I left off my last post talking about how excited I was to begin building my THOW (Tiny House On Wheels). Since I hope that this blog will eventually become a sort of guide to help other Tiny builders and dreamers, I want to recount for everyone who hasn’t been near me the last few months what it’s been like to go from thinking about my THOW to actually getting to a building phase. This post is about something every Tiny dreamer must go through: telling their loved ones about their (crazy) Tiny dream.
I admit – the first time I actually saw Tiny Houses was on a show called “Tiny House Nation” on FYI. (Now that I no longer get that channel I’m in withdrawal. But then I found “Tiny House Hunters” and “Tiny House, Big Living” on HGTV so I feel a bit better… but I digress.) I still haven’t actually been inside a tiny house. Many of you (including my parents) will panic: “How can you live in something that small when you haven’t even been inside one yet?!” Admittedly you have a point and I’d love to tour one. But I haven’t found any in my area and I don’t have the money to travel to see one because I’m trying to actually pay for one! BACK OFF! Okay, okay… calm down…
So here I am, loving this movement and trying to save money, when I mention it to my parents. They are, at best, less than enthusiastic. They think I am jumping on a fad just to be trendy or weird or different. (Maybe?) They think I am opting out of normal life. (So?) They probably think I’m going to turn into a gypsy or something. (Alright, you got me.) They refused to even listen to my ideas without rolling their eyes or changing the subject. After a few months of solid research I finally confronted my mother. It went something like this:
Me: Mom, why do you always change the subject when I start talking about Tiny Houses?
Mom: Because it’s stupid and you won’t ever actually do it. You saw it on TV and you want to do what everyone else is doing.
Me: Mom, you’re going to have to accept the fact that this is real. This is happening. Do you know how much my take-home pay is?
Mom: *guesses incorrectly*
Me: *corrects her* For me to buy a house in this area I would have to be married, become a landlord, or have roommates. Since I currently live alone, wouldn’t these all be steps backward? Between mortgage, taxes, and utilities we’re talking about $1,300-1,400 per month. My current rent, including utilities, is $650 and you think that’s too much.
And then it happened: she listened. I carefully explained the financial ramifications of a mortgage as well as how miserable I’d be if I were tied to such a large payment for 30 years. One of her biggest concerns was what I would do if I got married someday. Hear me now: I do not consider myself a raging feminist. However, I think it is ludicrous in this day and age to ask me to put my life on hold until I find a man who can buy me a house. What do I do then? Bake cookies? Knit? Make homemade jam? Tuck our beautiful and oh-so-normal 2.5 children into bed? (For those of you who don’t actually know me, laugh. This is a ridiculous vision of my life.) I want to be financially independent on my own. I know this is probably hard for her to hear at 60-something, but I am finally my own person. And this own person wants a Tiny House.
(Please note: I don’t suggest you talk to your parents/siblings/friends/co-workers/dog/neighbor/spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/parakeet like I had to speak to my mom. I fully expect you to be respectful and well thought-out. I am, however, quite emotional. So this is the route I took. I am following it up with an informative power point presentation, but I can’t take back my first interaction. C’est la vie.)
For those of you who wonder why I haven’t brought up my dad, yes, he’s in the picture. He’s still married to my mom and they just celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary (pretentious bastards). But he’s someone I need to talk to in-depth about this and he’s just not a phone person. But I am spending 5 days with them this week and I’ll answer all his questions. I’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest Tiny House news after my power point presentation. I sure hope this doesn’t ruin vacation…