Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize

Our 1956 Flying Cloud Airstream in its new position in the yard.

It started with an email from Greenability magazine. “Save $3,000 on a 2018 Nissan Leaf if you are a KCP&L customer.”

It’s old location there where the gravel is. We will turn this area into a driveway for our Cottage East tenants in the next couple of years.

And that got my attention. I mean, heck, $3,000 is a LOT of money. So I did a little bit of digging, checked out auto loan rates, and about an hour later was sitting in a very comfortable seat staring at the control panel for what appeared to be a spaceship.

See the end of the fence there on the left? We will build a fence that connects to the fence in the foreground. It will have a gate. This will close off access to one corner of our backyard.


Backup camera. No engine noise, heck NO NOISE AT ALL. Brakes that automatically engage when you take your foot off of the accelerator. A smart cruise control that allows you to set the number of car lengths you want to have in front of you and automatically adjusts when you drift out of your lane.

I plan to enlarge the brick firepit surround and then take a path directly to the door of the Airstream. We will put in some steps as well for easier access. I think that, instead of having a double gate there at the back, we can just add a gate at the front of the yard and drive a truck from the front to the back to hook up the RV when we are ready to take it to Airstream headquarters for a renovation.

It felt like a time warp – I’m driving around in a pedal car straight out of The Flintstones and just got to take my first spaceship for a spin!

I’m a numbers gal, though. So as the money manager of the house, I made it very clear not just to the Nissan Leaf saleswoman, but also the Honda salesman (I got to drive a hybrid gas/electric – so cool!), that I would NOT be making a decision or signing anything that day.

It can be hard to tell, but that greenery above and to the right of the bricks is our future pond. I’m considering laying in brick all the way up to the edge and creating a nice surround that doesn’t need constant weeding.

Instead, I enjoyed the experience, got some great facts and figures, and decided that as wonderful as it was, I wasn’t about to stray from the path we have set ourselves on.

Our goals remain as follows:

  • Stabilize Cottage East and get codes off our backs by installing the siding and new windows and fixing the brickwork in the front and back.
  • Finish Cottage West into TWO rental properties – a 2-3 bedroom, one bath on the main floor and attic and a basement studio apartment below
  • Do the same to Cottage East
  • Finish out the basement of our home to include a one-bedroom or studio apartment, along with storage and a beer cellar. The apartment will be used for housing my dad, then as a rental, transitional housing for my daughter when she is an adult, and as a caretaker apartment when we are of the age that we need help.
  • Fix up the Airstream and use it to travel the country

And as much as the salespeople were willing to work with us – dedicating $550 per month to owning our very own 2018 spaceship is unrealistic and honestly would be rather foolish.

We have a back fence to build. And I have brick paths to lay.

These bricks circle the large silver maple in the front yard. I’ve been planting a lot of shade plants there and still need to finish the circle with “just a few more bricks!”

We have two vehicles that are completely 100% paid for. And the money we have set aside for their upkeep, along with our minimal fuel expenses now that we live and work within a five-mileĀ area, doesn’t come close to the additional amount it would cost in property taxes, insurance, and monthly payments.

My eyes are firmly on the prize. Get debt free, ensure our future income and retirement. And that means that our twelve and fifteen-year-old cars serve us just fine. They are tools, and they function well. With regular maintenance, they will continue to do so for a very long time.

I smile though, at the experience of driving those super-cool spaceships. One day, I might just buy myself one!

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