See you next week!
It’s December, day 32 in the tiny house. Here’s an illustrated snapshot of the view from my living room window. In the ‘fallow’ season of the Northwest, the garden still dreams up carrots, parsnips, leeks, onions, kale, beets, brussels sprouts, surprising masses of sage alongside a ruined lattice of sunflowers and sleepy squashes secreting grottoes of seeds. Beyond the perimeter, the boats have wandered up to Brad’s boat barn, moored on their cribs, sheets over their shoulders, battened down for the winter. If I could capture the sky this morning, I would. My photography skills still in early gestation, suffice it to say that the picture falls short of the scene, not unlike the unfolding of the tiny habitation project. If some of you begin to suspect that behind the poetic waxing hides another cadre of excuses for the ongoing lack of shower facilities… there may be some truth in that. In my own defense, the process seems to have an agenda of its own that has little to do with my imagined priorities. So, without further ado, here is the week’s wherefore…
The Ewings’ offer to build a set of steps for my front porch required that I, first, get the house off of its tires and lowered onto some cribs for the winter. I had been dubious concerning the necessity of this task, given the building could have been further stabilized with concrete pier blocks and posts (not that I had gotten around to that either). Nevertheless, Brad had a point that the tires would be better preserved from flattening and cracking if removed and stored. I had resisted his sensible advice for some time for not knowing what a ‘crib’ was or how to set about the project and a reticence to ask for assistance. Now, I needed to know the deck height (which would change for the house blocking) in order to give the Ewings specs for the stairs. So, I hired my friend, Bill, to build the cribs and coach me through the leveling, jacking and lowering of the house—done on rainy, muddy Wednesday afternoon. Great! Since the two-week remission of chronic leaks seemed stable, I thought, perhaps, I had cleared my weekend for focus on the bath house. Right? Well…
Friday night, my electricity went out. A glance out the window confirmed I was the only one. I soothed anxious thoughts of stubborn wires that had caused such consternation a couple of weeks ago (see "Taking the Leaks" blog, 11/11/12) with gratitude that my heater and oven range remained operational. I lit some candles, finished cooking and consuming dinner, went to the barn to flip the breaker (to no avail) and went to bed, powerless again.
Wiring under the house
By Saturday afternoon, my wiring job had been taken apart and reassembled (thanks again, Bill). The electrical problem persisted—meaning it may not have been directly related to my wiring job (slight morale boost), although, with Bill’s expertise, it was, now, definitely not the problem. Turns out the cable had been clipped twice when the garden was being edged last summer. Additional work to resolve the issue was needed. In any case, things were sorted out, and the tiny house was live again. Sunday (today), I could work on the bathhouse, but first...
With all of the ups and downs of downsizing, relocating, plumbing, leaks, trips to the hardware store, laundry (off-site), showers, Turkey Day and day job, one can begin to feel a bit ungrounded and, frankly, downright cranky. Ego aside, it has helped tremendously to step back and ask for help, or simply accept some—skills I am still learning. I am often asked—about the tiny house—if I built it, myself. The answer is, I framed and sheathed, roofed, shingled, insulated, wired, plumbed, paneled, trimmed, sided, laid flooring, applied finish, paint, caulk as well as the hammering, sawing, sanding, hefting and schlepping, teeth-gnashing, grousing, hair-tearing and countless other tasks involved. And I’ve had tons of assistance from others who’ve encouraged, coached, accommodated (sometimes tolerated), loaned and wielded various tools in many of the aforementioned tasks (gnashing, grousing and hair-tearing excepted). The truth is, that the tiny house project has taken a village (a phrase for which I've forgotten the origin and cannot take credit). In the beginning, the project may have found me (see Tiny Origins for more details). Through the project, I’ve found community and a place to be.
See you next week!
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