All posts by the-recreator

I'm a 40-something, married (wisely) , father of 3, stepfather of 3, coming up on 17 years working for the same company. Juggled debt and the rat race for already far too long. With not enough time in the world to pursue all of my hobbies and interests, I've decided something has to give. That something is work. Shooting for retirement now at least 15 years before the masses (sooo wish I started all of this much younger), my wife and I will be sitting pretty at 50. Not that young, but not that old either. Especially when I plan on living until 150 :)

Life- A Constant Rough Draft

I guess we could look at this in formats.

  • What we want to do today.
  • What we want to do next week.
  • Next year.
  • Five years.
  • The impact we would like to have on our family/legacy.
  • How we can have an affect on others.
  • What matters most?

So we are playing catch up…

The fact that we lived separate lives up until our mid-forties has made some conundrums. There is certainly a blend of life stages going on. We have a thirteen year old still with us, and try to balance his life with ours, yet we strive to get as much time as we can together. There’s our careers that eat up lots of time, yet our need to still find each other. Sometimes we’re just hungry- like horny teenagers who can only see each other on the weekend with someone’s watchful eye always upon us. It seems the freedom we get comes a few times a year with vacations and road trips. So let me just vent for a second…I WANT MORE TIME AAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGHHHHH!!!

Okay thanks. So what do we want to do today? Feel progress. Whether your planning a trip, working on your debt, looking at your 401K, or just doing something simple like yard work you want to see progress (those weeds aren’t going to pull themselves). Progress is hope. You’re moving toward a goal. It’s that light at the end of the tunnel that says “Just a little ways further…” So to reflect often on the day with the end in mind is fuel for the next day. To get up in the morning and repeat what you have to do becomes more possible and makes you less of a pussy. 

So what matters next week? Well you get time to reflect.. Are you still focused on what needs to happen moving forward. We’ve had times where after just a week of focus and clarity we just push back on each other. Like change is the enemy, yet we can look at each other and know, fully, that our egos are talking shit. Not to each other, but to ourselves. Attention spans don’t hold a candle on whore-like interest rates when it comes to hang-time.

Next year we have a plan. February- Tropical vacation in Playa Del Carmen. The rest of the year- focus on paying debts and increasing retirement savings. Is that the plan? Well it’s kinda complicated. We have trouble deciding what we will do with the house we are currently in. It could be a great rental income for us, but we would have to shell out some dough for a down payment for another property (preferably) out in the hills. We have a goal to travel all throughout the world and currently live ten minutes from the airport. What’s not to love? It’s just not the Colorado residence we imagined (ie. mountains are 30 minutes away through lousy Denver traffic.)

Five years– Oh yeah!!- Providing the stock market has been good to us we will fully be able to exercise our exit plan. Not to say we won’t work, but definitely a time to open our doors to so many other options. The corporate life we both once knew will be history. It’s super exciting just to think we can put our energies into whatever tickles our middle-age fancy and we will have the capital to back it up! Or.. We will have enough to just keep it simple and say “We’re done.”

Legacy feels like a heavy word as I write this, but it really has been the bedrock of our relationship. We both have always believed to leave things better than you found them. We just haven’t had the quality time with our children to discuss the merits of such (three kids each #BradyBunch). Our hope is for all of them to make smart decisions with their finances and (hopefully) listen to at least some of what we have been reading ourselves. It’s more “Don’t listen to us. Do what @mrmoneymustache did or did. If you want to get cerebral then follow @madfientist or Jim Collins. All are, at the very least, good informative reading.

So how can we affect others in a positive way? Read from the group of people I just mentioned. Hopefully, take some advice from us based on our trial and error financial experience. Meaning- Don’t do any of the stupid shit we did 🙂 The list goes on and will likely keep growing.

So what does matter most? Again- Feeling the progress? Time to reflect? Is it what we expected?  Options? What not to do? What matters most is that we learned from our mistakes and didn’t repeat them. That we communicated with others to hopefully give them a sample of what we went through. To feel fulfilled in our own time on this planet and leave this place better than we found them.

Thanks 🙂



Getting Where I Want To Go. You Wouldn’t Understand…OIIIIIO

This is a tale of passion. Of childhood dreams, adult play things, and about excuses. It’s not about being frugal, yet that’s what we strive for. It’s not even about early retirement, but still remains the goal.

