“Life is a do-it-yourself project. Feel free to dream big!”
While there is no doubt that I have accomplished a lot thus far in my time on earth, none of these projects seems quite as big as designing and building our first “tiny home”. I had my first “tiny house nightmare” the other night. In the dream, we were in the kitchen, fitting in appliances and cabinetry, and, surprise-surprise, something wasn’t fitting correctly. I was patient at first, but my anxiety continued to build and build. Somewhere right around the time I was wanting to give it all up and walk away from the whole project, I woke up. Pfew! Although my momentary stress was induced by a dream state, I couldn’t help but to feel like it is representative of my fears about this project as a whole. Let it be known to the world that I am not a carpenter.
My father was a carpenter. However, he made the decision early in my life not to be involved with me or the rest of my family. So I was raised by women, and as you might imagine, much of my early life was spent learning more about fashion and style than building and electrical. This is certainly not to say that all women’s interests align that way, but it was the case in my family. I also must pause and thank them for raising me to be conscientious and thoughtful individual I am today. However, I was unable to learn about certain things that behoove a young man in our culture. For example, it was not until I was well in to my early adult life that I learned camping required that you actually spend time sleeping outside (instead of in a hotel, room service provided). Since then, I have continued to progress, learning about all things garden related (I even helped shovel 10,000 lbs of chicken manure!). I have also made attempts to use some wood, saws, and fasteners to complete small projects around our home/garden. My experience and success with building projects has been mixed. In general, a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment abounds until the last piece of the whole project doesn’t fit (or the whole thing looks crooked). As anyone who has worked around their home can attest, terms such as “square” or “plumb” can be elusive standards to achieve.
In reality, this project is bigger than me and my fears. It is clear to me that this project is not simply about the end result… It is about the journey! For me, this journey is about learning to tap in to the exceptional skills and resources of the community we surround ourselves with. Whether it is through lending a hand, sharing skills, or donations of excess materials that can be repurposed on the tiny home, we will most certainly be challenged to make friends with those around us.
With that said… Enter the “dream board”, a place to temporarily house our dreams while they make their way into manifestation. Nikki brought it to my attention that she thought it would be helpful to have a place where we could place photos, ideas, and inspirations for the tiny home. We decided that a great place to go for inspiration and ideas was the ReBuilding Center on N. Mississippi. While on an outing this summer we met a writer and student who was well on her way to realizing her dream of living a “tiny” lifestyle (her journey is blogged at aatinyhouse.wordpress.com). April told us that one great way to get started is to find windows, and then design the rest around the windows. We looked for doors and windows at the ReBuilding Center and although we found a few things we were interested in, they didn’t move or inspire us in one way or another. I was feeling a little low, as I just assumed that we would find our inspiration waiting for us when we got there, and on the way out we found it… Our dream board! At roughly 3′ X 3 1/2′ she is more than capable of handling most of our tiny dreams. I also picked up a re-used “square” tool. The guy who checked us out was excited that we found a cork board and seemed a bit surprised that it still had cork in it. We informed him that it was no ordinary cork board, it was our magical “dream board”. I forget exactly how the interactions went, but he told us to “dream big” and then he looked at my square tool and said “square/plumb is a good place to start”. We agreed that both figuratively and literally this was true. We left with our dream board and square tool, heads full of ideas and plenty of space to display them. I also felt that some of my anxieties about the actual building process were eased. We will find the tools and people we need to make this project a success. We will find “square/plumb”.