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! 

So It’s Been a Year…

And where are we exactly?????

For this anniversary post, I would like to inform you all that we have land!  That’s right, we have 2.5 acres to start our tiny homestead!  Like everything that the Monteith’s purchase, it is going to take time and a lot of work to get it where we want it!  First thing that must be done, remove a trashed out double wide that is already there.  Mark had been in contact with a person that removes them, but pretty sure that fell through (since we haven’t heard from them since the day they were supposed to show up but did not.)  So looks like plan B, burn that mother to the ground!  Once we get it cleared, we can have a real idea of where everything will go and start prepping the site!  Mark says we have about one good, hard, whole week’s worth of work and the tiny house will be ready to move.  So multiply what Mark says by about 5, and the tiny house may be ready with 5 weeks of good, hard work!

 
We took a weekend off, and did our second annual Cooper/Monteith Earth Day and IKEA adventure.  It was very much needed!  We love getting to spend any time with the Cooper’s, but really enjoy spending laid back adult time!  Mark and I spent a small fortune, that we don’t actually have :(, at IKEA.  We purchased a car load of shelves, bathroom stuff, and kids items.  We’ve kind of ran out of storage room at the build site, so all that small IKEA stuff is tucked away in so many places, we may never find it again!  Then it was off to the Earth Day Expo.  We didn’t spend much time there last year, just looking at the tiny house village.  This year, they had 3 separate villages, with DIY and commercial builds.  The goal for next year is to have one of ours there!  (Mark and Jeff are crying laughing at this I’m sure!)  But really, Mark and Jeff’s work is pretty top notch from what we’ve seen, I would put them up against any of the ones there!


So yes, we would like to turn this adventure into a business someday!  I have a name for our future business, just need to get it registered!  Oh, I should probably also learn how to actually start a business, insurance, licenses, all that stuff… eh, details schmetails.   If you know of anyone looking for someone to build them a custom tiny house, keep us in mind!!!

Not a real exciting post, I know, I’m sorry!  The next few weekends are tied up with family and school stuff so I’m not expecting a lot of progress either. Stick with us, summer is almost here!!!!

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!

Okay, it’s been a bit busy lately!

As my good friend Chandra pointed out to my husband, I have been majorly slacking in the blogging department!  In my defense, it’s really hard to blog when you don’t know what you should be writing about!  You see, Mark has been working, but I have been too busy with laundry, grad school, swim, and our children, to be out there working with him.  I would much rather work on the house, but he thinks clean underwear are important so here I sit, typing and folding clothes.  There really are not enough hours in the day for either one of us!  Also, my dear husband apparently doesn’t know how to use a camera, so I have very few pictures to add!

But as we tell our students, excuses are like feet, everyone has them and they all stink!  So I refuse to have excuses anymore, the laundry must be done, the children must be cared for, the house must be built, and the blog must be written!  (Because if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen…)

Let’s get caught up shall we?

Just a few days after our awesome New Years campout, we got a little snow!  I thought the tiny house looked so cute in snow!

As of this publication, all of the interior walls have been installed, what what!!!!  What did we use, you ask?  We call it the “when you want the shiplap look but you’re poor”.  We used sanded sheets of plywood, clamped down four at a time, (because we are not only poor of money, but poor of time!) and ripped them down in 4 or 5 inch planks.  I say 4 or 5 inches because, even though I was actually there for this in body, I was not there in mind!  
In the loft and kitchen, Mark just put up whole sheets.  No sense in cutting more planks when they will just be covered by cabinets!

He looks so good working 😍

So after the walls, it was time for the ceiling.  Mark wanted something like coffered ceilings, because that would have been easier than the planks. This thing is already a long wooden box, do we really need our ceiling style to sound (and look 🙅🏼) like coffin?  But I just thought it was ugly so, wife veto!  Mark and Jeff came up with the slanted larger planks running opposite to the center to a “bowtie” design.

I started this post yesterday, so as of this publication NOW, the ceiling is up and trimmed! We are getting there people! 

Spring break is next week! I’m expecting lots done, like paint, cabinets, and much much more! Stay tuned! 

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!

Let’s Talk About “Those Shows” 

and a little self-appreciation. 

When Mark and I started this journey, way back in May, I put applications to a couple of the popular “tiny house” television shows. The first one did not work out because they wanted us to hire “professionals” so that it could be finished for filming within 9 days. That went against the very reasons  we decided to embark on this adventure. It wasn’t worth paying thousands of extra dollars to someone else, to do things we could do ourselves, just to be on tv.  So we moved on. 

