Newest life journey – week one cabin update

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newest life journey
Key to cabin, Photo by slc

Day #2  This key finally opened the locked well-worn cabin door and now I hold the key to my newest life journey!

Today, I pulled thistles, raked and picked up bags and bags of small tree limbs and dry tall grasses before my son-in-law arrived to help with grass trimming around the 3/4 acre property.  He also removed cabinet doors from inside the cabin.  We wanted to open up everything so we could set off a Raid Max Deep Reach Fogger before we left for the day.  Several unwanted creatures live in old, abandoned mountain cabins.  Mice and squirrels have left signs of their visits to my cabin but the most unwanted creatures right now are the black widow spiders; we found two today.

newest life journey
1945 Magazine, Photo by slc

We also found a treasure today: an August 1945 edition of the We The People of North Carolina magazine.  In it are some pretty interesting articles.  One titled “Teachers’ New Salary Schedule” describes “minimum state salary schedule adopted for payment of all teachers next year, both white and Negro.”  A teacher with a graduate degree and two years experience would receive an annual salary of $1,487 which “includ(es) the $120 war bonus.”

Other articles titled “An Overall Picture of War-Time America” and “Federal Spending Down” reflect America’s history back in 1945.  The magazine was in good condition and made for fascinating reading at the end of the day.

Day #3

newest life journey
Permit, Photo by slc

I didn’t get up to the cabin today but I did attend a gathering of Big Thompson Canyon residents to pick up a permit.  The Canyon will be closed October 2nd for winter CDOT construction projects which are necessary to repair damage sustained in the 2013 Big Thompson River flooding.  According to CDOT’s press release the permit will “allow canyon residents living within the closure boundaries access” during the “large-scale closure.”

My cabin happens to be on the other side of the road closure but I was able to get a permit so I at least have limited access through the Canyon.  I can also access the cabin at other times but by a much further route through Lyons and Estes Park.  This closure will cause us to halt most work on the cabin as contractors will charge more to deal with the closure/permit situation.

The Canyon road, Highway 34, will reopen Memorial Day weekend 2018.

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Cabin Day #1 – My Side of the Mountain

cabin day 1
slc

You may remember I put a contract on a “fixer upper” cabin in early August.  These past few weeks I have read various library books about cabins.  Building, designing and living life in a cabin.  My favorite title was Cabin Porn, Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Steven Leckart, but one of the most interesting I read was Cabin Lessons, A Nail-by-Nail Tale by Spike Carlsen.

I have also contacted a credit union for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loan, the county building department about future building permits, a structural engineer for an Improvement Location Certificate (ILC), a stone mason to look at the condition of the stone fireplace and foundation, and an asbestos testing company which took 20 samples (one positive).  In between making these contacts, I read extensive government documents regarding fire mitigation, asbestos testing requirements and demolition guidelines.

On September 5th I closed on the HELOC loan and on September 8th I closed on the cabin property.  It was a childhood dream to live in a cabin in the mountains some day.  Ever since reading one of my favorite books My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.  That day has come.

Today, I drove about 40 minutes from my home in Loveland up to the property in Glen Haven to begin work on my “fixer upper.”  Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I dreamed of…

I was a little out of breath in the video from cutting and hauling tree limbs to the slash pile for almost four hours at 7400 feet above sea level.  I also didn’t have cell service to call anyone for help.  More cabin updates to come…

 

“Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”

Joanna and Chip Gaines begin their hit show Fixer Upper on HGTV each week with that question.  I love their show and others which depict people taking on a fixer upper property and making it into something wonderful.  You might say I’m addicted!

taking on a fixer upper
Photo by slc

So, to answer the question, “Do you have the guts to take on a fixer upper?”  My answer is yes, I do!  This week I successfully negotiated a contract on a fixer upper in the mountains about 40 minutes from my home.

The original cabin with a stone fireplace was built in 1938.  It is a one room structure built on a stone foundation.  In 1989, former owners crudely built an attached two-story addition to the cabin.  This addition was not permitted and later deteriorated beyond livability.  The cabin has electricity but no running water or septic.  It has a primitive outhouse up the hill for the owner’s convenience.

So why am I buying this property?

First, I can afford it and it is a good investment.  The property was listed “as is” for $98,900.  I offered $85,000 and the sellers accepted.  Other fixer uppers we have looked at have been listed around $200,000 with major work needed. Mountain properties in the area typically go for $120,000 and up for smaller lots and cabins.  Once I fix this property up as now planned, we could probably list it for over $200,000.  The financial risk of taking on a fixer upper at this price is fairly minimal.

