Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Streak of Heightened Appreciation

Such an epic time!
My grand plan is finally beginning to work! MUAHAHA!

What grand plan, you say? The plan to live in such a way that we find ourselves reveling and rejoicing in the smallest of things. I believe life is about finding happiness and finding connection. So far, the tiny house living has brought us both in excess! We have become a part of a bigger community of people with the same dreams and goals, we have gained a lot of new friends and support, and we have seen the subtle shift in our perspectives bringing us small joys on a daily basis.

Saco River!

Dan's birthday was on the 19th, and we went on a camping weekend in New Hampshire. The main activity of the weekend was canoe-ing the Saco river along with a big group of friends. We certainly had more than one hiccup that weekend, thanks to the poor planning/communication skills of excited young men. HA! BUT, those bumps in the road aside, it was a pretty good time. The river was a blast and absolutely beautiful. I have to admit I had a hard time adjusting to seeing flocks of people every two minutes on the river, and then camping in tiny little lots -practically on top of the next set of campers. I grew up in rural areas where you seldom saw a car driving down the road let alone people milling about. So when we camped, we went even deeper into the woods. If you heard a noise, it wasn't human. Needless to say, I will be involved in the planning of the next camping trip- and we won't be returning to the place we went.

We joked all weekend about how the way we live daily didn't seem much different than camping. In fact, at this place we had electrical hook up AND running water at our disposal! What happened to roughin' it?! The lack of sleeping bags or proper padding is what sealed the deal for me. Yep, this was still a step down from the Pod. And when we got home- OH GLORIOUS DAY! The Pod seemed brighter and more lovely than usual, our bed twice as wonderful and soft and cozy.

After returning home from New Hampshire on Sunday, I headed right back out the door Monday to spend the week in Atlanta for work. I'm usually not a big fan of traveling that long -being away from home. After three years of traveling like this, the excitement has mostly worn off, and I find myself going a little nutty with my free time on the road. All I can think about is “if I were home I could be working on this right now, or I could start that...” but, unless I can fit it in a suitcase and take it with me, most projects get placed on hold. This week however, I made a conscious decision to practice some deliberate appreciation. Rather than whine internally about what I couldn't be working on- I decided to look around me and enjoy. It worked quite well! The week flew by, and the evenings in my hotel went quickly too. Air conditioning! A huge bed with room to run all around it! Plumbing! Showers in my own space, at any time! Unlimited running water! Unlimited electricity! Unlimited internet and data! AMAZINGNESS!

While I was gone, Dan kept the work coming on the house. He processed a bunch more pallets for siding and then put up that batch. The third wall is almost complete! And he started work on the last wall! I don't even know what I will do when this siding is finally complete. Laugh, cry, jump around. Probably all three! 

When I returned home this weekend, we decided to dive into the solar power system once again. On Sunday, we hunkered down and brought every last box and bag of pieces inside. We were determined to figure this out. Long story short, we learned A LOT, from reading through the different manuals as well as checking out video after video on youtube. We have primarily MidNite Solar products and they have some videos up. There are also a whole lot of DIY solar power people out there using MidNite solar products- so we were able to glean quite a bit from various sources.

We turned the computer on and started reading, reviewing, and watching. We discussed our thoughts and how we interpreted directions. We put small pieces together here and there. We grouped other pieces according to how they would be used. We compiled a list of questions. Haha. By the time we looked at the clock, we were shocked to realize that 4.5 hours had gone by! We both felt like we had put in maybe an hour!

What we concluded that afternoon is that we had too many unknowns, and we weren't sure, but we thought some components were missing. We decided to wait and call up our rep, Greg, at the AltE Store, to get definite answers. We weren't about to guess with $6000 on the line.

Come to find out, we were missing a few different pieces and needed to get some more wiring. In discussions with our rep, we also discovered one of our breakers was not the right size! So I am feeling pretty damn glad we waited and made the call. We will be ordering the additional parts needed this week and hopefully will have this system up and running before the end of August!

I know there are plenty of you who are curious about solar power and I promise you I will be putting together a big juicy post of how ours goes together and works. I have also been compiling the most helpful videos we have found. I just might make a set of my own videos, because the one thing that frustrated me, was all the folks putting up videos and calling it “how to” when really they just flashed a couple photos of their set up and gave some extremely vague descriptions. I don't know about you, but I like videos that talk to me like I'm a first grader and break every little bit down into comprehend-able pieces. That's what you can expect from me. The other challenging aspect is that there is no cookie cutter set up for solar power systems. The size of your system, the voltage, the distance between parts, etc all lead to very unique set ups. Not to mention, you can purchase one piece from one company, and then another piece from a different company, and so on, and of course, all these pieces look slightly different too. We watched a very comprehensive video on putting together a combiner box, only to open ours up and see that it looks nothing like the one in the video. The general concepts are the same, but a standardization in the actual pieces would be nice.

Oh! And something to look forward to! We had a really cool videographer named Danny come do a shoot of the Pod and interview us. This video and blog post are for a super awesome company called Custom Made. Check them out! It's kind of like a step up from Etsy. There are thousands of top notch artists and craftsmen who make use of this site. You have an idea or project you want to see created? You post what you want on Custom Made and then various artists or craftsmen will contact you if they are willing to create it for you!

We feel a little silly with our simple house being showcased on a site with such incredible work being displayed- but as Danny said- it's not just about fine craftsmanship, it's about creating. No matter what level you are at. They support and commend those who want to dig in and do it themselves too. We can't wait to see the finished video and blog post! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!


  1. You may have mentioned this in one of your other posts, but do you own the land that you have your home on or do you rent it from friends, family, etc... I love your tiny home and anything having to do with the tiny house movement, but where you build and place your home has always been a hard one for me. Thank you !

  2. There's a chance you qualify for a new government sponsored solar energy program.
    Find out if you qualify now!