When I was but a wee little boy, my older brother and I had one main thing that we always played with. It involved what we could do to modify them. What we could do to get them out of trouble. How long we would have them. Where we would go. What we would do if……

This is about jeeps. leadville jeep

We had Hot Wheel style life-like jeeps that we used to dig holes in the dirt, add water, and push them through the mud. We would spend hours creating 4wd “problems” and drive our jeeps through them. All the time imagining being behind the wheel at the top of a mountain or in the thickest, deepest, worst mud you could imagine, or scrambling through a big pile of rocks.  Sometimes it would be daydreaming about using imaginary winches to pull out damsels in distress. Or crossing some 3rd world country with extra gas cans, food, and gear.

For one reason or another neither one of us purchased actual real jeeps until we were in our 40s. Both of us were raising kids, working jobs, doing whatever that life has you do and that’s okay. Now we’re both jeep owners.. He purchased his 4 years before mine (a 2007). It wasn’t until 2011 that mine came along after a major hit and run rear-ender car accident that left me and my, now wife, cautiously looking into the rear-view mirror every time we stepped on the brakes. That was the last time I would drive a little car. We got thrown off the freeway at 65 mph and slid for 160 feet, luckily, without a rollover or hitting anything solid. That’s when we went shopping for a new vehicle.shadow jeep

Shopping for a vehicle was a major uncomfortable situation, as I was working to get myself out of bad financial problems following a very rocky divorce. Some of you might think that I’m a complete ass for doing it. 🙂

jeep donkey

But my lady knew what I wanted and supported me the whole way. I spoke to my brother about it and he had some good advice. At the time, Chrysler was running a lifetime bumper to bumper warranty that was something like $2000 at the time of purchase. His thoughts “I will keep my jeep forever. I’ll probably purchase other vehicles throughout my life, but I will always have a jeep.” And that was that. SOLD!!!jeep a pose

Though not the best financial decision it was a huge hit with my family. We have had numerous adventures over the years that might not have happened without this jeep’s capabilities .

jeep surfing

antero jeep

I could have just bought a used little something or other as Dave Ramsey ( a financial advisor who I was following closely) would have advised.  In fact, he probably would have screamed at me 🙂  But, as dumb as it might seem, I wanted it.  Over the last few years, I’ve been working to pay off this wonderful piece of machinery that would make most of my mentors freeze at the thought.frozen jeep

mrmoneymustache  who I’ve met and truly appreciate his wisdom would likely want to give me a face punch at my own stupidity. But, as much as his focus was on retirement at a very early age (30), I made the decision that I would be perfectly happy calling it quits at 50.

So bare with me for a minute. It was a $43,000 toy that I bought in 2011. Payments end after 6 years (but we’re paying off early). That is a heck of a lot of money once you do the math. Not to mention what I could have done with that money if it was invested in mutual funds instead. I get that and, to be honest, it does get me wound up sometimes. But not enough to make a difference. If we made less money things would not be the same and I would have gone a different route. We are still investing a lot into our 401ks and have a forecast as to how much we’ll be putting in over the next few years plus paying off the house early. We have a decent income and are on target for my wife to retire in less than 4 years. (That side story will follow later thanks to Mr1500 at )

So, besides the fun we’ve been having,  stretch jeep(it really has been a blast)

We’re going to keep doing it.

Gunnar continental divide      Rainbow jeep

jeep garageSo, on with the fishing, hunting, climbing,. camping, mud bogging, rock-crawling, and all of the other good times that we have already had.

I have yet to go jeepin with my brother, as we live in different states, but I’m sure it will happen. We have our whole lives left as jeep owners. Besides, Moab and the Rubicon trail are between us (meet in the middle). By the way, here’s my brothers rig. It’s suhhhhweet!!!  Mikes jeep

And who knows, my lady might be leading the way…

wet jeep mommy   Cheers!!

At my age… What am I thinking??

Last October I ran/ (cough cough) walked a 26.5 mile trail marathon.

Blue Sky Finish

I guess one could say it was an ultra-marathon because in the running community anything over a 26.2 mile marathon is considered an ultra, but cmon! it was only.3 miles further.

