One Charmin Box Plus Years of Sweat Equity Equals Our Dream Home

When we moved into our first apartment – we unpacked all of our life’s possessions from one Charmin box.  The kind of box that previously held 48 rolls of toilet paper.

The first time we pulled the Murphy Bed down from it’s hidey-hole in the wall –

we realized we had no table for our alarm clock.  We needed that alarm clock to wake us up for school in the mornings and for work on nights and weekends.

So we flipped the Charmin box upside down – draped it with the one towel that we took turns using, and that Charmin box became our first and only piece of furniture.

Grab a cup of coffee and get comfy while I enlighten you about that downtown Kansas City studio apartment.

We had just 2 windows and if you leaned out far enough you COULD touch the bricks on the building next door.

You COULD but you WOULDN’T…

There were confirmed sightings of people who could actually spit far enough to hit the bricks on the building next door.

Each and every single night

– the tenant above us would come home, late…

about the time the local taverns turn ON the lights at closing.

We would hear him grumble while struggling with his keys.

Finally, winning his battle with the door – he would take exactly 3 steps – then keel over with a resounding


Next, we would hear every ounce of air escape his body.

A few seconds later, he would begin snoring.




Our city living experience was the pivotal point that solidified our dream of living the country life, away from people arguing, sirens blaring and that empty night sky.

The only way for us to get from that old dingy studio apartment to making our dream a reality – was going to be sweat equity.

We began renovating our first home before I could legally drink a margarita.

Fast forward 7 homes later, some we refurbished and some we designed and built.  Each time reinvesting our sweat equity into the next.

If we were renovating, we would live in them as we ripped out walls, replaced flooring, painted cabinets, poured patios and welded iron fencing….

If we were building we would act as our own general contractor, hiring expert crews and doing what we could.

Then one day while cruising some scenic roads – we found some of the most magnificent countryside we had ever seen.

The lush green rolling hills were calling to us, “This is it!!  This is where you belong!”

We phoned a realtor and asked to see property for sale in the area.

She found it… and we are building our final home.  These photos are from 3 years ago when the rough in crew was framing.

It has taken a lot of hard work and a long time getting here from that first studio apartment and our Charmin box.

For as long as we can remember – our dream has been to enjoy a peaceful life in the country.

With a night sky lit by the stars… with a symphony of owls, whippoorwills and howling coyotes…and a view free of bricks & spit!

Two months in that apartment was all the incentive we needed  to chase our dream.

*** Full Disclosure – when I say “we” – I mostly mean George ***

that part about draping the towel over the Charmin box….  that was me.


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All photos, thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Copyright © Lost Mule Lodge 2017 All Rights Reserved


  1. Molly

    So cute!! You guys have truly made it happen. When I visit your home in the woods, my soul is refueled with the peacefulness, starry sky, lightening bugs, and symphony of frogs! So glad humble beginnings helped form this dream – more glad your dream has become reality for you!


      Molly – Now you know the story about that Charmin box!! Thank you so much for taking time from you insane schedule to read and leave such a sweet comment!!
      Love you sweet child,

  2. Shirley Dake

    Just fabulous! Long way, long time since Pleasant Hill!. Some day Jim and I need to drive up for a coffee.


      Shirley – We were talking the other day how awesome it is that we found you guys on Facebook and that we need to get you up here! You all saw our daily progress on that 100 year old farmhouse!! Looking forward to a visit soon!!

  3. Steve Jones

    Having seen the Lodge in progress, I’m really looking forward to our upcoming stay.
    Knowing you from our rides around the countryside, I can just imagine what you were really looking at as we traveled those back roads on the scoots. Seeing homes, properties, scenic vistas, all of those appear to have molded your vision into The Lost Mule.


      Hey Steve – You know me well my friend!! We are so looking forward to your visit! The place has changed just a bit since you were here last. This part of Missouri is just gorgeous and the roads are AWESOME for riding!! Thank you so much for reading and taking time to leave such a nice comment. This blog has 33% male followers – and you my friend are the first male to leave a comment, I will have remember to do a toast for that when you guys are here.
      See you guys soon!

  4. Katie

    Love love this story about humble beginnings and hard work and patience paving the way. I feel too often much of the “debt generation” forgets this. “Good things come to those who (work hard) and wait.” ❤️


      Thank you so much Katie, As you know this “final home” is a BIG project. We have enjoyed working on home projects for so long that I am not sure we could handle to much free time.
      Thank you for being a fan and always leaving such sweet comments!

  5. Mary Kay

    What a wonderful story! I think you caught that dream with your wonderful home.
    You two are the most hard working industrious pair I know!

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