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A Tale Of Two Summers


Part of the “living room” arrangement when we lived in the Tuff Shed tiny house.

Last summer

**Stress. The builders for our future earth-sheltered house keep pushing the date back, pushing it back, thanks to the monsoon we had in May from here down to Houston, flooding every place in between.

**Anger. Depression. I don’t want this house. I don’t want to spend the money. I don’t want to spend the time finishing it out. B is driving me crazy and he needs to be able to play with Daddy instead of Daddy having one project after another to do.

This house was my idea, and it hasn’t been built yet. It’s not too late to cancel the contract. I know we’ve already paid for the excavation and the soil test but that’s only been a few thousand dollars not the forty grand (at least) we will pay for the house and don’t you see how I fixed up our tiny house this spring so we could live in it permanently and can I please call and cancel the building contract?

**I’m pretty sure that J hates me half the time.

**The feeling is mutual, I’m sure.

**We had to build an outhouse for the builders – just a tarp around a composting toilet – so we are now using that for our “number twos.” In the Tuff Shed, the only thing separating someone having a bowel movement from the rest of the 192 square feet of the tiny house is a shower curtain.

Can you say, “Stinky”?

**B sleeps outside in a tent. With a cluster of daddy longlegs hanging from the corner of the ceiling. The loft of the Tuff Shed is 500 degrees (Fahrenheit) at night, and despite the fan, he was still pretty miserable last summer sleeping up there. So this summer, I fixed up my old tent. And he sleeps with the daddy longlegs. I wait for one to drop on his face in the middle of the night and for him to wake up screaming, but it never happens.

**Like the summer before, Jerry and I sleep on a mattress on the floor in the Tuff Shed. I get bitten by an ant. Three nights in a row a rat sneaks in through the screen and finds the cashews I have unwittingly stored on the bottom shelf of the pantry bookcase.

But this does not deter me from wanting to continue our lives here. Of course if we stay here, we will make major changes to the furniture we have, as well as its arrangement. And Jerry will build on a small room for B…

**This portable air conditioner SUCKS! It only cools the air right in front of it. But brilliant, forward-thinker that I am, I cheaped out and ordered side-opening windows for the shed (the vertical ones would have been more expensive) and so we can’t install a window unit. (When J wakes up and decides to cancel the building contract, we will find someone to convert one of these windows…)

**What is my purpose in life? I don’t feel like writing. Not even blogging. And everything is too topsy-turvy right now to do homeschooling. I totally screwed up the decision about the house, and I married a guy who ended up more stubborn than I.

What am I here for? Why shouldn’t I just eat McDonald’s every day and die? (for one reason, there isn’t a McDonald’s within an hour of here…)

**Why can’t B entertain himself without being destructive? Why did I ever get pregnant?

**Here they are. The builders. It’s too late. They’re here. I’m going to cry.

**Video after video of the build. In the burning heat. How do these guys do it?

This summer

**Our electric bill is reduced by more than 1/3. Why? Our earth-sheltered house has normal windows, so we were able to put in a window air conditioner. And because it is an earth-sheltered house, we could get away with a 250-foot unit for an almost 600 square-foot space.

**A bathroom with real walls and a ceiling! We can do our number twos inside again, without stinking up the whole place!

**B has not even thought about sleeping in a tent. He does not need to sleep with ice packs, like he did our first summer on this property, in the Tuff Shed. And he is even sleeping in a loft bed.

**We have been homeschooling in earnest since July (June?), and B is quickly catching up with math, even though we started the summer at least 1.5 grade levels behind.

**I have a purpose.

**We have been buying a lot of food in bulk to save money because we finally HAVE ROOM TO STORE IT.

**We have room to move when the weather’s bad and we’re stuck inside.

**My pretty furniture is back out of the storage shed and in the house.

**I have a computer desk that is just a computer desk, not a desk and a kitchen table and a countertop!

**J and I sleep in a high platform bed. Far away from ants and other six- and eight-legged critters.

**B is finally not acting crazy half the day. I theorize that this whole moving business – moving from the suburbs to the middle of nowhere, and then moving from a tiny house into the earth-sheltered house – had him stressed and his response to it was to act super-hyper.

**Therefore, my stress levels have plummeted to the extent that I decide we should start traveling as a family. Taking road trips. Something I wouldn’t have dared to think about doing with B two years ago.

**J is finally working on his novel on a regular basis. He is more relaxed and happier because Mama is.

**In other words, everyone is many times happier than we were last summer.

**My most-watched videos right now are all the ones I took about the build of the house.

**I love this house. I feel like we’ve lived here forever. I’m glad I insisted on its being built.

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