Over the years I’ve pursued many ways to torture myself. Several half-marathons and a couple full marathons back when I was in my 30s, an attempt at the Leadville 100 Trail Run at 41 (got pulled at mile 40), and a 50 miler at 43 (completed).  This last performance was probably the slowest pace I’ve ever ran. Due to recovery from achilles tendonitis, I wasn’t able to do much training at all.

For some reason, since moving to Colorado 6 years ago, I have (at some point) decided to take on even more physical challenges. There’s been the above mentioned runs, but also multiple long distance bike rides, and several (21 so far) Colorado 14er summits.

Shavano summit money shot

(Colorado has 54 mountains that are above 14,000 feet.)

Now I’m planning an epic 157 mile bicycle trip to Glenwood Springs from Denver for summer 2016 with my son and some friends.

All this has not come without problems. I spent the first 2 years living here with Plantar Fasciitis. It felt like I was pushing a nail in my heel at every step. Then came on a bad sprain that I got from running in the crusty snow in winter. Followed ever so painfully by tendonitis in my right ankle which was cured by acupuncture. As soon as it was cured my left ankle “kicked” in with the same problem that could only be fixed by not doing anything (mentally punishing). Add in several instances of swelling feet, knees, aching back?, cuts, bruises, and a multitude of blisters you get to feeling a little beat up. Blistered foot(Gross huh?)

So why, why, why do I keep doing this? I’m not a professional athlete who spends all of his time training, racing, and recovering. I’m your basic, and as horrible as it sounds, middle-aged weekend warrior who works his real job 50 plus hours per week. I have work and family (6 kids), a yard to take care of, and an early retirement to plan.

Here’s why. There are so many of the finer things that are just better after experiencing this type of suffering.  It is the absolute pleasure that follows after the fact. The first hot shower you get when you’re done is the best shower you could ever have. Same thing goes for first time sitting  in a chair, first dry clothes, first meal, first time being spooned by your significant other, and your first through 6 beers! Oh the beer…:)

Fat Tire

Plus it’s the camaraderie between friends and people of the same interests. The times that they look at you on the trail and, genuinely, ask how you’re doing. The cheers you get from complete strangers along the course and at the finish. The people you meet. Twice I’ve got to go on runs and talk to my ultra-running hero Scott Jurek.  Arguably the greatest distance runner of all time.Scott Jurek

I guess that sums it up. This I say with an aching back, and tight hamstrings as I sit here in the what looks like the dead of winter typing away. I’ll be lacing up shortly as soon as the temp gets above 25 degrees.


From Cave to Teenage Man-Cave??


This is a recent picture of a basement from a model home we walked through, and is a topic of great discussion amongst our household of whether or not to go ahead and finish ours. The discussion never fails to grow into subjects ranging from age of kids, usability, eliminating existing clutter, how suh-weet it would be compared to our dungeon, but also, why bother?

The “Why bother” is that my  wife and I go back and forth about whether to keep this house in the first place. We’ve tossed around relocating closer to my work (to eliminate commute costs/ 50m per day= 6k per year based on the latest I’ve heard from economists,) and just finding a better place to suit us (nicer, newer, more space, etc.) Our current house is a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom, but has lots of square footage.

In our day of venturing through model homes we did get a nice wake up when we spoke to the realtor about price… Double our mortgage payment. Cough, cough, hack.. Huh? Double= $540,000 over the course of a strategic 15 year payoff for early retirement. That was for a 315k new home after we used equity for a down payment.

Realization flowed after that tour. We are way ahead in this real estate game. Knowing that we owe less than half that amount that we can still pay off in (barring catastrophe) 7 or 8 years made us start liking our house much more.


So, on to the basement. Questions and answers to follow..

Do we need the space? Yes and no. My wife’s son (11) and daughter (19) live with us, but my three sons (19,17,15) don’t live with us year-round. They are getting to the point of being done with high school  over the next couple of years. It’s not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but all three (big kids) share a room. My middle guy is thinking of attending Colorado School of Mines, which is within driving range (if the school allows it) from the house. Im thinking,  enough is enough, he will need his own room. Our daughter is 19 and we’re thinking she will want to get out on her own soon. Some coming/some going, but there will always be at least a couple kids here. I’m not even going to touch on the subject of aging grandparents.. 🙂

Could you modify upstairs to add a room or two to lessen the cost of finishing the basement? Yes and no again. Some call it a bonus room. Some call it a home theatre room 🙂 Either way, we have one of these upstairs. It currently houses various couches, chairs, xbox, surround sound. It’s pretty cool. The problem is that the space isn’t big enough to hold two rooms. It could make one big room for two to share. Still better than stuffing three teenagers into a small room.

