Updated: Apr 14
"If the whole wide world stops singing and all the stars go dark - I'll keep the light on in my soul and keep a bluebird in my heart."
- Miranda Lambert "Bluebird" Wildcard
This is Bluebird.
A name inspired by country music artist Miranda Lambert. Her latest album Wildcard blares from my iPhone regularly. I am a good ole' Kentucky girl and most of my emotional healing comes from three chords and the truth.
Miranda Lambert's music has saved me millions in therapy.
Bluebird is my first home purchase. $1500 on Facebook. Yes - I'm bragging about that.
See y'all - I'm a crafter. I love making old things new and the cheaper the better.
$5 thrift store coffee tables, dumpster file cabinets and old desks are now my own creative masterpieces. With a little bit of paint, patience and elbow grease - you can always create something that brings you true joy just because you created it... and save A LOT of money doing it.
$1500 is a hell of a good deal for a roof over your head. Even if this brilliant bird only teaches me a lesson in the dangers of daydreams and over-confidence.
A vintage camper remodel is much more advanced than my Pinterest crafting resume and my rational brain tells me daily I'm betting on a bad horse.
But dang it, she's just so cute!
Just look at her! Just look at it!
Don't you feel the joy I feel when you see her?
You can't help but grin a little...
She's a just a little bitty ole thing!
She has spunk and character.
She's doesn't blend into the scenery.
She becomes the center of it wherever she is...just by being there.
Bluebird is a 1975 Champion Motorhome with a Dodge chassis built around a steel frame measuring just 20 feet long and hauling a heavy duty 440 engine. She has about 66K miles, a busted windshield and more wrinkles, wears and tears than Steve Tyler and the entire band of Aerosmith.
I found her sitting behind a church in Louisville and screamed "There she is!"
Like my soul had been searching for her all along and found exactly what she needed.
I was already selling everything I owned after my divorce and had little income to pay the massive bills coming in including the next month's rent.
So with the $400 I got from selling my $1500 washer and dryer and the $1100 I had in the bank... She was mine.
I brought her to the home I had until she became my new home.
And I'd never been more proud of myself.
Hindsight is 2020
I bought a home for the same amount of money I paid for two machines to wash my ex-husband's dirty boxers.
I paid $1500 in rent for a 3 bedroom house every month. Now I owned a house...on wheels!
I am a 32 year-old career journalist and I've never owned a home. My job can be pretty nomadic moving to new cities and new stations every 2-3 years so it just never made sense to invest in a mortgage.
The only "normal" alternative meant spending thousands of dollars in rent.
$33K in the last 2 years.
Yeah I know...I could have bought a REAL home for that! And I cringe every time I say it.
I'm not the only one cringing.
Whether out of financial necessity or simply a lifestyle choice - "normal" people are turning into Uncle Eddy from Christmas Vacation minus the sewer dumping... hopefully.
When it comes to mobile housing - what was once your last option before the homeless shelter is now a movement of economic sustainability - with benefits.
No more paying someone else's mortgage in rent.
Less homeowner upkeep (no yard work!)
Accumulation of adventures and travel instead of just more stuff.
The hippie van life of the 1960s is back y'all.
Sprinter vans and old school buses are quickly turning into the new tiny house craze. YouTube is full of "Van Lifers" and nomads working via laptop for money and traveling the country at the same time.
Suddenly living in a van down by the river is what the cool kids are doing.
And by kids, I mean families, couples, singles and seniors - everyone.
"...and if the house just keeps on winning, I got a wildcard up my sleeve..."
Miranda Lambert "BlueBird", Wildcard
Maybe it's the result of the 2008 housing crisis.
Maybe it's the result of millions of senior citizens living in poverty on social security.
Maybe it's crushing student loan debt and high interest payments murdering the financial future of an entire generation.
(Sorry for the late payment Sallie Mae - please repo my education.)
The fact is we are all looking for ways to live more and worry less.
Debt is anxiety on a platter.
I strived for years to make bigger paychecks so I could pay to live in someone else's home.
I drove myself to a level of stress that nearly broke my mind and body to live like every one else. Once I became too sick to work, my financial stability folded like a deck of cards.
I had to find a new way.
I learned that the price of a pretty picture means constant striving for more things I don't really need and living in constant fear of losing what I have...even when it's not truly mine in the first place.
I learned that just because everyone else is in debt until they die doesn't mean I have to be and I don't have to suddenly win the lottery to live a happy life. Happy doesn't cost anything. You create it.
Bluebird is my big middle finger to pretty pictures.
She is just as messed up on the inside as the 32 year-old news lady who bought her and if we're both still standing after all these years - I guess we both have a story to tell.
"I'll keep a light on in my soul and keep a Bluebird in my heart."
Miranda Lambert "Bluebird", Wildcard