Monday, September 30, 2013

Cedar Delivery!

Monday's task is completed - I accepted delivery of the cedar!  The arrangement was that the driver would call me when he was an hour out so I could meet him in Garland.  I was worried that he would call while I was at the gym, but it was almost noon when he called and I was at my desk.  I wore a dress and heels today, so I had to be a ninja in my car in the parking garage and change into jeans & boots.  Then I wasn't even out of downtown yet and he called back - he was there already!  Um, not an hour.  But he was happy to wait for me.
This is the wood for my exterior trim, and also for my porch braces.

It smells amazing.  The 4x4" post and the big 4x6" post are still quite wet - so they are really aromatic.

I laid 2x4"s on the ground, then unrolled my plastic, and Florentino from Lee Roy Jordan Lumber stacked it neatly on top.  Some of the boards are 16' long - my plastic had to be huge!  I swaddled it like a baby... I am not risking rain!

This looks sort of sinister, doesn't it?  Or have I watched too many movies?

I LOVE Lee Roy Jordan Lumber.  Number one, they stock hard to find specialty woods, and in the case of my cedar they were less expensive than Home Depot.  And they are so ridiculously polite in there - never dubious that you're a chick in there ordering lumber (I also ordered my ipe there for the back porch at my Patricia house) and their customer service totally rocks.  And on top of all that, they are just a short drive up I-35.  Really convenient.

Here is their website: 

According to their website,
"Lee Roy Jordan leads the industry as one of the largest suppliers of Redwood and other fine specialty woods in eight states."

Plus you just have to love that Texan sounding name... : )

After that I zipped back to work, did the reverse ninja in my car again, and walked back through the lobby in my dress & heels.  It's weird how energizing jeans & boots are...I feel like I can conquer the world.

This is all starting to feel real now...

Oh!  And I bought a new drill set (driver-drill & an impact driver) last night!  I bought an extra battery too - a bigger one.  Yeehaw!  I'm all set.  I'm still wishing that my table saw hadn't burned up during my last Patricia house project, but alas, it did.  I'm going to try to not replace it.  I think I'll be good with my chop saw and my circular saw.... We'll see.

Big Week for the Tiny House

Saturday I drove to Justin to spray Great Stuff into the ridge of my house to seal it before the roof goes on.  It took me a little over an hour to get there. I chatted with James, and then I drove my car back to the warehouse where my house is and unloaded some tools and things into the house.  We stood in the warehouse assessing if we were going to use a forklift or a crane to get me up high enough.  With either choice we were going to need to pull the house out of the warehouse - there isn't any room along the sides of the house inside the warehouse for equipment.  About the time a plan was formed, the sky broke open and it started raining. Rain was in the forecast for Saturday, but not until the afternoon.  It was 9 a.m.   We waited a bit for the rain to relent, but no such luck.  I got back in my car and drove back to Dallas.  That's two and a half hours I'll never get back - and another task left uncompleted.  I was so frustrated when I left - it seems like I just keep having these minor setbacks.

I'm mildly flipping out that tomorrow is October and I haven't been able to do any physical work on my house since it arrived here.  I was in Home Depot yesterday and they have fully decorated Christmas trees on display!  Then I turned the corner into the appliance department and there was a huge sign proclaiming that the holiday are "just around the corner!"  Gaaaaah!  By the time Christmas arrives, I will be LIVING IN MY HOUSE.  The house that at  this point is an unfinished wooden box.  Breathe.  Do not panic.  Daniel assures me I will have enough time.  I'm still trying to buy him a plane ticket to Dallas...

This week has the potential for a big house week, though!  

Here's the daily line up:

Monday (today):  Cedar lumber delivery.  I have some scrap lengths of 2x4"s in my car (my car smells so good, lol) to stack the cedar on.  I also bought a 6 mil plastic tarp to cover it.  No rain in the forecast, but with my current track record I'm not taking any chances.

Tuesday:  Skylight should arrive in Fort Worth!  As soon as I receive the final specs on the skylight from Rudy I will do a post about the type of skylight I ordered.

Wednesday:  Drive to FW to pick up the skylight (sure hope it fits in my Apply the Great Stuff to the ridge, and then help James move the house to Garland!!

Thursday: Install skylight & two plumbing vents

Friday: Install roof!!

Also, my windows should have arrived last week - I'm awaiting confirmation - and I'll drive to Fort Worth and pick up the frame for the loft window, and take it to David, my stained glass guy in Addison.  While I'm there we will finalize my stained glass design.  Then he can start working on that!

I'm going to be doing a lot of driving this week, it appears. 

Over the weekend I will apply the stain/seal to my exterior plywood cedar sheathing, and cut and stain/seal my cedar lumber (exterior trim.)

And then next week I'll install the windows and I'll be weather tight!! (And likely spend my first night sleeping in my house!  I see a sleeping bag on the floor...)  The prospect of getting all of those tasks done makes me deliriously happy.  DELIRIOUS.

Friday, September 27, 2013

House Status

Now that my house is in Texas, I'm getting a lot of inquiries about exactly where it is, and what I've done to it since it arrived. My house is still in Justin, which is about an hour away from me.  I am trying to leave it there until my skylight comes in, because it is in a warehouse, protected from rain.  And what have I done to it?  Really nothing.  All my tools are in Garland, and my aging dog's needs prevent me from spending more than 2 hours in Justin, so there's no point in toting all my tools out there.  So I'm sort of hamstrung.

Once I get my skylight, then I can get a roof.  The original estimate I was given for skylight delivery was 2-3 weeks.  That was if I ordered it from Home Depot.  But Rudy, my magical window man at Omniview Door & Windows in Fort Worth is getting it faster - possibly by Tuesday of next week!  

