December 4, 2013 § 2 Comments
This is not a cohesive update at all, I am back at my ‘better to post something than nothing’ post though. I do have some very cool miscellaneous updates though, long over due of course! I have a plan in action that will hopefully get me on a better track for keeping up with my updates! I am going to try my hand at just setting a schedule to post my updates ,that way it doesn’t all just build up and become a daunting thing to approach! So, after this update I will be shooting for Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a Sunday post, each day posting on one topic, be it my family/pregnancy/Denny, my tiny house, my current craft projects or my miscellaneous day, that is what I am hoping for, if I can stay disciplined it would be awesome . But for now there is a little of everything!
So, Denny is getting neutered this weekend, he’s excited . I think he thinks I say ‘tutored’ though, he loves learning! Terrible joke! It’s time, I feel bad for kids when I take him on walks, Great Danes are big dogs… any way you look at it… we are also going to go to our first Great Dane Meet-up, I am excited to see how he does with other danes, when we go to the park he mostly loves hanging out with the littlest pups there, I think it will be good for him to meet other big dogs! I am excited to meet new friends too, it seems that dog parks are really great places to meet people in general! He is pretty funny at night, when I let him out before bed he does a perimeter check around the house, its always a counter clockwise motion, he circles the whole thing, then does his business then comes in ready to zonk out, in the morning though the last thing he wants is to get out of bed, turns out if a hundred pound dog doesn’t want to do something then there is not very much I can do to change his mind… fortunately James is usually around to let him potty a little later in the mornings…
My pregnancy update, this is fun, I am back on track with my weight gain, I am not sick as a dog all the time, I am perpetually uncomfortable with my lady parts apparently being the size of a soccer ball right now. Turns out that makes me hunch over which isn’t good for a newly broken back, I got a sling thing though and it seems to help… if I can just find out where Denver hid it… I definitely look pregnant now, there is no mistaking it! She is SUPER active still and her kicks are getting stronger and stronger, I guess the calcium is hitting her bones and making her less like rubber, so that’s good! Yesterday I was working on my laptop and it was just barely against my stomach and she kicked it and it moved… not real impressive of a story but I was alone in the house and it freaked me out! When my midwife measured me I was bigger than ‘normal’ by 5 centimeters (they measure from the top of my pubic bone to my belly button), so apparently that means she had her growth spurt early, even though I think she hit her growth spurt just after the appointment, I will be excited at my next one to see if my midwife agrees. I have gained a total of 15 pounds even. That is right on track with where I ‘should be’. MiniMiller’s heartbeat is right on point and she measures right around 14 inches long and comes in just under 2 pounds. The most shocking part is that technically she is able to survive, with help, outside of me right now, that blows my mind. I will go ahead and try to keep her in there as long as possible though, it’s probably best for everyone . In the following weeks we will be working on putting some body fat on her! Other than all that, it still sucks to be pregnant, some girls just rock this, it is NOT my ‘thing’! oye! I think I should have been born a guy, it seems so much easier! I’m sure I’ll get on with the whole ‘miracle of life’ thing after MiniMiller comes but for now oye! BTW, Hazel Annabelle is the name that is sticking the hardest… Stays with Greg’s astute observation of her initials being H.A.M. too!
Tiny house update! My water froze last night! Oh noes! thankfully it happened AFTER the hard piping and nothing broke! When I went and checked this morning it looked like in one of Denver’s perimeter checks he may have bumped a panel of my skirting apparatus… there was a big hole in the insulated portion so I am pretty sure that is what went wrong. Still, it’s going to get a lot colder (down to 9 degrees tonight!) so I am going to have to figure out something else… For now, because its dark when I get up for work and its dark when I get home (I hate daylight savings, even though it really isn’t what’s to blame for the short days) I just shut off the water and I will figure it out this weekend when I have some daylight to work by. These are those cold weather things that you folks down south don’t have to work with Lucky! Other than that the house is doing awesome! The radiant floor heat is NOT enough to keep things heated but with my small supplemental heater it’s not a problem.
So this evening I am in the process of transferring my website (paying WordPress to transfer it since I have had a few difficulties with how the site transfers) to a hosted site so if anything goes awry that is why, I wish I could stay on the free WordPress site but I have enough pictures and data to use up my allotted space, so I must move on!
A couple quick things, Ryan and I are doing another Tiny House Chat on Tuesday night, log in if you can! We have Hari and Karl from TinyHouseFamily.com and Ms. Kristie Wolfe from TinyHouseOnThePrairie.net, we are going to talk about tiny houses for the holidays, get some awesome creative ideas from Kristie and some family advice from Hari and Karl, it’s just going to be a fun one. I nice end to wrap up a great year of Chats!
