tiny house tribe

The time has come....

TinyHouse43 is 4Sale. $55,000.00, serious inquires only, please e-mail is at tinyhouse43@gmail.com for showings.

We built our tiny house to become financially independent, and we still will be… as soon as we sell it. As much as we utterly ADORE our home, we’ve reached a point where owning it is actually holding us back instead of paving the way forward. So, here she is… ready for her new owners to derive as much pleasure from her as we have!

Everything you need to know about our house is on this blog, and make sure you check the WordPress Building Blog link as well for further details. We’re happy to answer basic questions if you can’t find the answer on the blogs, but please remember this is a VERY emotional decision for us… we’d appreciate avoiding the Spanish Inquisition if possible (after all… no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!). We are still doing some finish touch work on the inside (you can see some of that documented on instagram), but the house is completely liveable and has been since 2015. It’s strictly cosmetics at this point.

We no longer have our dually to tow this to you, so you would be responsible for moving it yourself once the deal is complete and money has changed hands/cleared the bank. The house weighs approximately 12,000lbs with belongings included, so please plan accordingly. It requires a Class V hitch, and we recommend at 3500/350 type full size truck.

Recap: $55,000.00 – you’re saving over $20k from the actual build cost, including the $16,000.00 Tumbleweed Barn Raiser she started as! Many thanks for following us all these years, and we look forward to hearing from you!! PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED!!

💜🏡💙 – Meg, Brand, and R.A.D

#tinyhouse #tumbleweed #tumbleweedtinyhouse #tumbleweedbarnraiser #barnraiser #tinyhouseonwheels #thow #tinyhome #microhome #tinyhouserv #tinyhousetogo #diytinyhouse #tinyhousebuild #tinyhousefamily #tinyhousekids #tinyhouseforsale #tinyhouse4sale #tinyhouses4sale #tinyhousesforsale

Tiny: It Isn't For Everyone Or Even Necessarily Forever

I feel like I've done a rather thorough job of being very forthcoming about why we built our tiny house, what we intend to use it for, why we aren't currently living in it full-time, and when we do plan to be living tiny in it yet again. I also know I've mentioned many times that our tiny house on wheels has never been planned as our last home forever and ever til death do us part. 😜 One of the reasons I had no trouble convincing Brand to join me on the crazy adventure of building our own house with our own hands (beyond the fact that he'd always wanted to do just that) was the fact I promised him it didn't have to be forever. He knew I have always wanted to roadtrip across the country, so it wasn't a difficult sell to combine both dreams into one little tiny house on wheels.

 

Even though we did build our house and are looking forward to being back in it full-time sooner rather than later, we have always said we want a permanent house on some acreage in Washington state. That dream has never changed, and we still have every intention of moving there by the summer of 2018 before the kiddo starts first grade. We knew as soon as our son was born that we no longer wanted to own a massive 3200sqft house, especially since we were really only using about half the space. When we moved into my dad's place we condensed further into just 2 large bedrooms with shared kitchen and living room use. Only once did our tiny house ever feel too small during our 6 months in Colorado, and it was because we had just arrived, were still setting up, and simply got overwhelmed at all we had done and still needed to do to settle into our new tiny life in a new state with a new job. Just lots of new stuff in a very short time to be sure! That feeling passed quickly, and then everything people have said about how freeing having less stuff and less space to care for kicked into high gear for us, making the whole experience in the house itself pretty darn close to magical. Well, except for the frequently overflowing pee jug, but that's a story from another blog post all together. 😫

 

Anyway, my rambling point is that I know some folks out there likely think we're just another "casualty" of the tiny house "fad" because we aren't living in the house at this exact moment. While WE know that isn't the case at all and have plans progressing nicely that will put us back into our house much sooner than we had actually hoped for, we do know there are still Negative Nellys out there that likely shake their heads at us and anyone else who might have moved into and out of their tiny house in a hurry no matter what the reasoning may be. We can even admit to being surprised by they number of folks, particularly the ones on TV, that have moved on from their tiny houses, too, but we know first hand that sometimes life just doesn't go as planned and adjustments have to be made on the fly. We experienced some of that with the Colorado sticker shock we felt after thinking we could afford to live tiny AND pay off all our debt there, but the cost of living compared to Texas and the distance I had to travel to work (55mi each way) simply to have a legal place to park our tiny house made that as impractical as living in a mostly empty 3200sqft house with a $2000/mo mortgage. It didn't make financial sense to stay there just to stay in the tiny house, so we made the decision to come back to Texas to get the rest of our finances in order instead. The last thing we want to have happen is us getting out to where we really plan to settle down and struggle financially to stay put. We haven't always made the best financial decisions in our lifetime together or even before that, but we'll be damned if we set a poor example for our son by not shaping up and doing right by him. After all, we chose our target area of Washington specifically to put us near an amazing Waldorf farm school for him, and we want to provide for him something neither of us had growing up: a single house to call home all the way through high school.

 

Any way, the ever-amazing Macy Miller wrote her own blog post about the question on many people's minds when they hear of folks moving into and on from their tiny house life in a seeming hurry. As always her post is poignant and introspective, and it touches on the many sides to the stories of why some folks don't live tiny for long. She is in many ways an exception to what seems to be the "rule" about length of time living in a tiny house, but she's got a great answer to that suggestion as well. Enjoy!

 

http://minimotives.com/2016/09/12/whats-hard-living-tiny-whyd-move/

Happy 2nd Building Anniversary, TinyHouse43!

I just lost over 2hrs of writing and a really cool slideshow I was putting together of highlights from the tiny house being built since May 14th makes two years to the date since we picked up our Barn Raiser and started our tangible tiny house journey. Curse your lack of functional auto save, Squarespace! 😫 I do not have the mental bandwidth to even come close to rewriting it all (#emopost), but here are the highlights:

 

• Chose a Barn Raiser because we don't have a cadre of local friends/family to help with framing and wanted the peace of mind that came with professional tiny house builders doing the heavy lifting - a perfect solution for two busy parents 🛠

 

• Picked it up 5/14/14 in CO, brought it to TX to build, moved in 10/9/15 in CO, and are presently back in TX doing the finishing work and changing some things as well; end game for Washington state has never changed despite setbacks 💸

 

• Started blogging as a way to journal our experiences and deal with the death of my mother a few months prior; don't make a living with our tiny house (have earned a gallon of Penofin and $0.27 from it - #caniretirenow), so we share our story because we enjoy doing so and hope others learn from us; almost always a positive experience, and for that we are most thankful to our readers 📝

 

• Still feel a bit like outsiders in the #tinyhousetribe because we aren't super self-promoters and can't be as visible in the community as we would really like to be, but so grateful to have met/talked to such a wide variety of people from all over the world all bound by our crazy love of all things tiny house 💜

 

• Thankful for everyone who has followed along our journey no matter when you caught up to us; drop us a line if you're ever in the Dallas area for a possible tour 📸

 

• Celebrating our tiny house's 2nd anniversary since building began with some website housekeeping, including new photos and a vow to finally integrate our Wordpress blog fully for easier use 🍾

 

Truly, THANK YOU for all your support, kind words, suggestions, comments, and general awesomeness!!! We look forward to sharing the next chapter of our tiny life, and we hope you'll share your own progress as well!!

