September Recap

Fall is my favorite time of year. There’s something about the cool crisp air that makes me feel alive and I want to spend every possible moment out there enjoying it. I want to hike. I want to camp. I want to sit around a bonfire with all my favorite people. I want to decorate pumpkins and get lost in a corn maze. I even want to rake leaves. Oh yes, I love Fall.

As much as I try to relish every day of this magical season, it also seems that Fall is the time of year that flies by fastest for me. October is just around the corner and I’m still wondering where September went. What did we do with our month?

We celebrated Caesar’s 15th birthday with a trip to the vet for his booster shots. He got a clean bill of health and the new vet couldn’t believe he’s a senior.

We started thinking about a tiny house again. 

We walked/hiked 41 miles and enjoyed 5 picnics.

We found 2 ride-on toys in the dumpster and repaired them for Ticky to enjoy.

We took Ticky to a kid’s festival in our community. She and Angie even made the newspaper! This was Ticky’s first time to ride a pony and she did not want to get off when the ride was over. The entire festival – food, rides, and prizes – all FREE! We had a blast.

We decluttered 21 items from the front hall closet.

We earned $65.65 from Easy Shift, made $30 selling on OfferUp, and $160 from extra grant work.

I think this was the first month this year that we’ve actually felt unhurried. Summer was a blur of food. Between gardening and picking up 2 CSA baskets a week, it seemed we were always up to our eyeballs in preparing or preserving fruits and vegetables. It was fun but exhausting and the result is probably more than what we can actually eat by next Spring. The lesson learned for next year – just one basket and a few tomato plants in the garden (not 32 of them!).

On Sunday, we set off for our road trip/camping adventure in Canada, followed by a 7-day cruise along the New England/Canadian coast. We are very much looking forward to this time away, unplugged, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t somewhat worried about being away from home for 1/2 of the month. My niece is still homeless (for more details on thatsee the I am grateful section of this post) and my mom is still nursing a new fracture in her spine. I know deep down that foregoing this trip would not fix either of those things but the thought did cross my mind…as did taking Ticky with us.

The thing that we’ve struggled with all year (and what prompted our Happiness Project in the first place) is this vortex called “family drama” that we continually get sucked into. If you’ve ever been there then you know how hard it is to break free, even when breaking free is what’s best for everyone. When we sat down to write out what a year of happiness would look like, travel was a priority for both of us. So this trip is important. My mom is tough. The fractures are a recurring condition that she has lived with for years now and she assures me that she will stay off of ladders and out from under things while I’m gone. My niece, well…she doesn’t think homelessness is a problem in the first place and whether we are here or in Canada, that is not likely to change.

So we’re going to go and have fun. We’re going to keep worry in its proper place and we’re going to return all the better for having stayed true to ourselves and our goals for happiness this year.

Happy October!

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Big Thoughts About Tiny Spaces

Last weekend we went to the Tennessee Tiny House Festival in Chattanooga. We didn’t “fall in love” with one single home, which is how I know this recently resurrected idea of ours might actually have some traction this time.

This time? Yes, in 2015, we met Scotty and immediately fell in love. Scotty was a vintage 22-foot travel trailer in need of a little TLC…or so it said in the ad. At the time, we were so caught up in our grand ideas that we didn’t think much about the practical aspects of RV living or the problems one might encounter when dealing with a 30-year-old trailer and quite quickly we came to realize that TLC more aptly meant “Totally Lost Cause”.

For anyone who followed us back then, you know that adventure was sidetracked and we ended up staying put in Tennessee to help my mom. For anyone who wasn’t with us then and is interested in knowing what happened, here’s a good place to start.

What we learned from our flirtation with tiny living back then was that we had the specs right but our method was wrong. In short, we would have been better off with a tiny house in a permanent location than trying to haul a leaky hunk of aluminum all over creation with a mid-size SUV and a super-size cat.

Which brings us to the present…

We constantly toss around the idea of putting a tiny house in my mom’s backyard. Our city recently revised zoning to allow for tiny houses on permanent foundations. While we’re not yet sure what that means for tiny houses as accessory dwellings in a residential area, we’re still pretty excited by the progress and are finding the topic of tiny living coming up much more often.

A good example of a bad ladder.

As we toured the tiny houses at the festival (all of which were on wheels), we oohed and aahed along with everyone else while also having a serious conversation about the practicality of tiny living. We decided some things were just a non-starter…like a loft bedroom that is only accessible by ladder. We’re not old by any stretch of the imagination but we are over 40 and falling headfirst down a ladder during a midnight potty run is not high on our list of fun things to do at night. Besides proper stairs, our other “must haves” include: a combo washer/dryer, a covered porch, and off-grid plumbing and electricity.

We saw several homes that partially met this criteria but none that ticked all the boxes (as they say on HGTV’s House Hunters). So what does this mean for us? I’m not sure yet. We are in our current lease until next summer so we have plenty of time to flesh out a proper plan to go tiny should we decide to move in that direction. In the meantime, we still need to find out if a tiny house in the backyard is even legal here. I’ve also suggested we find a tiny house rental through Airbnb and try that for a week – not during vacation but during a regular work week. A trial run is something we should have considered two years ago. I can’t help but think of the headaches it would have saved!

Could you live in a tiny house? What are your “must haves” to give tiny living a go?

Here are some of our favorite elements from the Tennessee Tiny House Festival.

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