Questions. I get them ALL the time. I really don't mind the questions as I understand that people are curious and intrigued. I do, however, mind questions when they are accompanied by an attitude that clearly implies we are making the worst decision of our lives. We got this.
I am going to try to answer the questions I get the most often. If you have any others, feel free to comment and I will try to answer them all. I'm not going to lie- there are some questions we are still working on figuring out ourselves, but for the most part we have spent a lot of time researching and finding solutions to the problems we feel like we will encounter.
Here lately not much has changed. We have decided to order the tiny house rather than purchase the one on the sales lot. Except for three changes I am making, ours will look exactly the same as the model we have looked at. The first change I am making is the countertops. I am choosing to get something a little lighter, but I have straight up told Matt that if we survive the first year, I am replacing them with granite. The model home has a shower with ceramic tile surround and glass door. While it is really nice, we decided to downgrade and get the shower/ bathtub insert. I am not sure if I will actually be able to fit in the tub, but I will try! Because it has a shower curtain, it will also provide some privacy in case someone else needs to come in and use the bathroom while someone else is showering. The last thing we changed is we will eliminate the electric fireplace in the living room. It is cheesy. And it is hot in Louisiana. And we need a piece of furniture there with drawers for storage.
Here are a few pics of the inside. Now, they were tricky and used one of those lenses that stretches everything out; however, it is very well organized and designed!
I have three kids and, although I am partial, they are pretty amazing. Sure they have their moments that make me question my parenting skills, but overall I think they are pretty good kids.
Along this journey to live in a tiny house, I have constantly questioned how this decision will impact my kids in the long run. Matt hears this question daily.
"Are the kids going to be ok?"
He always answers the same, "The kids will be fine, Chamie."
So I accept that answer and move on. But then people start asking me questions about the house and while I know they aren't intentionally trying to make me doubt my decisions, they do.
"Where will your kids sleep?"
"They won't have a real room?"
"Did y'all ask the kids what they thought?"
"How are the kids feeling? Bless their hearts."
So I go back to Matt and say, "Are the kids going to be ok?"
"The kids will be fine, Chamie," he responds again.
And this cycle has continued since the beginning of October. I know we are doing the right thing and deep down I know my kids will be ok, but the thought of failing my kids in any way at all makes my heart hurt.
I went to bed a little earlier than normal last night. You see, Cooper told me he has testing today at school. My kids know that when they have some sort of state test they get breakfast other than cereal.
"I guess you need me to cook breakfast," I said.
"Yes ma'am," he ever so sweetly answered.
"Well what do you want?" I asked.
"Bacon and eggs, " he answered immediately.
"Of course you do," I shot back with a knowing look.
So you see people, my kids might not have their own rooms, but I cook breakfast on big test days gosh darn it.
Anyway, because I went to bed early last night, I missed several texts from my friends. I awoke to a link (from a friend who has been feeling super sorry for my kids). She text the words,"Thornton....I have tears."
Click here to see what she sent.
I was like- she has tears?!?!?! I have to read this. So I did. And I cried into my cooking bacon. But now I know- the kids will be fine.
Sleep. I hope tonight that I can sleep for the first time since Friday. It has been an emotional couple of days. I am ok, but people keep telling me how sorry they are that it didn't work out. The truth is my plan didn't work out, but God's plan is better! And my plan was pretty awesome so how can I not be ok with something that is better than that!?!?!? Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the big picture to regain your focus.
When we started this adventure, Matt and I strongly felt that God was telling us to stop focusing on the things we had and instead focus on the people in our lives. So we sold our house and got rid of a lot of stuff. Then we picked out a tiny house plan to build. It was a little under 700 HSF. We took it to the draftsman and once we started working on the plans the big picture got lost. Every time the house plans came back, the house was bigger. By the end, the tiny house had doubled in size to 1400 HSF!!! That is NOT tiny!
During those three months of planning, we lost our focus. The bid for the house was just God's way of saying, "Ummm... stubborn child of mine, take a step back and remember what I asked you to do."
So I have. In fact, I have been remembering until about one in the morning the last couple of nights. And I remembered some more starting at 3:30 am today. And Matt and I have both remembered as we have looked at hundreds of tiny houses online over the past three days trying to find something that will work for us.
After a lot of talking, thinking, and most importantly praying, we are actually going back to where we started- the true tiny house. We have picked a model and are working with a local salesman to order just what we want. I'm sure it will be a crazy -and sometimes frustrating- ride, but in the end I am sure there will be enough laughter, joy, and love in that little house to overshadow all of the trials. At least that is what I am hoping for!
Well... the last two days have been quite interesting. You see, yesterday was bid day. No, I am not talking about the fun time in college where you go through rush and then you get a bid. And everyone cheers, wears matching clothes, smiles, and congratulates each other. Well, at least I hear that is what happens. That was never my thing so I wouldn't know first hand.
After we left the plumbing store last week, we all headed over to the lighting showroom. I remember picking out lights the last time we built a house. I went in and left with about nine catalogs the size of the JC Penney Christmas catalogs we used to get in the mail when I was little.
