"Go small, or go home." - Grayson
The back story: In early 2015, I went through a divorce. I moved into a $775/month 750 square feet apartment in Oxford while I waited for the dust from my divorce to settle. After living there for a year, I had a conversation with the property manager, and they agreed to let me renew my lease every 6 months while I looked around for a house or some land to buy. The apartment complex changed property managers in early 2016. I met the new property manager, and had the same conversation with her around March or April. She asked if I had renewed my lease yet, which I hadn't because I was looking to buy a home or some land. She informed me that the apartment complex was taking leases, and if they filled up, she may need me to renew my lease early. I told her that was fine, and she agreed to call me if she needed me to do so. Well, she never called, and 6 days before my lease is up, I come home from work with a "move out checklist" taped to my door. I called her and let her know that I still hadn't found anything, and that I would be renewing my lease. That's when she let me know that they had already leased my apartment to someone else. When reminded about the conversation we had, all she could say was "there's nothing I can do". I was furious for about a week, but then I figured it was just the Universe's way of telling my I had gotten too comfortable. It was pushing me out the door.
Now I had 6 days to find somewhere else to live and move. Not only that, but Grayson and I were supposed to be heading to Colorado/Rocky Mountain National for a week after that. The timing of it all couldn't have been any worse. Luckily, some friends of a friend was selling their house, and they offered to let me stay there and house sit while they were waiting for the house to sell. So, with 6 days until my lease was up, I moved everything I owned into a couple storage units, packed a couple bags for Colorado, and headed out West, trying not to think about that fact that I would actually be homeless for the week I was in Colorado.
We get back from Colorado, and the family I am house sitting for is moving out as I'm moving in. The house is great. It's gigantic...3300 square feet on 8 acres of land. It has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a detached office with another bathroom. It was WAY more space than Grayson and I would ever need. I never moved much in, because I knew I was on borrowed time.
While they are trying to sell the house, I'm looking around for something of my own. I got pre-approved for a home loan, contacted the real estate agent who sold my house after the divorce, and started scouring Realtor.com and Zillow for the American dream. After looking for months and not find anything, I've finally owned up the fact that I am not going to find what I really want looking in any of those places, because what I really want is a tiny house. It was cemented this summer, when Grayson and I, on our way back from Colorado, stopped by the tiny house store in Tulsa, OK. It was heaven in a parking lot.
I want a tiny house.
I want a tiny house smack dab in the middle of a little piece of land (20-50 acres) that Grayson and I can put up some hunting stands on.
I want a tiny house that I can pay cash for, not because I can't afford a conventional house, but because I don't want to be house poor for the next 30 years paying for that conventional house.
I want a tiny house because I want to travel more. This time next year, I want to be planning a trip to Ireland and not worrying about whether I've worked enough hours to squeak out my mortgage payment that month.
There are so many reasons why I want a tiny house, and if I went with anything else, it would be because I settled. I'm not going to settle anymore. We only live once, and it's time I got busy living. And the best part about it? Grayson Foster is my biggest supporter. We've looked at nice houses in nice neighborhoods, and when I ask him about living there, he says, "Dad, I've told you a hundred times, I WANT to live in a tiny house. Let's do something different than everybody else". And it makes me so proud of him I could bust out into to big ol' fat ugly cry.
Fast forward to today. The house I'm staying in now is under contract as of last weekend (Oct. 1), and they are looking to close the first part of November. Things just got real. I have to be out of this house in about 3 weeks. At least it's not 6 days, right? It's time to put up or shut up. I know what I want. I've just got to put the plan in place to get there.
For the short term, I am probably going to end up buying an RV, and living in it. I DO NOT want to rent anything ever again as long as I live. I don't want to take the chance of getting comfortable and not doing this. I'm uncomfortable now, and I'm pretty sure that's a good thing. It keeps things moving forward.
I did make some calls this week to a few tiny house builders, and yes, it would be nice to have one built turn-key. The only problem is I don't have $50k in cash laying around, and I don't want to borrow one red penny. One of the reasons for building tiny in the first place is to be COMPLETELY debt free. So I am going to try to build it myself. Did I mention I've never built a house before? I do have a family member who built houses for decades, and he has assured me, under his watchful eye, that I can do this. After all, 9 year old Grayson will turn into 18 year old Grayson, and I would like to build him his own tiny house down the road. That's the dream. Build a tiny house for the two of us now. Maybe build a tiny darkroom before long. Build Grayson a tiny house later. Live in a tiny house compound in the middle of the woods. That's my dream.
With all of this being said, I know I will need some help. So, if any of you would like to help (framing, wiring, plumbing, elbow grease, let me use a shoulder to cry on when I get frustrated and wonder what in the hell I've gotten myself into), I would love to build a little community of people who don't mind helping each other. Even among my few friends, there are so many people out there who are just like me. They just don't know how or have the experience to get to there. If you want to help, please do. If you want to offer advice, please do. If you have a particular skill you don't mind sharing, please do. If you know where I can get recycled supplies to cut down on the cost of building, please share. If you have somewhere I can park it for awhile, let me know. I am a draftsman by trade. I can help with floor plans. I'd love to be able to trade services. Help me, and I will help you. Let's help each other.
I picked Grayson up from school the other day, and we were talking on the way to his football practice. I told him I'm getting excited about building our tiny house together. He gave me a half smirk/half smile, cocked one eyebrow at me, and said, "Go small or go home". I'm so glad this kid is mine.