 

All the best,

 

Meg, Brand, and R.A.D

💙🏡💜

On The Road Again

We've started the 2-3 day drive back to Texas from Loveland, Colorado, and we're snapping a few pics along the way. This post will be updated throughout the trip, so check back for more photos as we travel. Unfortunately we won't be making any formal tour stops this time around, but if you happen to see us on the road be sure to send is a photo at tinyhouse43@gmail.com! 

I couldn't find our usual travel sign (still planning to build a permanent one at some point as well), so I made this one. Hard to see from the glare, but it'll have to do for now. 💙🏡💜

I couldn't find our usual travel sign (still planning to build a permanent one at some point as well), so I made this one. Hard to see from the glare, but it'll have to do for now. 💙🏡💜

 

Head 'em up, move 'em out...  4/3/16

Head 'em up, move 'em out...  4/3/16

Thanks for an amazing first winter in our tiny house, Riverview! 💙  4/3/16

Thanks for an amazing first winter in our tiny house, Riverview! 💙  4/3/16

Rocky Mountian view from I-25 heading south.  4/3/16

Rocky Mountian view from I-25 heading south.  4/3/16

So long, Denver!  4/3/16

So long, Denver!  4/3/16

Eastern Colorado's "Great Grass Sea" with a train to nowhere in the foreground. 4/3/16 @ 1454 MST

Eastern Colorado's "Great Grass Sea" with a train to nowhere in the foreground. 4/3/16 @ 1454 MST

Pit stop in Stratton, CO with an impromptu tour by a couple on a sweet Harley. 4/3/16 @ 1645 MST

Pit stop in Stratton, CO with an impromptu tour by a couple on a sweet Harley. 4/3/16 @ 1645 MST

C-ya later, Colorado! 4/3/16

C-ya later, Colorado! 4/3/16

Someone spotted us on the road near Colby, KS 4/3/16

Someone spotted us on the road near Colby, KS 4/3/16

I took a similar photo crossing eastern CO out of Colorado Springs 5/14 when we picked up the Barn Raiser. This time it's Kansas in the background. 4/3/16

I took a similar photo crossing eastern CO out of Colorado Springs 5/14 when we picked up the Barn Raiser. This time it's Kansas in the background. 4/3/16

Another pit stop, this time in Hays, KS, hometown of Mr. Chrysler (aka Dodge) himself. 4/3/16

Another pit stop, this time in Hays, KS, hometown of Mr. Chrysler (aka Dodge) himself. 4/3/16

Calling it a night and cheating in favor of hot showers in the morning. lol 4/3/16 @ 2352 CST

Calling it a night and cheating in favor of hot showers in the morning. lol 4/3/16 @ 2352 CST

Munchkin man "helping" us do our checks before we pull out on the road again. 4/4/16 @ 1200

Munchkin man "helping" us do our checks before we pull out on the road again. 4/4/16 @ 1200

So long, Salina, Kansas... Onward toward Oklahoma! 4/4/16

So long, Salina, Kansas... Onward toward Oklahoma! 4/4/16

We surprised the munchkin with a stop in Wichita, KS to see The Keeper of the Plains and the confluence of the Little Arkansas and Arkansas rivers in honor of his late NaNa, a Hope, Arkansas native.  ❤️ 4/4/16

We surprised the munchkin with a stop in Wichita, KS to see The Keeper of the Plains and the confluence of the Little Arkansas and Arkansas rivers in honor of his late NaNa, a Hope, Arkansas native.  ❤️ 4/4/16

Can you spot the tiny house in this pic? How's that for some size perspective? 4/4/16

Can you spot the tiny house in this pic? How's that for some size perspective? 4/4/16

A nice lady in Wichita let us know that we had a brake light out, and Brand is back there giving tiny house interviews to passerby while removing the old bulb. 4/4/16

A nice lady in Wichita let us know that we had a brake light out, and Brand is back there giving tiny house interviews to passerby while removing the old bulb. 4/4/16

Another diesel stop turned into an impromptu tour stop, this time in Darby, KS. 4/4/16

Another diesel stop turned into an impromptu tour stop, this time in Darby, KS. 4/4/16

The second of three surprises for the boy, here's Bumblebee chilling in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 4/4/16

The second of three surprises for the boy, here's Bumblebee chilling in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 4/4/16

And holding down the fort across town was Optimus Prime, who towers over the tiny house at 22' tall. 4/4/16

And holding down the fort across town was Optimus Prime, who towers over the tiny house at 22' tall. 4/4/16

Caused a little rubbernecking in Gutherie, OK as we crept by slowly.  4/5/16

Caused a little rubbernecking in Gutherie, OK as we crept by slowly.  4/5/16

Passing through the Arbuckles. 4/5/16

Passing through the Arbuckles. 4/5/16

I'm never more grateful for a patient, talented hubby than when I accidentally put the tiny house in peril. lol Here he got us out the of the labyrinthine storage facility I pulled into just to turn around in... and promptly got stuck in... 😫  4/5/16

I'm never more grateful for a patient, talented hubby than when I accidentally put the tiny house in peril. lol Here he got us out the of the labyrinthine storage facility I pulled into just to turn around in... and promptly got stuck in... 😫  4/5/16

Made it into Texas but missed a great shot of the Red River and settled for this one instead. Maybe next time! 4/5/16

Made it into Texas but missed a great shot of the Red River and settled for this one instead. Maybe next time! 4/5/16

I wonder if we can drag race the tiny house here? 4/5/16

I wonder if we can drag race the tiny house here? 4/5/16

Pausing out front while we finalize the new parking spot out back. 4/5/16 @ 1545

Pausing out front while we finalize the new parking spot out back. 4/5/16 @ 1545

Deja vu in reverse: coming vs. going.  4/5/16

Deja vu in reverse: coming vs. going.  4/5/16

The new spot puts us under the ash tree instead of the oak tree and closer to the garden as well.  4/5/16

The new spot puts us under the ash tree instead of the oak tree and closer to the garden as well.  4/5/16

Dad wanted the house here so he could see that pond better from the living room. We're just glad to be back in the shade. 4/5/16

Dad wanted the house here so he could see that pond better from the living room. We're just glad to be back in the shade. 4/5/16

It's a shame we can't live in n the tiny house here, even if we do hate Texas summers. Sure is lovely! 4/5/16

It's a shame we can't live in n the tiny house here, even if we do hate Texas summers. Sure is lovely! 4/5/16

And lastly, here's the view from the kitchen windows now. The pond is visible off to the left, and the tiny house is well shaded even from the setting western sun. Not bad! 4/5/16 @ 1845

And lastly, here's the view from the kitchen windows now. The pond is visible off to the left, and the tiny house is well shaded even from the setting western sun. Not bad! 4/5/16 @ 1845

And this concludes our move from Northern Colorado to the North Texas area. We've got loads of finishing projects ahead of us, as well as some improvements to make to avoid future mold issues. We will continue to blog our progress and share photos on our accounts, and we invite you to follow along. Once we're settled into our routines a bit here we'll likely invite folks over for an open house again, so if you're local keep a lookout for that invite. In the meantime, have a lovely week and we post again soon!!

