Greetings from sunny Florida! While I’m missing the Monroeville Home Show (where they’re featuring a Tiny House!!!), I am very happy to be in Florida. Yesterday I went to Universal Studios specifically to experience Harry Potter’s universe. It. Was. Awesome. But you don’t care about that. This is a Tiny House blog after all! On Thursday I presented my Tiny House power point to my parents. Cue the drama. I’ve attached my presentation to the bottom of this post so you can take a look. I took out some of the more personal slides, but you’ll get the gist anyway.
Suffice it to say that the discussion did not go well. At all. At any point. Ever.
I eased into the topic that morning while we were outside (outside – in JANUARY!) drinking coffee and chatting amiably. My dad brought up the topic of saving money and he commended me for doing so well over the past year or so. I casually mentioned that money was a large part of the allure of a Tiny House for me – the financial freedom. I mentioned how I’d love to travel more, read more, paint more, and work less. I currently spend about 65-70 hours per week working, and I know that I can’t keep that up long-term. I turn 30 in August. I want to enjoy my life. His response actually wasn’t terrible. He said he was glad I was thinking about my life in terms of my future before going to take a shower. I was optimistic.
After that we spent the day with their friends. We toured John D. Rockefeller’s Ormond Beach home “The Casements” and went to lunch. Then we went to their condo and took in the ocean breeze. Later on, after apple pie a la mode and a glass of wine, I decided to take the plunge…
My dad was immediately on the defensive. I was a little surprised given our discussion just that morning. He urged me to wait until they got home, but that wasn’t an option for me. (My builder wants to finish the shell and have it delivered by March 1st. Given that they come home February 18th and I wouldn’t be able to visit them until at least February 21st, I need to do it now so I know if I can have the shell delivered to their address or not.) So I booted up my power point and began.
I did have a slide in there with “rules” which isn’t included in the draft below. In it I asked my parents to keep an open mind and hold questions until the end. Neither of those requests were met.
And so I went on, answering the peppering of questions as I went. I outlined my financial goals and how much more feasible it was for me own a Tiny House rather than a “traditional” home. I compared building a THOW now to building a THOW later to renting ad infinitum. I remained calm. I was clear. I was patient.
And I got nowhere. Less than nowhere. I was knocked backward by a brick wall of doubt.
The worst nightmare of how this talk could have gone was playing out before me. My dad blamed me for ruining our vacation. He accused me of blackmail; in his mind, if they refused to help I would never speak to them again. (For the record: this is not true. I have also spent the last two days being extremely pleasant so as to show that this assumption is incorrect.) If there was one positive, he did compliment my power point, saying that it looked professionally done; I chalk this up to the fact that he’s probably never seen one before.
I asked what their concerns were and braced myself. My mom’s were as she’d previously said: what land I’d put it on and the fact that Tiny Houses are illegal in some places. My dad’s were all over the map: my lack of building skills, the fact that Tiny Houses are edgy, my inability to save (wasn’t he just complimenting me on money earlier that day?), that he thinks I’m crazy. Perhaps I’ll delve into why the “crazy” comment hurts so much later, but now is not the time.
I addressed their concerns one by one. I told my mom that the land/illegality issue was the reason Channel 4 is interviewing me next week. I told my dad that I would embrace the challenge of building the structure. I reminded him that I have 7 tattoos and 6 piercings in each ear so technically I am already edgy. I again outlined some of my slides from my power point to show him how financially sound this was.
And none of it mattered. They were upset and so was I, but I decided not to show it. I told them that I would be moving forward with this process with or without their approval (seeing as I’m almost 30 and all). I told them that I would love their support but would understand if they couldn’t stand behind me and I’d figure out another place to put the THOW while I finish the interior if they wouldn’t allow me to put it in their yard. The night eventually calmed down and I stayed with them, so as not to come off as a pouty teenager (i.e. running up to my room and slamming the door).
Some of you may be wondering why I presented this on the first day of my trip rather than later on. Fair enough. The answer is simple – I knew I’d be spending all day yesterday in Orlando alone, so it would give them time to discuss and go over my proposition together and without me, if they chose to do so.
The one glimmer of hope I have is that my dad said he would give let me know if I can work on the interior at their house by the time I leave Florida. That gives them until Monday morning to reach a decision. I am trying to hope for the best and expect the worst, but it’s hard for me not to have hope. Maybe that’s what this Tiny House is for me in a nutshell. My tiny little glimmer of hope.
To quote my favorite musical: The light is getting dimmer / I think I see a glimmer!