Well, here we are.
John and I spent most of our waking moments between April and late May in the shop, working truly absurd hours to complete crucial orders before we left to spend two weeks in Michigan prior to our wedding. (To hear the boss tell it, you’d think we were poolside with umbrella drinks and cute cabana boys. He exhibits abandonment issues and is more than slightly biased.) With that great adventure behind us, it wasn’t until the beginning of July, once we had found a short-term housing situation, that we could turn our attention to the problem of actually obtaining our trailer.
If you have ever been to Virginia, you know that even the paved main roads are a special hell all their own, and anything that could be said to constitute a “back way” is basically out of the question. Of course, as luck would have it, Mike’s camper was buried in the woods of his property on the outskirts of town, accessible only by a quarter-mile of winding, twisting driveway made of roots and pitted rock. Add to that the four flat, likely rotten tires upon which its tired old bones had sat for a decade, and it didn’t even matter that none of us had a truck strong enough to tow it out; we were stuck.
But no more! Through the miraculous revival of those old tires and a friend-of-a-friend whose big and manly truck my husband is still talking about, the boys managed to drag our latest salvage project to its new home in the shop parking lot. I have to admit: it looks even uglier in broad daylight than it did under a gentle, leaf-dappled shade… but to us, the dreamers of eccentric and slightly mad dreams, it bursts with promise.
Like the camper says, we are at a crossroads.
We could dismantle the existing structure, sell it for aluminum scraps and various electric bits, clean up the trailer, and sell that, too.
Or we could dismantle and sell and clean – all the things we’ll need to do, anyway, to make it worth hauling the filthy thing out at all – then replace the tires on the trailer and build a house on top.
For what it’s worth, the feedback on this insane plan of ours has been overwhelmingly positive. There are an incredible number of people cheering us on every single day! I also get a lot of comments from surprised women who want to know if I really think I can get along with John in such a tiny space without turning up in a double homicide investigation, and still more from friends who say wistfully, “I would love to do that, if only it weren’t for…”
There are plenty of others banging down the door to make sure we know it isn’t “practical”, of course. These are some of the cleverest, most creative people I’ve ever known – can you believe it? They spend their days immersed in fiction, video games, roleplay, movies, theatre. Enthralled by screens and fantasy, yet skeptical of the idea that two strong, determined young people with a distinct vision of happiness are not required to be slaves to their stuff.
And I can understand why. When you see little else but bitterness and misery every single day, why would you want to live in the real world at all?
Well, frankly, because that’s all you’ll ever see if you aren’t willing to change the scenery. Do you like coming home from work every day too tired to enjoy all the square footage you’re busting your fanny to afford? Do you get a thrill writing your rent check? Do you really cherish all those clothes you wear once or twice each year, or the fine china you haven’t touched since your wedding day, or the boxes of broken gadgets you can’t bear to throw out?
No, neither do I. And I’m not saying that 200 square feet of living space is the answer for everyone; but it certainly is a revealing mental exercise to think about the parts of your home which make you really, truly happy, and to imagine getting rid of all the rest. Don’t you think?
It’s time to get to work.