💙🏡💜 

~Meg, Brand, and R.A.D

TH43 v1.0 Video Tour

Greetings! I have posted a pair of heavily detailed video tours of our tiny house to our own YouTube channel called TINY HOUSE FOR THREEI've also embedded them at the bottom of this post for sake of ease.

I want to again remind folks that our house is not 100% completed, and therefore you're going to see plenty of projects left to complete. I also intentionally didn't do a thorough clean on the house before filming, because let's face it - how often have you seen a house with kids and pets be immaculate other than on magazine covers and heavily staged TV shows?! Yup, that's what I thought! The only thing that would have made this video more accurate to our real, day-to-day tiny house living would be to have had R.A.D playing with his cars in his room and Brand sitting in the nook studying or playing video games with more dirty dishes on the counter and me sprawled out on the couch reading a magazine. You may wrinkle your nose at some of our unfinished work or the dishes in the sink because it's not aesthetically pleasing, and we've already had some folks give unsolicited snipes about our design choices and layout ("Only thing better would be tiny house with a better design than a hallway... 😬"). Regardless of your own preferences for what you think a tiny house should look like, including your own if you go that route, you need to keep one highly important fact in mind:

 THIS IS OUR TINY HOME, NOT YOURS! 💖

We built OUR house to OUR standards for OUR needs and to OUR budget and timeframe, and we aren't done yet!! We chose to go on and share both photos and a video tour of our work-in-progress house now because 1) it's going to be a while before we really have it ALL done to our satisfaction and 2) because we want to encourage others, especially those who have little to no help for their build who are trudging along fretting about whether or not they'll ever finish it, that IT'S OKAY FOR YOUR HOUSE TO NOT BE PERFECT by the time you are ready to move in! Sure, it's a royal pain in the keester to live in a construction zone, especially a TINY construction zone, but it CAN. BE. DONE.

Your house doesn't have to be HGTV ready to be loved, to be lived in, and to be proud of. The haters and trolls will be there no matter how pristine your floors are, how white your walls are, or how sparkling your expensive hammered copper sink that you simply couldn't resist is, so just keep on keeping on! 😉 Be proud of what you've accomplished so far, what you'll continue to complete in the future, and of the very fact you had the cajones to start in the first place!! I've found some of the most vocal critics of our tiny house and of many others don't even live in a tiny house and have no plans to do so. What suddenly makes them the experts on tiny house building, design, and living?! Oh that's right.... not a damn thing! ☺️ So just remember....

YOU ROCK, AND SO DO WE!! 

Now that I've dismounted the soap box and without any further ado, may I proudly present our unfinished, unkempt TinyHouse43 v1.0 in all its video tour glory! 

💙🏡💜 

P. S. I should also point out this isn't a, " and here's the kitchen, and over there is the bathroom," type tour. I actually share useful information about our house that anyone building or living in a tiny house might find useful. That's why combined the tour is 30 minutes long! 😜

Tiny House (43) Swoon

Even though our house is still a work in progress and we are having to take a break from full-time living for a while (see why Reality Bites), I finally decided it really is TinyHouseSwoon-worthy and sent them some photos. They agreed, and we are the new post for today! Sure, there are vast swaths of unpainted plywood visible and some areas completely missing doors or other coverings, but you know what?? It's still beautiful!

 

Credit to Megan Carthel of the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle for the first photo. 

Credit to Megan Carthel of the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle for the first photo. 

Our tiny house journey is still a work in progress as well - bumps, detours, and construction delays included - but that doesn't make our efforts thus far any less amazing. It's sooo easy for me to be exceptionally hard on myself when things don't work out the way I envisioned they would, especially when so much planning and hard work has gone into it all. I admit it's sometimes difficult to see all the gorgeous tiny houses on TinyHouseSwoon.com and all around the web and not feel just a bit inadequate as our house is nowhere near the finished quality of those displayed, and I know there's some psychological mumbojumbo that can explain those feelings. Still, we are very proud of what we were able to accomplish with virtually no outside help for the physical labor while building paycheck to paycheck with a full-time work or school schedule and a rambunctious toddler to chase around the whole time. It's not perfect or finished, but what in life ever truly is?!

So, without further ado, I invite you to check out our house on Tiny House Swoon. The photos of our house will be familiar, but once you're done looking at our post, be sure to swoon over some of the other beauties - some of which are also works in progress! - shared by their loving owners, proud builders, and other admirers. 

 💙🏡💜

Reality Bites

This should probably be two posts, but that's just not how I roll. Grab some coffee and a snack. This'll take a minute... 

I don't want to write this post at all. In fact, little pieces of my heart and soul are dying as I type these words, but then my brain tells me to STFU because it's not as bad as it seems on the surface. In reality and in the long run, it'll probably the very best thing that could happen to us on our tiny life journey. 

We are moving back to Texas and into my dad's house in the next few months.

Now, before you think, "Oh look, another tiny houser who couldn't hack living tiny is going back to their big house life," allow me to make one thing absolutely, positively, crystal. frigging. clear...

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TINY HOUSE ITSELF OR EVEN THE ACT OF LIVING IN THE TINY HOUSE. 

In fact, were we NOT living in the tiny house here in Colorado and instead renting one of the very expensive apartments in the area, we'd be much worse off than we are now. We'd be paying at least double the rent for just a one bedroom, likely triple the electric, and also be paying for water in an apartment. Really, the only advantage an apartment would have over our THOW is that I could potentially be walking distance from my job instead of 54 miles one way or a two hour round trip away.

We had a very specific list of reasons for choosing Colorado for our first stop in our tiny house adventure, which in no particular order consists of:

  • Ability to live in our THOW full-time
  • Ability to transfer within the company I've worked at for almost 5 years
  • Having a stable source of income & legal parking = freedom to focus on debt elimination
  • Remaining close enough to Texas to regularly visit family
  • The Mountains! The Weather! The Everything-That's-Different-From-Texas! ;)

See the emphasis on the third line?? That's because that was THE reason we were okay with leaving Texas with debt left to pay off. We had some debt already, accrued a good deal more building the tiny house, and have no intention of traveling or moving to Washington until we have that debt totally paid off. We thought the security of having the same job and a safe, legal place to park and live in the THOW would be all we needed to really hunker down and start chipping away at the balances. We've had loads of credit card debt before and managed to pay it all off a bit at a time, albeit with two incomes instead of one, and we expected this time to be no different. Instead, though, we started a slow roll down the mountain that has surpassed snowball status and progressed to full on avalanche. We haven't been this broke since I was in nursing school and we were surviving off Brand's $7.50/hr maintenance job.

