Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garage Sale Success!

My friends' garage sale on Saturday was a success.  Aside from all the stuff we sold, the weather was phenomenal!  I don't know how we scored a morning high of 80 with a breeze but it was spectacular!

Friday was prep day.  I got off work around 1 and went to my apartment to prep things. 

Liz asked if we could go get tables from a nearby neighbor... here Liz is in my front seat - isn't she adorable in my Texas Rangers hat?

We got the tables from a neighbor's side yard.  They were sooooo long!  We were just laughing!  But we had to have them - we had to make it work.  And then there was a gecko on one of them - we tried to catch him but he was so fast -- and skittered down into my car, never to be seen again... I hope he got out - we left the top down and a door open for a while...

Then I called two friends with pick up trucks and we did two trips with furniture and a few other large random things. After that we settled in at their house and we priced everything.  Wow - it was a ton of stuff!  It went fast, though, and it was so fun to have time to sit and chat with Liz and get caught up.  And her husband shared a couple of beers with me...

I stayed up far to late after I got home - keyed up - and when my alarm went off at 5:30 it was painful.

I swung by Liz's, we threw the yard signs in the back of the car and hit the road (in the dark) to go put up all the sale signs.  We got home, threw all the stuff out on tables in the front yard and opened the doors:

We had a lot of help, gratefully - friends and family.  By 11 a.m. we were ready to call it.  I was fortunate and sold all of my big items:  my bed frame, my set of couches, (I sold my couches to the cutest couple!!) a big mirror from over my mantle, and an overstuffed upholstered chair.  I was pleased to get all of those sold - but another item of extreme satisfaction?  My ironing board and iron!  Ahhh, liberation.

When I got home, I rearranged all my plastic tubs of shop gear and camping gear, and the other miscellaneous tubs out of the bedroom and into the living room, into the newly claimed space.  I emptied corners that hadn't been touched since I moved in, and cleaned my apartment from top to bottom.  It feels GOOD.

I was nervous the week before the sale.  Sort of unsettled.  One morning I woke up really early and couldn't sleep.  I texted Nina, "I am irrationally anxious about selling my couches and bed."  I knew I could count on her - she replied back that while she "got it" - couches and beds are the foundations of our homes - they are what make them comfortable --  I needed to "bootstrap it and get the stuff out" that this is what it was going to take to launch our new lives.  It was just what I needed to hear.  She followed up with a note that we are in this together, even though I am in Dallas and she is in California.  And that we are making this happen.  She's right:  we ARE.

My mattress and box springs are on the floor now.  My living room consists of my area rug, my footlocker that doubles as a computer desk, and my television.  You know... the essentials.  lol

I still have more to go to fit into 112 square feet, but I'm honestly getting there - it's pretty amazing!  I'm super excited.  I.  feel.  free.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Hello, yes, I am here.  : )  I have been remiss in writing - and I thank those of you who have "poked me" with inquiries about my well being.  I'm awesome.  I'm super happy and thinking through house and life details, and getting lost in the details and options, and, apparently, neglecting to write blog posts.  Whoops.

 Several things are going on... here are some of them:

A big piece of news that is having a widespread affect on my life is that our big case at work settled.  We were set for a lengthy jury trial beginning September 30th.  We had mediated the week (?) before my Boulder trip, and the deadline for the final word on settlement was the day before I traveled.  But word didn't come.  Word didn't come for a full EIGHT DAYS - that's eight days of waiting to learn if (a) I could put my feet up on my desk and relax; or (b) I would be working 6-7 days a week through the middle of October - which would have left me less than 2 months of time to get my house move in ready.  Yeah, I know.    I wore my iphone out, checking my inbox for word.  Eventually over the weekend and into the following week I just turned my phone off.  There was nothing I could do to make word come faster and I was making myself crazy snatching up my phone every time my email dinged.  Anyway:  Settlement.  And that opened up an entire realm of new thinking...

I'm doing what I see as my "final purge" of possessions this weekend.  By Friday night I should be truly rattling around in my apartment.  One of my friends who was such a huge help to me when I had my sale just moved, and she's having a big sale.  So I'm helping her prepare, and I'm also putting a LOT of things in the sale.  My plan is to sell everything now except those items that will actually go into my tiny house with me.  There are a few exceptions - my professional life clothing, for example.  I can't get rid of that yet.  And my huge area rug, because my dog needs that for traction on my hardwood floors.  : )  But out will go my pair of sofas.  And my bed frame.  I've been systematically going through each drawer, cabinet or tub with an empty box nearby, and really examining items.  I'm asking myself if I've used the item since December.  How often have I used it?  Is it worth keeping?  Where will it live in the tiny house?  And then it either goes back where it was, or it goes in the garage sale box.  I'm accumulating quite a pile in the middle of my living room - it will drive me mad by the time it's time to tote them to my friends' house.  But wow, I cannot wait to reclaim the open spaces.  So, that's that activity.  The sale is Saturday.  I'm scrambling to be ready in time.

