Scary Moments In Building (And Why I Wouldn’t Trade Them)
A fresh blanket of 15″ pure white snow greeted us at our homestead yesterday. Unable to make it up our driveway in our car despite studded tires, chains and three attempts, we hiked our provisions up our 1,500′ driveway. We had just bought sleds in town for some fun zipping down our hillside, but before we got to experience the fun, we turned the sleds into cargo carriers. Cinch straps used to tie down materials to our roof rack were used to connect our sleds to our waists, making easy work of hauling the hundred or so pounds of food and clothing up to our tiny house.
Though we have slept on our land numerous nights, when the weather turned cold, we took refuge at a good friend’s house. Having spent the last 3 weeks sleeping there at night, we had just been coming up to our homestead during the day to continue building our tiny house. A few days ago though, our new propane, direct vent heater had finally arrived. After 3 days of burning it on high to allow it to off gas, we were now ready and eager to spend the first night in our tiny house. So, no amount of snow, ice or distance could have kept us away from our first night in our new home.
Our land, the mountains around us, our regal oak tree and our tiny house looked so beautiful in the thick snow that I felt giddy. I was intoxicated by the beauty and in awe that this is our home. To commemorate our first night up here, Andrew carried me across the threshold. As we crossed it, we exclaimed in unison, “We’re HOME!!!”
The evening consisted of doing some email work for strawbale.com, listening to music, and cooking dinner. Normal day to day things. But there was such a sweet sense of satisfaction in knowing that we have personally crafted this house every step of the way. Conveniences like power, internet and refrigeration feel like luxuries and we are not taking them for granted. Creating the infrastructure has been a process every step of the way that has required clarity, patience, and humility.
We have had several scares throughout this journey. For example, there was the day the well drillers couldn’t find water by 220′ (way below well levels in our area) and they suggested that they quit because chances were so slim of ever finding any (and that we would be stuck with the $8,000 bill whether they found it or not). Or the time our brand new custom windows literally diverted a meager bit of rain straight into the interior window channels, nearly overflowing our window well. Or when we turned our electrical service panel on in our tiny house for the first time and nothing happened. Or when a large delivery vehicle drove over our spring fed water line and burst the pipes, affecting neighbors’ precious water supply down the line. Or when we couldn’t get our newly installed solar/gravity water system to work. The list goes on but you get the point. Stuff happens. And by this stuff, I don’t mean warm, happy stuff. I mean the unforeseeable and seemingly negative stuff.
Over the years we have learned that fear clouds our ability to think creatively and to trust the process. It can literally blind us so that all we can see is the negative. But as our build progressed, with each new challenge, we were able to see with more ease that everything was going to be OK in the end. The fear is in the not knowing. But in time, everything, every situation, explains itself and in retrospect makes perfect sense. Each build we have done has taught me something new. The theme of this one would be TRUST. To just know in my heart that no matter how awful something may seem at first glance, that it will work out. That a solution will be found. And the sooner that I realize that in each situation, the easier finding a solution is because I am calm and am able to see things from an open perspective.
The life lessons I am gaining from this tiny house build apply to all parts of my life and if these scares and others are what it takes for me to learn a deep lesson in trust, then it is all worth it; even down to the scariest moment. Which for me, by the way, would have to be the prospect of having to pay $8,000 for absolutely nothing but an empty hole in the ground.
p.s. If you would like to know how each of the scares described above turned out, here are the outcomes: The well drillers found water just 15′ after we told them to dig just a little bit deeper. The window representative will be coming out to fix the leaking windows and in the meantime, we have our own in-house natural humidifier! Nothing had happened when we turned on the electrical panel because we had forgotten to plug our tiny house to our power center (not used to plugging in a house)! The spring line break took just an hour to repair and neighbor complaints were minimal. We found that the water issue was related to a frozen ball valve which took just a couple minutes to resolve once we found the problem. You see, staying calm and trusting the process allowed us to find solutions or for the solutions to find us, every time.