On paper, our overhead should be less than when we had our Big House. The cost of our truck payment, truck insurance, RV lot rent, electric bill, and our Texas cell bill (more on that in a moment) totals as much as our $2000/mo mortgage. Our electricity has averaged about $50-60/mo at the $1/kW rate the RV park charges, but because of the lack of reliable wifi (a must since Brand takes college classes online), our cell bill has more than doubled. We really weren't expecting a LOT of the pricing differences up here, and we blame that on being more focused on finishing the house and finding a place to park. Food costs more. Fuel costs more. There are state taxes here. We knew about the taxes, actually, but our entire grocery budget ($300/mo) is what that equates to every two paychecks. When your usual grocery budget is being usurped by the State with every check, it doesn't take long for your bank balance to start dwindling and you to start whipping out the plastic to pay for necessities. That, my friends, is a highly unsustainable way to live. 

Really, that's not the whole problem, and really there aren't even just one or two issues I could point my finger at and say, "THIS is the reason we're broke." We knew it was a risk coming here with debt to pay off because yes, we did know the cost of living would be higher. What we couldn't have planned for was the hospital being delayed an additional two months, requiring me to drive those 54 miles ten times a week for 8 weeks in order to be paid full-time hours. Normally as a nurse we work three 12-hour shifts, which would have meant 324 miles of travel from Loveland to Westminster each week. Instead, I was driving 540 miles at $2.50/gal in a truck that was now getting 14mpg instead of the 18mpg it averaged in flat, 17-mile-one-way-commute-Texas where diesel was nearly $0.20/gal cheaper. Worse, on Thursdays and Fridays we all carpool to my work and R.A.D's school, which actually totals 164 miles in ONE day. Go ahead, do the math. I'll wait. 

When we started realizing just how serious the financial situation was becoming, I began keeping a little list of cost comparisons in Texas vs. Colorado. Granted these aren't 100% apples to apples comparisons for various reasons, but I actually notated the differences for my own sake as much as for sharing it here. You'll notice that travel costs are a big part of the equation as made obvious in previous paragraphs, but what this chart doesn't show are the differences in things like food and laundry costs. Here we pay $3/load, which includes one cycle each of washing and drying. While not a big expense (we average 2 loads per week), it is still something we didn't account for. With groceries, for example, I found about an $0.80 difference between the FairLife milk I drink between our Target in TX and the one in Loveland, which, incidentally, isn't a Super Target. We have to drive another 36mi round trip to Fort Collins for food because that's still the cheapest place to go for us. Even the pizza we occasionally treat ourselves to costs more - $6.99 in Texas and $7.99 in Colorado.  It all adds up quick!

***I'll add that those are the CHEAPEST fuel prices I found in both areas recently. It's actually higher all around town in both TX and CO.

***I'll add that those are the CHEAPEST fuel prices I found in both areas recently. It's actually higher all around town in both TX and CO.

If you're feeling like all the comparisons I'm sharing are just nickels and dimes on the grand scheme of things, let me tell you that I agree completely! As I said, there isn't any one or two or even three BIG, obvious reasons why we've been bleeding cash since we got here. Instead, the realization of just how maxed out and drained down our accounts have become hit me when I spent Friday morning 2/12 paying bills online. After paying the bare minimum payments on everything due between then and the next pay day, we have $104.00 to buy food and fuel for the next two weeks. ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR DOLLARS. For three people. And a cat. And a work period that totals 836 miles of driving in a truck that gets 14mpg. Needless to say, that was the final straw, the last nail in the Colorado coffin.

Can you see now why those nickels and dimes are more like thieves and black holes vanishing any and every cent we have or I earn?

Good thing they abolished Debtor's Prisons!

Good thing they abolished Debtor's Prisons!

I'm sure by now you're asking yourself perfectly valid questions like...

"Why doesn't she just get a second job or he start working, too?"
"Why don't they just find a cheaper, closer place to park their tiny house?"
"Why doesn't she just use mass transit or get a car with better gas mileage?"
"Have they even bothered to try to reduce their expenses further?"

...to which I dutifully reply:

  • I actually DID secure a 2nd job here that wouldn't start until the middle of March (which means I won't get paid until April), but in order to keep living here AND being able to not just pay our bills but actually start paying them off, I would have to work six 12-hr shifts per week AT LEAST. We need cash now, and seventy-two hours a week is brutal. Granted I wouldn't have to work that much fooorrr-eeeev-errrr, but it would be a longer period of time than I'm willing to commit to. Colorado was supposed to be a working vacation of sorts for me. At this point in my career I feel I've earned a little work-life balance for the sake of my kid if nothing else, and this would definitely NOT be that.

  • As for parking, go to the Denver Craigslist site and search "tiny house" under the "Housing" tab. You'll immediately see there a dozens of posts by people with tiny houses looking for a place to park. Colorado is a popular place to live for a ton of reasons, and sadly the State - for all its progressiveness with marijuana legalization AND as the home of the most professional tiny house building companies in the country - isn't exactly tiny house friendly. I sent a form letter with the specifics of our needs to every single RV site that shows up on Google maps over the spring and summer of 2015, and if I even got a reply the answers were, "We don't take tiny houses," or, "We don't have any long term parking available." In my desperation at one point, we were even looking at buying a mining claim in Florissant just to have a place to park, though since the BLM actually owns the physical land we'd still just be "camping." Think my drive to work is rediculous now?! Florissant is 113 miles ONE WAY from Westminster. More recently I had a few nibbles in Lyons, but none of those panned out for various reasons including the land being too steep, the land not being zoned to allow occupancy in the THOW (a very common problem), or us needing to be totally off-grid right now. We can handle everything except power right now, and solar systems ain't cheap. Just ask the great and varied folks of the Denver Tiny House Enthusiast group how easy it is to find ANY kind of tiny house parking that's not out in the boonies and/or totally off-grid, and you'll see we were super fortunate to even find Riverview in Loveland at all. 

  •  There's a transit route called "Bustang" that runs from Fort Collins down to Denver proper with a stop in Loveland where I could board, but the earliest it arrives at the Denver bus transfer center at 0700. I have to be at work at 0645, and I'd still have to take an additional bus to work that would make me quite late. Plus, the bus only runs Monday through Friday, and I work all kinds of random weekends. As for a cheaper car, during the time the hospital was delayed I actually did rent a car for three weeks because it was cheaper to pay the $125/wk fee plus about $20 in gas (it got 37mpg) than pay for diesel. With the lower gas and diesel prices now, however, that wouldn't be nearly as cost effective. We contemplated buying a cheap car in Texas to bring here (Colorado car registration fees are outrageously expensive: $600-800 vs. $63/yr in Texas), but that requires a lump sum of cash and a few prayers that it doesn't break down in the winter conditions. It's not really an investment worth making in the long run, especially since we'd eventually have to get rid of it.