Ryan has been organizing the first annual Tiny House Conference which is coming up at the beginning of April 2014. There are going to be some great opportunities to meet some neat people and learn more than you want to know about tiny houses and tinyhousers! I am stoked to get to go, and MiniMiller will be making her way so long as all goes as planned! For a little while Ryan is offering $50.00 off if you use the code MM2013, so if you can’t think of what to get the minimalist in your life it could be a good option… , experiences are always better than ‘things’ (well, that is just opinion I guess).
I think that that is all I have for now, below are a couple other things including a tremendous act of kindness I was the lucky recipient of, my interview on Aljezeera with Christopher and Merete a co-sleeper mini-update and some misc. stuff, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
November 12, 2013 § 23 Comments
It was magic! My shower has been working and functional for a long long time but without having the greywater system hooked up I didn’t want to use it and flood under the house. I have been using friends’ and families showers for a while, it feels AWESOME to get to shower in my own house! My Eccotemp FVI 12 does a wonderful job! I do have to turn it all the way up to hot hot and then back down to temp for it to keep heated, if I just turn it half-way it seems like the heater really doesn’t kick on strongly. It is awesome though, I had a nice, long, hot shower with even heat, no flash hot or flash cold. I have to also say I am pretty dang impressed with how far a tank of propane has gone. I’ve been living in my house full time since mid June and started with a little over a half of a tank of propane and I haven’t had to fill it yet. My stove and water heater are both running off of propane. I admit I haven’t been cooking up a storm but I haven’t really been shy about it either… I probably use a couple of my burners at least a couple times a week… hot water every day basically to do dishes and wash hands etc. I’m expecting I will have to fill my little five gallon tank soon but getting pretty close to 6 months out of about 3 gallons of propane is pretty cool. We will see how much having regular showers out here will affect that.
Another quick review… My heating! I had planned on using my radiant floor heat as my main heating source which works well down to about 50 degrees. Any lower than that and it doesn’t quite cut it. I have been using my radiant heater as a supplement, the same one I used during construction. I have it on the lowest possible setting and it works really well. I should also note, I tend to leave the bedroom window cracked a couple inches throughout the day and night. I do this for a couple reasons, if I don’t at night the body heat builds up in the house and it actually gets too warm by the time I wake up, second, throughout the day it allows things to vent. It’s pretty tight ventilation wise and I have a large dog who smells… like a dog. I used to come home and leave the doors open for a while to air it out but I have realized it’s better if I just crack a window and then I don’t have to walk in the door to a wall of dog smell. I think it helps keep things balanced inside too, not to stale of air. So it’s a trade off, it’s the best balance I’ve found though between heat and freshness. The floor MIGHT be enough without the cracked window, but I doubt it. That being said, I LOVE that I have the radiant heat floors. My feet stay warm and cozy, it will be great for MiniMiller too so she won’t have a cold floor to crawl around on. It really makes the space super comfortable even though I have to supplement the heat a tad.
Third, I get to do other projects now! That’s pretty cool. Sunday evening I was feeling like a bum just sitting down and watching TV so I decided to sew a little at least while I watched, then I didn’t feel SO lazy . Before I knew it I made a skirt! Not a bad one either! I haven’t sewed in years, happy to know I have some skill still.
I loosely based it on another skirt I have but I added a belly band for my pregger self. I have discovered that leggings are my new best friend. I LOVE them, they are cozy and don’t cut across my belly all uncomfortably like pants. So, I think my wardrobe will be consisting a lot of insulated leggings and skirts! Also, I started my prenatal yoga class last night. I have been really concerned about my back since I broke it just over a year ago. It has been hurting me quite a bit lately with the shifting center of gravity of my body, it’s passed the pain of my foot now (which has also never healed correctly), I’ve got a permanent ‘gangster limp’ I think… both of those injuries are concerning to me as the next months roll on. I started yoga to hopefully mitigate some of the issues along the way, it was a good class with other pregnant ladies. My body is surprisingly sore from all the low impact stuff that happened , sore in a good way. I am planning on keeping that up a couple days a week until MiniMiller makes her debut! I also got a back support band that seems to help as well. The last tidbit is that Ms. MiniMiller is getting a little routine, that is a weird thing to realize. She’s her own person with her own schedule. I notice she gets real active every morning first thing, right after breakfast and then again in the afternoon right around 2pm until 4 or so and then again around 8pm. until after I fall asleep. It’s getting pretty routine, it makes me wonder if that will be her active times after she’s born, if so I am ok with that, I hope she isn’t a morning person .
