Monthly Archives: June 2014

Duck When You’re a Target.

It’s impossible to see your surroundings from every possible angle. It’s easy to miss a glaring light if you close your eyes and turn your head. If you’ve lived in the same area all your life – there’s a good chance that within a mile there’s a stretch of road you’ve never set foot on. Not many roads? Then a stand of trees that you’ve never seen behind.

I don’t have a cable TV package. I’m too smart for that. And by “smart” I mean “cheap,” but in this case the outcome by any means is relief. I live in a tiny house, and by “live” I mean “sleep.” For now, I spend a lot of time in the lumbering cacophonous home up the hill. The big house is a cable TV package. Between Cecily Tynan, Kathy Lee, and Brooke Baldwin: this house never shuts up.

After the morning and afternoon programming, then comes the shows about houses. How to buy them, how to fix them – and generally how to act like an asshole. I hope my brush strokes aren’t painting too wide a berth. I’m nowhere above. I know about these shows because I’ve watched each and every one.

The lie I tell myself is that I’m better. I don’t watch these shows; I sit in a room while they’re on. You can tell yourself anything. Watching Mike Holmes retrospectively pinpoint the folly of a job gone wrong makes you no better than those who watch anything else. If you’re on the couch when an ad squirts out for the series “Swamp Hicks” or “Fartin’ Babies,” they’re talking to you. They have you pegged, and you are the target audience. I am the target. It’s time to shut it down, lest we all get struck in the back.

I feel like I’m struggling to wake.

Furthermore;

My plans are a process. Until I am out on my own again, I will be subject to adjacent programming. Until potato chips are out of arm’s reach, I will have them with soda. It’s time to go, and I’m ready. Me and Kristin are going to take my little car to California. And Arizona. Colorado. Oregon. There and on the way, we’re going to continue our business as middle-men, and watch the sun rise and fall. I estimate October, but gosh himself writes the schedule. No more winters, and a short stint presently to get our shit together.

And we’re off.

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Four More Words.

“Hey! Congratulations! I hear congratulations are in order! Do you have a date set?”

Weddings are an enormous to-do. I knew I was getting married. I knew who I was going to marry: Kristin. There wasn’t any reasonable doubt. The only missing element was the official asking: four words.

People tend not to blurt the four words out. You don’t spill the question over oatmeal. Usually, you go skydiving, and somebody spells the words out with colorful flags back on Earth. Or you can make up a phony reason to get on tv and ask the question there. Much planning goes into preparation and venue.

What a to-do.

I built a tiny house, and by the end of last year, it was mostly complete. When I installed the final propane heater, there was no longer good cause to sleep in the giant house up the little hill. I moved the mattress to our loft, and though incomplete, our tiny home was quiet and cozy.

We had been in the house many times, but shuffling down the small hill in the dark was the first time we were going home. Our home; together. We sat on our little sofa. It was December 15th, and the air was brisk and silent. This was the test ride, but the product was sold. The home became ours the moment we crossed the threshold.

We sat close and watched the tiny flames in our scratch-n-dent direct vent wall mounted propane heater. The dim 12v light pointed up toward the peak of the roof; it cast romantic shadows. I began to recount the changes in my life over the past two years. I told Kristin how thankful I was that our paths had crossed; how grateful I was for her insight on being. As soon as I finished my thought, I added four more words.

She was startled, but her answer was immediately YES.

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The Complications of Simplification.

(This post is copied from my ‘real’ blog, but I think it’s appropriate here as well.)

Everything is great. I have a tiny house that I built, and a plan to simplify my life. Naturally, it is much easier to say “simplify” than it is to make it so. To actually perform the act, I will need to throw away, donate, and sell a ton of stuff. I’ve begun.

Two trailer loads so far have gone to the landfill. I don’t love hiding my mistakes and problems under a layer of earth, but it is an effective approach when it is not possible to travel through time and abstain from the initial acquisition. I have a tendency to hold onto items for later projects or other imagined uses. I’ve recently had to remind myself that I am full of shit. It is more important to be rid of this stuff. Some of it was big. Rotten siding and windows had to go; I’m not going to dismantle a desk to harvest the wood for anything. Got. To. Go.