  • I should also point out that while we have definitely not done as good a job with general expense reduction as we should have (did I mention we ate out too much when we first got here?!), we did get rid of several services we've used for years just to cut costs where we could. What good are Netflix, Hulu, Pandora One, and HBO Now when you have no wifi and streaming would burn through your meager data plan in mere days? Yes, I like having my gym membership since the weather isn't stable enough for me to run outdoors here, but I've only gone twice since I've been here. Buh-bye. I no longer subscribe to my numerous digital magazines (fare thee well, Tiny House Magazine), I've ended our Monster Muscle shake deliveries from Amazon (this is brutal, because that's my breakfast and I don't like coffee), and I've been tracking down other subscriptions I may have forgotten about (unused website addresses, phone apps, credit score managers, etc) as fast as I can to avoid surprise charges. They don't cost much individually - $3.99 here, $8.99 there - but they do start adding up fast.  

I feel that I have done my due diligence and have exhausted all the avenues I can think of to find a way to make this work that would improve our present situation and not be so demanding as to be unsustainable for even a short period of time. As my dear, sweet husband told me recently, I have to be the one to make the decision to stay or go because I'd be the one having to work all those extra days and continue to drive all those crazy miles. It's not cost effective for him to get a job, as some have suggested, because my pay rate would be at least double anything he could earn right now. Plus, we'd potentially have to pay for childcare if our work days overlapped, which is yet another expense we can't afford. Nope, folks, it's all on me. I WANT to stay, I really, really do, but I also don't want to go insane trying to work 72 hours a week just to make ends meet when we can go back to Texas and immediately eliminate about $2500 of our monthly expenditures just by not being in Colorado. It makes me feel like I'm giving up too easily, it really does, but in the name of sanity and bankruptcy avoidance, "I'm out, Jerry."

Not!

Not!

Now, lest anyone think me ungrateful for the opportunities we have, the support of our family, and the fact that I'm even employed at all when so many aren't, let me be clear that I know dang well everything mentioned above is a First World Problem. I'll also give you my canned response to that observation, which is that admitting that doesn't make the situation suck any less. We are well aware that we are lucky to be able to choose to live the tiny life when many don't have the luxury of choice, so please don't mistake me providing a blow-by-blow of our personal situation as whining, lamenting, or otherwise seeking sympathy for our troubles. I share such specific, personal details because I want each and every person who thinks that just because you build a tiny house you will magically become debt free to know that is simply not the case. 

Can we and will we eventually be debt free? Yes. Will we get to that point while living in Colorado? Doubtful.

We certainly weren't expecting to suddenly be swimming in cash, but some of the posts I see online espousing the financial freedom that CAN come with living in a tiny house border on unrealistic optimism at best and are sometimes outright lies. Yes, you CAN live a lower cost lifestyle in a tiny house, but it doesn't just happen overnight. Just like gastric bypass surgery doesn't instantly make you skinny or healthy, building a tiny house doesn't instantly make you debt free or better at managing your money. You have to change your lifestyle and spending habits to create and maintain financial health the same way you have to adjust your intake of and attitude toward food in order to become physically healthier. Our situation is essentially equal parts unexpected expenses, an inadequate safety net, underestimating the real differences in the cost of living, and not reining in our old spending habits enough. We could likely weather three of those four issues without too much strife, but the combination is overwhelming our resources. Hindsight being 20/20, we'd have been better off staying in Texas to pay off the debt and then coming to Colorado, but there's no point playing the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" game now.

That lifeline I mentioned my dad threw us the other day? It was a check to help us float through until we leave. Without it we wouldn't have had groceries for the rest of the month. It really is that bad. 😔 

That lifeline I mentioned my dad threw us the other day? It was a check to help us float through until we leave. Without it we wouldn't have had groceries for the rest of the month. It really is that bad. 😔 

I equate the situation we are presently in to being nearly identical to when we were cash strapped living in our 3200sqft house except in a house the size of our old master bathroom. Why would we want to stay here and just be making it when we could suck it up, go back to Texas, and really, truly pay off our remaining debt in a less stressful situation? Yes, this means another dreaded Texas summer (Whhhhhhhhyyyyyyyy???!?!?!), but it beats having to parking lot hop with our tiny house in tow and survive off ramen noodles because we have to cut costs so dramatically. We owe ourselves and, more importantly, our son more than that.

This guy right here is our reason for everything we do! He deserves parents who aren't stressed out about money all the time, which was a primary reason we went tiny in the first place. Now we must make good on that plan for reals this time! <3

This guy right here is our reason for everything we do! He deserves parents who aren't stressed out about money all the time, which was a primary reason we went tiny in the first place. Now we must make good on that plan for reals this time! <3

This was not a failure, friends. It was a trial run. 

If you've followed our blog for a while now - which started on tinyhouse43.wordpress.com in December 2013 - then you know we've never set a specific plan for our tiny house life beyond wanting to eventually move to Washington state hopefully by the summer of 2018 for R.A.D to start first grade at the Waldorf school we've chosen for him. That flexibility was intentional, because we most definitely know how quickly life can throw you a curveball, and we want to be better prepared for them next time. I certainly couldn't have predicted my mom's cancer diagnosis just a few short months after our son was born, and I definitely wasn't expecting to only have another 17 months with her!  Our initial thought for Colorado was only to be here six months anyway, and while returning to Texas wasn't on the radar at all, the reality is that we need to be debt-free AND have a large nest egg saved up so that we can be selective about where we live and also not have to take as many student loans out for Brand to finally finish his degree. See, even now we know we aren't really, truly done with debt.  Life changes happen, for better or worse, and we simply have to roll with it. That's why I look at this winter in Colorado in our tiny house as a learning experience that will better prepare us for our future life in it.

In addition to now knowing Colorado is a gorgeous but expensive place to live, we learned of several quirks and kinks in the tiny house we need to fix before we finally travel with it. We can now come up with even better solutions to combat the mold issues we've encountered, including replacing all the loft walls with more resistant materials. We can now finalize the storage additions in the kitchen and nook areas after having spent six months using those spaces day to day. Our Kimberly wood stove is "breaking in" well, and we'll have the funds to get the cobb oven attachment for more off-grid cooking options. Really, though, the best part of all this is that back in Texas we'll actually have the time, space, and funds to really, truly FINISH the tiny house for reals. What could be better than that?!

We've also made some amazing new tiny life friends along the way, and we've witnessed the beginnings of a little tiny house community being created within the RV park we've had the pleasure of living at this winter. This really has been an unforgettable winter filled with many adventures and promising plan-making for the future. Riverview RV Park couldn't have been a better place for us to break in the tiny house, and we are so grateful they see the value in THOWs as homes. They're definitely worth considering if you need a place to park your tiny house for a spell!

The quality of life in Colorado is definitely what we'll miss most, especially when we got to spend tiny with our new tiny life friends from Alaska!

