Thursday, September 19, 2013

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.  : )


  1. Wow. Just wow.'s over. It's here! It's fantastic!!!


    1. Hi Craig,

      A little crazy, huh? But like you said, "It's HERE" and that's the important part! I hope to move it to the site on Saturday. We shall see.

  2. Holy cow. Sorry you had to go thru this.
    Hope the rest shapes up now you are in possession.
    Hope also the guy runs out of gas money to get home, jerk!

    1. Thanks Sara. It's just another chapter in my story... and I learned a few things, so... Ahh, experience.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. What a story. Wow. Glad you have your house though. And I love the "you own everything that happened to you..." thing. I think I'm stealing that for either my blog or my Facebook page. Or both! Enjoy your tiny treasure!

    1. Salena,

      It's a good one, right? I can't take credit... I found it on Pinterest. But it was so fitting!

      I hope you're having a great travel week!


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