One LAST thing I want to mention… in getting prepared for after baby is here I have decided to invest in an upright freezer and some tupperware to make some big meals in bulk and freeze them for easy meals later. This will let me have some nutritious meals and be able to focus on baby without running to a food store or eating crappy. In looking at the cost of things tupperware is just crazy, it occurred to me to try a restaurant supply store and looking at some of the take-out stuff they have.
A lot of the time those things are microwave and dishwasher safe, they have decent seals and seem like they would be ok to separate out a meal and freeze. Oh, ad they are WAY cheaper! Any thoughts? I will probably post a few recipes I find for crock pot meals to stick in a bag and freeze or for delicious looking food stuffs that would freeze well, if anyone has any particularly good resources or ideas on this I would love to hear them!
The next thing to look into is also going to be insurance for MiniMiller… I don’t need to get into that debacle right now though, I’ll save that rant for later . Hope everyone is well!
November 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Long over-due update . I have been juggling quite a bit as of lately so I have been torn away from consistent updates but here is one! So, I have been dealing with my bank to talk about financing for a place, I was looking at a property to have as a rental that I could park my tiny behind. The trick is a foreclosure that is on my history, even though the foreclosure process started 7 years ago (wow, that’s a while) it didn’t finalize until 2 years ago, yeah, it was a MISERABLE 5 year process. So, because that is on my record I knew there would be hoops to jump though but I decided to see how bad it was anyway. The loan officer was genuinely shocked at the situation and the fact that I have pristine credit, if I didn’t have the blackmark I would be the ideal candidate and eligible for the best rates. She went so far as to check into alternates to an FHA loan which would typically be my ONLY option with a foreclosure until a full 7 years after the final date of foreclosure. FHA is not all bad or good, what it does require though is that I pay mortgage insurance the full term of the loan instead of the typical first 20%, since I planned on putting 20% down it didn’t feel great to know I would be paying about 160 buck a moth for ‘extra’ purely because ‘technically’ I didn’t meet the requirements for a conventional loan, even though by the bankers own words I am a much better candidate than most conventional loan candidates. Also, and FHA loan comes with a higher interest rate than conventional. So, She took some info and talked to her bosses and said she would get back to me…
A couple days later she called me back with ‘good news’, which is in fact good news, but not great. After talking to her supervisor and their supervisor my bank said that they were willing and able to ‘portfolio’ me which means basically that they will personally be loaning me the money rather than a mortgage company. What this does for me is get me a ‘conventional loan’, my payments would be going to them, I wouldn’t have to pay mortgage insurance for the duration of the loan. This is good news! The bad news is of course they would add their cut on top of it. The ‘going-rate’ for a 15 year loan is 3.2%, for a 30 year loan it is 4%. They would only go at a 30 year term and at 5.125%… When you calc out the math I would be paying almost double what I would over the term of the loan. My ideal of course would be to put 20% down, pay a 15 year loan, on the house I was looking at the payment is right around $750.00/month. On a 30 year term the payment would be around $520.00/month. Now the house I was looking at I think could easily be rented out for $800.00 a month so really, either of these are fine. What they ended up offering me was a payment around $760.00/month but for 30 years. So, if I am prepared to pay $750.00/month for 15 years and what I was offered was essentially $750.00/month for 30 years… I don’t like that and I am not comfortable, even though it is ‘do-able’, signing up for another 30 year commitment if I am not completely comfortable with the terms. Yes, I could probably refinance in a couple years, who’s to say where rates will be though… It would be an added stress I really don’t need at this point.
I was really feeling a rush to get somewhere before winter hit but I decided the best thing would probably be to just sit put until it thaws again next spring. At that point I have a feeling that things will be in a different spot, perhaps I’ll be eligible for a better deal. I am also keeping my eyes open for places that ‘fit’ that may have owner financing. Even though that is usually at a higher rate I would MUCH rather have that extra going to a real person than the banking industry, call me jaded . I looked at moving to a couple different places around town, either with individuals or a semi-RV park situation. The rates were either just as high as renting an apartment OR the people seemed weird. I didn’t think it wise to have a baby be born around someone who may or may not me ‘weird’, it didn’t feel great either in my gut. And if I am going to have to pay 450-600 a month plus utilities just to park my house I am going to store it and just rent a place where I don’t have to juggle space and constraints. he whole point of building this is NOT paying someone else rent. I was blown away that it costs as much to rent a bare piece of property as it does to rent one with a house on it to use… dumb. But now I know it could be pretty lucrative to just buy bare land, zone it as an RV park for tiny houses/RVs, if I charged half the price I would be doing pretty darn good! So… I am staying put for the winter. That is that story.