Once I get a roof, I can get windows. That should happen the week of October 7th  And once it's moved from Justin to Garland I can put on the Penofin to seal my exterior siding from rain.  (The location in Justin is too dusty to apply it there.)  The roof and the windows will be installed in Garland, so it looks like my house will move mid week next week!  Hopefully it won't rain... I'm stupid excited.  I can't WAIT to get my house moved to Garland so that I can start working on it in earnest.

Tomorrow I am driving to Justin to do a few things on the house.  I need to spray Great Stuff in the ridge (from above) before the roof goes on.  James is going to help hoist me up that high - I think he has a man lift or scaffolding or something.  I also plan to finish affixing my front door hardware.  The trick is, the windows aren't cut out yet, so it's uber dark in the house.  I need a headlamp... lol

I was going to work on staining/sealing the cedar for my exterior trim tomorrow in Garland.  I ordered it and it was to be delivered today.  However, when I saw the rainy forecast for the weekend I pushed delivery to Monday.  : (  So frustrating.

Sunday I am going to have coffee with a tiny houser wanna be who lives in Richardson.  She found me online and wants to meet - I'm looking forward to that! 

It's probably good that my lumber isn't being delivered today and that I'm not planning to work on staining it this weekend - I woke up this morning with tendonitis and I can hardly walk!  I'm not sure what is going on with that... It will make getting up on the roof tomorrow .... interesting.  

Have a great weekend!

More on Tiny House Plumbing

I know - it's riveting topic.  

The next step for me with my plumbing is to learn about reservoir tanks.  After reading a lot of (mostly mind numbingly vague) information online, I decided to I needed to speak with an RV repair specialist.  RVs use reservoir tanks, and being a visual person, I needed someone to help me get the overview of what my goal is.  Fortunately for me, I had a "power of who" connection and after a brief email exchange I was on the phone with Rodney, an extremely knowledgeable gentleman at an RV repair company in Dallas.  

We were on the phone all of about 6 minutes before he threw out the phrase, "tongue weight" -- said he was sure I'd heard about that -- and just barreled onward.  Whoa whoa whoa - tongue weight?  I have never in my life heard that phrase.  Back the truck up. 

Apparently "tongue weight" is common parlance in the RV industry.  There is a calculation you should do to make sure you position the weight on your trailer correctly.  In this case, we were discussion my water reservoir tanks that I plan to mount under my trailer, between the front axle and the trailer tongue.  A gallon of fresh water weighs 8.34 pounds.  If I plan on having two 20 gallon tanks of water sloshing around under my trailer, that is over 300 pounds.  

Then he started speaking about "sway."  Apparently if you ignore the tongue weight calculation, or do it incorrectly, and you are not within the high and low percentage of trailer tongue weight, once you hit a certain speed (this is starting to develop the feel of algebra, which I barely passed.  Pick me for your spelling bee team...) your trailer will start swaying on the freeway.  I'm told this is very difficult to control.  Awesome.
I found this article online that explains the calculation.  My eyes crossed at about paragraph six.  

Here's an excerpt:
Finding the tongue weight (TW) of any trailer can, at first, seem like a difficult task. Fine-tuning the tongue weight to fall within the 9- to 15-percent weight range of the gross trailer weight (GTW) might seem nearly impossible. You'll be happy to know that it doesn't have to be complicated at all.

(I don't know, that seems like a lie.) 
In other interesting news, a quick Google search revealed that if I can't find a tongue weight scale to use for free locally, I can buy one* for under $150.  They look like this:

Here's the link for that photo:  

Rodney also gave me a couple of other advisories:
1)  My fresh water tank and my gray water tank should be identically sized.  Reason being, if someone leaves the faucet on and goes outside, the gray water tank will be large enough to accept ALL of the water from the fresh water tank.  I likely would have figured that out with my keen sense of common sense, but who knows.

2)  Buy tanks made from HDPE plastic, not ABS plastic.  I neglected to ask why that is because I was furiously taking notes, but I'll ask him next time we speak; it was something about the strength of the plastic, I think.

His company sells reservoir tanks, and I told him I wanted to talk with him more about all of this (hire him if necessary) and that I would order my tanks from him.  He said he'd need to see the trailer to know exactly what we are dealing with.  I promptly sent him my floor plan and some photos.  I'll be back in touch with him in a few weeks... 

I don't know why it took me so long to identify an RV repair place (and/or a marine repair place) as a great resource for this topic... but it's going to be a great help to me.  Hey, so I'm slow.  But I get there eventually...

Daniel also advised me that I want to place my tanks as close to where in the house that I will be using the water as possible.  Okay so that's logical.  Unfortunately, attaining that goal seems a bit tricky to me, because my kitchen and bath are not at the tongue end of the trailer; they are on the back end.  Dilemma.  We discussed me putting one tank behind the axles, and one tank in front of the axles.  That could be a solution...

So, some additional plumbing progress.  Still a bit to go, but I'm chipping away at it... segment at a time.

Boneyard Studios posted a very informative post about plumbing last year - you can read that here.

* At which point I emailed the link to Nina with the advisory that this falls into the category of, "who knew?"  and of course, because we are twins separated at birth, she wholeheartedly agreed with me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Plumbing Roof Vents

UPDATE:  I knew I forgot something.  This is the drill bit for drilling from inside the house, up, through to the roof.  A hole saw won't work because of all the layers - which include a double top plate.

For the drill bit size:  If your pipe is a 2" pipe, then you want a 2 1/8 or a 2 1/4 inch bit.

Note:  A few of you have emailed me and asked me the purpose of plumbing vents.  You can read about why they are necessary here.


