Fortune Friday: #tinyempire timeline/Get it DONE, Pay it DOWN

We are refinancing our house. It seems like, if you’ve been reading They Were Born Dragons or Tiny Empire you know that this has been two solid years of projects. We closed on our house in Halsey two years ago. It’s all very confusing. Here’s a timeline for you:

  • June 27-July 1, 2016: Trip to Montana. I saw my old home, and there was finally a family living in it.  This was a big emotional release for me, and it felt like a big shift had happened in my soul. overdale with marybeth
  • July 3, 2016: I dragged Tom to Halsey to look at a house that was owned by USDA and had been sitting there lonely on the street corner waiting for us for a year. We’d already tried to buy a house 3 times by this point (we knew we wanted to be together, lol) and we were lucky to get a private loan to buy the house, since it was impossible to finance due to its condition.
  • July 22, 2016 We closed on our first property together, West M Street, Halsey. Ella drew this cartoon of us while we were signing our papers. Notice Tom is scruffy and we’re both saying “yay!” and our realtor is saying “Good Job!”


July-August 2016 We worked on the house nonstop and got kinda grumpy and exhausted and testy. We tried to stay positive. It was tough! Tom spent 8 hours repairing a huge roofing leak issue that happened over the front bedroom that was going to be Ella’s. I was packing the entire apartment we were living in and teaching summer school PT.  Tom was working FT. We ripped off the roof in a heat wave, but with the worry of rain coming. We had a crew of 12 Halsey/Brownsville friends come to our rescue, like superheroes.  Luckily, thank the heavens, we were able to get a loan to help us pay for professional roofers. That house has something like 3500 square feet of roofing to put on, and lots of slopes. It was insane. And then we were saved-no rain on the house without a roof.  roofing tile.jpg

I was also tiling the main bathroom and painting the inside. I used pre-mixed grout which was the most horrific experience. TRUST me, don’t do that. Mix it yourself in small batches.

  • February-April, 2017: we started to prepare to refinance our house so we wouldn’t be paying the high interest on our private loan. It was quite the process, and we ended up not being able to even do it yet, since we hadn’t been there a year. But now we had the house pretty well in good shape. There was a wall for the laundry room, and it looked great. Tom installed new laminate in there, and we had a huge closet on the other side for our Master. We lived in all but one room of that house, it was hilarious. We kept having to move our bed due to which room we had to work on. Once we finally moved into our room it was pretty slick. We had no drywall on the inside of our room, and a particle board floor, but I didn’t care. I had a door. And I was on the other side of the house from the kids.
  • April, 2017: Like insane zealots, we decided to flip a house. I have no idea how I let this crazy guy talk me into this, but when he gets excited, well, it’s pretty magnetic and intoxicating. IMG_7817So we looked at several houses, put in offers, and were outbid immediately on all of them. Then our realtor showed us what would become Soggy Bottom Ranch. We naively thought we would FLIP A FARM and that idea still makes me laugh. We both love land. It was God’s little joke on us.
  • April-May, 2017 We worked every spare minute at the farm, making it nice and cleaning it up. We filled 8 commercial dumpsters of detritus that we had removed. We took down an entire building. We started to fall in love with the place, but the reality of 700 square feet with us and kids seemed insane. By Memorial Day weekend we knew we had to keep it. So we started simultaneously working on our house in Halsey to finish to sell, and our new place in JC. It about killed us, the exhaustion.
  • July 2017, we listed our house in Halsey and accepted a full-price offer 48 hours later. Then we went out and bought an RV to live in while we were doing the addition on the house. Our permits for the addition weren’t even finished.
  • August 2017, we were roofing in the heat and the smoke from forest fires. This time we ripped it off ourselves and installed it with our hero, Scott. I didn’t do much roofing installation, I was the garbage pick-up girl and lunch fetcher and painter. Tom put in a floor in the house in 90 degree heat, I simply handed him boards. I packed our house in Halsey and we moved our things into the storage pod we’d rented and had placed on our property in JC. Scott and Tom poured and built the foundation, the framing, the huge trusses to hold up the roof. Then they roofed the addition and we wrapped it so no water could get in.
  • September 2017, all moved in and living in 700 sq feet, but luckily with a finished kitchen. Mostly. I had a few pieces of plywood over the island for about a month until our butcher block came in. We slept in the RV and I had insane insane dreams for the entire time we lived in it. Turns out-and I found this out later after we’d been living here a while-the former tenants DIED HERE and were major meth addicts. So, I was feeling a lot of that energy.
  • December, 2017, the addition was finished enough to move our couch into the living room, install the TV, put up book shelves, sleep in bedrooms. We no longer had to sleep on wheels. It was miraculous. We even took a few days off and went to Bend to relax and unwind. BUT we didn’t do a great job of unwinding. We had fun snow tubing, though!
  • January-July, 2018, we have been working on siding, painting, tiling, deck building, planting the grass for the yard. We had an excavator come and dig out around the foundation of the entire house to install a French drain. That expense was INTENSELY expensive. We had to borrow money to pay for it, and then have to refinance so we don’t have such an expensive loan.

Which brings us up to date and why we are busting our assess, again, to finish up and be done with our house. WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. WE WILL NOT BE DOING A ROOF FOR THE 3RD YEAR IN A ROW. This is our ranch. We love it here, and are here to stay. Now my financial goals involve paying down all of the miscellany that we accrued over the last two years, and tackling my student loans. And we’d like to take a vacation together somewhere like Puerto Vallarta or Hawaii, so I plan to save for that. I am also getting a few side hustles going, one being my business, and several being PT paying gigs like waiting tables or painting houses to help meet my goals.

I am more than willing to keep chipping away at the iceberg of debt and build up a nest egg for tomorrow.


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