The quality of life in Colorado is definitely what we'll miss most, especially when we got to spend tiny with our new tiny life friends from Alaska!

Remember when I said the decision to move back to Texas has nothing to do with the tiny house itself or even the act of living in the tiny house? All still true! It hasn't always been sunshine and roses (schlepping to the bath house at 0-dark-30 in 2F weather because the water line froze despite being heated, what?!), but on the whole we've had a blast in our little abode. Our son adores his room and all his built-in play areas, we've been getting better and better at cooking in the smaller space (nothing will change our disdain for doing dishes though... ugh), and we've each carved out little areas of our own to spend quiet time reading, studying, or playing games. We enjoy our family movie nights just as much as we did in the Big House, and while we still aren't as successful with our Nature's Head composting toilet as we'd like, practice makes perfect! ;)

If we could live in the tiny house on my dad's acre we'd do it in a heartbeat, and if we could find a really cheap place to park it close to my Texas workplace, we'd do that, too. Right now, though, we're okay with only being able to "recreate" in the house while we finish the last of the build projects where we know the house is safe to be temporarily parked. Brand gets the wifi he needs to take his classes with ease, and he'll handle the remodeling projects my dad would otherwise have to sideline because of his new job's travel requirement. R.A.D will have our Pugs and the big boys across the street to play with, and I know my dad and in-laws are looking forward to seeing him more often. I'm glad to have more time with my dad when he's in town and to work with the awesome folks at my Texas hospital again. Looking forward to the Texas summer, however?? Not so much. Enduring one hundred degree days is, however, a small (sweaty? scorching?) price to pay to get back on track financially so we can really, truly get back to living our tiny life.

 So, this is NOT goodbye to the tiny life, our tiny house, or any of our future plans.

It's merely a pause to regroup and refocus so we can get back to the life we've made for ourselves in our beautiful tiny house on wheels but on much, much better terms. We will still blog and share photos of the finishing process, and if we can swing it we'd like to make a couple open house stops on our way back to Dallas. The move timing is definitely still a work in progress right now - lots of pieces in play that must be dealt with first - but we expect to be back in TX by the end of March or early April at the latest. We'll give ourselves another year-ish to finish the house and get our debt paid off (except the truck payment) before we head out on our travel across the country. We may even work a summer in Alaska into our plans now, which is something we would have never even considered were it not for our time in Colorado and meeting three different tiny house dwelling families/couples from Alaska. It's opportunities like those that make the tiny house life and traveling so amazing, so now we want to take advantage of the opportunity to return to Texas to get our financial ducks in a row so we CAN enjoy the freedom having your house on wheels can bring!

We've got a ton of planning to do again, but we'll keep you posted about the move plans and any open houses we manage to work out. Thank you to ALL our readers for your continued support and encouragement. We don't have any kind of tiny house related business and have no paying sponsors of any sort, so we truly share our story because we enjoy our adventures and hope in some small way to help others thinking of going tiny to weigh all the pros and cons thoroughly. The TV shows on tiny houses show the glamorous side of the lifestyle, but owning and living in a tiny house (especially if you built it yourself) is as much or more work than a traditional house. This life is definitely not for everyone, but we know it is still for us and can't wait to get back on track so we can enjoy it to the fullest!!

💜🏡💙 With Tiny House Love 💜🏡💙 

Meg, Brand, and R.A.D

One of our first days in Loveland, Colorado in October 2015. The wait to return to full-time THOW living will be hard, but we'll be doing it with our financial ducks in a row and a fresh perspective. Viva la tiny house life!

One of our first days in Loveland, Colorado in October 2015. The wait to return to full-time THOW living will be hard, but we'll be doing it with our financial ducks in a row and a fresh perspective. Viva la tiny house life!


 

Our THOW Interior: January 2016

We are most definitely NOT done with the inside of our tiny house - loads of finish work left to do, including painting a zillion different things - but since we had to do a deep clean for a visitor today who needed to take photos, I took advantage of the time to snap some photos. Granted I didn't drag the DSLR out from under the storage sofa for higher quality shots, but as I keep saying, you'll get the gist. Captions will come later, but I think these are pretty self-explanatory. Without further ado, I give you our still-in-progress TinyHouse43 interior! 💙🏡💜

 

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Riverview RV Park and Tiny Houses: A Community Within A Community?

Before I write anything else, let me preface this post by saying that I have no affiliation with the staff or owner of Riverview RV Park, nor do I have any say in what or to whom the owner rents parking spaces to. I'm simply the owner of the very first tiny-house-on-wheels that has had the pleasure of parking here since October 2015 and hopefully not the last.  Riverview has been a perfect place for us to spend our first winter in our tiny house, and because the park owner and staff have been so wonderful to us and are open to having more tiny houses in their park, I wanted to share our experiences with other THOW dwellers, as well as plant the seeds for the possibility of a tiny house community within the existing RV park should the owner be amenable. The decision to pursue or not any of my ideas and suggestions are solely the decision of the owner of Riverview, but I will make myself available to him or to any potential tiny house residents should he choose to consider the possibility of hosting a group of tiny houses, particularly if that involves grouping them together in a community setup. I have already expressed my interest in helping gather support and residents for such a community to him and his staff, and while this was a simple conversation in the office one afternoon, there appeared to be genuine interest at the very least in having more tiny houses here period. We will continue to be positive examples of tiny house residents during our stay here in hopes that we might set the tone for such a community, and either way we encourage you to visit the park and try out one of their cabins or bring your own RV or THOW for a short stay. We don't think you'll be disappointed! -Meg

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Now, with that out of the way, I'm going to post some photos I just took of the eastern edge of the park right along the Big Thompson River where there's a grouping of partial hookup spaces that I feel could be utilized as a semi or permanent tiny house community within the confines of Riverview. There are other areas of the park that the owner, should he choose to pursue such an idea, might prefer over this one, but I picked them because I have yet to see them used since we've been here and they're near a bath/laundry house on the property as a simple starting point. These sites do not presently have sewer connections, but the walk to the on-site dump station is short and the office staff stated that there may be connections added in the near future. They have water and electric hookups present, as well as their own fire rings for outside cooking. They also have an amazing view of the river right behind them!

Some adorable little rental cabins are on the other side of the street from them, so I felt like the aesthetic of grouping the tiny houses with the cabins was also a great fit. The area is somewhat secluded from the rest of the park, which also lends to the community-within-a-community feel. Near that area are also more partial hookup sites, tent camping sites, and the RV storage area at the very back of the property (you'll see it in a photo or two). During the winter you have wide open views around the park, and in the fall when we arrived the trees were still thick with colorful leaves aplenty. Quite a beautiful area if I do say so myself!

The rest of the park has some great amenities, including a second bath/laundry house, a gated off-leash dog park (you're responsible for picking up after your own pets no matter where they do their business FYI), a large central park with playground equipment, and a large covered picnic area that includes a stage and outdoor fireplace. There are trails and ponds around the property we've yet to check out, and you can fish in the Big Thompson River as well. There's a convenience store inside the office, and they have two rentable spaces for large gatherings. There are regular potlucks particularly around the holidays, and so far we've loved all the folks we've met who live here year round. Most if not all of the office and maintenance staff live on-site, so if hiccups do occur someone is available to help.