Second, it could become a source of income.  I am hopeful demolition, rebuilding and restoration will be completed by about August 1st next year.  At that time, I would like to offer it as a Vacation Rental By Owner, VRBO.  The property is near the Estes Park area and I would market it to people who are looking for a quiet place in the woods for their short-term stay.

taking on a fixer upper
photo by slc

Next, the thought of being the general contractor on this project is exciting.  I have already learned a lot from visiting with the planners at the county building department, a structural engineer and visiting websites on codes, permits and even sealed vaults for septic.   Designing the new structure will probably be my favorite part of the process.  I have already drawn a rough sketch of the proposed layout of the new addition.  Fun stuff!

Lastly, I have always (since about seventh grade) wanted a home in the woods.  Since moving to Colorado over 20 years ago I have wanted a  cabin in the mountains.  Since I have a passion for taking on a fixer upper and I have always wanted a cabin in the woods, this one is a pretty good fit.

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Group offers emotional support

emotional support
dailymail.co.uk

Women start ministries to help widows

By Kandice Bell, Newnam Times-Herald

August 6, 2017

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 800,000 people are widowed each year in the United States, and two local women are making strides to help widows deal with their grief.

Susie Walker lost her husband Rev. William Gerald ‘Jerry’ Walker in June 2016. Walker was a pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Newnan for over 30 years.

Walker said her widow group, W.O.W, which stands for ‘Women of Worth,’ began with nine ladies having coffee at her house in the fall of 2016 to help her with her grief, but the group has quickly grown to 30 or more widows.

‘When you lose your mate, all of a sudden everything you did as a couple is hard to do by yourself,’ Walker said. ‘Anything such as going to a movie or going out to eat.’

Walker said the group serves as emotional support for other widows. Some who were recently widowed and others who have been for years.”

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Retirement tips for workaholics

Trust me, workaholics never really retire.  We just find other ways to fulfill our drive to accomplish something. The following article will help my fellow workaholics find some peace and success in retirement:

Surviving Retirement When You’re a Workaholic

By By Douglas Dubitsky, Next Avenue 

June 28, 2017

Can a workaholic ever retire?

“Many workaholics genuinely enjoy the rush of starting and completing projects and continuing the non-stop cycle. So it may also be difficult for them to contemplate what life may be like in retirement once they are officially out of the workforce.

If you’re a workaholic, smoothing your transition to retirement means uncovering the answer to the question: What part of the end of your job will you miss the most? It might be the people. Or the challenges. Or having purpose. Once you know which it is, you can focus on how to reap the same benefits — and feelings —while not holding down full-time employment.

workaholics
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5 Retirement Tips for Workaholics

 Start slowly.

 Experiment and schedule.

 Give yourself a break.

 Talk it out.

 Look ahead.”

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Celebrate America the Beautiful!

Celebrating America
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“Of all the nations in the world, of all the social experiments that have been tried down through the centuries, there is no country I’d rather be a citizen of and call home than America.  Where else but in this land of opportunity are people given so much freedom to pursue their dreams, with the potential to bring out the best in everyone?

There are few places in the world where people enjoy the level of freedom we have in America.

Why do we enjoy all of these and many more blessings?  It is largely because we have a representative government that respects the rights of its citizens, and because we have a military powerful enough to defend us against intruders.  It is because we have a free market economy that, when unfettered, acts as an economic engine more powerful than any the world has ever seen.  Most importantly, we have a nation of faith so bold that we are willing to proclaim ‘In God We Trust’ on every coin in our pockets and every bill in our wallets.

There never has been and probably never will be again another place like America the Beautiful.”

Excerpt from Ben Carson, M.D., America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Zondervan, 2012.

Shedding your work identity

shedding work identity
clausa.com

The trick to navigating the road of retirement?  Figure out who your post-work self wants to be

by Eric Sebo, The Dallas Morning News

June 22, 2017

“Something is missing in my life after retirement. I feel as though I am on vacation, going down a scenic country road with windows open, music playing, hair (what’s left of it) blowing in the wind. At the same time, I’m anxious because I don’t know which exit to take and realize that my time and energy are inevitably winding down.

The problem is not financial. I worked longer, saved more and delayed Social Security payments. Nor is it medical or social, as I work out regularly, eat the right foods and maintain great relationships.

What is wrong is that my work identity has vanished, and I have no ready replacement.

Seeking a retirement identity is not a topic often covered. Radio shows provide advice on investments, real estate and the stock market. In the print media, each ‘new retirement idea’ seems to be a repackaged article on financial, familial, health or social challenges. While all are important, so too is preparing for who you will be after your final day at work.”

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