New Shoes

It’s the first day of school, how could I not write a philosophical post?😂 

(I know, I know, you’re really just here for the tiny house pictures. I’m working in it!)

Maelyn got new shoes for the new school year. She is in love with these shoes! They are, and I quote, “The best shoes ever!” She had to wear them on the first day of school. 

K

What makes them so cool you ask? They have teeny tiny little pockets in the side, they are Kangaroo sneakers. If you’re familiar with that brand, you know that these are Payless Shoes. When I got them for her I told myself that there’s no sense in spending big bucks on kids shoes, they out grow them so quickly, they could be play shoes. I was embarrassed that my daughter would be wearing Payless Shoes on the first day of school! But then, the pure awesomeness that is my Maelyn, set me straight! This child, who has no concept of money, name brands, or feelings of inadequacy, just really thought these little pocket shoes were the greatest, and why shouldn’t she? They are everything a 5 year old could want. Who cares that I got them on clearance for $8. 

Let’s face it, Mark and I are public school teachers in Oklahoma, everyone knows how much money we don’t make! There is no reason to act, no reason to fake. We are teachers by choice. With almost 4 1/2 degrees between the two of us, we could find better paying jobs, we could find more respected jobs, but that’s not why we (Mark and I) were put on this earth. 

I have sworn that I will do better with my children, I will not let my insecurities affect them. But man, it’s hard! How can I expect my children to have solid self-worth and self-esteem if I belittle myself in front of them? How can I expect my children to be kind to others if I talk or act unkindly to Mark in front of them? How can I expect my children to be inclusive to everyone, not feel the need to be like everyone else, if I act embarrassed over Payless shoes? 

I have to practice what I preach, or in the education world, I have to model expectations. So tonight, when Maelyn said, “I bet my friends will be so impressed with my Kangaroo shoes,” I didn’t cringe at the thought of my daughter pointing out her cheap Payless shoes, I didn’t discourage her from telling her friends about her shoes because someone may make fun of her for having Payless shoes, I simply said, “Those are really cool shoes, I’m so glad you think they are so cool.”

Mars also loves his clearance Payless shoes! “Shoes” is one of the few words he says, and he picks out his everyday. He wasn’t too thrilled about his First Day picture though…

G-pa’s not too thrilled either!

And if kids do ever make fun of my children, I will teach them how to respond to mean kids. I will hope that before that time comes I have mastered the positivity thing, and teach them  to respond with kindness and grace. If not… Mark and I are pretty much experts in sarcasm, snark, salt, and inappropriate words! 

Summer Dreams

Two weeks ago I promised a really great post. Two weeks ago I wrote a really great blog post, and my phone deleted it. I have been mourning that past. It was witty, heartfelt, life changing, and I just knew a rewrite would not bring it the justice it deserved. RIP great blog post…

So I am starting over and this is what you will get instead! 

Two weeks ago we met up with Autumn and Jeff for her birthday. They are our soul couple when it comes to this tiny house adventure, and we have been dreaming of turning this tiny adventure into something bigger. We want to make building alternative dwellings (tiny houses, tiny houses on wheels, container houses, earthbag dwellings) a business one day. Well all it took was a little libation for us to make it official! We knew the name we wanted for our business, so with a little drink, and a LOT of talent from Jeff, we had a logo designed and tattooed in a matter of a couple hours. Tattooed? Yes, you should know that Mark and I are weird, and part of our weirdness is an affinity for tattooes. Autumn also shares this affinity, one of the reasons we are soul sisters! Jeff was a surprise! But you know what that tells me, if practical, conservative, serious Jeff is willing to get a tattoo representing this crazy idea, maybe it’s not so crazy after all. I don’t think I really thought this was actually a possibility until Jeff gave that “literal” stamp of approval! (Don’t tell Jeff my feelings were so heavily based on his approval!) 


I introduce to you MC2, like MC(squared), Alternative Dwelling Specialists! Jeff did an awesome job designing this, he is a very talented artist. 


So we did things a little backwards, we got tatted before actually making sure the name was available or registering it with the state… so thank goodness it was! This shiznit is legit! 

A seal and everything!

Do we know what any of these documents even mean? No. Do we know anything about starting, running, or maintaining a business? No. Should we have maybe educated ourselves on some of this and maybe actually have finished a product before this? Probably. But in the lyrical stylings of the great musical Rent,

Mark and I decided a long time ago that life is too short to say, “Man, I wish we had done that.” Sure, that has and will lead to some, “yeah maybe we shouldn’t have done that”, and some “I can’t believe we did that” but you don’t know until you try! 

So follow along, the weirdness will continue long after our build is finished! 

Speaking of our build, summer is here!!!!!! I think we have someone to haul off the trashed double wide, so once we can get the site prepped, we will move the tiny house and finish it out. Mark says by the end of the month we will be in it, so I always double his projected timelines, so hopefully by the end of July! 