I continue to work on my website content.  I have a bit of editing to do, and a little more first draft writing.  I think we will launch in August sometime.  EXCITING.  I can't wait to see the design on screen!

As for my house, it remains in California.  I was having such a hard time getting it to Boulder - meeting resistance at every turn - that I decided to pull back and observe, and to ask myself why this task that I thought would be so easy breezy was proving to be so difficult.  Ultimately, although we found a workable plan, I pulled out and said "no."  It felt wrong.  So now the plan is to continue the construction with the house in California.  Do I have all of the details of that worked out?  No.  Am I freaked out?  No.  It will come.  My next steps are to get the final roof and window measurements and get material proposals for those items.  I'm going to try to schedule the installation of those items within a few days of each other, and travel to CA for the installations.  At that point - and with a front door - my house will be habitable for "camping."  And you can bet that I'll spend the night in it...  : )

Unrelated to this post - the girls working on the purlins...
I've turned my focus to plumbing.  I am such a visual person, and I've yet to locate a visual on the whole system in place in a house.  I'm looking at fresh water and gray water reservoir tanks, and trying to envision where they will live... I used 2x6" floor joists instead of 2x4"s so that I could have tanks in between the joists.  But again, for me, the details are hazy.  How do I access them?  Where are the valves?  Under the trailer?  Our the side?  Obviously up through the floor isn't logical... So, I need to put on my vertical learning curve gear and tackle this.  I can do it, I just need to take the time for it.

When I can't stay focused on plumbing, my mind drifts to my flooring - a dizzyingly fun storm of ideas...

Meanwhile, I'm lining up details for what my life will look like in 6-8 months; my apartment lease expires December 12th.  (Um, it is late July! Eeeek.)  I'm listening to my heart, and trying to be mindful of taking my brain with me in my decisions.  My path just keeps unfolding in front of me, and I am so happy to keep moving forward.

Thanks for reading...



Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Life is a Story Problem

Have you ever been at a cross roads where you have so many options - that your life has so many possibilities - that you could honestly say, "Wow.  Well, I don't know - anything could happen"?  

I am there.

And that, my friends, is about how much sense I am making of everything today.

I can appreciate the beauty of having choices - I can. But ...  LOL  Oh my gosh!  I might be losing my mind.  Ahhhh.  At least I am maintaining my sense of humor, and my sense of adventure.  Both of those are alive and well.  I just have to laugh...

Don't you pity the girlfriend with whom I am having dinner tonight??  LOL

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

After Boulder

As you may recall, I went to Boulder, Colorado this past weekend.  Primarily I was going there to bring my tiny house back to Dallas to complete the construction, and then the side benefit was that I would be able to attend the Four Lights Tiny House Company workshop.  As it turned out, my house didn't quite make it there - the logistics got complicated and it is still in California - but I attended the workshop anyway.  And I'm glad I did.

As I have reflected back on the weekend, I've been able to identify that I am different when I am with tiny house supporters.  I am a better person.  Certainly a happier person.  Everything just seems really natural, and logical, and ... sensible.  It's like I have become my favorite pair of jeans.  It's weird. I'm so alive.  Will every day be like that in my new life?  I really think so.

At his workshops, Jay likes to find someone who is living in a tiny house in the area and have them tell their story.  I was in the car with Jay and Daniel on Friday before the workshop, and it came out from both of them nearly simultaneously that they were each going to ask me to say a few words at the workshop - to tell my story.  I was in the back seat.  They were in the front seat.  Honestly, I was certain that I hadn't heard correctly.  You know, windows unrolled, road noise, really just watching the local sights out the windows...  I leaned forward.  "What did you say?"  Me?  About what?  Oh.... Hmmm.  "When were you going to tell me that??"  LOL  I mean, I didn't mind doing it, I guess, but speaking does not come naturally to me... I'm working on it, though...

I spoke on Sunday, right after we had a field trip to tour Christopher Smith's tiny house. (He was great - came and spoke with us on Saturday, and invited all of us to tour his house Sunday morning - such a privilege!) I felt very ... out of my league.  My voice was very shaky - I was nervous.  If you catch me one-on-one I can easily tell you my story, and it brings me joy to do so.  Put me in the front of a room with an audience, and things change.  But I got through it, and a few attendees were kind enough to come up to me at the end of the day and thank me for telling my story, that they could identify with me, and that it makes their tiny house seem tangible.  One kind man made a beeline for me after I sat down - walked right up to me, stuck out his hand and said, "I'm John.  I want to be your friend." I loved John for that.  I am not a natural speaker, but I'll get better at it.  And in the meantime, maybe I'll open up a few minds with my clumsy ways. : )  It also helps me out with my "do one thing every day that scares you" mantra.

