We're often asked about how tiny life is going, or I get emails asking for advice about our lifestyle and information about getting started. I'm generally quite encouraging and enthusiastic about our life and our home. But I'll be honest, there are times when it is very hard. When the bus won't start when it's time to move, when rain drips onto my head in the middle of the night, when the wind whips through the windows, when we spend a week sealing the roof, only to discover more leaks the next day, when we can't stay warm no matter what, when the pipes freeze and the water heater breaks, when no one really knows the solution because there isn't an easy one: It's tough.
It seems as though every season we've been through in our tiny home has brought with it challenges that we didn't anticipate. And every challenge takes time, ingenuity and money to solve. Austin and I are both creative and determined people, so sometimes it's fun to tackle a new, unexpected problem and do our best to find a simple, effective solution. However, the reality is that this is our home and not just a fun project that we work on on the weekend, and it can be scary to wonder if it's going to work out.
I know that our life looks idyllic and serene from the pictures and things I post, and honestly, it is 95% of the time. But lately, we've run into issues and difficulties that have made it slightly harder to enjoy. Two weeks ago, on our first really cold day of the winter, our pipes froze (even with the water running) and we haven't had running water since. We've been hauling water in and boiling it to use for dishes and washing. Laundry and showering has happened elsewhere.
After each problem that's come up, I feel totally defeated. I think I've asked Austin 10 times if we should start looking for apartments to rent. But every time, we let the problem sit for 12 hours and slowly, the real needs come to the surface and the things that seemed like big issues slowly sink away. From there, time after time, we've been able to tackle each dilemma and move on with our life. While it's frustrating to think about, it's also comforting to look back at all of the issues we've run into and how we've been able to solve them all. It reminds me that we are smart, resilient and creative and we will figure this out too.
Our tankless water heater completely froze as did the hose (even with insulation). At 1:30am, Austin headed out with the blow dryer to dryer to try to get the water moving again. When that was unsuccessful, we just unhooked all of the water, instead of risking more damage. We brought as much as we could inside and let it thaw out in our shower. A couple days ago, we decided to try to hook it all up again, just for a couple hours to use the water and get some laundry and dishes done. We spent several hours getting everything straightened out only to find that the water heater had water gushing out. We assume a pipe (or several pipes) burst inside from the freezing. So now we're trying to decide what to do next. It is likely that we will not have running water again until the weather is consistently above freezing.
We will have to purchase a new water heater and since it's unlikely that we'll be able to keep the rest of our plumbing from freezing, we don't want to bother spending the big bucks on a freeze-proof heater. Instead, we're hoping to be able to use the water during the day, or when it's above freezing and then turn off and drain the system each evening, or when it's predicted to be below freezing. Of course, a new water heater requires money and it's not something we've budgeted for this month (hello Christmas...)
I'll admit, it has been surprising how much of a problem not having water has not been. As in, it's not that bad. The first few days we were out were bad because we didn't have a good water holding jug, so instead we were filling up milk jugs, measuring cups, mason jars and even our drinking glasses. Soon enough, our lovely neighbor saw our problem and saved us (again). We now have a couple big jugs we can fill up every few days and it has made life much easier. Not that I wouldn't appreciate running water, but we're grateful for what we do have.
So yes, while our little tiny house life is often wonderful, joy filled and cozy, it's also challenging and frustrating. I'm grateful for Austin, who encourages me and lifts me up when things are frustrating and continues to plug away at this life we're building and for our kids, who go through life so blissfully unaware of any problems we're experiencing.
(This post is not meant to be a sob story or complaint, I just want to do a better job of portraying our life honestly!)