What do you think happens when you suddenly find yourself out of debt? I would like to tell you a little bit about the good stuff that happened to my family after Zach received payment from winning season 3 of History Channel’s Alone show.
First we kind of cycled through shock and happy-joy-flow energy. Then we paid off all of our bills and went into negotiation with the IRS over some unpaid taxes from previous years.
My husband started investing in his business so that he didn’t have to go back to work as a boat builder. He enjoyed the work when it presented a challenge, but after years of doing the same work, he was burnt out and looking for a change. After his experience in Patagonia he definitely got the change he was looking for.
We discussed building our new house this spring, but building a house would take us nearly a year, and probably cost twice as much as we wanted to spend. So we bought a zoo. Just kidding. We bought an old farm-house that needs a lot of Tender Loving Care, but comes with really cool features, like indoor plumbing, electricity, and a roof that barely leaks.
Life after fame is pretty much like life before Zach became famous. Except when he wears his orange beanie, people here in Maine stop and tell him how much they loved watching him on TV and how they were rooting for him. And then he gets out his baseball cards and gives them a few signed cards. It’s rather sweet actually.
Maine is a great place to be a local celebrity. Since moving into our new house, we’ve gotten to know our neighbors, I know the post master by name, and the local pizza joint knows what our favorite pizza is (I know it’s not ketogenic).
I invested some of our winnings into starting my own business, hopefully it turns out well. I’m terrified I’m wasting our money, but it’s driving me to work even harder than I did as a homesteader. I find myself at a time and place where I can actually start to follow my passion.
Zach is working like a crazy person to get his business showing profitable numbers. I’ve never seen him work so hard in my life. He wakes up every day at 0415, and usually stops work around 630 at night. He never worked this hard in the years I’ve known him when he worked for other people. I’m so proud of him!
It’s really nice being at home with him, both of us working on our respective or shared projects. I split my time between child care, house cleaning, working on my business, and helping Zach with administrative tasks for his business. Zach does some housework and child care when I need to buckle down and get something done.
Not having so much debt and worry hanging over our heads has been so freeing. It’s also been hard to let go of the worry that now that things are smoother sailing, something awful is going to come and gobble up all of our happiness. But that is fodder for another post.