Man I loved getting those. I would look at them for days and days. I was always fascinated by the page with the ventriloquist dummies. My personal favorite was Charlie McCarthy. I never asked for one because my child brain thought they were expensive, but you better believe I practiced talking without opening my mouth. Try it. Say, "Why hello there, friend. You sure do look wonderful today."
You did it didn't you!?!?! Now snap it to your bestie. You know you took a video!!!
Our kids don't have catalogs like that. Shame. Take a walk with me.
Decisions. Usually making decisions is not something that bothers me much at all. Aside from deciding where to eat out for dinner, my decision making prowess is something in which I take great pride.
Until a couple of days ago.
I was NOT prepared. I require preparation. How could I not be prepared?!?! I even prepare to be prepared. UGH!!!
No, no they are not. (Well I might have one. Hmmm...)
Let's talk about support! When the word support comes into my mind I think of two things- bridges and bras. Anyone want to talk about bridges? I didn't think so.
So let's talk about bras! To help with this analogy, I created a graphic! Ok, I lie. I typed up the words and sent them to my super talented graphic designer friend and told her to bill me. Let's rephrase. To help with this illustration, I created the words for a graphic. I like the first version better but whatever.
So here you have it- support in a way we can all understand. (Please note the graphic only goes up to a DD because...well...I just have no idea what is beyond that. Heck I had to research just to get to that point!)
I am growing impatient, people. I just want to see a few stakes and a pile of dirt on our lot. Is that too much to ask? The awful house is only getting awfuler by the day. And when my windshield is frozen over on Friday morning, I might lose all my cool. Today three people asked me, "So when are y'all starting on the house?" I tried to play it off nicely, but I am sure the lasers shooting from my eyes pierced their innermost being. I don't hide my feelings well. At all.
In case you haven't heard, 2016 is no more. A new year is among us. With new years come changes, beginnings, goals, and ideas. Start fresh! Make it your best year yet!
Gag! People, come on!!! With each breath you take, you can make a change, start fresh, and make a difference! We should strive each day to be the best version of ourselves. A new year just means you will write the wrong date on your checks for the next five months. Who am I kidding- no one even writes checks anymore.
All that being said- don't wait until tomorrow to make your life better. Start now! (I should totally be a life coach. Hmmm...probably not.)
And when I was asked to give one word to be my theme for 2017...
Hot bath. Is that too much to ask? What do I miss the most about the big house? Well let me tell you. I miss my tankless hot water heater and its neverending supply of warmth and goodness. In the awful house, you can get one good shower out of the hot water heater. That is not enough for me. Not nearly enough.
Our tiny house was no longer tiny. As we looked over the plans, we realized this was not going to be as easy as we thought. The bottom floor had grown by a couple hundred heated square feet. This was because of that stupid staircase. All we wanted was a library ladder! In order to get the staircase in the house, we had to move one of the bathrooms. This added six feet to the length of the house and the stairs added two feet to the width of the house. The first floor of Plan A had a total of 836 HSF. Take a look and you can see what changed from the original plan to Plan A.
PIcture taken from http://tinyhousetalk.com/woman-downsizes-to-tiny-cottage/
We picked a house plan! To say I was excited was an understatement. I was so ready to go see a draftsman to get the plans drawn. After asking around for recommendations for a good draftsman, I decided to use one my friend Leslie suggested. His office is located in Ruston. I will not use his real name because I did not ask permission so we will just call him Mr. Square Foot. It just so happened that the day after I altered the plans to my standards, I had a hair appointment in Ruston with the best stylist and colorist (is that a word?) ever, Donna Berry (that is totally her real name so call her if you need better hair). I gave Mr. Foot a call to see if he could meet after my appointment and he said yes! Going new places alone is not my kind of adventure, so I rang my bestest friend and college roomie, Barbara, to see if she would tag along. "Duh- of course I will!" she said. (Or something along those lines- Sorry, Barb, if i misquoted you, but that is what my mind heard.)
When we started looking into going tiny, we knew it would be hard to find a house plan on which we could both agree. So we came up with a list of conditions the house had to meet in order to be considered. Here are some of the requirements on the list.
1. Each child (and adult) would need a designated personal space in the house.
2. The house needed to be under 999 HSF total- preferably less.
3. Outside living space is a must! (For real, I need somewhere to send the kids.)
4. We need more than one toilet- maybe not two full baths, but if someone gets sick, we need an option besides a 5 gallon bucket out back.
5. It had to be cute. (I added that to the list.)
6. It had to have a pot filler.
7. and a tankless hot water heater. (I might've added those last two as well. Let's face it, we are going tiny- not off the grid. I have luxurious taste.)
So we found a plan on which we agreed!
Packing. Whether it is for a trip out on the town, a vacation a few hours away, or to move into a new home, it is something that most people dread. The only thing that is worse is unpacking. UGH!
When I left for NYC after the house had sold, I said to Matt, "Why don't you and the kids start packing while I am gone." Here is the picture I received as I was on a carriage ride in Central Park.
I am Chamie, wife to Matt; mom to Callan (14), Cooper (11), and