Friday, August 29, 2014

Sometimes You Just Have to Pick and Choose

It's almost September?! WHAT THE WHAT?!

Last weekend, we made the difficult decision to focus our precious free time. We have so many projects in the mix, both tiny house and wedding related, that it's become difficult to give equal attention to all. Since we are temporarily dead in the water as far as siding goes (until we get a new saw) and we are STILL waiting on some of the parts we need for solar- don't even want to talk about that- we opted to work on centerpieces for the wedding.

To our surprise and delight, we were able to build all the centerpiece stands and the favor display this past weekend!

 What a load off! 

If given too much time, I will change my mind on the design of something about a thousand times. It felt great to finally settle on a concept, create a dry run piece, find that we liked it, and then slap the others together with relative ease.

We used all recycled and leftover materials from our tiny house build- less a handful of pieces of wood- which I think really adds character and richness to our special day. We made these things together, by hand, as we will our new life. I think we spent a grand total of maybe $20 for the 14 units we created.

They are TALL and rustic and amazing. I simply cannot wait to see it all come together. We have collected a ton of wine bottles, which I have been cleaning and de-labeling. We plan to stuff them with lights and twigs, maybe ferns, or other woodsy things for additional decor. I'm pretty proud of how resourceful we are being. I will definitely share pictures when the time comes!

As for something that might actually be related to what you want to read about- haha- uhhhhh.....we bought a protractor! (To fix our panel angles.) And thanks to back to school, we got a steal of deal on the thing.

With the long weekend ahead, we plan to evaluate the change of angles to our panels, dig the trench for conduit up to the house, and maybe, just maaayyyybe, we could get the panels hooked up to the combiner box. Baby steps, people. Plus, we have more wedding things to do as well- just over a month away before these two peas make it official!

If you haven't yet, check out Issue 20 of Tiny House Magazine, hot off the *virtual* press! I've got an article in there about towing the Pod!

Thanks for reading!
Like Us On Facebook

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Batteries = RECHARGED!

Dan and I can't thank each and every one of you enough!

After my last post, the out-pouring of advice, encouragement, and support was truly amazing. Dan and I are both touched and rejuvenated. One of the first responses was simply a link to an article written by a fellow tiny houser, breaking down all the things that go through your mind, how you feel, how you may re-act, and by the end of that article I was already feeling a whole lot better. If you are feeling a little nutty or on the edge about your build- I highly recommend this article.

Throughout the first half of our build, we worked mostly alone, and felt mostly alone in our interests, goals, and enthusiasm for tiny houses. In 2012, the tiny house scene was beginning to bloom, but there still weren't a whole loft of networks out there. We are so grateful to have such an awesome community with us today. I'm feeling spunky and ready to do work, so I'll keep this post short.

Last weekend was the first time in a while that there were no family or other social engagements slated. We took that opportunity to dive back in again. We finally created an outdoor area for our composte, using once again, lovely pallets. That went together quickly, and aside from tip-toeing through a whole lot of poison ivy, it was a smooth process. We moved our compost from the temporary plastic bin to it's new place. Even as we dumped the organic matter and shuffled it all around, there was no smell, which means we are doing things right! 

Building that first was probably the best move of the day, and lucky for us, it was our first move of the day! Feeling quite chipper and at ease now that our pooh had somewhere to go become earth again, we set our sights on the next job. Can you guess? Yep- more pallet siding!

The Sunday before last, as you may recall, we spent prepping more pallets to go up on the walls. I'm not sure if I mentioned that the special saw we used at Dan's Dad's store up and quit on us. That was the only saw that would fit the particular blade we need to use for ship lapping. We didn't put up much of a fuss since that was the last step and we only had a handful of boards left. So we packed up and headed home. Dan's dad said the saw probably just over-heated and to give it some time.

So we some siding that was ready to go up. We spent the remainder of Saturday putting up siding. We didn't get the third wall done, but it's pretty close! On Sunday, we worked on the utility closet. We were both getting tired of staring at that house wrap every time we came home. Over the last couple weeks, when feeling especially overwhelmed, seeing that was like salt in the wound. So we decided to tackle what we could of that. We headed out and got supplies for the trim. 

After putting up the strapping, then cutting, painting, and applying the trim, we stood back to admire the improvements. Even the trim being in place was a substantial improvement!

On Tuesday, we both put in work after work. Dan went to his Dad's to try out the saw. It's officially dead. Boo. So the pallet siding is on hold yet again. While he was there, I did a little work on our center-pieces at my Dad's.

