From about six months ago I was supposed write an update or part two to the Airstream post. Well that didn’t happen and the following post is the summation of what happened with that project.
It is funny how hyped up you can get when you have an idea that seems to solve all of your problems. That is definitely how we felt when we started the Airstream project. I believe we thought it would provide us a place to live that we weren’t indebted to and that would give us some kind of other financial freedom. Plus, I think that we were a little bit influenced by some of what we saw on television as well as YouTube. Tiny living seems so easy. We landed up terminating the Airstream project in March. It happened like this; I was away in Mobile, Alabama and she was just returning from a trip out to Texas. She arrived back home before I did and we had an interesting phone call as she informed me that she just couldn’t do it anymore. Now from where I was listening when someone says they can’t do it anymore and they are your significant other I threw up the panic flag for a brief second. Fortunately, she just couldn’t do living in the Airstream anymore, it wasn’t that she wanted split up.
I think there were some factors at play that brought this decision about. We decided to move into the camper at the end of January which means constant rain living in the tidewater region. There was a mud pit right outside the camper that I attempted to fill with gravel but it sucks rolling out with your headlamp and crocs on and stepping in water when I would take the dogs out at night. We had decided to take out the regular plumbing for the toilet and install the composting toilet, just gets a little crazy walking the “piss” jug out to the sewer connection and dumping it without getting it everywhere. You don’t realize how much you pee until you have to empty your own jug. Truckers probably understand this all too well. The dog situation. Well there was no furnace in the camper so when we were at home we would run the space heater. I think that we were really worried about what would happen in the summer if the air conditioner went out and our dogs were there all day.
So within a month we were moved back into an apartment situation and considering our options. We still had to take care of the camper because it was still sitting at the camp ground and we had to get it to Bristol before the end of the month. When the morning came to take the camper away Murphy decided to strike as he always does. When we were living in the camper the cinder block that the jack was resting on decided to explode one night. I in my infinite wisdom stacked three paving bricks under the jack thinking that it was much more solid. So we are lined up to drop the tongue on the hitch and it is too high, I kept on cranking the handle on the jack until…..the handle pops off. When the handle popped off the pin that keeps the jack in place was sheared allowing the jack leg to free float. Crisis. Luckily with my leg strength I was able to kick out the bricks to finally have the tongue lined up. I was too lazy to remove some tie down rope from the back of the truck, it came in handy. My knot tying skills learned in the navy definitely paid off with hitches and half hitches galore. I had to keep that leg from dropping out and dragging.
With the jack broken off we were attached to the camper until we could have professionals remove it. There was no one local who could have helped us so we made a command decision. We made the drive to Bristol and the next morning at a RV store they were able to move it off using a forklift….lifesaver. As with anything in life a job can be so easy if you have the correct tools.
Let me preface this whole incident before the move with the fact that we had been talking to some weirdo out of North Carolina that was going to meet us the day we pulled up to Bristol. I will just say that guy was a talker and not much of a doer. He was all about talking about getting the camper and slow to take any action. We finally gave up on this dude because he was a total flake.
We ultimately landed up selling it to a couple in California who were chomping at the bit to get the camper. It was a done deal, easy day.
There are a lot people out there that think we are crazy but that really doesn’t bother us. We took a project from idea to execution in less than a year. This whole adventure had started as an idea sitting on the couch one night. The road of life is littered with people that have ideas and never land up completing them. My wife and I would rather go all in and if we fail we fail. So we tried and we didn’t fail. We just landed up realizing that tiny living no matter what reason you subscribe to, is that tiny living really sinks in once you move into a 22ft camper. Really quick. I think that YouTube and Instagram really romanticize a lot of this now and a lot I don’t have cable TV, I am wondering if that whole obsession with tiny living has hit a plateau?
Maybe or maybe not? I guess with watching the news and hearing about student debt I am surprised that there aren’t complete villages of mud huts or shanty towns popping up all of America. I guess that really isn’t funny. Student debt is a serious issue. According to this election cycles candidates and the evening news.
