Thursday, October 22, 2015

Our THSC 3 Experience and A Month of Milestones

Steppin' it up a notch for our Anniversary dinner
October just seems to be our month for making things happen!

I'm flat out amazed that it has been over a month since my last seemed like just last week! I have a very poor sense of the passage of time these days-- which in some cases is good- but in other ways, it's a bit troubling. I hope we find some balance and a steadier pace soon. 

The last we all spoke, Dan and I were headed up to Deek's Tiny House Summer Camp 3 for the weekend. We had another stellar time, and as soon as we returned, the swift currents of my life swept me right back up again. Not to mention, we entered October, a month full of milestones for us. October 1st marked two years of living tiny! I'd say we are fully converted at this point- I rarely ever find myself longing for extra space or wishing I had this or that available at all times. In fact, I find myself wanting to continue paring down my belongings!

Three years ago this week! WOW.

I'm astounded by the versatility and resilience of people all over the world. I see the homes they have, the environment they live in, and I think- "Wow, I couldn't live like that.." But now, that reaction has started to change. I look at the decisions Dan and I deliberately made, how radical of a change it was, and I realize we made the shift in easy strides! We went from a two bedroom apartment with unlimited running water, full bathroom, unlimited electricity, unlimited internet, and excessive spare spaces for junk to crop up to a box on wheels with no plumbing, solar electricity, and mobile hotspot ting through our phones for internet. Some people would consider our way of living to be a lot more work. I disagree- it simply requires a lot more intention and presence here and now...these are practices I am very grateful to have as new habits.
Rollerblading! Fun times! (Pre-dog-bite that is..)

Just nine days later, we celebrated our first year anniversary as a married couple! We wanted to do a little weekend get away, but simply couldn't get the planning together in time. So- we decided we would take a full weekend "away" from all of life's responsibilities. We did whatever the hell we wanted all weekend long. We hit the pause button on everything- our business, our chores, our projects...and just enjoyed one another. We went rollerblading, biking, walking through the woods so I could take photos, stepped it up a notch and went out for dinner, and plenty of just laying around with good food and good movies. 

The only picture I thought to take that night!
I guess I was enjoying myself thoroughly :)

And one last milestone to note- our first Tinies Double Date! We had our first pair of dinner guests at the tiny house! And they too are tiny housers! Justin and Jenny are in the midst of building their tiny house in Southern RI. We knew of them for quite a while since Justin started following us online. He was always right there with a compliment or comment to boost our morale, and we can't wait to return the favor. Once we started the business, he was also one of our first loyal customers at the Haines Park market! I was super excited to meet them both, and the friendship quickly blossomed from there. If you want to follow along with their progress, check out pics on Justin's facebook page "Transition Tiny" and updates on their blog.

As soon as they arrived, they were both like kids in a candy store. Despite working towards this dream for the last two years, they still had not set foot in a tiny house. We were happy to take that V-card from ya, guys! (hehe) It was really great to see how visibly amped they were just to be around our homestead and pick our brains. 

We shared a great dinner on the deck as the stars came out, then moved inside to keep warm and keep chatting....or laughing. I honestly think we did more of that! We had a great time with these two- they are funny, humble, generous, and kind individuals. We truly hope they can realize the dream of staying their first winter in the tiny house. For the past two years they lived in an RV...and let me tell you, the winters were not easy. We plan to head over there on Saturday and give them a boost to finish the inside!

Now let's back it up to September. We had a market on Friday and Saturday- but we just couldn't afford to miss both markets so we decided to give up Saturday and leave a little early on Friday. We baked late Thursday into Friday morning's wee hours. Loaded up the car, headed home, slept for about 4 hours, then headed to market. We had a pretty busy day which was great, but meant we didn't get going as soon as we wanted. Finally, we packed up our booth, raced back to HQ, unloaded the booth and products, prepped and stored leftovers, then raced home. We had Dan's truck partially packed, but we still had plenty more to do- which we did- in turbo mode. 

We hopped on the road around 3:30-4 pm and headed north. I knew we were headed to the boonies of VT so I had the foresight to screen capture all of Deek's very specific directions for finding the site. Boy am I glad we did, because we lost all reception just as we started to enter the gray zone for GPS too. We had only Deek's directions for the last 20 minutes...and the sun had just about set. 

Fellow tiny houser Ethan Waldman singing some original tunes,

The directions were spot on- Thank you Deek! - and we arrived at the site just as the last remnants of the sun left the sky. We were surprised to roll up on an impromptu parking lot of almost 30 cars! We had no idea how people were going to be here! And many of them were a part of Deek's ever growing gang of tiny housers that often come along to speak to the group, chat with individuals, and help out with the build. 

After quickly setting up our camp site, we headed down to the fire pit area. We simply listened for the commotion and headed that way! We came upon the full group, in the midst of lively conversation, all tucked around a great big fire. Just to the left was one of Deek's larger structures on the property, a cabin that sleeps 6+ people. To the right was one of his smaller structures, serving as a stage for speakers and singers. 

We jumped in right away- saying our hello's to Deek and the Gang and then plopping down by the fire. We spent that first evening drinking and sharing our story - piecemeal and off the cuff. We answered questions without hesitation or hampering. We were honest, light-hearted, and funny in our approach to building and living tiny- and I think that's just what a lot of those attendees needed. I saw subtle changes in attitude and spirit as we shared stories and answered questions for each of them. 

The next day was a madhouse of awesomeness. I also got to truly appreciate that magical plot of land he's got. Everywhere you look is something colorful, funky, and quirky whether it be the angry goose crossing, the random turtle statue off the side of one of many winding trails, all leading to one sweet structure after another. Deek had FOUR different projects going at once...and located in different areas all through the woods of his land. By the time the day was through, Dan and I had helped with each and every one of them. I spent most of my time helping out with the super secret tiny tree house. You can't even see it until you are practically right in front of it! 

I had fun, getting back to just brute labor for a day. I helped haul in supplies to the tree house location, helped organize an assembly line for getting boards measured and cut (by hand) and taught some people how to properly use a saw. Toward the end of the day, I met up to see what Dan was working on and helped finish a the second outhouse with him and the others.

Experiences like this make me really appreciate my youth. All of these skills that seem like common place knowledge to me, really never even cross the minds of most people. Then again, why would it? If you don't live in the sticks or heat with wood, why would you know much about a saw or a hatchet. We all live extremely different walks of life- and not a one of us can say which is best- so I respect them all. It was really nice, though, to have so many aspects of my "walk" highlighted and even revered during this weekend. 

Palo, you are a crazy mo'fo! It's not a truck!

By Sunday, we had had two nights full of drinking and conversing, so all of us were moving a little slower. I honestly didn't know how far we would get, but the tree house was pretty much complete- save for some finishing work, the outhouse was completed, the rustic single sleeper was completed, and the mobile structure Deek planned to take to a show in NY was pretty close too. He ended up finishing the thing on his own after the workshop ended.

All in all, it was another great time in the woods of Vermont. We made more great connections with new folks, shared some of our baked goods (which got very positive reviews from all!), learned some amazing life stories, and gathered more inspiration and hope for the future of tiny living. 

Thanks for reading!
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