I’m a collector – or at least I always have been one. I have half a closet full of Mad Magazines and ephemera. That was my first collection. Since then, I’ve started at least a dozen others. “Please Wash Hands” signs, from the time in my life where ripping signs off walls was funny. In that vein, I also have my collection of carpets with the logos of the businesses that I took them from. (This was a ballsy collection, but admittedly still a totally awesome one.) I also have about ten miniature guitars; none longer than 32″ overall. I don’t play guitar. Mini Band broke up in 2005. I have a world famous condiment packet collection. Most of them are preserved in plastic baseball card-style cases and sleeves. Thousands of packets didn’t make it to the site before I quit. I had four medium boxes of full packets, some of which were starting to stink. I had unopened correspondence from admirers, and unanswered letters from children who love the site. It was heartbreaking to let this go, but those boxes had to go.

That might not sound bad. But – as you might guess, someone with that list of belongings probably has a lot of other shit lurking around as well. You would be correct. I do.

My belongings have become a burden. I need to let go to be free. I have an unnatural sentimental attachment to bullshit. I am hacking at these ties like a bushwhacker with a machete. 

By way of explanation for the last grim update here, I’ll say that the ADD pills I’ve been taking might be partly to blame. I quit taking them when I suspected they might be making me angry-sad every time they start to wear off. The past few days have been better. My brain is still a muffin floating in cake batter, but at least I haven’t been taking the fact so hard.

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A Re-Focusing on Where to Begin Again…

My builder-blog friend, John, just contacted me. Talking to him reminded me that I stopped talking over here.

Hey! I’m alive. My house is standing, and my wristwatch confirms that time still passes at an even pace.

For personal reasons, I did not work on the house much during the winter months. I hibernated. It was an angry dissatisfied sort of hibernation – and from this, I’ve only just woken up.

Kristin and I have been sleeping in the tiny house for months, but I am ashamed to report that we are not yet full-time fort-dwellers. We lean heavily on the large cumbersome dwelling just up the hill. Our own house is nearly complete, and with a few hammer-strikes and twists of the wrench, I believe I will soon wear proudly the badge of owner-builder.

First, I have to install this fucking fridge.

I bought a fridge on Craigslist. It’s a propane fridge from an RV. It’s bigger than I expected from the photos, but I have it halfway installed, and I’ll be damned if I’m willing to change the plan now. On the second day of the installation, I spent several hours trying to frame around the fridge and run a copper line. After much delicate fussing… I kinked the pipe. That was weeks ago. The only change has been a slight accumulation of dust.

There are several tasks to complete before we are living full time in the new house. Taken separately, the work is in no way insurmountable. The half-full view would be an end in sight. I’m squinting and adjusting my vision accordingly:

1) Fridge. I have a great fridge. I need to run the copper through the floor and to the trunk line under the house. I have to run a couple wires to our fuse box to work the controls. I have to seal the insulated cabinet around the fridge, and I’m done. 1-2 days? Not bad.

2) Trim work. I have all kinds of cheap and handsome rough cut wood. I went to the Corporate Wood Store, and bought the cheapest materials they had. The wood is intended for use as fence boards, but should also be suitable for anything else that’s wooden. Trim? Great.

3) Bathroom. This small room is where we keep our trash, mops and spiders. I need to build a door for it. I need to make the shower drain go to a vessel of some sort. I need to get something like a dry-flush (you have to see this toilet.)  The shower is going to be something like a solar shower bag which drains into a big jug under the house, passing through the cast-iron sink that you stand in. Huh? Right. I don’t know how it’ll end up, but I need to begin the process of experimentation. Same with the kitchen sink.

4) I need some more outlets and lighting. USB outlets and 12v outlets need to be added. No big deal. Just a little tedious. Here is another area where I need to think less and strip wires more.

All-in-all, I’m exactly where I was before winter. I’m a nutty nut bag that needs to finish the projects which he starts. Time will pass, and several moons from now, we will see the result.

I’m pleased that so many people have signed up to ‘follow’ this blog. I feel a certain responsibility to create informative, or at least illustrative content, but at the same time I have to remember to wake up and put on my pants.

How are you? Do you want to build your own tiny house? Build it! You’ve got to be more qualified than me! And I’m almost done!

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