Is the basement large enough for a couple rooms? YES! It’s huge. In fact, the project looks so overwhelming that I haven’t even considered what it would cost to frame, drywall, and add a bathroom (it is plumbed for it). A big chunk of change certainly, but could end up looking like that kick-ass picture at the top plus 2 more bedrooms.

There are retirement plans to mention as well. We can payoff this house in the next few years (quicker if there’s no remodel) and rent it out to move on to the next. The 100% rental income would be nice to have to help pay for the next house. Or we remodel (one way or another), pay off the house, and purchase a home specifically to rent out. One more or… we remodel, pay it off, and put everything into investments after that. Plus travel, maybe an RV, who knows. What could you do if you didn’t have a mortgage payment ever again.

So what do we do?? Anyone face this conundrum?








Greenback from The PondReCreate: 1. To give new life or freshness to… 2. To create anew and make over 3. To create again; to form anew in the imagination… 4. To impart fresh life to… 5. To occupy oneself in a diversion…053 6. To refresh mentally or physically… 7. To refresh through recreation… 8. To amuse (oneself or someone else) 9. To be at play…2014-03-09_18-22-20_906 10. Engage in recreational activities rather than work… I want to win. Just like a lot of you, I am currently working my tail off in a career that takes care of my family reasonably well. Certainly no complaints. The problem is, years ago, while drinking beer with a buddy we were discussing the fact that I was moving away from Texas to pursue other things. Texas was where we met while chasing our careers. The opportunities were apparent and we both had our successes. My problem was my past. I had the gift of a fabulous outdoorsy childhood in Washington State that I couldn’t seem to stop comparing to a very different life that I was living in Texas.  My childhood was full of fishing poles, dirt bikes, mountain climbing, camping, tall trees, snow, running on the beach,  and enjoying the not so hot/humid weather (Texas.) We had a descent buzz going when he was asking the reasons for moving away. After listing a few  I declared “I have come to recreate!!!” The trouble was it was all about the career with no relief. No escape. So I snatched an opportunity, accepted a transfer to Colorado, and have been here ever since. Genius!! So what’s the point of the blog Recreator  you might ask? I have a lot of hobbies, and I’ve hit an age that I have got to pursue my retirement.  As of recently I’ve taken a great interest in the possibility of early retirement. The motivation for that comes from various blogs that I’ve recently started following. The first and biggest influence comes from Mr Money Mustache. Feel free to Google his website He has a few years worth of tidbits and advice that will open your mind to just about every angle of a better way to look at life. Bravo MMM! I have come to the realization that my days off should be spent pursuing  hobbies, practicing retirement, and finding ways to save and invest. All with the goal of retiring by 50 years old. This is what I text my wife this morning over coffee Figured out my blog..”I have come to recreate” will be about practicing retirement on every day I have off so that when the actual retirement happens at 50 years old I’ll know exactly what to do. It will cover cutting costs, DIY projects, how we spend our days, chasing hobbies, being satisfied with less, and creating our own story by not following everyone else’s. 65 years old means celebrating an already 15 years of free bliss with much more to follow. I have 1,880 working days at my current primary profession left. You have 1,058 🙂 Let the countdown begin.” I realize 42 seems a little late for some to really start buckling down for the future, but I’ve gotta start somewhere. Besides, retiring at 50 still sounds like awesomeness.. You should know that my wife and I have 6 children between us (3/3.) Only 2 at home year-round (5 during summers.) We married just over a year and a half ago and we both are managers for the same company. I promised her that she could retire at 50 if we stuck to the plan then I would follow 3 years later. We both came from relationships that struggled financially and have vowed with each other to take a better course. I’ve created this blog to hopefully discuss all things listed above plus  anything else that leads to a more kick-ass  life. I look forward to hearing back from anyone interested Cheers!