Coveting in a Tiny World

Coveting in a Tiny World

I recently visited a  certified tiny home builder who is 34 miles from my home, Portable Cedar Cabins in Spirit Lake, Idaho.   Google Maps lead me to the corner of the town park, twice.  Obviously needing directions I steered to the local hardware store which is where I always seem to have the most luck finding help.  The old guy had his dog sleeping on the counter, a conversation starter for sure.  He knew exactly who I was looking for and sent me a mile further down the road.  Rounding the steep bend of the highway. you really can’t miss the 18 or so tiny homes in various stages of completion.

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The site was busy with North Idaho hard-working men,  hammering to music like it was summer in the 53 degree spring weather.  From the size of the mud ruts, Portable Cabins build site had its share of winter with the rest of us.  We stepped into the yard and was greeted by Bob, who was more than happy to answer a couple of questions, give us a some instructions and turn us loose to wander around the homes.

I had my 16yr old son with me who is a tiny house skeptic, he looks at me with eyebrows raised, smiles and says “Okaaay”  whenever I pull him into my tiny house excitement.  When we stepped into the first little abode,  he raised his eyebrows and declared, “This is surprisingly nice!”  So we climbed into lofts, opened pocket doors, checked out tiny bathroom sinks and talked about what life would feel like in each of these different small spaces.  So much fun!

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One of the smaller houses.

Making our way back to the tiny house main office I sat down with the owner Dave and shared my Trek to Tiny with him.  I had noticed that ALL the homes had flush toilets and none of them had gray water tanks or holding tanks, everyone was tapping into water, power and sewer.  So, we talked about off-grid builds, N.Idaho frozen winters which equates to frozen water, and small wood stoves.  Dave is a big proponent of going with a 10′ wide build, and I had noticed the difference that extra 18″ provided.  Then the question everyone wants to know, “How much?”  He quoted me $28,000 for a 10×24 completed shell with roughed-in plumbing and electrical, and he would deliver it to me for FREE since I am local.

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10′ Wide

I started doubting the path I have put into motion, buying a trailer and attempting a DYI build with hiring local professionals as needed.  The mind followed a rabbit trail … my design would be better if it was bigger, I will save myself a lot of work, I’d be doing interior work this summer,  this looks easier.

After my tiny house high, a hot yoga class forced me to take a deep breath, move and sweat for an hour and gave me the clear head to think this over carefully.  I pulled out my materials list and crunched numbers, I had estimated they were receiving somewhere between 7,000-10,000 for their labor and that turned out to be pretty spot on.  I wrestled with the budget vs. time argument and thought about what 10,000 can buy.  My camper/tiny house journal revealed a whole bunch of reasons why staying  the original course means something to me, this whole thing is a trek after all.

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Early morning Trek to Tiny work.

The pull to go bigger & spend more almost got me, a little mindfulness goes a long way.  My oldest son who is a smart, hardworking, and really strong man has been excited about helping his mom this summer and building a small house shell.  What a learning curve we’re going to have together!

Ready to get moving.

Hillary D.

Downsized Parenting

Downsized Parenting

As I minimize on The Trek to Tiny, really strip everything back to the basics, I realize that I am also learning how to downsize my parenting.  Letting go of clothes, and furniture, dishes, and knick-knacks, as well as hundreds of photographs is easy in comparison of letting go of my kids.  It happens … they grow up.

There were years of  wiping tears and noses and bottoms, folding endless loads of laundry, reading “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” over and over and watching “The Land Before Time” enough that I had a solid affection for Littlefoot the Apatosaurus, and wondering if I would ever sleep again.

During the home school years we made a mess in the kitchen with art, science and cooking.  I made everyone cry teaching them math, and we got through it together. We explored the mountains and the ocean and loved our log home in the country with dogs, cats and gardens.  I spent what felt like forever skiing the bunny hill on Schweitzer teaching the three of them to make “french fries” and “pizza wedges” while sliding downhill.  We practiced Taekwondo, learning forms, and weapons and self-defense.  Sweating our way through the stress of belt tests the four of us discovered how to encourage and persevere.  Taking on an exchange student for a year added another culture and more love to the mix.

The summer before our family life unraveled with a divorce we sang and danced our way through “The Music Man” unable to erase the hours of rehearsals from our psyche.

“We can be cold
As our falling thermometers in December
If you ask about our weather in July.”

“Iowa Stubborn” and all the other catchy tunes brought us closer to our community and we had opening night jitters and closing night elation.  Other productions followed with same excitement and late night rehearsals.

The kids made it through high school, learning that “this too shall pass” when the stress and social challenges of being a teenager become overwhelming.  The youngest will be entering in to his senior year this fall, the empty nest is looming. I’m so grateful for the adventures we’ve shared, the slums of India, beautiful back-country scenery and impossibly long bike rides.

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Strolling the markets of India.
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We rode 80 miles in the rain!
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My back-country buddy.

And so, I am learning to downsize my parental worries and tasks, and telling myself everything is OK when what feels like long stretches of no communication become the norm as my kids build their young adult lives and independently discover the world in which they live.  The fact they are able to do those very things means the parenting wasn’t perfect but it was successful.

For now I enjoy it when the kids trickle in and out of the house for visits, and soak up this last remaining year with the baby of the family.  Truth be told, I am excited about the next chapter for my life!

Be Well,

Hillary D.