The Good, the Bad and the Awesome!
Life is a wonderful thing! I have been so amazingly busy these last few weeks that I haven’t had a single moment to work on my tiny (while that may sound like a bad thing it’s actually a good thing). I thought I would write a little update on why. The good, I have an interview bright and early in the morning to join the Planning and Zoning Commission for Meridian, I have been working on some great and exciting jobs for work (spending LOTS of time there), I will be working even more over the next 5-6 weeks or so, and we had a fabulous Superbowl party (that is a family tradition around here, almost more-so than Christmas of Thanksgiving AND I actually won some money in the pools this year!). The Bad, I have made NO progress on the house in at least three weeks. The awesome, I will be flying down to Austin with James and my brothers to watch TINY: A Story about Living Small premier at the South By South West Film Festival.
To expand on the good.
I have been very interested since the start of this project in getting more involved in the tiny house community and in learning more about how I can impact change on a broader scale. I work every day in my day jobs to impact change in the development of communities but I feel like I am lacking something of an inside perspective, the ‘whys’ from the city side. I was approached and presented this fantastic opportunity to join the City on their Planning and Zoning Commission. I initially didn’t think I could handle the extra workload but the more I thought about it the more this opportunity became clear that it lines up exceedingly well with my overall goals and that I need to make the time for it. If I can use this opportunity to gain more understanding of the ‘whys’ of how a city operates and understand the goals then I more likely will be able to clearly convey how and why tiny houses are good for cities… OR, I learn how they aren’t and how we can adjust to adapt because the concept of smaller footprints is definitely not a bad thing! I am really looking forward to the opportunity to learn more and gain new understandings while being able to contribute to my city in a meaningful way, that is after-all in my personal mission statement and a long-term goal of mine.
I still am not sure how I will balance this with my other commitments currently, beyond this tiny house (which is currently suffering). Right now I work at two jobs and involve myself in a substantial amount of volunteer opportunities. We will see I guess, life is about priorities and pursuing passions, perhaps it’s time for me to re-evaluate my priorities and get a more clear outline of exactly where I ought to be heading. In the mean time I was able to put together an updated resume… if you have any interest in learning more about me professionally it is located HERE (don’t spam me, or murder me, otherwise we can’t be friends :). Mostly that is just for me to document it somewhere so next time it won’t be starting from scratch… it’s been a few years since I’ve had to do that!
Also, we were awarded two sizable projects recently at Johnson Architects that we are very excited to get moving on. I have been putting in some extra hours recently to clear off my plate in preparation for their start. Part of that work includes a really fun industrial/contemporary/traditional-esque (if you can picture that) doctors office for a really amazing individual (the best part of my job is learning about the people and being able to really understand their job and how they need to function and then actually getting to design something that makes their every day life more functional AND enjoyable). Some people are just great inspirations and we have been really lucky to cross paths with them, this particular client is on that level. I have really had a lot of fun working through this particular project. Work is just much better when you get to work with really great people! Have I mentioned that I love my job! 🙂
On that same note, James has recently (like today, officially) had some really great news to share, so I will share for him (because it will impact me too, in a sense). James is a crafty person and has been working on a couple Etsy shops over the years (Noesis, Niquegeek, Fanatic Alley and Shapecase, which is still in construction) and doing pretty well at it. He build a 3D printer a while back and has been designing products to print and sell online (something I am interested in learning and doing eventually!). He has also been working on a couple books about Revit (a software we use in our jobs) and running therevitblog.com. His side projects are starting to become a viable income and, with a little more care could grow even further. The problem has been that he is still trying to do architecture along with these… which adds up to about as much free time as I have… none. All of these have been important but it has been his long time goal to be able to be self sufficient with his businesses. The conflict has always been saving enough to cover expenses while he can take some time off the day job to build up these side projects to a sustainable level. I am very impressed with all of his work and what he has built up from nothing, it’s really quite amazing!
As of earlier in the week he struck a deal that makes it a bit more comfortable for him to jump off the cliff into self employment which entails contracting out his Revit expertise to various architecture firms in the valley, as needed. This will help him feel more comfortable financially while he can build up his businesses. What it will equate to though is a lot of time spend doing architecture when there are deadlines approaching and then a lot of free time off when there aren’t. As of right now he got a gig for 5-6 weeks working A TON. With his contract work he will be hovering around 75-80 hours a week minimum for the next few weeks, and that doesn’t count the time his shops typically take to run. This means his shops may suffer, his poor puppy at home will be lonely and he will generally have no free time to do the things that homeowners should be doing. I feel like this is a really big deal and a really important thing that I am fully supportive of. Over the next few weeks I have chosen to commit my ‘spare time’ to helping him out where I can. A lot of my work includes my laptop and a couch so I will be making a point of using his couch to spend time with his dog, it will be good for me too to obligate myself to go walk Guinness, dogs are always positive influences! While I am there I want to be able to help out however I can and just generally make myself available. Even though I am busy I have a lot of flexibility built into my commitments, which is nice.
So, to get to the ‘bad’, which isn’t THAT bad…
What all this means for my build is that it is going to sit stagnant a bit longer. I won’t be able to really get any sizable block of time away from a computer where I can accomplish significant amounts of work on my house so I am going to intentionally try to let my building ‘to-do’ list slip my mind as much as I can over the next five weeks. I am hoping too, that this can let things rest enough to reignite my enthusiasm in my house and then I can come back and ‘hit it hard’ as the saying goes. My ambition has definitely dropped even though I am to the ‘fun stuff’ and just have a tiny little ways to go. In exchange for helping James out through his busy time he has agreed to also help me out once it slows down. When this deadline is over we should be able to spend a couple weekends on my house together and make massive amounts of progress. Things ALWAYS seem to go faster with two people. So even though I will be MIA for a bit, come early spring I should be in pretty good shape to be living tiny!
Now, the AWESOME!
March 8-12 I will be flying down to Texas to see Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith debut the film they have been working so hard on, TINY: A Story About Living Small at the SXSW film festival. I am SO happy for them that they are getting recognized, I saw the sneak peak of it in October and I was REALLY impressed, I’m certain it will be amazing and not just because they added yours truly to the credits! 😉 I think this is going to be a BIG deal for the tiny house community, I can’t wait to celebrate their success! They are trying to make some arrangements to get a tiny house to the showing and maybe a panel discussion, if anyone has any leads around Austin feel free to let me know or contact them.
I thought initially this trip would be just James and I which would have been a blast but it has turned into a family trip with my brothers too which makes me even MORE excited! We have never done a sibling vacation. In total there is five of us going down, we have booked a hotel (not easy or cheap on the busiest week of the year for that city!), a car and plane tickets, all that is left is the fun stuff! I have a friend down there too that I haven’t seen for nearly 7 years, I am stoked to get to see him again! That happens to be in the middle of our crazy timeline with these projects at work but I think that will be ok, when opportunities like this come up you seize them! At least in my opinion :).
So… That is where I am at and why I have been MIA. I apologize for not being more engaged, believe me, I REALLY want to work more on my house too! 🙂 For anyone who may have missed it I also wanted to include a link to my story that was in the Huffington Post last week. I think it was a great write-up, it sounds a little more tragic than I feel my journey has been but I can see why they went that way with it :). See it HERE.
Best wishes everyone, I will be back with more updates soon!