I am finally feeling like I am making some progress on wrapping my head around some plumbing issues.  I'm now completely comfortable with the previously very intimidating roof vents for plumbing pipes... it makes me feel like a rocket scientist.  Not really, but ... I am pretty darn pleased that I figured it all out - especially since these vents are one of the critical path items towards getting my roof installed.

This is what the traditional plumbing roof vent looks like (although my roof will be metal, not shingled):

I need two of these; one to vent my kitchen sink, and one to vent my shower and bathroom sink (tied together).  If I install this style, I'm going to be sure and put some type of screen over the top so nothing fall into the pipe (and into my reservoir tank.) 

Here's a diagram that shows you how this ties into the system:

Diagram credit:

These two videos are helpful with regard to what goes on outside, on top of the roof where the vent comes out of the roof:

And here is a diagram showing the installation on a metal roof; the vent pipe is just a piece of black ABS pipe.  (Similar to PVC but better for this application.)

 Pipe boots are sold at Home Depot for less than $5 but they only have gray.  Not the most attractive thing to have on your roof.  But I found this site that sells colored ones for just a few dollars more:

And then this might be an option as well -- an RV vent cap.  This could be painted to match the roof.  I need to check with my roofer (Jim at Alltex Roofing) to see if this would work on a metal roof...

For inside the house, I watched a video and captured these screen shots:

 Here is the source video for those two photos:

As far as placement of the vents, ideally you want a straight shot from where the pipe connects with the related plumbing, up through the roof.  For the kitchen, I just need to identify where my sink is going to be, and install the pipe between the two closest studs.  The bath will require a bit of thought, but nothing awful, I don't think.  I'll just need to figure out where the sink is going to go, and the shower head, and then where those two pipes will join, and put the vent pipe there....

So now you know what I know... unless I forgot something, which I'm sure I did.  But seriously?  I would have paid money to have this information all neatly compiled in one place... I hope you find it helpful.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Project Schedule Change

Soooooooooooooooooo..... Yesterday I learned that skylights take two to three weeks to come in after you order them.  Why does that seem like an eternity to me? Honestly, I figured it would take seven to ten days.  But honestly?  I've never ordered one before, so I was basing that on absolutely nothing.  (Just on how I wish the world to

My order of things was going to be plumbing roof vents, skylight, roof, windows.  Weather-tight in two weeks, I predicted.  Um, no.

My window guy strongly suggests the roof go on before the windows - thereby eliminating the risk that the roofers break a window. That means no skylight, no roof, no roof, no windows.  Sigh.  Weather tight in a month.  Gaaaaah.

As far as I am concerned, this is a cruel joke the the universe is playing on me:  forcing me to address plumbing - the portion of the build I am most dreading.  Last night I got the bright idea to find an RV repair company who deals with reservoir tanks and plumbing lines to help me understand the layout.  I found a local company whose website leads me to believe is decent, looked up their address and guess what?  I'm friends with the owners of the company from whom they lease their space, who also office next door.  WEIRD.  I'll be making a trip there...

I am also going to find the same version of marine repair and go talk with them.  I just need the overview - what connects where and why?  Then I feel like I can tackle it myself.  I just need to understand the end goal.

I know my reservoir tanks are going to "live" under my trailer, thereby conserving interior space.  I am going to have straps welded on the underside of the trailer to support the tanks.  And where is my house right now?  In the warehouse of a steel company.  Hel-lo!  Fortuitous.  I need to move along with this ASAP because it cannot stay there very long; they need the space my house is in.

There are several other things I could be doing - building my front steps, building my loft ladder, flooring my loft.  But no.  I will dutifully face my demon and figure out the plumbing and be done with that.

So Glad You're Not a Dude!

Back in August I put an "ad" on Craig's List that I am building a tiny house in Dallas.  I invited folks who are interested in tiny houses to get in touch with me.  Maybe they want to see one, and/or are interested in building one, or - ha - are interested in getting experience with the construction of one.

A few days ago I got another response to my ad from someone who said they have been wanting to build a tiny house for years.  We agreed to meet at a local coffee shop yesterday afternoon.

We had only exchanged emails with initials for our names.  Yesterday afternoon we texted, but from the name of my fellow tiny houser I still could not ascertain if they were male or female.

When I pulled into the lot and parked, Ashley appeared at my elbow as I opened my car door.  "Are you BA?"  "I am! You must be Ashley - hello!"

Ashley is a young college aged woman.   It turns out she doesn't live far from where I will be doing my construction.  She told me about her dream to build a tiny house, and how paying rent for an apartment just doesn't make sense to her.  She said her family and her boyfriend have adjusted to her idea after initial skepticism.  She's even been sketching out her floor plan - she wants an 8' x 20' house.  She's also already been downsizing her possessions.  Like me, one of her problems is shoes.  LOL  She wants to build on wheels, and has a family who are in a business with access to large trucks, so moving her house won't be a problem.  This girl is thinking things through.

She said she doesn't plan to live in it forever, but that she "has to try it."  That sounds familiar.  I asked her how she first heard about tiny houses, and like me, she can't recall.  "I wish I could remember, but ..."  Ah yes.  Me too.

We had a delightful afternoon, comparing notes and dreams.  I told her I would let her know when my house made the final leg of its trip into the area.  "I just want to stand in one," she said, to "get an idea of what it feels like."  

After a while she sat back in her chair and said, "I'm just so glad you aren't a dude!  I think it's so great that a WOMAN is building her own house.  I told my grandmother that I could do it."  And I think she's right - she can.