Because I am staying put I had to winterize, it’s already been down to freezing temperatures. Daylight savings time messed with that process quite a bit but I finally got it done yesterday. My house is officially officially complete! I went out to celebrate with my brothers and Gia and I forgot all about the shirley temples! I’ll have to try again! My brothers are always putting on dinner parties, I don’t have enough house to have them over for dinner though so the thing I get to do is save money and take them out for a nice dinner every now and again . So that is just what we did! It was awesome and it feels pretty damn good to be done even with all the non-glamorous work. The skirting is not pretty but it is very functional, just keep that in mind . I suppose even putting a coat of paint on it would make it prettier, but I didn’t do that…
There is even a Denver update in there, he’s as handsome and sweet as ever! Branching out at the dog park and making bigger dog friends . He is the best dog ever, I really recommend Danes to tiny house people, it baffles most but they are GREAT small space dogs, he is an old soul, not a ton of energy, totally content to crash out most of the day. He goes to bed before me every night, steals my pillow. He doesn’t think he can get up the stairs by himself, even though he can. He gos and puts his front feet half way up then looks at me and whines for me to help him. Of course I can’t lift his heavy butt up there anymore so I just place his feet for him and he walks up them. I think he thinks I’m lifting him but he just needs to work on his confidence , he will get it again soon!
And MiniMiller is growing leaps and bounds, I’m pretty sure she will be just as fidgety as her mom AND dad (she’s got no choice in the matter) if how much she flips around is any indicator. 24 hours a day there and somersaults being done in my belly. Denver seems to be paying more attention to her too, he likes to lay his head on my belly which he’s never really done before. Random kids walk up to me and stare at me and chatter at me, kids have always liked me but I think they are showing me more attention, it’s weird… and at the dog park so many dogs seem to walk well out of their way to come and smell me, even with all the distractions they are interested in me more than others, a couple of their owners have even mentioned that they were oddly drawn over. Because of these occurrences I tend to believe what they always say about kids and pets being in tune with pregnancies. My next appointment happens to be the same day as Ryan’s and my next Tiny House Chat on the 19th, I’ll have another update then, I am pretty excited and blown away that in about 5 months I’ll be a mom, that’s a pretty cool big deal!
Which brings me to my next point, Ryan and I have a Tiny House Chat on the 19th, this one is going to be awesome! Please, make the time to join us if you can! Here is the information to log in and what it is all about. Take a few minutes, watch THIS TED talk. We will be talking to him and the folks over at Found House. 3D printed houses, Ikea style . If this was a kit for your own tiny house would you look into it? I think this is an amazing concept that could change the face of so much! Making affordable housing available to all!
I have had a couple questions on the format of the Tiny House Chat. I want to clear up some of it, don’t worry, you do not need a camera or a microphone to log in. What happens is that Ryan and I appear on camera with (usually) our two guest hosts the four of us are the only ones with voice and camera, to chat about whatever our topic is for the month. Everyone else logs in and is linked via a chat room which we can all see. (people seem reluctant to appear on camera, so don’t worry, unless you’re a guest host you won’t, and let me know if you want to be a guest host and/or have an idea for a show topic!) So basically it is an hour long chat session with tons of people who have the same interests. There is a lot of discussion between chatters as well as questions interacting directly with the four hosts. It works best when we get lots of chat/host interaction on the topic at hand. Typically we have 30-45 people logged in but we have the ability to go up to 200 right now. If we ever have more than that we can look at upgrading our service to accommodate more, so share the word!
What questions do you have about 3D printed houses for these guest hosts??
