The Big House

Exerpt about the Big Yellow House adventure. 

Chapter 12.  Don’t beat yourself up. Life will do it for you.

I gotta great idea! Yah, right.

In May of 2019 my wife and I decided I could quit my current job and babysit our two girls for the summer, ages five and six at the time. My wife’s niece and nephew also spent a lot of time with us. Daddy daycare was now open for business! With a plethora of activities to do, the summer breezed by. The days were filled with lazily lollygagging at the local pool, jumping on the trampoline, ruining furniture with home-made slime projects, watching movies or doing fairly safe hacks posted on YouTube videos. 

This was during the day. In the morning when everyone was sleeping, I was getting educated at YouTube University! Educated about anything that could keep our bank account from drying up! I watched hours of helpful information on YouTube about real estate, being a YouTuber, Life Coaching, Motivational speaking, tons of personal development stuff. Anything that could be a good fit for me. My nephew, who slept most of the day, was also a great resource as a YouTube genius. I picked his brain whenever I could find him awake.

At that time Life Coaching, Motivation and Personal Development was just a hobby of sorts. The time came when it was more of a lifeline, which made me an even bigger consumer of anything in the personal development space.

After soaking in lots of information about Real Estate and Financial Education, I now knew everything there was to know about these two subjects, so I thought! Especially enchanting were some thoughts about mistakes and education.  The gist was: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, it's how we learn! Well, that was empowering for me, especially the first part about mistakes. “It’s how we learn”, I was soon to be educated about the magnitude of those words! 

I’m a poor communicator and I do it well! I didn’t tell anyone about a house soon to be auctioned off. Didn’t even tell my wife. Showed up in the evening of the auction day. Mesmerized by this huge old Victorian era house I wondered if it would come close to my price point? The bidding came down to one other guy and me. When the tension was high, I asked to call my wife to help me decide… “sure take all the time you need”, they said. 

She was in a meeting and my phone call must have been a shock and a lot of pressure. Did I get the bid? Yes. Was my signature binding? Yes. We got the house, used all our savings for the down payment, had no job, had no money, had no sense and had some house payments to think about. As you would expect, there was considerable tension at the Sarver house for a while, both houses. 

Unfortunately, I was learning a lot about myself. Fortunately, I also was learning a lot about other people. This literally blasted me out of my comfort zone, and I became painfully more self-aware. Aware of two things particularly. For one thing, I am an avoider. When conflict or problems arrive, I make like a tree and leave! Let someone else handle the pain points

I also learned I’m afraid of success. When I was close to success, I would use self-sabotaging behavior because success was outside of my comfort zone. Failure brings sympathy and I don’t have to be embarrassed by my lack of skills when I fail. I was a sympathy addict. This means it's just too easy to sabotage your projects in exchange for the dopamine hit, induced by a little sympathy. To be successful would mean a lot of stress, it's intimidating besides!

So, my wife, certainly not an avoider and not afraid of conflict, helped me learn a few new skills. My first plan after doing the math, was get a job and just pay the big yellow house off in three years. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or just give them the entire down payment and walk away, so easy and safe! The Mrs. wasn’t so keen on this idea! Go figure! In her clear straightforward communication style, she pointed me in a different direction!

Learning more about people was a bonus for me, people are truly amazing. Starting with a local dairy farmer and good friend, who hired me to feed the cute little cows for therapy and income. 

I was so stressed., I didn’t eat or sleep for about three days. Motivational speeches, affirmations, Life Coaching and personal development material were all that tasted good to me. I stuffed myself on this digital buffet until my strength returned and I could get out of bed and somehow dig myself out of this hole! Adulting wasn't something I was familiar with!

Somewhere in the timeframe of inspirational speaker immersion I started to see commonalities within their stories. Some of the most inspiring people on the planet have gone through some tough times. Wow… News Flash! Nobody born with a silver spoon is going to have an interesting story! This isn’t new news, you already know this, but it was sort of new to me. Yes, I’m closer to the raccoon than Einstein on the Smart Scale! I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, for sure, yet staying in my comfort zone would never help me grow or have a story to tell.

Steve Harvey for instance. I just thought he was the funny guy hosting Family Feud. He came from humble beginnings.  Lived out of his car for over three years while he was trying to be recognized. Did you know he stuttered terribly as a child? Steve told his class he wanted to be on TV when he grew up. The teacher shamed him terribly, even reported the infraction to his parents. After Steve made the Big Leagues, he sent his teacher a brand-new TV every year. Because you can't watch TV without seeing Steve Harvey somewhere. I just love that guy. When you are down on your luck, you feel like he understands and has a message of hope for you personally.  

Now to make a short story, long… Here is what happened with the big yellow house. We cleaned and painted everything inside. Painting it all white, it felt like a hospital. The previous owner was truly amazing, a kindly gentleman, kind of the artsy type and this added to the aura of the home. He was a contractor and had spent thirty years remodeling the house. Updated all the plumbing, electrical and HVAC. The home was well maintained, to my advantage.

When I had spare time, I would network. Because we always hear networking is such a good idea. On YouTube, I studied every good and bad thing about hosting with Airbnb and decided to try it. When the house and business were completely in place, I went to the local Chamber of Commerce to let them know I was in town and ready to be the hostess with the mostest

Was I ever surprised when I met a man in the Chamber office, also new to town. He was searching for something! Searching for an Airbnb to rent for several months. This guy was a contractor and would be working on a job for about one year and needed a place to live. He was a seasoned Airbnb host himself and had a wealth of information to help me get started.

The whole yellow house adventure nearly swamped my boat. I was learning the truth of that familiar saying, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger". Except bears. Bears will definitely kill you!