(with permission)

Conditioning, Change & Fear

We are conditioned as children to follow the pack.  We are rewarded for being obedient, for not rocking the boat, for falling in line - for conforming.  Doing what we are told is learned to be good behavior.   As children, I recognize that has value.  Following instruction is often how we learn.  But at what age should independent thought be encouraged?  When do we start learning that being different is okay, and in many cases a good thing?  In my experience, some children learn that it's okay to be different only as a result of conflict.  A child is teased, and the parent tells the child, "it's okay to be different.  You'll appreciate that when you are older."  But often being "different" isn't rewarded on its own.  Why can't you be like Johnny?  Look at Johnny.

As teenagers and adults, we are conditioned by society about what success means.  In the United States, it's well advertised the owning a piece of America is "the American dream."  The house with the white picket fence.  The 2.5 children.  The two cars in the garage.  For me, (and I think for many) that ideal was held out as having "made it."  But is it really?  Is that why everyone is soooo happy?  That ideal isn't as drummed in as it used to be, but I think it's still the default definition of success.
I've had three conversations in the last 24 hours that have touched on the topic of societal conditioning, change, and fear.  I didn't set out to have the conversations, they just sort of happened as we talked about our different life paths.

One person has change happening to them and they are not necessarily participating, but they are learning to cope with it.

One is actively seeking change - from a place of comfort.

Another is always changing, always evolving - it's her way of life.  She looks for it daily.

And there's me - I've been actively pursuing big change for over a year now.  (I'm always surprised when I quantify the time that it's been that long.)  I often laugh and say that I love change - so long as it is my idea!   (And maybe that isn't funny... hmmm)

I believe that the change that we do not ask for - that change that is the hardest change - often turns out to be the best change for us. I've witnessed it several times with (my life and) friends.  We undergo the change - a job transition, a relationship reframe, a lifestyle adjustment - because we are forced.  Often it's a change we wanted to make, but we didn't, because we were afraid.  We're afraid to change jobs.  We're afraid to take a relationship to the next level or to end it all together.  We are afraid to radically change our lifestyle.  I believe that if we don't pay attention to the signs gently urging us to change, then change sometimes slaps us upside the head and our hand is forced.  Then the change is no longer voluntary - it's become mandatory, thrust upon us.  That type of change brings fear.  Change is hard.

This last year I've noticed that the change I am choosing makes some people uncomfortable. I'm choosing to live with less.  I'm voluntarily leaving the lifestyle that is in part the very definition of success in this country in favor of a less conventional lifestyle.   Some people that I talk with about my choices are clearly threatened:  If we are making the same choices, then we are validating each other.  "We are successful."

When one person starts to make different choices, we are are no longer, by our decisions, validating the other person's choices.  A dichotomy is revealed, and fear may creep in. Are we still both successful?  Is one person more successful than the other?  Are we both still okay?  And sometimes, then, judgment follows.  "How will that work?"  "How can you be happy?"  "I could never do that."  "Are you sure?"  "I'm not sure you should do that."

I am voluntarily making big changes.  I am comfortable telling you that even though the changes are voluntary, they are not entirely without fear.  I'm doing things I've never done before.  I'm planning to live in a way that I have never lived before.  Of course there is fear; it's very unconventional.  But there is also challenge.  And anticipation.  And excitement.   And so yes, I am very sure of what I am doing -- but admittedly some days it is outside my comfort zone.  I'm okay with that.  All of those cliches - "go out on the limb - that's where the fruit is."  "The magic happens outside your comfort zone."  "Push the envelope," I'm finding them to be true.  And satisfying. 

I have a vivid memory of being in college, living in a dorm on campus, and my life being routine.  I could tell you where I would be, and what I would be doing, at any given time of any day of the week for the next nine months.  I couldn't STAND it.  It drove me mad.  But I accepted it as what my life was then:  I was a student.  With a job.  Without a car.  With homework.  My purpose at college was to learn, and to go to work and earn a paycheck to pay for that college.  It was boring.  But:  it's what was expected of me.  It's what had to be done.  Put my head down, keep my nose to the grindstone, and  in four years I would be rewarded with a piece of paper that would surely entitle me to all the adult successes that I wanted.  Whaaaaat?  I saw the pattern repeated when I was married and living in Fort Worth.  House with a mortgage.  9-5 job.  Rinse, repeat.  It made me antsy.  I was bored.  It was so ... mundane.  I wasn't savvy enough to identify what about it was dissatisfying to me.

When I traveled to London for work, I was in the car with a Brit and he said, "You Americans.  You're doing it all wrong.  You work and work and work and then your reward is two weeks off once a year.  And then you go work the next 50 weeks and do it again."  At the time it made me defensive.  That's just what we do.  It's the American way.  We're Americans.  This is how our lives are structured.  It's fine.  Right?  I mean, that's how nearly everyone I know lives.  It's just how it is.  Right?

No.  Actually no, it isn't.  Once you start paying attention there are people everywhere who are doing unconventional things.  Friends of friends are traveling the world, teaching in countries totally new to them.  They are living on house boats.  They are teaching aids prevention in Africa.  They are buying one way cruise tickets across the pond and following their dream of attending Oxford.  I know all those people.  They are living.   They are taking risks. This week, someone very dear to me said, "BA, you are kind of eccentric, but I like you.  I don't have anyone else like you in my life."  These days, THAT is my version of success.  

The past few days as I've been criss-crossing the metroplex in my car, I've looked at the cardboard box on my passenger seat.  Inside is a measuring tape.  A book on carpentry.  A sample tube of Penofin.   My construction plans.  A notebook of lists and telephone notes.  A pair of gloves.  The keys to my new house. My water bottle.  A ziploc of walnuts.  On the floor board are two one-gallon cans of Penofin, sloshing about as I turn corners.  On my feet?  My work boots.  And I realize:  I'm in the thick of it.  This is it - I am making this happen.  Right now.  Today.  I'm one of those people.

