Determining wants and needs through my tiny house/living fascination

Tiny_house_in_yard,_Portland
If this house looks familiar, that’s because it belonged to Dee Williams!   Photo taken by Tammy Strobel.  Attribution:  By Tammy – Weekend with Dee, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11211685

 

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of living simply and living in a tiny house for many years now, way before it became trendy. Thinking about living in a tiny home helps me to stop myself from buying things I “want” but don’t necessarily need. Kind of like when I was getting ready to move cross country.  The way I made decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of was to ask myself, “was there room for both this thing and my animals in the car?”  The animals were definitely going – that was not even a question.  It was more a question of whether there was room for this additional thing.

So now I sit and think to myself – is this object I’m perusing, be it a second-hand shirt or pillowcase, or whatever, something that I would definitely want to move into a tiny house when I finally achieve that dream?  Or when I move into a small bachelor-type apartment? If I can’t picture it, I don’t buy it.  Do I already have something at home that can fill the “need” it would otherwise cover?  Usually, the answer is yes.

When I first got out of law school, I should have done what I advise all students to do now.  When you get out of school, don’t live any differently.  Continue to live like a student while you pay off your debts and get started with your life.  Just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean your home needs to look like it just walked off the pages of Dwell magazine.

So these days, I live frugally.  Like a student.  I have a roommate and it’s a one bedroom apartment, so my bed is in the living room and I’m totally fine with that.  Every morning when I wake up, I look at the Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque.  It’s a beautiful view, especially when the clouds are so low they obscure the tops of the peaks. I have a large picture window that lets in lots of light.

Speaking of beds, mine is on a platform of milk crates. Guess what?  It’s pretty supportive on my back.  It’s also a good way of creating some built-in storage in a very inexpensive way.  My mattress cost me all of $129 from Walmart, and I bought it online so didn’t have to deal with transporting it in my small car.  It came in a box and once it was opened, my roommate rolled it open, and voila, in an hour or so, it was ready to go up on top of said milk crates.  And instead of buying heavy, hard to move bookcases, I have, guess what?  Milk crates!  When you have to move, you just turn them, your stuff is in them, and voila, no need to get lots of extra boxes to pack your stuff in, because it’s already packed!

You  know those plastic white bin type of drawers you can get at Walmart or Target? I bought those to organize my stuff in the fifth wheel I owned in Utah.  Still got ’em.  The old me of several years ago would have gotten rid of them as soon as I could afford a nice “dresser.”  But you know what?  It’s hard to move heavy furniture on your own and when you have a small hatchback type car.  Plus, these white drawers can be configured in a multitude of ways.  I can see everything I have in them.  When they’re too full of crap, it’s time to downsize.  Looking at them now, I see that yes,  it’s time for me to get rid of stuff again.  You really do only wear 20% of your stuff, 80% of the time.

I’ve been thinking of what I would want in a tiny house.  I honestly don’t need much, aside from room for me and my animals. I think about whether I would want a flush toilet or a composting toilet.  To not have to deal with a black tank would be awesome, so I’d likely go with the composting toilet. I’d like to do solar and have as  much of my energy needs filled off the grid.

Would I want my tiny house to be on wheels?  I sometimes think so, but then realize a shed that could be insulated, etc., might be a more economical way to go.  Just have to find a place to put it (and oh yeah, be able to afford that place/land.)  So I have begun to save.  It’s a small amount right now, but that online savings account is named “Tiny Home.”

You might wonder how all of my animals will fit into a tiny home.  If my roommate and I go our separate ways, Morgan will likely stay with him.  She does very well with training – her brain likes to be challenged, and she helps him in a great therapy-type way.  He has PTSD and a few other problems from having been in the army and Iraq.  Also, since Snuggles is so possessive/obsessive of me, he has become “her human.”  (It is a trait of weiner-dogs to be super possessive.)  Morgan adores him to the moon!   Yes, I’m her momma and the one who feeds her, but he’s the one who takes her on lots of walks, and snuggles with her and plays with her in the yard during the day when I’m at work.  When he is feeling down, she stays close to him.  Every time she hugs him, I see the bond that has formed between them.  It makes my heart feel good.

So in closing, if you started reading my blog because of my tiny house posts, never fear, I’m still very interested in them!  I still watch tons of YouTube videos about simple living and tiny houses.  Yes, I used to live in an RV and that one didn’t work out for me, but I feel like a tiny home is different and can be made much stronger and much better insulated than that fifth wheel was!  I haven’t given up on the tiny living dream, so don’t give up on me!

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I don’t like that they’ve become trendy and that the prices have increased so drastically over the past few years.  I think they can still be built economically, and I’m willing to put in the elbow grease on mine, if someone is willing to help me figure out what the hell I’m doing!

Are you interested in living more minimally?  In a tiny home?  Or an RV?  Let me know what you think, what you would prioritize, if you’d want it to be on wheels, etc., in a comment below!  And if you’ve liked the post but prefer not to comment, please hit that like button or share it! 

And as always, thank you for reading!

 

Moments of Beauty

20171103_150408
I love this photo of Morgan because she looks like she is smiling.  Luckily, I get to see her do this every day.  As humans, we should strive to smile more and live in the moment like her.

 

One thing I’ve known about in the past but which has really hit home as I pursue the program in humane education is that people react much better to something positive, or something beautiful, something small and simple that they can relate to, rather than an abstract whole world problem, something they have trouble picturing.