The second show seemed to be a better fit. It was geared more toward the DIYer. We eventually got a skype interview. They wanted to meet all of us, see how we interacted as a family, and hear us discuss our project. Of course Maelyn had a total breakdown right before so Mark, Mars,and I sat in front of the computer trying to convince someone in Colorado that we were tv worthy. Well apparently we were not. We were eventually told that our build did not contain enough “unique” features. This isn’t a summer project for us to travel the world before mommy and daddy cut us off and we have to get real jobs, this is our family of four choosing a lifestyle to better our relationships, pocketbook, and environment. (Can you tell I’m a little bitter?)

Anyhow, this leads to something I’m struggling with right now, if I had been able to better”sell” myself, would it have made a difference? I was raised to believe that your actions are what matters, you shouldn’t have to tell someone how great you are, they should know because of the works you do. 

I teach one class of Career Explorations. My class has decided to participate in an “Entrepreneur Expo” by creating a business, making a business plan, and working through all that entails. The only feedback I’ve gotten on all this, take pictures so it can go on Facebook. In this society of “if it didn’t get x amount of likes on social media, it didn’t really happen” I am struggling. 

This week I needed to write a bio for the winter sports program for being the assistant swim coach. Immediately I was thinking about how I could fit my father and brothers accomplishments into it because writing about how great they were was a lot easier than writing about myself. It was always frowned upon to brag, wow that’s a word I haven’t heard in a while!

Now in saying all this you are probably thinking, she’s just writing this to get likes or someone to disagree and make her feel good. Nope. This is mostly a personal journal for us to look back on, half the time Mark doesn’t even read my ramblings so I’m not expecting many followers and I don’t take compliments well, probably a side effect of my self worth issues! Autumn has tried to crack me for 5 years now, I think that’s why we’ve stayed friends, the therapist in her likes the challenge!

I am genuinely struggling with the idea of self promotion. I envy my husband most times because he has no problem with self appreciation. He knows what he’s good at and takes pride in himself. I tell him he has a big head and an inflated ego (because I’m such a good wife 😔) but also wish I could be that confident. Somehow, somewhere, my brain was wired to believe if you aren’t the best, there is room for improvement, and therefore nothing good to talk about. 

Clearly my spirit animal is an 83 year old man cursing technology and kids these days. I should have been born about 50 years ago, when you worked hard, you’re boss actually observed your work directly not your social media footprint, and only people you physically interacted with knew you died!

That’s enough for dear diary, let’s talk tiny house! It’s still really, really slow going. The metal was put on, boards have been stained and put on, and we are dangerously close to actually being done with the exterior. It finally decided to become fall, and with that came some rain, so the painting that still has to be done may have to wait a while. At least it’s nice and cool for inside work! 

Oh yeah and this happened. Mark didn’t want to take the big trailer so he just cut these down in the parking lot. You can see our son in the background trying to act like he doesn’t know this man!

Today it’s cold! So I’m posted up by the space heater, watching. I don’t know why he wants me here, I do hold the ladder every once in a while if his safety looks questionable!

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!

 

Progress, or lack there of…

Warning: Negativity ahead. 

I have been in a bad mood lately and I’m taking it out on this post! With Mark being out of town Sunday – Thursday, that leaves only Friday and Saturday to work on the house. I feel like we are never going to get it done.  😫 

Plus, one kid never shuts her mouth (most annoying person on the planet right now) and the other kid is teething so he cries and screams and gripes at me ALL DAY LONG. These are the times I question my sanity, especially about moving in to a tiny house!

But then something kicks in, I think it’s a mother thing, you know when you are constantly trying to make your kids negative feelings positive and you finally apply it to yourself. I think, well, when we are in the tiny house there won’t be a need for the kids to follow me everywhere, we will all just be right there. There won’t be a need to scream for me, I’ll never be that far away. And when we’re in our own space I can ignore them more and not worry about being judged by my mother! 😜

This is where we are on the house right now, and will probably be stuck here for the next three weeks! Every time I see a dark cloud in the sky I have a mini panic attack! As long as the tarps hold we will be okay, please for the love of all that is good, let the tarps hold!

Build That Wall!

Walls need to be built people. Walls for our tiny house that is! (The Monteith’s are not really political people so don’t construe that saying or think we support that politician!) 

We’ve finally had some decent weather and that has given Mark and Jeff some excellent build time. 


We also took a trip to The Home Depot to order our cooktop, refrigerator, and washer/dryer combo (Memorial Day sales, not a big discount but everything counts!) While there, we (who am I kidding, it was all Mark, I tuned out and played Candy Crush) discussed doors and windows. After Mark’s very lengthy conversation with the door and window specialist, I was told he was going to have to rethink some things! 

Spoiler alert:

Welding is coming…


Disclaimer: The author of this blog has no construction knowledge whatsoever. She writes what the builder tells her. Being that the builder is the author’s husband, full attention to what is being said may, or may not, be given. Legit construction questions will be answered directly by him.