Do you know how when you wake up in the morning, sometimes there are remnants of your dreams in your mind?  You can just barely grasp them and the emotions that go along with them?  This morning as I stumbled to the kitchen to get the dog's leash, I had that.  I had wisps of happy - wisps of an amazing feeling of happiness, of an exhilarating experience.  And then I realized:  That wasn't a dream.  I had spent part of yesterday in my new house.  It is real.  I smiled.  Wow.  First time I've ever had THAT happen.

I don't know what I'll be doing in six months.  I don't know where I'll be doing it.  I'll be living in my tiny house, and ....?  I don't know. I have a lot of unanswered questions.  I have a LOT of wild cards in my hand right now.  I'm actually really excited about that - about the unknown.  I guess it turns out that part of me likes the unknown.

This is not the blog post I sat down to write today, by the way.  But when I sat down to type, this is what happened.  I feel like I'm changing today... it's weird.  It's all good, but it's weird.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Room with a View

My current apartment? 600 square feet and two windows.

My tiny house? 112 square feet and NINE windows.

I'm just sayin' .... It's going to be AMAZING.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Next Steps

I'm not sure what day to transport my house to my site. Saturday?  That would give me the weekend to work on it... But risky with rain, even if there isn't any rain in the forecast after Friday.  Regardless, here are my immediate thoughts on what needs to be happening ASAP:

Towards Weatherproofing
Exchange the Penofin (I bought the wrong color!  That means another hour+ trip to FW)
Brush dirt off exterior of house
Apply the Penofin
Order cedar trim

To Facilitate Roofing
Order my Velux skylight
Buy a plastic drop cloth to protect extra lumber
Empty the lumber out of the house
Sweep, and tape off the outline of the kitchen & bath - to visualize plumbing
Research & determine plumbing layout
Buy materials for plumbing roof vents (ordered special drill bit today!)
Install roof vents
Install skylight
Seal ridge
Install yoga hook?
Call & schedule roofing crew

Buy flashing
Cut out windows (Can. Not. Wait. to do this)
Windows should arrive circa 9/25

Towards Being Weather Tight
Finish attaching front door hardware

Admire my front door some more
Decide on flooring
Figure out threshold
Adjust/trim door
Affix porch decking & seal
Build front steps & seal

I'm sure this list will change many times...

The Story about the House Arrival

Here's the download of what happened with my house arrival on Tuesday yesterday.

Backing up to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday -- the driver left the school Sunday evening.  I posted about that. So then Monday (?) evening he was in Phoenix.  And then... no updates.  I texted him, nothing.  Finally he surfaces, with some texts about how he's "mad at his bank."  ??  Says he'll update me.  I wait.

I text him again many hours later.  I'll spare you the details, but what eventually came out is that he sat in a town west of Fort Worth waiting for funds to hit his bank account to be able to buy fuel.  I know, right?  I have an entire string of thoughts on that, too.

Meanwhile, I've moved all my tools to my site, ready to hit the ground running when it gets here.  Yesterday I located a Penofin dealer (thank you, Sutherlands on West Camp Bowie in Fort Worth) and drove an hour+ one way to buy that and a sprayer.  That was a priority because we have 90% chance of rain tomorrow (Friday) and my exterior siding is not waterproofed yet.  Truthfully I needed to get that on the house on Tuesday, but ... I thought well, okay, Wednesday... day and a half to dry, rain Friday, maybe I'll be okay.  Sort of jammed up.

As yesterday was unfolding I realized even if I got the Penofin applied that afternoon, it wouldn't have enough time to dry and I started to get creative.  Tarp the house in plastic?  Find a shelter to park in?

Meanwhile, the driver calls me while I am headed from Fort Worth back to Dallas, hems and haws around, and eventually he spits out that he's still sitting waiting on funds.  I connect the dots - realize he's been sitting a 200 miles away from for nearly TWO days and am so frustrated.  THEN he suggests that I wire him funds to buy fuel.  Unprofessional with just a whiff of a scam.  I declined but said what I would do is send a truck to get my house from him and pay him for the portion of the trip that he'd completed.

I hang up and start making phone calls.  In my car.  On the side of the road.  God bless the internet.  I get some balls in the air, and get back on the road towards Dallas. Before I get an alternative plan finalized, he calls me.  He's taken some coins to a pawn shop. (??)  He's on his way to buy fuel.  He texts me, "Wagon in the wind" to indicate he's back on the road.  Not the first time, and frankly it's losing its charm.

I get to Dallas and go to Home Depot to buy a few things - a rain tarp among other things.  One of  my construction friends returns my call.  "Bring it here," he directs.  "I've got a huge warehouse, it will be safe from the rain.  Call him.  Redirect him.  I'll handle it.  It will be fine."  I hesitate only a few seconds, standing in the aisle with my cart, assessing the pros and cons.  Relief.  Okay.  I'll call him.  In my mind I realize the driver is going to beat me there.  I'm not yet home.  I have to go home, let my dog out, and turn around and head back west. 

I call the driver back and he's all, "Oh no, it's fine I can make it now."  And I'm all, "No, let's get you out of rush hour and let's get my house inside a shelter."  I give him the address.  Explain he's going to beat me but to go ahead.  He says he'll pull over and wait for me.  I reply, "Just go.  I'll meet you there."

