An Exciting Weekend

Advice from a pillow!
Advice from a pillow!

Last weekend we took a trip to meet the owner of the land we are interested in purchasing in Northern Michigan. During the Think Better, Live Better session at WDS Portland, I’d written down a goal of buying land and building a house. In the words of Charlie Gilkey, now was the time for me to “Ship It” (AKA get it done).

It was an early start for a 6AM LA to Chicago flight then a connection to Grand
Rapids, MI. From there, we rented a car and drove a couple of hours north to reach our destination.

We immediately visited the land and it was the first time we were there together since Christmas 2014. At that time everything was beneath a couple of feet of snow, so this was the first proper look my husband had had beyond photos. Fortunately, he reacted exactly as I had. He loved it, and we again experienced the rarity magic of being totally aligned in our decision.

Soil erosion and drainage to address
Soil erosion and drainage to address

In anticipation of our visit, the owner had clearly done some additional clearing and prepping the land for viewing. The foliage on the large berm was cut, the driveway path had been redone, and we noticed a couple of spots that had been touched to either mask or address drainage. That was a little cause for concern, as there had been some rainfall in the area, and we could clearly see a couple of spots of erosion. Although we loved the land, we kept reminding ourselves to look with our heads over our hearts. As my husband pointed out, we don’t want to build a house and have it slide down the hill at the first sign of wet weather!

After a thorough pacing and much discussion of where to put the actual house, I drove my husband to the place that started this whole thing: the 3 bedroom ranch house on 2.5 acres that I viewed back in June. The price dropped $23K over the summer, and the house is currently pending sale. It is a lovely property but neither one of us particularly liked the surroundings.

A treat to wake up to
A treat to wake up to

Thankfully, there was no feeling of having missed out, so we didn’t look back as we went on to my sister-in-law’s house. She had kindly allowed us to stay, and her beautiful property overlooking the lake was a further tease of this possible future.

We went into town that night and enjoyed a steak followed by too much locally produced ice cream. A very different scene from LA, but one that fit better.

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise over the bay then a sharp rain shower, which was a heavenly break from hot and drought-stricken Southern California. When the sun returned, I wandered around my sister-in-law’s property, hearing the wind rustle the surrounding trees and watching the sun sparkling on the lush wet leaves. It reminded me of Northern England, and I felt a little pang of home in a place I’d only visited a couple of times.

I want one!
I want one!

We met the owner at 10AM, and he was in full-on sales mode. He had borrowed a golf cart to take us around the property and show us the estate, and it was far from the tiny electric carts that you find on a studio lot in Hollywood. This was a 4×4 diesel Kubota RTV – a serious piece of equipment! We I strapped in, and we were immediately off road, up a steep hill, narrowly fitting between trees. I suddenly appreciated the scale of the land we were looking at. Only 2 acres, but considering our LA rental sits on a 6,500sqft lot, to our eyes it might as well have been 20 acres. The owner was also a would-be handyman and builder, so he gave us a fresh set of eyes on the possibilities of what we could build to maximize the plot and the view. Our tour concluded with a couple of secluded beaches along the lake and we could just imagine bringing our labrador (plus a couple more!) to play in the clear water.

Our heads were spinning with excitement, information overload, and “and are we really going to do this?!?!”. We left it saying we’d work on an offer and respond by the end of the week. What a week it’s been!


World Domination Summit 2016

Morning FlightLast Thursday I did a crazy thing. Crazy for me at least. I got up at 3:15AM and took a day trip to Portland, OR to attend two academy sessions at World Domination Summit 2016. I never do stuff like that. I read about it and think it would be cool, but it’s very rare that I actually follow through.

It started a couple of months ago when I got a Money Boss email promoting the academy session that would be hosted by my two heroes: J.D. Roth and Mr. Money Mustache. In true Risky Business “WTF”-style, I immediately bought a ticket. I then figured if I was going to go all the way to Portland for an afternoon, I might as well make a day of it so I also bought a ticket for a morning academy: Think Better, Live Better.

WDS 2016

As August drew near, I all but talked myself out of it. I decided it was only $118 spent on tickets and while it was terribly wasteful, at least I’d “save” on additional costs for such a silly whim. Nonsense. Thankfully I saw sense and planned a day trip.

Upon arrival in Portland, I was straight into a cab and only just got to the Winningstad Theater in time. The speakers – Marc and Angel Chernoff – were already on stage as I made it to my seat. I was overcome with glee and excitement that I was actually there. The messages of positivity emanating from the stage were the icing on top of my already baked happy cake. I was proud that I’d made the effort to just show up and embrace a new experience.

The next two speakers – Mike Vardy and Charlie Gilkey – were all about productivity and getting shit done. I was a sponge soaking everything in. Kendra Wright then moved me to tears during her #YearofFear project speech. Here was a fearless, vibrant, beautiful woman (in leather pants no less), suddenly projecting pictures of herself as a tiny baby given only a 5% chance of survival. A Cerebral Palsy diagnosis still didn’t stop her from facing life head-on and making the most of every second. Kendra asked us all to write a letter to ourselves about one thing we want to achieve, and then hand it to a person nearby who should mail it back to us in two weeks. In my letter to myself I wrote about wanting to do more with this site. Embrace the outlet, and write.

Mr. Money Mustache #wds2016

I broke for lunch and carried that inspired elation until I was in a front row seat for the Money Boss session that originally prompted my Portland adventure. I was easily as excited as a teenage Belieber catching a glimpse of her idol as I first saw J.D. and Pete on stage. Casually dressed and humble, they were still like Gods to me. I was too shy to say a singe word to either of them, and instead just nodded and smiled goofily along through the whole session. I was proud to sit in that audience having come so far from the person who first scrambled around the internet looking for any kind of advice that might help me become better with money. I was grateful for their advice and council over the years. I was blessed to be there in that moment.

Throughout the day, my mind kept wandering to that piece of land in rural Michigan. Could we buy it? Could we actually build a house? Could I one day quit my high-paying job and leave LA? My heart kept answering that yes I could and I left my long day in Portland with renewed determination to execute on our plan.

Best $118 spent in a long time.