I met some really fun people who were attending the workshop.  I was really disappointed that I missed the session where everyone went around the room and said why they were there - I was out running an errand - but I was able to talk with a few people about their dreams.

Here's the view from Christopher Smith's front porch - how this must change how you start your day...

I also found out that I have a side business that I was unaware of... LOL

Next on my list?  Finalizing logistics on my house transport... and educating myself on electrical systems and plumbing so that when my windows and roof are installed I'm ready for the next step.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Tiny Homemaker & Word Artist

I had the honor of being asked to write a guest post for Hannah Adams, a word artist in Wisconsin.  Hannah and I are virtual friends via Pinterest and the tiny house world. We bounce ideas off of each other and encourage each other.  I hope to meet her next summer when I travel home to see my family in Minnesota. 

You can read the post here:  The Tinyhomemaker

I can't wait to see one of her shows!  She does indeed have a way with words.  If she is in your area, be sure to make plans to go listen to her.

Cheers & thank you to Hannah - another person making her dreams come true!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Seven Days

I leave a week from today to pick up my house in Boulder.  Okay, so that is sort of a crazy sentence that I never thought I would compose...  

But just one week and it will be here!

Sitting in the Four Lights Workshop seems like just a flash of time ago, and now...  I guess February wasn't all that long ago - but wow.  Bizarre.

I've arranged my trailer towing/backing "refresher course" for Monday evening... I was running out of evenings to take care of that, so I'm pleased to have it scheduled.  Seems prudent before I set off on a multi-state journey...!  

I'm trying to get a couple of banners to put on the house made before I go - I hope I can pull that off.  I should have ordered sooner, but this trip sort of came together last minute.  Whichever.  It's okay if I don't get them but it would be sort of fun.

My jump seat is empty, but you know what?  I'm okay with that, too.  This is a piece of a really amazing journey, and whether I am laughing my way across the country with a friend or enjoying some quiet contemplation (alternated with singing my heart out with the radio) it's going to be spectacular.   I can already see it in my mind's eye.

I have the biggest grin on my face.  I think I am the happiest girl in the world.

So What's Next?

The question everyone is asking me now is, "So where is your house now?  Is it done?"  I guess I forget that everyone doesn't know everything that I know.  Go figure!

My house is in Thousand Oaks, CA.  Daniel is doing a bit of work on it to ready it for travel.  (Thank you, Daniel!)  My house is not complete.  It has a floor, walls, a roof and a porch.  The roof decking will be tarped for travel, in case it rains along the way.

Daniel will tow it from Thousand Oaks to Boulder, Colorado, arriving in Boulder on Friday, July 12th.

Why Boulder?  There is a Four Lights Tiny House Company workshop in Boulder July 13th and 14th. My house will be there for "show & tell."  I'm so glad I can share my house with the attendees.  I know that when I attended the 4L workshop, being able to stand in a tiny house was a high light!  Of course Jay's is spectacular, and well, finished, but ... details, details.

I will fly to Boulder (?) on Friday, attend the workshop along with my house : )  and then get on the road with my house on Monday morning (I presume.)  I should be in Dallas by Tuesday evening.  I think.  It's a goal.

Yesterday I went to visit with the friend who is letting me park on her land while I finish the construction (and perhaps beyond.)  We scoped out which of her driveways my house will fit down.  We assessed sheds for secure storage of my tools.  We checked on electrical outlets, evening light poles, and shady places to park.  We discussed mini water meters and mini electrical meters, "home tour" schedules, additional traffic to her place due to the house... and so on.   She is having keys made for me, and giving me the lay of her land.  Nine acres.  It's gorgeous.  I clocked it when I drove there, and it's less than 9 miles from my apartment.  Not bad at all. 

It's all feeling very real now.  Very, very real.

This will be my new driveway:

Here's one of the possible sites to park for the duration of construction.  I'm hoping to look around a bit more and choose a place with shade...  It's beautiful here, though.