Meanwhile, I've now been in my car for almost 3 hours.  I haven't eaten lunch.  I'm on an emotional roller coaster.  My phone battery is dying.  (I bought a new charger earlier in the day, but it must be my car, because it doesn't work any better than the one I replaced.)  And I am super frustrated.  This is a far cry from the champagne welcome party I had envisioned.

I get home.  Let the dog out.  Make a peanut butter sandwich.  Put on my work boots (boot love) grab a few things I (mistakenly) anticipate I'll have time to use and hit the road.

On the way there, I alternately sing loudly to the radio and fight back tears.  I'm mess.  I'm super excited to be reunited with my house.  I'm really frustrated with how all this is coming together.  I'm worried about how this total stranger has been treating my house for the last 3 days.  It's my baby.  But I think - "It's all okay.  We've got this handled.  It's going to be all right.  It's not what you planned, but it could be a lot worse."

I arrive, and the RV and my house are sitting in the parking lot.  I get out, walk around it - sort of numb - and don't see anyone so I go inside.  There are 3 women in the lobby with their noses pressed against the front window.  "We have questions."  LOL  Yes, yes, I'm used to that and I love talking about it - hold on, "Where is this guy?"  He's outside in the RV (that he is also being paid to transport.)  I go out.  Knock on the door.

"Come on in!"  

"Uh, no, I'm good out here."  

"No, really, come on in!"  

"Nope.  I'm good."  

He comes out.  We shake hands, etc and I want to get this show on the road - let's seal this deal.  But he wants to talk about the house.  He tells me, "she's built right.  I sighted down this back wall and she looks square and I think the construction is good."

He's reviewing my house construction.  But really?  He's critiquing Daniel's work.  I can't stand it.  He is so out of his league.  I encourage him to follow me inside.

We go in - the Bill of Lading is on the counter.  I realize I don't have my glasses and run to my car.  When I come back, he's holding court in the lobby, telling the women there how it was built by high school girls.  He's telling my story, of which he has no personal knowledge.  With me standing right there.  I don't know.  Maybe I'm overreacting, but it makes me irrationally irritated.  I'm already irritated with him on so many levels, and I feel as though he is way overstepping into areas he knows nothing about.

We sign the paperwork.  He wants to stand around and chit chat. I should be pleased that he has embraced the project.  Instead I announce, "Well!  Let's go unhitch it and get you on your way - you still have quite a drive ahead of you today."  He's in no hurry.  And all the time he's working he's dispensing advice about how to get it weighed, pointing out how it looks like the girls wrote me messages (as though I haven't seen them) and how to finish the outside.  He drops more than one hint that he'd like to see the inside.  All the while telling me how he thinks it's built "pretty well" and how he thinks it will look "fairly decent" when it's all done.  Sigh.  James joins us and points out that the house hit the RV when a corner was taken too sharply.  I am so fried that I look at the RV, but I don't look at the house, and the driver doesn't point it out.

He wants to take my photo with the house - he asks me to stand by the wheels - not the front door, but the wheels.  Whatever dude.  Not the best view but it's your photo, I'll stand where ever you want.  And, he's off.

I jump up onto the porch, unlock my door for the first time and step inside.  It's quiet and dark, but a bit of light is coming in.  I look around - I see all the messages from the girls, the Seed of Life I drew on the floor, the careful work that Daniel had done after I left.  The memories wash over me.  I bend over and just bawl - a great release of emotion.  And then I hear, "What is this?  Is this good?  Bad?  Is this good or bad?!"  Unbeknownst to me, James had stepped in the house behind me.  He's mortified that I am crying.  Frankly I'm mortified that I'm crying in front of him - I'd hidden it earlier in the driveway, wiped my tears when I walked into the lobby...  

"It's good, it's good.  I'm happy."  

"This doesn't look like happy to me...." 

Ahhhhhhh yes.  Well.  I explain that the last time I stood in my house that I was in a very different place and that I'm just remembering.  And I'm so relieved that the house is here, and, and -- sigh.  I pull myself together.  We laugh.  He shakes his head at me, and we step out.

And James points out the purlin damage. (In his defense, he pointed out the RV damage earlier and I totally didn't get his cue.)  My jaw drops.

How could I not have seen that?  (Well I know how - I was so fried, but -- !)   In a later conversation, the driver told me he saw it, but that "he thought I saw it."  But he didn't own it - he didn't point it out to me - instead he let me sign the Bill of Lading without noting any damage.  (And didn't count the cash I gave him - saying "Oh I trust it's right, just write me a nice review online."  I let that pass without comment.  I don't know how I feel.)

James shakes me out of my stupor and asks me if I am ready to move it inside.  He pulls a truck around....

...backs it in (hopefully some day I'll make that look as easy as he did...)

And here we are.  Nestled in.  You can only see about a third of this warehouse - it is enormous.


Another view:

Look at my beautiful new front door!!!

(That's the key ring hanging out of the lock. I asked Daniel to put the keys on something too large for the driver to lose... when I saw it I just started laughing... but love that extra touch.)  It is the stoutest tiny door I've ever seen - it's HEAVY.  It's built out of 2x10" fir.  Gorgeous.

So.......... yes, my house is here.  And yet, it isn't really here.  I feel hamstrung and it's frustrating.  All my tools are at the site.  The house is an hour away from my apartment in the opposite direction. I can't really show it to anyone.  I can't really work on it.  And with my dog's issues (can't tolerate heat, and has to be let out every 4 hours) I can't go spend the day working on it, so it isn't worth toting any tools over there.  But James says he will move it to my site for me anytime I want it to go.  And I'm VERY grateful that it's in a safe, secure, covered place.  Very.  Grateful.

I'm going to let my head clear and my emotions settle this morning, and this afternoon I'll begin assessing what to do next.