Dan had a great suggestion- we had some extra pallet wood that we had processed early on, but then as we got better at what we were doing, we realized these pieces were a little too thin for our liking, so they go tossed aside. The discrepancy in thickness wasn't a big deal for most pieces, but these were simply too thin in comparison to the rest of the lot. So we didn't put them up. I am SUPER GLAD, and I would go back in time and kiss the former me or former Dan- whoever said, let's just keep these for a while. Turns out the miscellaneous thin pieces added up to the perfect amount of wood to do the front of our utility closet! Since it was just two small areas of siding, the difference in thickness didn't matter. 

Once I finished putting up the last piece of siding on the front of the utility closet, I stood back and smiled from ear to ear. MAN is it great to look at this side of our house and not see house wrap anymore! Wooh! 

Next weekend, we plan to start getting that solar power system put together- that is, if the changing of angles on the wooden mounts goes well!

Thanks for reading!
Like Us On Facebook

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Time Keeps On Slippin'...Slippin'...Slippin'

During one of the several interviews we have done so far, I was asked- "You seem so on top of things, especially for a project this size. Do you ever get overwhelmed or are you always this cool and collected?"

WELL. The short answer to that is yes, we DEFINITELY get overwhelmed. A great example of that? RIGHT NOW. I'm stepping away from the usual tone of my posts because I'm not feeling my usual self. The last few weeks have been a whirl wind. I have moments where it's all I can do to just breathe calmly. The crisp cool air of the evenings and mornings has always been one of my most favorite things. A sign that my favorite season is on it's way....but this year, there is so much going on that I wish summer could last another 5 months. 

Dan recently found employment (HOORAY!), which we are both very happy about. He did such a bang up job his first week and a half that they asked him to come on full time. Considering he has been looking for quite some time, and our financial situation was getting a bit tight, we were happy for this opportunity. What I wasn't expecting however, was the inevitable backlash to our progress on the house. 

In fact, it was never made clearer to me than now. One of the biggest balancing acts of life is time versus money. This is a scale I have had trouble with for many years- always trying to make time the more valuable item, but somehow someway, money always had more heft. I can't just walk away from my bills and my debt, and I will not put them off any longer either. I am determined to reach a point in my life where time out ranks money- sooner rather than later. We are positioning ourselves with the tiny life we have chosen, but it seems, much like everything else, there is always one more major stressful squeeze before you burst out the other side. 

I have been traveling quite a bit over the last month, and when I am home, our schedule has been filled with family gatherings, weddings, showers, and other related parties. I get this feeling like all my waking hours from now until some point in the unforeseen future has already been scheduled for me. It's quite frustrating at times. 

We need to finish the dang siding on this place. We need to put our solar power system together. We need to water proof and seal the siding. We need to create gutters and some form of water shed for our roof line. We need to purchase and install a wood stove. We need to do all this before November.

Now- add getting married out of state in October to that list. Catching my drift?  

This past weekend we attended a beautiful garden wedding on Dan's side of the family. We wanted to save money and time so we drove home that night instead of staying over. We spent part of Sunday morning in recovery, then dragged ourselves out to Dan's dad's store to do more work. We needed to process more pallets. Our tools have been scattered to three different places now...and I don't like it. Some things are here at the Pod, some things are at my Dad's, and some things at the store. More than once we have gone one place only to realize the tool we need is at another. I don't recommend this. haha We wanted to give my Dad a break from seeing us constantly working in his yard, and we needed to use the table saw at the store. His dad's saw is the only one that will hold the special blade we use for ship-lapping. 

So, the only free day we had was spent sweating in the beating sun of a paved parking lot. I know I'm probably being a total whiner right now, but DAMN! It's been almost 2 years of working constantly on this place. I want it to be over! I want to return to having time to relax, be social (not just attend major family events), visit my hobbies again- I'm pretty sure I will have to learn guitar all over again. Blurg.

Oh, and the solar power system saga continues. We ordered what we needed and now have another 6 boxes of stuff waiting for us to open. We also realized that our solar panels are at the wrong angle. Joy. The semi-good news is that we did do our math right, we just flip flopped how it should have applied to the racking. We don't have to build them all over, since the angle we need is sharper. We plan to take the panels down and make the angled cuts to the posts right where they stand. That should be fun. 

Some nights I lie in bed feeling like I have the actual weight of our tiny house on my chest. I try to keep my mind on the positives. We have accomplished so much and we are making our dream a reality, but I feel I have mustered all I can muster- even from my reserve tank at this point. It's hard to be the spearhead day in and day out.  My brain begins to skip and scramble as I think about all the loose ends we still have and all that MUST get done before the cold sets in. 

I WILL come back to you all with a more chipper voice again soon. But until then, do any of you folks that have already "made it to the other side" have any advice? Maybe part of your story you can share? I could really use something to recharge my batteries. 

Thanks for reading!
Like Us On Facebook