So below are my ideas of what are truly moments of beauty:

  1. Reading a facebook post of a friend who has recently become a mom via adoption, after years of trying to become pregnant.  She broke down in tears when in a store with her child strapped to her chest, seeing all the Christmas decorations and realizing that this year, she wouldn’t face the holidays with sadness in her heart, but with a feeling of fullness and pure joy.
  2. The turning of the leaves from green to gold and bright red and orange.  Realizing that New England doesn’t have a monopoly on beautiful fall foliage, after all.
  3. The amazement you feel at seeing one or two wild sunflowers still finding the courage to grow, weeks after the rest have died.
  4. The warmth of the sun on your face while you lie on your back and look up through the trees at the blue sky above you.
  5. The sound of children playing together at a party in the park, cheering for one little girl who *almost* makes that one perfect hit to the piñata that will grant all of them a good deal of candy.
  6. Seeing your dog literally smiling because she has found a home with people who really love her.
  7. Writing to further my dreams and listening to one of The Herd (Snuggles, to be exact), barking while he’s deep into a dream, nestled at my feet.
20171110_161901 (1)
My phone’s camera doesn’t do the redness of the leaves justice.  It was amazing!

 

What are some moments of beauty that you’ve recently observed or felt in your life?  Please feel free to share them in the comments.  And if you’ve liked this post, or know someone who might benefit from reading it, please hit “Like” and then share it!

And as always, thank you for reading.

Welcome to the Herd, Snuggles

As you can tell from the title of my post, there is a new family member.  His name is Snuggles, and I think little Osito had a hand in his making his way to me.  Allow me to explain.

IMG_20170403_113414.jpg
A very sleepy Snuggles.  This usually happens after he and Morgan rough house (I always watch them to make sure no one gets too excited.)  Adorable. 🙂

You know from reading my last post that I lost my little Osito a few weeks ago.  Well, the following day, my friend Elaine’s dog, Annie, was crying and crying at the front window in her house, and wouldn’t stop until Elaine went to see what was amiss.  She looked outside and saw this little brown dog on her front lawn and he was running from one neighbor’s house to another.  A lady was walking by and helped her to catch him.

Upon closer look, Elaine could see that he had some sort of injury to the right side of his face.  His jaw was misaligned, and one of his eyes appeared to be much smaller than the other, or maybe that’s just because it was more sunk into his head than the left side.  So basically, it looked like he suffered a major trauma to that side of his face at one point.  Then she looked down to his feet and saw that his toenails were so long, they had curled under his feet and he was essentially walking on them.  That couldn’t have been comfortable for him.

IMG_20170424_111607.jpg
Just relaxing in the backyard with Mom

She took him to her vet, located nearby and asked them to see if he had a microchip.  He didn’t.  They suggested she take him to AWD (Animal Welfare Department) but also said that he would likely be put down there.  So she called me and asked if my hospital could do that kind of work that he might need.  We do.  So she brought him down to me, and I had a doc examine him, who surmised that he had had a broken jaw at one point.  However, it wasn’t causing him any pain at this point, you could touch it and he would never cry out.  So clearly, it was an old injury, and one that he had learned to deal with.  I told some of my coworkers that I would take him home that night and see how he did with the herd, and see what I thought to do  in the morning.

IMG_20170407_193104.jpg
Super drugged up after being neutered and having some teeth removed all in one shot! This pic shows how his jaw is misaligned.  He doesn’t let it stop him from doing anything, and I’m so inspired by him.

Well, you all know where this is leading.  The following morning, I was like “no way in hell am I taking this little guy to a shelter.  I don’t know how i will afford to pay for his care, but he’s staying with me.”

Flash forward to last week.  He has all of his vaccinations, and he IS microchipped. He has a collar with his and my names on it, and my phone number.  He has now been neutered. He had a dental surgery that removed three of his smaller teeth and a canine tooth that was hanging out of his mouth like a snaggle tooth.  This way, when he eats, he doesn’t have a tooth pushing up into the roof of his mouth, since it is so misaligned.

The dental vet thought that he might be 9 to 11 years old.  That’s older than was initially thought, but it makes sense based on his energy level and the grey hair I see under his chin.

IMG_20170412_124347.jpg
Taking a breather from playing

He has fit into the family quite easily.  Morgan loves to play with him, and he pays no mind to the cats.  He weighs about 12 pounds, so he’s what we call a chi-weenie (part Chihuahua and part mini-Dachsund (or weiner dogs as I like to call them.)

He loves loves loves to be snuggled, as his name suggests.  He doesn’t bark much and has a great demeanor.  Very loving.  When he wants to be picked up, he gets up on his hind legs and rests his front paws on knee.  He loves to sleep on the bed and on one of my living room chairs.  And usually, it’s with all four feet up in the air while he lies on his back.  You can tell by that pose, he’s happy and comfortable where he is.

What’s unusual about this story is that Elaine’s dog, Annie, doesn’t usually whine and cry like she did that day.  She usually barks, if anything, at people passing by.

Also, his temperment is so much like Osito’s, I definitely think that he was a gift she sent to me. He loves to sleep under the covers just like she did.  He is perfectly content to just sit beside me on the chair while I’m reading or doing some transcription. And the fact that he is another senior makes me love him all the more.

I may not have been planning on getting another animal so soon, but I’m glad he found me.  Thank you, Baby O, and Annie for being the conduit that day and getting your mom involved. ❤  Osito can never be replaced, but I’m finding a different part of my heart for this little one to occupy.

Have a great day everyone!!  And as always, thanks for reading!