As for the driver, he probably did the best he could.   But he was very unprofessional in so many ways.  Ways that I haven't accounted here (because I try to have boundaries, especially when I am upset.) And I recognize that this is a very emotionally charged issue for me. But you know, this blog is a place to tell my story, and yesterday was part of my story, and so I'm writing about it. 

Thank you for all of your encouragement and support - friends, family, strangers online... The tiny house community really is a community.  : )

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

House Arrival

More later, but it's here. Well, not where it's supposed to be - I diverted it - but here.

I'll post more photos and details tonight.  I have to go roll around on the floor. lol

Tiny House on the Move Update

Good morning all!

No, my house isn't here yet - but its just a few hundred miles away!

I just texted with the driver, Brian:

Anyone asking you questions about what you're moving?  (Because you know I can't STAND IT that I'm not the one moving it...)

At almost every stop... As a carpenter myself, I LOVE telling them that a bunch of high school girls built it in a week!!!  Speaking of which, my hat is off to ya. What a great way to help today's youth.

I started crying in my kitchen.  My dog came and stared at me.  Nothing makes me cry faster than to talk about MAGIC Camp.

Last night I had organized a small house arrival welcoming party - a few friends, some champagne, a few snacks. 

When the house was delayed, I was left staring at a bottle of bubbly on ice.  You can probably guess what happened next.

It wasn't immediate... I hemmed and hawed about it.  But then I realized that today would be a work day (tiny house work) and that I couldn't have morning mimosas AND have a productive day.  (It's supposed to rain here Friday - 80% chance - I have to get the house ready.)  So, with my Queen of Rationalization crown firmly affixed, it seemed very logical.

My favorite flute - bought it at The Gypsy Wagon

And it was good.

I had a long conversation about the house with Daniel last night.  He had mixed feelings about letting the house go - he had a lot of little bits of information to tell me about what to do, and what to look for, and what to expect... and then questions for me - things for me to look at when it arrives and to let him know.  It was sort of like he was sending a child off to camp for the first time. ".... and don't forget sunscreen.  And she really likes that pink pillow... and.. and.."  I LOVED him for it.

This morning while I wait to hear from Brian I am gathering some random things together in my apartment to take out to the site.  My construction plans.  Some reference books.  A broom.  My lunch!  I need to locate a bucket of Penofin to apply to the exterior of my house and a sprayer.  If I can't put my hands on it today then I need to buy a couple of huge pieces of plastic to protect my house from Friday's rain.  And I need to go talk to the guys at the Home Depot Pro Desk about some rough cut cedar trim.  

I'll be sure to post when the house arrives, and I'll put up photos tonight for sure. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Making Preparations

[Note:  If you are looking for the "Tiny House on the Move" post, please click here  here   or just scroll down.  It's the next post.]

In anticipation of my house arriving TONIGHT, I moved my shop stuff and all my tools out to the site this morning.  A HUGE thank you to my friend Kelley for helping me.

I rented a UHaul van...

And of course $19.95 really means $40 plus a dab of fuel.  Still a good deal, but you know.  And when the guy at the counter rang up the rental, it was for $80.  I said, "Okay, so how did $19.95 end up being $80?"

His reply:  "That includes a deposit."

Me:  A long, blank stare.  "You're having me pay a deposit of less than $100 for an entire VAN? Okay, dude, if that's what you do...  Where do I sign?"  (I mean, c'mon - what is a few dollars really doing to do if I take off with the van?  What's that rationale?)

ANYWAY, we loaded it up - tons of extra room, drove out to the site...

and started unloading...

I was pleased that the keys I had made yesterday worked!   I have extra room in my shed:

We had the van back to the rental counter in less than the allotted time.  We could be professional movers if we chose to.  (We do not.  But we could.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tiny House on the Move!!


The house delivery looks like it is going to be in the morning instead.  Sigh.


I received this text from the driver about an hour ago:

Sorry for the delay. I thought you might like this for an answer:

 My house will be here TONIGHT!!!  I'm having a house arrival party - obviously short notice, but if you want to come, email me and I'll keep you updated with details.  There will be champagne...

My house is officially on its way from LA to Dallas!  A transport company picked it up this evening from Daniel's school and it slipped away into the darkness...

Isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen?  And she's wearing a new front door, courtesy of the best finish carpenter I know, Daniel Bell of Daniel Bell Construction.

I really wanted to get banners on the house prior to travel, but I just didn't get my act together.  In the alternative, if you see this house traveling along I-10 (or a similar route) in the next 2-3 days, please leave a comment here with the date/time and location.

And please send this post to anyone you know who may be along that route - let's try to track it's progress!

For those of you who are new to this blog, here is what my Four Lights tiny house will look like when it's completed:

You may see interior photos here:  The Gifford

I am nervous - that's my baby, being towed across the country....

Friday, September 13, 2013


Huge news!!  I booked the transport of my house today - LA to Big "D".  I am over the mooooon.

A huge shout out to James & Angela for helping me get it nailed down!!  We are using a service called uShip.  You post what your freight is, and then haulers (of many kinds) bid on your cargo.  In the end I had four bids to choose from.  Who knew?

We (okay Angela) posted that the house would be ready end of day Sunday.  We have a guy scheduled to pick up Sunday or Monday afternoon and he'll be in Dallas Wednesday.  But, he doesn't really want to dangle around from today (Friday) until Sunday, so he said if he can grab another load in between he may not pick up until Wednesday, and arrive here Friday the 20th or Saturday the 21st.  He is going to let me know when he knows.