Spring Break, Not All We Hoped It Would Be…

So Mark had big plans for Spring Break, 10 days to do non stop tiny house work, with additional family member help.  Of course, things didn’t go as planned.  I had surgery the week before, and it knocked me down harder than I anticipated.  Mars also got RSV, for the second time in 2 months, so we were all a little wimpy!  Mark did work when he could, and had help from my cousin Kirsten one day, my brother was here one day, but other than that, he was pretty much on his own.  Here’s what was accomplished during this time.

All of the interior walls were put in.  The faux shiplap turned out pretty good, I mean it saved thousands of dollars so of course I liked it!  It took a while, but Mark figured out the stairs/ladder to the loft.  It’s a little steeper than I would like, but this allows more floorspace for the living area.  All of the interior was then primed and painted.

Family help. Kirsten nailing up some faux shiplap.
Loft stairs/ladder

Mae even helped out a bit, she put in a good 3 minutes of work before complaining that her legs hurt… She is her mother’s child!

Mark did realize one of his limitations, the super awesome slide out we have planned, that requires some heavy duty welding, probably won’t get done anytime soon!  You see, Mark has never had any actual training in welding, not that that means anything really, but he’s giving himself till next summer to learn and execute this.  So he and Jeff build a temporary wall, and installed an air conditioner we just happened to have in the shop.  It worked out pretty well, but I don’t have high hopes for it when it gets to 115 degrees this summer!

We decided to use a very large casement window for access to the rooftop deck.  It was a weird size, and a door would have to be custom made, so why not use a big beautiful window!  I started out helping Mark install this, but it was really high off the ground, it was windy, and I’m a scaredy cat, so Gene had to step in and help for a second!

If you’ve been following along, you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is that there are no written plans for anything.  Never has been, never will be, or so I’ve been told.  The closest thing to a “written plan” comes in the form of random pieces of lumbar with scribbles on it!

I wanted to highlight these “super cool overalls” that he insisted on getting. These are his “work pair”, he has some pin stripes ones for “going out”. I don’t know where he’s going, but I’ll make sure to not!

Moving forward in 2017

So here it is, five days into the new year, and I’m just getting around to writing a “New Years” post. Okay that’s a lie, I’ve had the time and the words I just couldn’t make myself physically type them out. I guess it’s one of those “if I say it, it won’t come true”, or more honestly, “if I say it someone might see me fail”. I’m choosing right now to see it as a “if I say it and someone sees me struggling they will keep me accountable”. So now you know your job for the year! 😬

As I was thinking about the new year, and all the NEW that is implied, I read something about not making resolutions, but rather, make intentions. I think of resolutions as goals, and while I believe that having goals are important (I am from the school of FEMA, Homeland Security, and state government so goals should always be SMART) what happens when you don’t attain them? Am I a failure because I didn’t achieve that one statement I put on myself 365 days ago? Some of you would say yes, and you are a jerk! Don’t get me wrong, I still have goals, but at this point in my life, I mean I’ve achieved so much, it’s getting hard to set realistic goals. (Did you puke a little? I puked a little! 🤢🤥🤥🤥🤣) That was totally a joke if my humor doesn’t translate too print. 

 This year I choose to focus on intentions. Intentions are what we do in the present to achieve our goals. Call me hippie dippie, and those of you who knew the me from 5 years ago are going to be baffled by this but, I choose to live my life in the present. Not the mistakes of the past, not what could be in the future, but the right now. (Parenthood really changes a person man!) 

So I came up with one overarching intention for 2017. 🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁(that’s a drumroll by the way) 

I intend to love more in 2017, myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my work, my school, and my tiny house project. 

I have sub intentions for all of those as well but I think you get the picture. 

As I look back on 2016, at first I want to say wow that was a bad year, but when I go through month by month, every down had a corresponding up. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, we were here, when Mark’s job furloughed, the very next day these jobs at DMS opened up and we got them. You know, that’s pretty much been my life, every time I’ve been knocked down, somehow I’ve gotten back up. (There have been and still are a lot of prayers interceded on my behalf.) I know, I’m starting to sound like one of those glass half full people. Am I sick? Did something invade my body, is there something wearing a Megan suit? (See what I did there? Snuck in the best part of Men in Black! “It wasn’t Eggar, it was like an Eggar suit.”) I realize that my RBF gives people the wrong impression (that’s just how my face is) but I actually am a pretty positive person…

So tiny house wise, because we spent almost the entire Christmas break out of state, not much work got done… However, I wanted our family to wake up in the new year in our own home so my husband worked his booty off and made the Monteith Tiny House New Years Campout Party happen! 👏👨‍👩‍👧‍👦⛺️🎉

The kids teepee Dad set up with house wrap tubes!
A boy,obsessed with the lights, and his dog.
A girl and her dog.
Helping daddy install a real door knob we could lock. Not gonna lie, I got freaked out a couple times because of the wind and the unfinished slide out area!