I went to a friend's newly purchased (older) home today to help her assess a shed that needs a new roof and a new floor.  We ended up sitting in her backyard and getting caught up on our lives.  So fun!  In the course of conversation she said they are having a garage sale on July 20th.  Total score!  I'm going to sell my couches, my huge framed mirror, my bed frame... all that stuff that I've been keeping (and that I am still using) but that I can easily do without.  I'm super excited to finally have bumped into someone who is having a sale.  Plus I totally owe her a bunch of hours of work - she helped me so much last Fall with my sale.  And I'm so happy for the opportunity to repay the favor.  Plus - we just have fun.  : )

What's next for my tiny house?  Here's the rough order of things: A trip to my steel friend for stabilization jacks and "L" brackets  A metal roof and windows, both professionally installed.  Exterior trim.  A front door.  Electrical - professionally installed - I hope I can still find my favorite electrician.  Plumbing. (this may involve another trip to my steel/welding friend.)  Insulation.  Interior trim.  Cork (I think) flooring.  A tiny furnace... which is of lesser importance here than a tiny air conditioning unit.  And then... a futon and a pillow.  : ) Holy cow.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The First Move

This post is sort of out of chrono order, but oh well.

Here are a few photos of the first move.

Hitch and brakes

Tying on the red flag - lumber inside the house is hanging out
That's my house in the rearview mirror!!!
Roadside rest
I remembered the fear of overpasses just as we whizzed under the first one.  I am not sure if that is good or bad timing!  LOL    Here it comes...

Approaching first overpass

Sailed through no problem!


Daniel looks so happy!  (I look nervous.  LOL)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A New Soundtrack?

Meditation is not something that I'm really good at.  I have trouble quieting my mind.  And then the instructions always say to focus on your breath, and I'm claustrophobic enough about being in a situation where oxygen is limited (outer space, scuba diving...) that I hear that phrase and wig out.

One afternoon at Camp, I was really needing to just take a few moments and ground myself.  I noted that for once nobody at all was in the house  --  exterior sheathing was being put on, so everyone was working outside the house and nobody was inside.   I slipped in and laid down on the floor.   And looked up.

 The sky was the most spectacular shade of blue.  I took in the wonder of it all.  I looked over and up at the loft --

a space in which I know that I'll have many restful nights.  I just drank it all in.

And then, despite being surrounded by construction noise on all sides, I felt myself pulled heavily towards the floor, and I closed my eyes.  I felt safe.  Protected.    I laid  there, and let it all wash over me.  The noise around me became muffled and faded.

I don't know how long I was there.  10 minutes maybe.  But when I got up I felt balanced.  Refreshed.  Grounded.   Maybe construction noise should be a new meditation soundtrack..... LOL

I cannot wait to move in.  Can you even imagine what that is going to be like??  Wow.

8 Days of Unadulterated Joy

Since I've come home from Camp (wow, how many years has it been since I've uttered those words??) I've been reflecting on the past happiness in my life.  I've been blessed with a lot of it.  But I've concluded that never before have I had eight straight days of pure, unadulterated joy. 

Dutifully trained by my mother, I brought Laurie a hostess gift.  I brought Texas BBQ sauce, and Texas Salsa.  Not being a BBQ connoisseur, I asked a friend who regularly enters BBQ cooking contests first if he sells his BBQ sauce (no) and secondly from whom I should order.  He referred me to a company out of Austin.  It's well known that Austin is the seat of all goodness... so not surprising.  But the connection that Laurie made first, and then I later said it as though it was an original thought (my feet were barely on the ground all week) was that the Austin company name -- Tears of Joy -- was an apt description of my week.  If you were around me at all, you know that I teared up when I saw my trailer, and cried outright each time a wall went up.  And then after that, I cried every time the wind changed.  But my tears were indeed tears of joy.

The Monday morning after Camp I stopped at Wholefoods on the way to work.  The cashier, Theresa, has been an acquaintance for years, and when she saw me her face lit up and she excitedly asked how my week was - that she had been thinking of me.  I set my items down on the conveyor belt and burst into tears as I fumbled for my phone to show her photos.

I wonder how long that reaction is going to go on.  As I sit in a mediation room today for work, I'm crossing my fingers that my boss doesn't start telling our co-counsel and client what I've been doing, because I know I would cry.  You really never want to cry in front of the client...LOL

Someone recently asked me where I see myself 5 years from now.  I answered that I can close my eyes and see what my day looks like, but I cannot see where I am geographically.  It's true.  In my mind's eye I can see my days unfold, and I feel how I will feel.  But I do not know who will be around me or where I will be.  And for now, I am okay with that:  I know it is coming.

Monday, July 1, 2013

To Recognize & Remember

We put this 2"x3" plaque up inside the house on Friday, over the "picture" window:

I wanted something permanent inside the house to give credit to everyone for the great work that was done last week.

When the interior construction begins, I'll take it down, and then put it back up so that it's visible in the finished interior of the house.  It will always remind me of the spectacular week at MAGIC Camp, and it will be great conversation piece on my travels.