Six weeks ago today we arrived in Northern Colorado from North Texas, tiny house and three-year-old in tow. Since then we've had an open house with the Denver Tiny House Enthusiast group at Trailer Made Trailers, shared building details with numerous new and visiting neighbors at Riverview RV Park in Loveland where we are spending the winter (and hopefully longer), and even more recently we had the opportunity to do a tiny house tour swap with a wonderful couple (Brita and Addison of Tiny Tall House) also building a tiny house in Boulder who took inspiration for the siding on their house from our own. I've had great email and phone conversations with Anita of Lily Pad Tiny House in Portland, OR, about her eventual move to Colorado and our mutual interest in finding a stable, legal place to park our tiny houses long term. We're also hoping to arrange a time to get together with fellow 24' Tumbleweed Barn Raiser owner/builder and Colorado resident Jonathon (JStalls Tiny House) for more tiny house tour swaps and maybe to lend a hand with his build if he needs it. I've also received emails from two different young ladies at different colleges writing Master's thesis papers on various aspects of tiny house living asking for info on our experience.
Truly, these past weeks have been a whirlwind of tiny house life related contacts, and somehow we managed to squeeze it all in despite my work schedule being particularly packed due to continued delays with the hospital opening. Thankfully that craziness should be winding down this week, and we are definitely all looking forward to me being home my usual 4 days per week. After all, we look at Colorado as a working vacation, and thus far it's been heavy on the work end of the deal.
Today, though, we sit quietly in opposite corners of our "great room" - Brand on the cedar chest/study nook bench, and me on the sofa with Kitty jockeying for a comfy spot to curl up - checking our respective emails and reading the news on our phones, our only source of reliable internet these days, while the now 4-year-old naps in his own bedroom at the opposite end of our 24' long house. Our laundry is hogging two machines down at the larger bath house, and Brand is about to move it all to a single dryer soon. The sink is full of dirty dishes left over from this morning's oatmeal breakfast and the "lazy man's" chicken and dumplings lunch I concocted from Progresso chicken noodle soup and a can of pre-made biscuit dough. We spent the time between breakfast and lunch at a local park where Ro was finally brave enough to try the rock climbing wall (repeatedly, I might add), and I gingerly tried slow jogging on my still healing broken right foot with success. Not being able to run in this cool Colorado weather has been a significant sore spot for me (especially with how stressful work has been), but I'm awaiting another orthopedic checkup in Texas in December before I'm willing to try any serious running anyway. For now I'll have to be content watching the munchkin run around and play with the plethora of visiting kids that regularly rotates at the RV park. It makes me grateful Ro inherited my ability to strike up conversations with anyone in ear shot, because he's had no shortage of playmates since we arrived.
I can't help but notice all the remaining projects left to do, and even now I vacillate between wether to paint over the beautiful beetle kill staining in the plywood we chose for our ceiling panels or find a way to live with it. We sorted out the hot water issue, but we still aren't taking showers in the house. At least we have managed to get some organizing done here and there, including adding wall storage behind the kitchen sink, and Brand got all of our roller blinds installed as well. We've managed to get the bulk of the exterior winterizing done, but we've still not unpacked the Kimberly stove for its final install. Maybe we're pushing our luck, but there just really hasn't been an urgent need for the high heat output yet. We keep plugging along with our tiny little space heater from time to time, though I did buy us a trio of heated throw blankets since the heater doesn't keep the bed sheets warm. We haven't used ours yet, but the kiddo likes his so far. In fact, we were just remarking to each other a couple nights ago how we found the need to leave the loft windows open at night even when it's 25 degrees outside because of how warm the loft gets. Blame it on heat rising, having a reclaimed tin ceiling over our bed, or super good closed cell foam insulation in the walls and ceiling, but the loft stays toasty almost to a fault. Still, the dry mountain air - despite being about 20+ degrees colder here than in our area of Texas - doesn't feel as cold as the numbers portray, thus making open windows not only tolerable but actually welcomed each night. It's odd for certain, but it makes regulating our sleep cycles significantly easier.
We've certainly had to make some adjustments to our lifestyle in just these few short weeks, but thankfully some of the less pleasant ones (namely an insanely expensive dining out habit we've picked up) will be rectified or at least blunted significantly once the hospital opens and my travel times vastly reduced. One of the primary reasons we wanted to dramatically downsize our expenses and possessions, as well as move to areas (Colorado, then Washington) with better climates for outdoor activities year round, was to be able to afford both the time and any costs associated with exploring the outdoors around us. The extra long work week and extended travel times (2hr round trip 5 days a week, which equates to 14hr days with only 8hrs of pay right now) I've experienced since arriving here has dramatically reduced my time, energy, and willingness to do anything other than veg out on the couch. That doesn't include the added cost of diesel at $2.40/gal with only 15mpg here in the mountains, which was equating to $200/wk in fuel costs alone. I actually rented a little 37mpg car at $124/wk and spent less than $40 for three weeks of fuel to help offset some of the travel expenses, but now that winter is slowly starting to set in I'll need the 4x4 of our truck more often than not. Needless to say, we are tapped out from the move itself and the unexpected expenses associated with the delays at my job.
Even still, tiny house living is making all of this possible, because the cost of our truck payment, truck insurance, tiny house insurance, and RV park rent combined equals just what we paid in mortgage for our Big House in Texas not including any bills at all. Sure, we've quadrupled our cell phone data package (and doubled the bill in the process) to accommodate poor wifi signals, and yes we will always have additional fuel costs from living so far from my work at the only place we could find that would accept our tiny house, but we're doing it! We're living in a house we built with our own hands (with help from Tunbleweed for the heavy lifting of course) in a state we chose so I could stay with a company I love yet still be just a day's drive from our families in an area that's perfect for our son to explore all year round. The house isn't totally done, our bank accounts are running on empty, and the drive to work is kicking my ass, but it's worth it. All of it. It's our new tiny life, we love it, and it's only going to get better from here.