My story: It was all worth it.

I was born in February 1986, I was home schooled and raised on my family’s golf course and my grandparents’ (retired) dairy farm in northern Minnesota. I lived and breathed that golf course, I was a damn fine golfer and mowed so much grass to this day I refuse to mow even my own lawn.

I met a man from Oklahoma online during that time.

I owned a house before I bought my first car when I was 19 in 2005. I bought it on a cosign with him down in Oklahoma with the plans to renovate it and sell it for a profit and that story goes: I learned how NOT to do a renovation and to NEVER EVER EVER cosign for anyone.

I lost six years of my life splitting my time there renovating that house and my time here helping run the golf course. Minnesota had been hollering me back for years, it was WAY past time that I listened.

After he destroyed my credit score I came home pissed off, exhausted and broke in August 2010.< That year turned into a landmark year for my mom and I. In the next two months my family sold/lost almost everything (including the golf course) and my folks got divorced. (That was during the huge economic collapse in the US.) Everything changed in that two months, every certainty, every belief, every plan I had ever had for the future - it all absolutely vanished. The golf school brochures went into a drawer to be eventually thrown away.

I was shell shocked.

diy home renovation refinishingadopted dog diesel

I grabbed my freedom by the horns and kind of went wild. Everything I had missed by being home schooled. Everything I had missed by being tied to someone from another state for six years.

What can I say? I missed EVERYTHING and I had a lot of catching up to do!

Unfortunately this story has a real sad note though as in just a couple of years I also lost my three childhood dogs and my last two grandparents: my two Grandmas. I got back home just in time to experience a load of grief.

With the passing of my grandma Charlotte my mom, aunt and I began the clean out of the 100 year old house, barn and out buildings. There was A LOT of furniture, far more then any of us had ever anticipated.

Nobody knew what to do with any of it and no one wanted to sell it either!

My aunt and mom took the few pieces they had room for (they kept everything my grandparents’ had ever made as they had retired from farming to wood working) and then there was me, hand raised, grinning in shock at myself, I wanted it all.

I had no idea why but my heart just burst!

As long as I lived there would be no selling a single beautiful old piece, every one of them would be a part of my story somehow! I was ready to really start working again. (Its a sickness I inherited from my Mom’s side of the family – we’re not happy unless we’re working toward something.)

furniture refinishing

My Story

And so we filled one whole stall of my mom’s garage and in August of 2013, almost exactly three years since I came home for good from Oklahoma, I embarked on my furniture refinishing adventure. I had never done anything like it before but I learned quick!

It saved me.

It gave me hope.

It filled my heart when I was down and my hands, having done nothing but hold cigarettes and glasses of alcohol for the last three years, learned again how to create, mold, nurture. It helped me heal.

I had purpose again.

Since moving back I had been quietly on the lookout for a little place of my own. I hadn’t really told anyone about it but my mom and I had stopped and looked at a few small (very old) farm houses that were in my budget and one original little school house that totally took my breath away.

I had this image in my mind of an old place that I could restore. That could be totally mine. That I could make right and beautiful again.

The story of a newly single gal that almost singelhandely renovated her Grandparents' 100 year old farmhouse. How at 30 years old she built her dream home!

My Story

Of course you already know it was right in front of me.

I was hollered home.

In April 2014 I began the adventure of the renovation of the 100 year old farm of my mom’s childhood, of my childhood, of all the fifty years my grandparents lived there together.

My mom, brother, dad, aunt, ex-husband and a couple of friends helped me some but there was still tremendous struggle and many ups and downs. It was my goal, my total focus, where I went every day after my day job and where I spent every single weekend.

With almost nothing hired out, after completely gutting the home, I managed to finish the electrical and plumbing in December 2014. (And passed inspection PHEW!!!)

My ex asked me to marry him during those long months while I was working alone here on the house. (Yeah total red flag, he happily did whatever he wanted while I worked (and paid) to finish our future home together.)

In the summer of 2015 we moved in and began what I believed would be a life filled with honesty and loyalty. I was wrong about him in every way and more than a little embarrassed that I almost let yet another leach destroy my credit score.

Throwing him out in 2017 was not an act of bravery but one of survival.

Someone asked me afterward, “Aren’t you lonely now?” And I realized that I was FAR less lonely, being home alone, than when he had ever been here.

It was YEARS past time for my home to be one for get togethers, bon fires, whiskey and wine and cards against humanity, guitar hero and mario cart! Being surrounded by people that understand these are the times that we work for, that make life worth living and that there is nothing more important.

My Story

My home finally become all I dreamed it would be that he never allowed.

A place for get togethers, bon fires, whiskey and wine and cards against humanity, guitar hero and Mario cart! A home all of my family and friends would know they could stop by absolutely anytime.

A home for people that understand that these are the times that we work for, that make life worth living and that there is nothing more important. (How I allowed him to take it all from me, even for just a couple of years after I had worked so hard for it, remains an utter shame of my past.)

It felt as though my life, finally, clicked into the place it was supposed to be and so much of it is due to my Grandma’s house. Having this place to take care of because it takes such good care of me is the happy story of my life.

This house MOVED me on.

Yes, you can do anything you put your mind to, male or female.

Houses, furniture, none of it cares how old you are or how strong you are or whether you know the difference between a reciprocating saw or a jig saw.

These are old trades and there may be no more satisfying a thing then the restoration of a home, a room, a bathroom vanity, a saved rocking chair that was destined for the dump, a saved dresser that went from a beast to a beauty.

This is the good stuff, the best of stuff, this is the stuff that gets under your finger nails and fills and nourishes your heart as well as your body. These labors transformed me just as deeply and completely as all of the transformations I have created along the way.

I hope this blog inspires you to start your own adventure someday!