in. The tub was in but had no faucet so I heated water on my wood cookstove everyday for six months, bath time was every evening at 8pm. It was an ordeal! We heated water in an 11 gallon turkey fryer kettle until June of 2010 when we purchased a hot water on demand system for my birthday! YAAAAY! We have hot water, it was worth saving for six months as it's energy savings has only raised my electric bill 18 cents a month.

At this time, only one of us was working. As in most small towns, jobs are hard to come by and they pay very little. We had a house that needed an amazing amount of work and no money. Dreams of animals and gardens and...So how do you go about doing all of this work and have nice things with no money? Well, that is the post for tomorrow! Sweet Dreams!


  1. "It was raining in the living room and kitchen..." Good stuff Lisa! Never knew you were a writer. You always were good at taking old things and restoring them. Glad you have found a place you can put your heart (and talents)into :) -Joey

  2. So glad I've found your blog. It always pays to follow your dream! Best wishes.

  3. I am really enjoying your blog. Since reading Thoreau in high school, I have longed for my little cabin in the wood, but alas, I am living in a little red brick house but at least now living very deliberately. Thanks for sharing.
    Susannah Holt

  4. Susannah? I love Thoreau...he was an inspiring man...I am so happy you have joined us! There are a lot of very inspiring women that stop by and have chosen to be a part of this blog! To live deliberately and freely is a great way to live! Welcome and I am so delighted you are here!

  5. I can't believe you lived in there with no heating except for the stoves. For that long. I have lived like that myself and it was so miserable in the winter. Amazing.


I love your comments and insights!