September 23, 2013 § 6 Comments
I have actually been pretty busy working on fixing all of the things on my ‘to-do’ list before the photos are taken in exactly 1 week and certainly before the TV crew gets here in just under two weeks from London. There has been a lot accomplished and even though its stressful to have this deadline it’s actually great because it means I am actually going to finish all this crap, not just let it sit on my to-do list for months to come! I am getting very excited to be done, there is one major project that will wait until after the crew has gone, that is winterizing my grey-water set-up but that is OK. The rest will be done. The great big awesome accomplishment from this weekend is that I have heat! I finished hooking up my radiant floor heat and boy, it’s awesome! The tiles were getting really chilly to walk across in the morning but now I actually get excited to get up and walk across the house . Of course if you ask James the big accomplishment is that the shower is cleaned! He had to step up and finish that because I can’t be playing with the acid if I intend to make a baby with ten fingers and ten toes… he did a great job, that was a pretty big deal to get that cleaned and it probably took him a good 10 hours of scrubbing and spraying…. moral of the story, do a better job than me at grouting, I am pretty sure I am never allowed to grout again. Last weekend I also got the weeds pulled from the yard and with the help of my brother, who gave me manual labor for my birthday this year, what I guy, right, the lawn was rototiller and planted, I even have little sprouts poking up. Mom says that fall grass is the best grass, I am hoping so, my spring grass was all burned off with out unusually hot summer! Maybe this can get in and get started and get strong before summer hits again. Those are the three big ones, here are some pictures of the other parts, like my electrical closet doors, my trim, cleaning up the paint parts and fixing the dog food drawer that was just a tad too big to work well. In not particular order here are some pictures:
September 6, 2013 § 30 Comments
I am not going to lie, parts of this stink… overall… totally worth it so far but here are some of the cons as compared to always giving you the shiny ‘pros’. I think most of these can also be spun to sound like pros and can boil down to me having moments of laziness, like we are all allowed to have. (it’s actually hard for me to not put on the positive spin at the end of each point… because I wrote this here though I will not!) Here is the list:
- These things take a lot of time and energy to build, parts of my body will never be the same after this build. As some of you know, about one year ago I fell off the roof while being dumb on a particular part of roofing, this resulted in a back that was broken in two places as well as a broken heel bone. Here I am one year later, with the cold season coming and I can already feel it in my back. My foot is STILL not healed amazingly enough, I have not been able to return to running just yet. I have been told that I will always feel the weather changes in my back. That is an unexpected consequence of tiny house living that not everyone will have, but it’s real. Aside from broken bones, this thing ate up about a year and a half of my life I didn’t intend on giving it! I seriously and foolishly was convinced that 6 months was oodles of time… nope, two years is more like it. Sure I could have gone faster, I could have also gone a lot slower… but that is a lot of social life to exchange!
- Everybody looks and stares, I am happy to share, in fact I LOVE it, most of the time. Its those other times when I just want peace and quiet, people still gawk then too. I have been woken up from a nap more than once by someone knocking on the door. Which is actually really cool, unless your napping mid day, which pregnant people do sometimes! Part of me feels ‘weird’ too, I wish these were more ‘normal so I didn’t have to be made to feel weird so much!
- I am constantly concerned about being ‘turned in’ and worried if I am pissing off any neighbors. Even though I would probably be totally fine with being turned in and it would actually be a different sort of enlightening adventure I would be ready and willing to tackle, it sucks to feel that little bit of insecurity constantly, just not knowing what is around the corner exactly.
- Everything is a work in progress, things break, water is not limitless, every action has a consequence that I have to be aware of. Sometimes it would be nice to be oblivious again to my daily processes, dump all the leftovers down the garbage disposal and not think anymore about it. If I do that now it will grease up my grey water tank and that will be a much bigger deal down the road. I have to only take what I will eat so i am not as wasteful. It is mostly enjoyable to be engaged in my daily processes but sometimes it would be awful nice to get lazy and just not care.
- Space, only sometimes though. It’s not even so much the space as it is smells, and it could be a pregnancy thing. Denny-man stinks though. He is getting weekly baths pretty much but it’s small enough in the tiny house that it takes no time for it to smell like dog (still, at least it isn’t smelling like compost!). There have also been times I want to stretch out and do some yoga without leaving home and I just have enough room to do a few poses, nothing too detrimental but, sometimes, it would be cool to not have to go somewhere to do my physical activities.
- The dark flooring was a horrid choice with a puppy and mud. It stays clean mere fractions of a second at best! I will gets some rugs once I get a lawn and Denny get’s a little better about keeping water in his mouth, that will make this easier. Right now my floors stay a pretty consistent mix of puppy slobber and dirt.
And the surprising things that I DO like!
- I LOVE the composting toilet, at least so far (I have yet to have to empty it). I like it better than a flush toilet, for real. No one can hear me pee, no splashing water back on my butt… it’s great! and absolutely zero smells and the satisfaction that I am not sending a huge burden to be treated at the water plant.
- It is nice to be able to do what I want when I want, to know that the investments I make into may living area are mine. If I want to paint I can, if I break something that isn’t working properly it isn’t super painful knowing I’ll have to replace something dumb only for it to break again some point later. My own space is an obvious thing to like, but I am surprised by how much I have missed it. Even if it is less than a tenth the size of my last place that was ‘mine’. That ownership aspect works just the same!
What else would you guys add to the list of Tiny House cons?