Introducing… Big Bertha

So, we’ve got an exciting Upcycled Ugly announcement.  As my sister says, we’re adding to our Upcycled Ugly “compound”!  And, yes, ugly is a necessity…

I’d like to introduce you to our first “investment property” [groan]!

BigBerthaYep, she’s ugly.

She’s what is called a “canned ham” trailer, for obvious, adorable reasons…

Here’s a little backstory:

We found “her” on Craigslist and snatched her up.  When the previous owner rolled up to our house with Big Bertha in tow, she (a) took up the whole carport and (b) came with a weight ticket of 3,100 lbs- nearly double what a camper of this size usually weighs.  Whoa!   She immediately earned the nickname “Big Bertha”.

So, what the heck are we going to do with Big Bertha?

Well, we’re not 100% sure.  But, for starters… DSC_0687
The Longhorn towels have to go (… Sic ’em Baylor Bears!), as well as the cowboy decor. Then, the ridiculously ugly black box that sits like a pimple on the face of our sweet, ugly trailer is going bye-bye…   Then, we’d like to replace the front window and get a nice coat of paint on “her”.


While we continue to get our act together, enjoy this brief tour of Big Bertha Before:


Kitchen & Large Bed in the Back:

Small bed in the front (hoping to turn into a seating area) and a shower/potty area:

We’ve had such fun with AirBnB using our actual house, we’re hoping to rent “Big Bertha” out on AirBnB, as well.  This is also extra incentive to get the backyard looking top notch!  It seems like a foreign idea to some, but has been successful several places in the country.

The main thing we’ve learned is that our guests basically want privacy, cleanliness, convenience and a bit of a unique experience.  We hope our little “canned ham” will provide that once we put in a bit of elbow grease & our personality.  Also, our major renting season begins in May, so that gives us a good timeline for completion!

If she flops, we’ll go camping… or just sell her.

“She” made for some scintillating conversations at family Thanksgiving (black water tank, anyone?).

I know you guys are excited to see her “makeover” and we can’t wait to share her transformation.  Until then, have fun!!

Sweet Summertime Honesty & AirBnb

Well, it has been a non-stop, action-packed Summer for Aaron and I.  Self-induced, of course.

Something wonderful happened to us at the end of April.  I don’t think either Aaron or I would realize the event’s importance until… well, now.

We were sitting on the front porch looking at our garden while drinking a cool beverage.  Neighbors were walking by and waving.  The birds were tweeting.  Sizzle-dog was on my lap.  It was a cool, Texas-style 89 degrees.  😉  We were talking about our the budget…

Wait, hold the phone.

Yeah, nothing kills a “mood” like talking about your cash.  Or lack thereof.  Hah!

Anyway, a lady walked by and made a nice comment about our house.  We engaged in conversation and found out that she lived about half a mile away.  I remembered her house specifically because I found it on earlier in the year when searching for a place for Jeff and Tommy to stay during construction.

In typical “Erin” fashion, I asked her if she’d had any “creepers” stay with her.

She had nothing but good words about the guests that had stayed in her home.  We talked to her about her setup (a shared bathroom!!), the use of the kitchen, the great airbnb policies, etc.  We said our goodbyes and she headed home.

Again, in typical “Erin” fashion, I looked at Aaron with a twinkle in my eye and said, “We’re so doing this…”  And, in typical “Aaron” fashion, he said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Long story short, I buttered him up and here we are two months later with ten good reviews from guests (and counting).  Our mortgage has been paid (plus some) both months by the generosity of our guests and we’ve spent time with some really fantastic people with some truly amazing stories.  Not to mention, our house is in a constant state of “clean”, which is just short of a miracle.

As I was writing this post, Suze Orman posted a quote on Facebook that sort of sums up how I’ve felt for a while:

“Debt can feel like the heaviest burden in life.  It can weigh down your spirits, occupy your mind, and make you feel bound- because you are bound.”

Aaron and I recently joined our neighbors for the matinee of Jurassic World (the new Jurassic Park movie).  One of the more memorable scenes was the hatching of the baby Indominous Rex.  The dinosaur has been encapsulated in this egg for its whole existence.  You first see the egg begin to move.  Then you see a small crack begin to appear in the shell.  Next, you see tiny claws break through and, finally, the face of this dinosaur.

That egg is our debt.  Our entire adult lives, we have had debt of some sort.  In many ways, it has been good debt- we are educated and have a beautiful modestly-priced custom home.  However, it is still the ball-and-chain to many goals we have for the future.

We are a slightly more attractive Indominous Rex. And we are “blowing this [debt] popstand”!

We have hope.  We have a plan.  And, thanks to AirBnb, we are ahead of schedule.