It's post-Turkey Day at the tiny house. I am stuffed and grateful for another escape to Seattle to see my friends John and Teresa (and of course, their shower facilities). I am also extremely thankful for another set of heroic friends, Barb and Jeff, who have offered to build a set of stairs for my front porch as an early X-Mas present (thus, replacing the dodgy multi-ladder). HOORAY!! One more thing off the list! After all, a project of any magnitude takes a village, and every helper elf is a small miracle.
And now, lest I slide into some tryptophan-glazed monotony of leak-free, shower-free and, consequently, more aromatic existence, me thinks it's time to get serious about the bath house. Allow me to illustrate where we stand.
Ultimately, in order to keep the line from freezing, I will need to dig a trench and lay a proper water line from the hydrant to the bath house, along with a gray-water filter system. I'm going for basic functionality first. Wish me luck!
It's Saturday of the third week of tiny habitation. You may remember from last week's post that I had fled the scene after an attempt to complete the hardwiring of the tiny house left me frozen and powerless for the evening. I am happy to report that the recharge and hot shower at Maryel's refuge enabled me, the next morning, to wrestle the unruly wires and nuts into their box and, after a deep breath and flip of the circuit breaker, I was back in business. Added amenities: a water heater for the kitchen sink and electricity to the cook fan--Yes! That provided enough of a morale boost to re-cut and flare the fitting for the gas leak behind the oven range, though it took a couple of tries and an ultimate consultation with Brad. Gratitude that he was available to ask won out over the slight ego-deflation of needing consultation. Further progress involved yet another propane leak outside the house (one of the last two pipe thread joints not previously redone) and attaching hinges to the bath house door (not yet hung).
On the interior front, I found an interesting table top at the Senior Community Thrift, so I no longer stand at the kitchen counter to dine. With that, it's fair to say that order is gradually prevailing inside the house, at least, as it evolves into a cozy refuge. It may not sound like much, but that just about sums things up. Between day job and home improvement, some weeks are like that.
Now, t's a few days to Thanksgiving. and, honestly, my internal batteries are a bit low, though I still have challenges to tackle (case in point: the lingering bath house issue). Even so, sometimes, you just need to break away. I have reached that point. So I'm venturing off-Island today for a mental health break with my dear friend, Dawn (who happens to have a shower), far enough away that I have no choice but to detach and relax. Fear not, dear readers. I shall return!
Now into my second week of tiny house living, I am officially tired of leaks--water, propane and the 'call of nature' minus the tree requisite for modesty in answering said call. While the exterior propane plumbing has held up since complete reassembly nine days ago, the water from the hydrant to the house leaks intermittently, depending on its mood. It's a relatively minor insult given it's location outside the house, although installation of the garden hose T, for accommodation of the tankless water heater has aggravated (added two more junctions to) the original offense.
Nine days into my residency, the shower situation straggles unresolved. Mind you, progress has been made in plumbing and righting the bathtub, which had lain despondently on its side for the last week leaving no room for the RV toilet. The toilet, then, became operational on Tuesday, though I'm still in need of a door to replace the incessantly flapping and transparent Visqueen covering.
Meanwhile, the tankless water heater (shower unit) has evolved into a saga all it's own with leaks at the water intake, outflow and both splines of the garden hose made necessary by the fact that retail-ready hose come in 25 foot (just shy of adequate) and 50 foot lengths (excessive by 45 feet). The good news is that while I suffered sprays and drips from every connection point of the installation and the failure of one utterly substandard, factory-supplied hose adaptor (may it rest in peace), BBQ, propane hook-up for the unit appeared surprisingly leak-free, and, indeed, hot water did issue forth--Hooray! Once I contain the leaks and install a curtain rod, I'll be in business--rub-a-dub-dub.
As I approached the weekend and a forecasted reprieve in the rain, the hardwiring of my electricity supply took precedence in my mind. This would allow me to use all of the outlets in my house for lighting and the two-gallon water heater for the kitchen sink without increased risk of fire. Predictably, however, Saturday morning my kitchen water supply line had frozen. I headed out to breakfast and Sebo's, returning to find that new propane leak had filled the tiny house with gas, as my heater blazed away. When I returned, I dashed madly about shutting of propane valves and throwing open all of the windows, locating the leak at the flare fitting behind the oven range, resolving it in short order with a couple wrench tweaks. Thankfully, the leak--if it had to be--had not manifested while I was sleeping. sigh...
As for the electricity, it was now after noon. With intrepidation (and a prayer to whatever powers that might be listening) I disassembled the outlet boxes under the house, interrupted by intermittent, requisite 'parts runs' to Ace and Sebo's. Ultimately, the failling light (and temperatures) found me still under the house at the end of the day, teeth chattering and fingers numb, wrestling with unruly and obstinate copper wires--until finally, I could do no more with my increasingly useless fingers and attitude. Feeling defeated, overnight bag in hand, I fled the scene for a friend's beach house refuge where there is heat, running water and a hot shower--bless you, Maryel!
Lest you (or I) fear complete demoralization on the journey, let me recount a few of the the tiny giant delights and triumphs of the past week:
So, It's Sunday morning at Maryel's beach house. I'm warm and dry. The rain is holding out for the moment. It's a new day and the next tiny challenge awaits. This, too, will be resolved. Life is far from boring. Leaks be darned! I am grateful.
See you next week!
Halloween was moving day of the tiny giant downsizing. I abandoned the bathtub plumbing on Tuesday to redirect my efforts to vacating and cleaning the former rental. While I managed the vacation part in the pouring rain, collapsing into my tiny loft that evening for my first night in the back corner of the garden, there was no heat. The propane plumbing I had supposedly conquered, sprang an emphatic leak outside the building which turned into a chain of leaks down the line. I would eventually disassemble and reassemble the entire contraption before turning the heat back on Friday night.
In the mean time, a number of tiny details remain to be resolved: working shower/toilet facilities (nearest toilet, 200 feet/no shower), hardwiring the electrical to reduce risk of fire, building proper stairs to the front porch (currently a dodgy stepladder), get rid of more stuff that I didn't have a chance to purge pre-move, etc... Thus, the undeadline, and the list keeps growing.
So I'm keeping the post short again today. Here are some more pics for your viewing pleasure. Happy November! See you next week.
Would you believe I unpacked six boxes into my tiny kitchen and have cupboard space to spare!?
Tiny Living Room
Still trying to decide whether to set up my silversmithing bench in the house (see left frame). Amazingly enough, it would fit, but will probably go into the barn for now. Also need to curtain the under-bench storage for aesthetics.
Angela Ramseyer is an artist, poet, writer, tanguera and neophyte guitar player, recently relocated from Whidbey Island, WA to Portland, OR.
Portland Alternative Dwellings
Shelter Wise, Llc
Niche Design Consulting
Four Lights Tiny Houses