Yes, I can.
August 28, 2022
I suppose I could get picky and insist on a floor. And insulation and possibly wallboard but for sure, no internal walls. This is it. A 20x30' footprint, stairs (yay stairs), and a loft. I'd also like plumbing and heat, but that's not so hard.
I watched a video of one being finished and they'd moved the staircase to the door and given it a bend. Less footprint, a small bit of divide. They also chose to floor the entire second story and that's where the bathroom is going along with a decent size bedroom. I liked that idea until I actually stood in the thing and thought about all that available light streaming in from the upper windows. Maybe.
It has a metal roof which is something I've fantasized about for at least two decades. There's an awful lot to be said for a metal roof in these parts and not too much to be said against except maybe the initial investment. Turns out, when you slap it onto a one and a half story box, not too bad.
I'd also like a basement because I don't much feel like giving up any of those first level 600 square feet to a furnace and hot water tank and I have this niggling idea that I might also like a washer and drier someday. Maybe. However, I haven't looked hard at excavation and foundation costs and it might be more cost efficient to opt for another ten feet of actual house.
I'd also like a bathtub. Someday, if that were feasible.
But I'm thinking long term here. For how many years will multi-level living be viable? A long time but not forever time and I've no intention of being booted from my home because stairs have become an obstacle to autonomy.
And isn't that quite the word, autonomy?
Autonomy comes in a lot of shapes and sizes but the inherent value can never be entirely quantified. Depends on who you're talking to, I guess, but I'm talking about me.
It is breathtaking to walk away, to step out of your life, the thing you fought so hard to obtain and keep - kicking and screaming a good part of the journey. It took at a decade of earthquake and tsunami, tornado enhanced hurricane, but when I fell I broke a lot more than my face. I broke my brain and discovered that functioning grey matter is the bedrock of autonomy and, for me, autonomy is the bedrock of a functioning brain. The ability to hear Yes is another thing I haven't quite mastered. I'm getting a lot better at it, but enough No and I find I'm pissing into the wind and forgotten how to turn myself around.
When you talk to people, check in with what's happening in your head and what's coming out of your mouth. Are you saying No or Yes more often than not. We're scared, we humans and the older we get the more likely No is to become the immediate, knee jerk response and you know what? I'm pretty sure we don't know.
When I was twenty-four, working my first office job, my boss said this:
'If you want Heather to do something, tell her she can't.'
I thought that was a good thing the same way I thought the feedback, 'you're very direct, Heather' was good. Turns out, in context, it was not. That comment, at the tail end of a very good performance review, came seven years later, spoken by a not particularly direct man. What he really meant to say was, 'you're really starting to piss people off, Heather, maybe try a softer approach.' Fair enough.
But back to the, 'tell Heather she can't' statement. If saying No to somebody is a sure fire way to push them over a finish line, there's a problem. When I hear No, or when I heard No, I heard, this is the only shot you've got. I'd been hearing No for as long as I could remember and not a lot of Yes. Blasting through walls takes a lot of energy and it's not sustainable.
For example, I need temporary housing. I need an autonomous living situation that lasts just long enough to build that thing up there, hook it up to septic, water, and power, and get the hell in. And slam the door behind me is what I'm feeling right now but I'm sure that'll pass.
The general consensus around here is: do not rent an apartment. Why not? Reasons. So many reasons and none of them good enough not to do it.
The three most obvious solutions are (were):
- Slap a mobile home on a slab and sell it when the house is built.
- Slap an RV on some gravel and sell that when the house is built.
- Stay where you are and funnel as much money as you can into the build.
- Nope. They're not really mobile anymore and what the hell are you going to do with that super long skinny slab when it's gone - assuming you can get it gone. Also, they're not meant to be moved more than once or twice in their lifetimes. Not anymore.
- Nope. Not if you want water in the winter. I don't care what you read on the interwebs: arctic packages and all that. When you ask three different dealers at three different sites in Northern Vermont and the answer, before you even get the whole question out of your mouth, is HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FEAKING MIND, WOMAN?! Then the answer is a resounding NO. Ok.
- There is nothing the people in my household can possibly do to make my stay any easier than it's already been. That said, I have to get the hell out of here before my brain bluescreens and I head back to the mountains. I haven't worked this hard to end up back on the ledge again. Really. I have not.
Yes. The Tiny Home conversation came up, went away, and came up again. I can't figure out how to make that fiscally responsible. Not in this case.
A tent is out of the question. That wasn't my idea, for the record. That was (still is, I think) somebody else's fear.
Nomadic Living: couch surfing, but better. There's a really cool website, seems like an offshoot of the babysitter network I joined and failed to utilize about ten years ago. Both parties, the sitter and the sittee, pay a fee to join and then, just like a dating site, you swipe left or send a message.
Somebody needs a house-sitter and you need a place to live. If you're lucky, you get a bunch of back to back longish term gigs and presto! You've got more or less free autonomous living. Probably even sustainable, EXCEPT, stability is one of my requirements. Not a wish, an honest to dog survival sort of thing. 90% of my family just stood up and yelled:
Lupine, left to its own devices can and will overrun the property, but try to dig one of those up and plant it elsewhere? Good luck. I once put six or seven supremely healthy plants into shock just by weeding a bit too close to the root systems. Two of them survived. Sort of.
I have come to terms with my own personal strengths and challenges and that one, that nomad business is an industrial strength garbage disposal designed to eat your peace. My peace, anyway.
Hearing Yes. It's a self-generated attribute. But please, listen to the voices before you speak. A well placed - yes, you can - goes a very long way these days.
OK. I feel a little better now.
Here's the outside:
Jamaica Cottage Shop. Nifty place to visit. I need builder and all that goes with it.