As soon as I knew who was going to be hauling my baby across the country I emailed him, and almost simultaneously he called me.  I did my best to form a bond with him - to let him know that this may be the most precious cargo he's ever hauled.  Yeahhhh  I'm not sure he gets it.  LOL  BUT!  He will send me a video of a walk around of the house before he pulls away from the school.  That will be super cool.  And then I'll chew my nails for three days.  I know I'm gonna cry like a baby when he pulls into the drive.  Yes, all of you people who know me from MAGIC Camp, my house still makes me cry with happiness. : )

Meanwhile, since I have a date for arrival, I called my awesome amazing friend Rudy at Omniview Window & Door to check on my window order.  My windows are slated to be in his shop sometime around the 24-25-26th.  I told him I think I want the windows in before the roof (total procrastination on plumbing decisions) and he advised against it.  "Roof before windows" he advises, so the roofers don't break any windows.  Oh.  Hmm.  Well okay, that's logical.  Roof first it is.

Then I emailed the already living tiny Jim at Alltex Roofing to let him know the status so he can order the materials and line up a crew.

You know what I have to do now?  I have to figure out where in the heck my two plumbing vent pipes are going to pop through the roof.  I'm such a visual person that in my mind I think I have to stand in my house to do that.  Do I?  I don't know.  I also have to order my skylight (that's singular now, instead of plural due to recently gained insight.  That's another post.)  I need to get the skylight installed and the venting pipes installed before the roofer comes.  Monkey on my back.

Daniel is doing the design/build/install of my front door this week - THERE'S a thought that makes me giddy.  He does such beautiful work - I am SO lucky.  (And I know it.)

When the house arrives I cannot WAIT to fling open my front door (er, um, I mean quietly admire my front door and then gently open it with the respect fine carpentry deserves) and lay down and roll around in my house and say hello once again.  "Hello, tiny house, I have missed you so!"

I should be weather tight in two weeks.  OH MY GOSH!!!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Kick in the Pants

I've been struggling lately to write here.  It isn't that I haven't been working on house things - my Pinterest boards will reveal plumbing research among other things.  I participated in an online tiny house chat (my first - loved it - check out their future chats) about starting a business and/or running it out of your tiny house.  I've been tracking down hardware orders (who knew that speakeasies were custom made?) and coordinating tiny house transport.  I've even drafted a few banners to order to put on the house as it travels.  Tonight I am going to a class at Career Design Associates about starting your own business.  So - decidedly not sitting on my hands.  But for whatever reason, I haven't been in the mood to blog.

I emailed Nina, a fellow tiny houser & truly one of my dearest friends and whined about my lack of motivation.  She replied with this in a nano-second:

Motivation starter
Visualize waking up in your tiny house on a cool morning and knowing that you can enjoy a leisurely morning before your first business call at 9:30 a.m .

What kind of business call is it? 

What do you want to be talking about? 

Where do you want to be?

What steps can you be taking right now to lay ONE OR TWO foundation bricks for that specific day?

It made me think - no, it made me dream.  I closed my eyes and pictured it.  Instant happy. A mental place that I haven't been often since I left the Boulder workshop weekend behind me. A place that I miss. Then I formatted it into a poster and printed it, grateful for her friendship.

The same morning (maybe even in the same email string) we emailed about a writing contest that I am entering.  I sent her a draft to critique.  And I got this back:

 ... It should come off as something that seems inevitable and natural, but definitely needing to sound more of a leap and showcase your bravery.   What you’re doing is something that a lot of people are doing, but you have specific details that make it unique.

For instance, I hit the highlights of your leap to my friend Dawn and her reaction was:

Dawn: I can’t imagine changing EVERYTHING in my life like that. My belongings, my housing, my relationship, my location, my employment. Crazy stuff!  She sounds like a free spirit and go-getter

Me: She's changing everything for her new life path

Dawn: Wow…that is flabbergasting!

Me:This sh*t ain’t for wimps

Dawn: No Kidding!

THAT is the reaction you want. You want people to go “holy sh*t! She is brave, what a leap! What a go-getter!”  

Your story is a good one, do NOT sell yourself short, bare yourself and show your bravery.

I was stunned.  I wrote back, "Wow, really??  You talked about me like that to someone?  Thank you!"

And you can guess what I got back, right?

Of course I talk about you that way.

Look, there are a lot of people in my life that are watching me and saying “wow” to what I’m doing.  

Dawn said, “you should be writing this all down for those that come after you” and I laughed and said that it seemed to be a natural thing….”those that come after” wanting the information as to how we went about it.  I told her that I was considering a blog but hadn’t really committed to it because I know it was a time-suck.  

Then I told her about how you had an amazing blog that was chronicling your journey and how it was empowering others just by example and that you were going to make a business out of it, just not sure how yet. And that’s where I transition into my telling of how MY story is one thing but yours is far more fantastic because of the whole big changeover, where mine is just converting to minimalism and striving for a smaller carbon footprint. YOUR story is a life-flip. 

It. Is. Fan-f*cking-tastic, what you’re doing.

It is NOT for wimps.

The reaction Dawn gave means that I communicated you correctly because it is correct. You are a free-spirit and a go-getter. Your leap is flabbergasting. 

You are a perfect B.A. Norrgard. 

 I sat back in my chair after reading it and tears welled up in my eyes.  She is a best friend.  A life long friend that I just met this year, (at a Four Lights workshop) on this journey.  NINA is another piece of my story.  Everyone should be so fortunate to have someone like her in their corner.  She's got my back. She's just what I needed to remind me this week - today - what a fantastic journey I am on, and how blessed I am to have the freedom and guts to take it on.  I hope that I reflect all of that back onto her journey; I should be so lucky.

Nina - here's to you:

And also:

Thank you.