Do I think tiny living is cool? Of course I think that using just the right amount of resources and minimizing my impact on the environment is a good idea. I think that biting off more than you can chew is why there is tiny living. Most of the reasons I heard during my research period was to minimize debt. It all revolved around money and the fact of the matter is that we are trying to stay well within our limits. There is no need for a McMansion just because the bank will float you the money for it. I am sure I could fill a post with all the other reasons to move into a tiny house but that was my interpretation of people’s reasons.
On a positive note, we paid for the project in cash and we didn’t acquire any debt while we were working on this. Well, yes we did. Now we are the owners of a monstrosity of a truck a V8 Tundra, more like an armored personnel carrier. The RZA line comes to mind whenever I am driving it, “I got four ton whips sitting on Antares”. It does work though for both camping and moving our canoe around. But, it guzzles gas like Bukowski downed beer.
This leads me to the second part of this post. As I explained in the first Airstream post, one of the reasons we were looking at renovating the camper was a little matter of my ex-wife foreclosing on a house in Colorado. That was a big part of the reason, thinking that we were forever going to be paying out rent for the rest of our lives and getting nowhere. This all changed in June.
I was messing around on the computer and a pop up screen insisted that I check my VA home loan eligibility. I obliged, thinking what is the worst that will happen? They will say I am ineligible. Surprise, Surprise that was not the case. Landed up qualifying for the other half of the previous defaulted mortgage. I was shocked. I really had just been caught up with everything going on in our lives that I didn’t even realize that the seasoning period of two years had already gone by.
Cause and effect. Every event in life has a purpose driving me to exactly where I need to be. Finding a house would have never been possible without all that adventures and steps that went on over the last fifteen years. Did we go crazy? Well I definitely couldn’t go crazy in Virginia Beach with the budget that we had. If we would have stayed there it would have been a condominium or a townhouse. We were over that.
With a little bit of determination and luck were able to find an awesome house in an awesome neighborhood. I was gone on travel most of the month and my wife was working with a realtor who seemed to be functioning at half speed and I really can’t blame her because the commission she would have got from our budget wasn’t as much as a McMansion I am sure she pushed sometime that month. I was looking at Zillow while I was gone and I had a neighborhood in mind. I am not going to say which one because I am sure there is someone out there with nothing better to do than stalk me. Get a life!!!
I had found the neighborhood that looked promising and had a list of five houses down there. My mother-in-law was in town and we left on our little adventure to get eyeballs on these homes. The housing market in Hampton Roads moves at the speed of light. Well, as soon as we hit this neighborhood I knew that this is where we needed to live. So we got a visual on the five houses I had on my little list. I called the realtor and found out that we wouldn’t qualify for four out of the five based on some kind of flood zone thing. I was a little frustrated and discouraged. Then we pulled up on a house that wasn’t even on the list.
We got out to take a look and it met all the parameters. It had a fenced in yard for our little dogs, it was ranch style, hard wood floors throughout, long drive way, and a detached garage. What was even more is it had an awesome screened in back porch with the overkill of having two ceiling fans. So I wasn’t about to call our agent back and there were flyers for this house on the front lawn. I took one and gave them a call….straight to voicemail.
We were on our way to check out some other houses that didn’t quite fit the bill, then I got the call. The listing agents for the house called back and asked if we could meet them in thirty minutes. I was like hell yeah.
I was already into this house but it was love at first sight. My wife was at work and I asked them if they would be back after she got off to show the house. Thankfully, she loved the house as much as I did. As soon as we got done we put in an offer immediately. It was a good thing we acted quickly because the listing agent said he was supposed to show the house the next day to three different parties. The house had only been on the market for less than 24 hours. I guess that is good to know in the event we ever move out.
For the last month we have been adjusting and getting used to our new house. Funny to think back that all of the events of the past year lead up to this exact place in the cosmos. The grand mathematics of the universe, that every event has to happen exactly as it did to bring me to the point where I am at today.