I could go on and on about how much we've enjoyed our stay here at Riverview and in the town of Loveland, CO, but I know our readers are more interested in seeing photos of the property and my suggested area for a tiny house community within Riverview RV Park and Campground. So, without further ado, here they are! 

 

 

 

Here's a panorama of the partial hookup area as seen from the big central park. That's the bath/laundry house in the foreground, and the spaces I'm thinking of are behind and slightly left of it. 

Here's a panorama of the partial hookup area as seen from the big central park. That's the bath/laundry house in the foreground, and the spaces I'm thinking of are behind and slightly left of it. 

This is the bath/laundry house at the back of the park, but there is another near the office. Where we are presently parked with our THOW puts both bath houses equidistant to us, but this one has private baths and showers vs. the dorm-like setup of the house near the office. There are additional showers on the back side of this building as well.

This is the bath/laundry house at the back of the park, but there is another near the office. Where we are presently parked with our THOW puts both bath houses equidistant to us, but this one has private baths and showers vs. the dorm-like setup of the house near the office. There are additional showers on the back side of this building as well.

This is a view to the southeast of the gated dog park. Here dogs are allowed off-leash, but everywhere else in the park requires them to be leashed. No pets are allowed in the central park playground area at all, and owners are always responsible for cleaning up after their pets.&nbsp;

This is a view to the southeast of the gated dog park. Here dogs are allowed off-leash, but everywhere else in the park requires them to be leashed. No pets are allowed in the central park playground area at all, and owners are always responsible for cleaning up after their pets. 

These cute little cabins are part of what drew me to that area I think would work for a tiny house community. Their aesthetic would go great with THOWs, and they'd be your view across the street. 

These cute little cabins are part of what drew me to that area I think would work for a tiny house community. Their aesthetic would go great with THOWs, and they'd be your view across the street. 

This is a view of the Big Thompson River behind the parking spaces in question. What a lovely view! 

This is a view of the Big Thompson River behind the parking spaces in question. What a lovely view! 

This is a view looking east of some of the partial hookup spaces directly across from the little park cabins where I think tiny houses on wheels would fit well together. These sites have water and electric, but presently you'd have to haul your gray water (or black if you went that route) a short walk to the dump station. The office staff did tell me that sewer hookups may be added in the near future.

This is a view looking east of some of the partial hookup spaces directly across from the little park cabins where I think tiny houses on wheels would fit well together. These sites have water and electric, but presently you'd have to haul your gray water (or black if you went that route) a short walk to the dump station. The office staff did tell me that sewer hookups may be added in the near future.

This is looking northwest at the end of the row of partial hookup sites along the river. Those trees on the left create a little mini park area that divides these spaces from the full hookup spots closer to the front of the RV park. This division would also help create more of a micro community feel for the THOWs from the rest of the park I believe.

This is looking northwest at the end of the row of partial hookup sites along the river. Those trees on the left create a little mini park area that divides these spaces from the full hookup spots closer to the front of the RV park. This division would also help create more of a micro community feel for the THOWs from the rest of the park I believe.

This is the back of one of the partial hookup spaces where you can see the electrical hookup with the water spigot just below. There's a fire ring at each site, and there are picnic tables for each site currently being stored for the winter. You'd be able to roast marshmallows while watching the river from this spot. 💜&nbsp;

This is the back of one of the partial hookup spaces where you can see the electrical hookup with the water spigot just below. There's a fire ring at each site, and there are picnic tables for each site currently being stored for the winter. You'd be able to roast marshmallows while watching the river from this spot. 💜 

This is a view from that same spot #157 looking over a couple of neighboring spots and through the tree grove toward the front of the RV park. That's one of the rentable cabins on the left, and in the distance you can see the covered picnic and stage area. 

This is a view from that same spot #157 looking over a couple of neighboring spots and through the tree grove toward the front of the RV park. That's one of the rentable cabins on the left, and in the distance you can see the covered picnic and stage area. 

Here's another view of the neighboring cabins from the back of space #157. To the left and behind of the cabins are additional partial hookup spaces and tent camping sites. 

Here's another view of the neighboring cabins from the back of space #157. To the left and behind of the cabins are additional partial hookup spaces and tent camping sites. 

Behind those trees are the tent camping sites and the RV storage area. The river bends around behind that storage area, and there are trails that meander off to the right of that area as well. 

Behind those trees are the tent camping sites and the RV storage area. The river bends around behind that storage area, and there are trails that meander off to the right of that area as well. 

Here's an easterly view from space #157 that shows more of the river and the neighboring spaces that direction. Beautiful! 

Here's an easterly view from space #157 that shows more of the river and the neighboring spaces that direction. Beautiful! 

If you squint, you can just make out our tiny house dead center in the image sticking out to the left of the playground equipment. This was taken on the walk back and looks across the big central park area.

If you squint, you can just make out our tiny house dead center in the image sticking out to the left of the playground equipment. This was taken on the walk back and looks across the big central park area.

This is the road toward the front of the RV park, and I was passing the grove of trees on my right that act as a divider between the full hookup sites ahead and the partial hookup sites just behind and to the right of me as I walked. Here you can see a view of the mountain that is directly across the street from the turn into Riverview. 

This is the road toward the front of the RV park, and I was passing the grove of trees on my right that act as a divider between the full hookup sites ahead and the partial hookup sites just behind and to the right of me as I walked. Here you can see a view of the mountain that is directly across the street from the turn into Riverview. 

Here's a look to the southwest where you can see the other little mountain flanking the park. 

Here's a look to the southwest where you can see the other little mountain flanking the park. 

These are full hookup sites that border the grove of trees I've mentioned. They're within that same area surrounding the bath/laundry house and could potentially house tiny houses, too. All of those decisions are solely that of the park owner, but since they are in close proximity to the partial hookup sites I wanted to show them as well. 

These are full hookup sites that border the grove of trees I've mentioned. They're within that same area surrounding the bath/laundry house and could potentially house tiny houses, too. All of those decisions are solely that of the park owner, but since they are in close proximity to the partial hookup sites I wanted to show them as well. 

Lastly, this photo was taken from the dump station next to the central park looking back toward the partial hookup sites where I believe a tiny house community within the RV park could be established. So long as those spaces have no sewer hookups you'd make this short walk to dump your waste, but the staff did say there was a possibility of them being converted to full hookup. 

Lastly, this photo was taken from the dump station next to the central park looking back toward the partial hookup sites where I believe a tiny house community within the RV park could be established. So long as those spaces have no sewer hookups you'd make this short walk to dump your waste, but the staff did say there was a possibility of them being converted to full hookup. 