Jeff did come down a day and they got some interior walls in. Again, if Jeff wasn’t there we’d still probably have a blank trailer! We are doing the poor mans shiplap, but to make things easier, behind the counters and appliances are whole pieces. 

I really can’t wrap up 2016 without thanking my parents. We’ve been in their house for about a year now, 6 months longer than planned and a couple more to go. It hasn’t been ideal, but my mother hasn’t killed my husband yet! (I think the fear of being stuck with the kids and I forever is the only thing keeping her from it!) They have provided more food, clothing, and shelter than we deserve or could ever repay, although apparently I’m trying with vacuums… I also can’t write a moving forward in 2017 without thanking those who have supported us. (Jeff, Autumn, Chandra I’m looking at you!) Some think it’s a good idea, some support it, very few are both. Your physical, mental, and emotional support has meant the world to us, so thank you!

In 2017 the Monteiths WILL modus vivendi to mini, come follow along!

You Get Out What You Put In

So this isn’t exactly tiny house related, but it’s life related, and tiny housing is part of life, so it’s all relative! 

I think I am the only person who remembers their younger self as being not that great. As most people get older, they seem to remember themselves as being a much better student, athlete, performer, etc, than they actually were. I have decided to be more realistic with my memories. 

At dinner with my parents a couple nights ago we were discussing my high school swimming days. My dad had pretty much been my swim coach my entire career (10 years.) I was saying how I was really not that good, that his influence in the sport was really the reason I was All-State. Of course being my father, he didn’t just outright agree with me but he did make this statement, “You really put it all out there during meets, but you didn’t do much during practice.” The next night Katie Ledecky won gold in the 400 and in her interview she said something like, I put so much into practice, it’s nice to see it pay off (I don’t remember her exact quote so that’s a Megan paraphrase.) Putting those two things together, I started thinking about what else I’ve cheated myself on. What else have I not put my all in during practice, to not reach my full potential when the big event comes? 

Can I just say, there are a whole lot!!!! Music competitions in high school, my Intro to Micro class that I didn’t attend for 9 weeks straight, MIPS exercises, potty training my daughter. I thought I was smart because I always did average without putting in any effort. I cheated myself. I prevented myself from becoming the great legend most people are in their own minds. 

Maybe at 32 I can make a change. I need to put in effort everyday like I’m at the state meet. I don’t feel like I have any “legendary” stories to tell my children, but there is still time to achieve some for my grandchildren! 

Who will you be in your “back in my day” stories?

Sacrifice

As we were planning out the bedroom to frame the walls Mark asked me a poignant question, “What are you willing to sacrifice?” I realized immediately, sacrifice is a huge part of this, our journey.

It was meant as a pretty simple question, he was asking me how much of the living space was I willing to give up for the bedroom.  The answer was easy, the bedroom is just for sleeping, so we don’t want to spend a whole lot of precious square footage on that!

This “simple” question let my brain on a Megan thinking path.  When playing the game of tiny house, there will be much sacrifice!!!

But not just square footage, space, thing, and stuff are being sacrificed; and we are not the only ones doing the sacrificing.

I was reminded today that during this process, I’ve had to sacrifice some of my feelings.  This may come as a surprise, but not everyone thinks what we are doing is cool!  As one family member asked my child, “Are you ready to be trailer trash?”  That stings.  That really just hurts my feelings.  It makes me feel like I am less, why, because I desire less? We desire less mortgage, less junk, less time having to work to pay for things we don’t have time to enjoy.  I know what we are doing is the complete opposite of the “American Dream”, and don’t expect everyone to understand, but this is the sacrifice Mark and I are making for our children to reimagine the “American Dream.”

Don’t misinterpret me, the majority of our family and friends have been very supportive, most of them would never do something like this and think we are beyond weird, but supportive none the less!  And many of these family members and friends have sacrificed for out journey.  Our parents have made huge sacrifices for us, letting us live with them for going on 6 months.  Letting us use their land to build, and most likely park, our tiny house.  Our family and friends who have put in hours upon hours helping us build(I’m talking about you Jeff!), in the sweltering heat, or the random downpours of summer storms.

This has not been easy.  Getting rid of most of our possessions was not fun.  We don’t have this insane idea that living in less than 400 square feet with two children is going to be 100% pleasant.  What we do believe is that he sacrifices we are making now will better our family, and you know what, that’s all that matters!

 

Cardboard appliances and a garage haircut

My brother and sister in law came down for Memorial Day weekend and put in some work on the tiny house. Bryce helped Mark build the boxes over the inside wheel wells.


Lacy helped me make cardboard representations of appliances and taped out walls. Still trying to get a feel for things!


Mark got the tub, we both fit!


And for some bizarre reason, Mark let my brother cut his hair! Of course, hair buzzing must be done in the garage! Bryce has some pretty good barber skills if he ever decides to leave the federal government!