As I talk more with the owner about my ideas, I will share what I find out with his permission. I did tell the staff the day I spoke with them about this possibility that the number one thing the park would need to work on in order to court more THOWs is to have more reliable WiFi service since so many folks who live in tiny houses work from home remotely via Internet. They advised me they were already working on improving the connections here, and in the meantime I've been doing some research of my own.

What I can tell you today with certainty is that no devices that run on the Sprint network will work here, which sadly leaves the otherwise awesome Karma Go concept out. Verizon and AT&T have strong signals all over this area, but unless you have a grandfathered unlimited plan they aren't exactly affordable options for heavy users. I will be buying and testing a T-Mobile device for our use in addition to our Verizon devices to see if that will work as an option for unlimited internet, even if they do throttle speeds after 16GB or thereabouts. According to their coverage map, Riverview is in their lowest signal range BUT there have been user confirmed connections within the park itself. I'll post our findings once I've had a chance to try out T-Mobile, and hopefully the improvements of the park will help bridge any remaining service gaps.

That's it for now! I do know you can bring your THOW for short stays already, so hopefully the idea of creating a more permanent community of them isn't out of the question for the owner. He and his staff are wonderful in our humble opinions, and even with a few hiccups here and there with water pressure and winter weather woes (all of which were quickly attended to by the staff I might add) we've been very pleased with our stay. Our son has loved being by the playground, and there are enough kiddos that cycle through to keep him out playing as often as we let him. The place is a great mix of ages and stages, and we highly recommend it!!

For more information, contact Riverview via their website or call - just know you might get someone different each time, and email replies are much slower than phone calls:

www.RiverviewRV.com or 970-667-9910

They are presently closed on Sundays and Mondays through the winter, and I don't suggest using their online reservation system if you plan to bring your THOW. Call them first so they can accommodate you properly, and let them know Maighen in the tiny house sent you!

Six Week Checkup

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.

Photo credit to Guillaume Dutilh. 

Photo credit to Guillaume Dutilh. 

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. 

Email checking time while the munchkin naps. 

Email checking time while the munchkin naps. 

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.

A climbing we will go... 

A climbing we will go... 

 

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.

A 20 degree difference w/o the space heater on. Nice!&nbsp;

A 20 degree difference w/o the space heater on. Nice! 

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.

I have single-handededly stocked, organized, and labeled 8 of these giant carts plus 6 smaller rolling carts while squeezing in new staff training classes and attending a few myself. Oi! 😖 

I have single-handededly stocked, organized, and labeled 8 of these giant carts plus 6 smaller rolling carts while squeezing in new staff training classes and attending a few myself. Oi! 😖 

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.

💜🏡💙

The view from our loft yesterday morning. Despite the longer than preferred drive to work, we couldn't have found a better place for our tiny house family to call home.  

The view from our loft yesterday morning. Despite the longer than preferred drive to work, we couldn't have found a better place for our tiny house family to call home.  

Our First Blog Post While Living In Our Tiny House

Greetings from colorful Colorado and the beauty of Loveland, CO, which is near the Front Range about an hour north of Denver! We made the roughly 3-day journey from Texas starting 10/9 and arrived in Loveland 10/11 late in the evening after an open house in Denver at Trailer Made Trailer's shop. We had hoped to have open houses in Oklahoma City and Wichita, but departure delays left us heading out in the dark on Friday to make as much distance as our tired brains would let us. Once we start traveling with the house, however, we will make it up to those who missed out seeing the house this time! <3

Since we are now living in the tiny house full-time, even though she's not 100% finished, I thought I'd attempt to start using the Squarespace blog to help differentiate the "building phase" from the "living phase." This is just a test at the moment, and I'll make an announcement on our social media pages if the format switch becomes permanent. For now I'm going to post a little recounting I made this morning of the daily routines that are already starting to establish themselves in the tiny house after just two days. They aren't all that surprising to me, frankly, but watching the little man make such a smooth transition already is definitely encouraging. Brandy and I are still exhausted and stressing out over the remaining work left to complete, but R.A.D has settled right in as though we've lived tiny his whole life. Love it!


October 13, 2015 9:48AM Mountain Time

Our morning routines in the #tinyhouse are already being established. 

Brandy has run off to the hardware store to get supplies to fix our now broken front door (le sigh 😞). I know he's counting down the nanoseconds until the house unofficially d-o-n-e. We've brought most of the components we need to do all of the I-dot, T-cross stuff on our list, but already we're finding things that we inadvertently left in Texas. Thankfully a December return trip is already planned, so we'll pick up those items then. 

R.A.D has been happily playing with Legos in his room, then our loft, and now next to me on the sofa in the great room. 😋 They've been Lord Business, Master Splinter, a boat, a rocket, a car, and gifts for me all in the span of about 30 minutes. 😍 I know his new school won't be wild about the movie watching we do as a family (they're anti-tech for kids, which we actually really like), but frankly I find it impressive that a hodgepodge stack of colorful plastic bricks can take on "character" forms as well as traditional ones like cars, boats, etc. None of his creations look anything like any of what he says they are, but his imagination dictates otherwise. 💖 He starts school this Friday, and I just know he's going to love it!

Kitty has been tolerating Mr. Sir's overly affectionate attempts to snuggle with her in between his Lego relocations better than she did yesterday. 😼 Clearly he didn't learn the lesson the first time as evidenced by his now-healing face (le double sigh 😣).

I'm chugging my morning peach tea Monster (coffee makes me sleepy believe it or not) trying to plot my day through the residual brain fog left from working night shift for over a decade (yawn 😴). You'd think the time change would be working in my favor since 0900 here is 1000 back in Texas, but I find that anytime before about 1500 requires a vast amount of fortitude and willpower (and caffeine) to reach optimum performance levels. Thankfully I've got 2.5 weeks of M-F 8a-5p pre-opening work days to prep me for my brutal 0400-ish wake up calls for my 0645 shift starts after a 60+ minute drive 3 days per week. Yes, I have a two hour round trip for work each day, but that, my friends, is a VERY small price to pay for us to be able to live in our tiny house. 🏡

We aren't completely settled in yet (and likely won't be for about a week+ realistically), but with the shopping trip yesterday and the unboxing of the fridge, the house is starting to feel less glorified camper and more tiny house on wheels. We are still using the RV park's facilities for a few more days (except for #1... Nature's Head requires no extra setup for that) until the last of the water heater setup (that I thought was already done before we left, but apparently not) and vent connections for the compost toilet are completed. Thankfully those facilities are just a short walk away, and the beauty of the park (and the great weather!) make up for any inconvenience experienced on the short journey. 

We've got to fix our temporary front door that went crazy and broke on us last night (the knob broke and locked us all in), but otherwise the first pair of days have been lovely. We've got our permanent door waiting for us back in Texas, so we'll prep it and haul it back from our December visit. Hopefully by then the last of the trim work inside will be done, too, and we can have Jenna & Guillaume of Tiny House Giant Journey over the shoot a proper video tour. Stay tuned!

Have a great day!