Reaping the whirlwind

January 5th, 2015 | Tags:

Travel this winter break was nowhere near as exhausting, and much more greatly refreshing, than it has ever been for me. A calendrical accident allowed NC teachers a full 2 weeks of vacation this year, and I used it to the fullest extent. Two major stops: Asheville, NC and roundabouts Ellicott City, MD.

Asheville is…amazing. First there’s the LaZoom tour, which is full of yuks–there’s a live comedian narrating the bus’s travels around the town, and every so often it stops to allow on a costumed supporting character to provide hilarity and, well, just plain weirdness. It helps that they allow open container on the bus, so things were pretty merry. I helped pay my way by making dinner for our hosts Christmas eve, and then biscuits Christmas morning. (Who knew they were so easy, and still so fluffy??) The opportunity arose to watch Game of Thrones, so we mainlined season 3 in a single sitting. That’s right, ten hours of quality bloodshed and chivalry. I finally got to see the Red Wedding after rage-quitting at the end of season 2 so many tears ago. And we caught the Purple Wedding the next morning. Much board gaming and scintillating conversation was had–desperately needed after this semester’s utter shitshow. No pressure, no obligations, just good times with good folks.

We made it safely back to the Triangle, and then headed up to Maryland to see my sister and dad. Again, just about the most positive experience possible. My sister is always a joy to visit and spend time with–over the years, we’ve clashed, but always we’ve stayed in touch and communicated whole-heartedly. She’s a rare touchstone in my life, and her husband is of the same caliber. My own bent is turning in their direction, and if I might speak an unspoken wish, I would like to return to Maryland and begin growing the seed of what feels like an amazing opportunity. The Icehouse, my sister’s home, has the makings of a great little place to brew some amazing beer, and she and her husband have been renovating the structure as they live in it.We spent a grand time with them, engaging in restful palaver, and my dad was insistent that we go to Jailbreak Brewery (the only production brewery in Howard Co.), so many delightful times were had when a few friends responded to my call to join for fun and merriment. On our way back we even got to stop by my mom’s place and make biscuits there, too :) And to top it off, one the leg home, we got gas for $2.01 in Brodnax!

But it was over our time in Asheville that the big idea hit, and it is here I shall try to breathe life into it: Tiny House.

The tiny house movement is pretty recent; I remember seeing it first in the WaPo maybe a year and a half ago, and while it was an amusing idea, I had never really considered it for my own lifestyle. But, well, things have changed. And my attitude towards things has changed. I first moved to a 400 square foot hole in the wall last summer, and I basically camped there for the next year. The main factor in not really taking full advantage of the space, in retrospect, was the utter lack of a kitchen. In the throes of the school year, I didn’t take the time to build up, either–shelves would have made it more livable. As it was, when I moved out I had basically not touched so much of my stuff. And it still sits in the place I dumped it this July. I don’t need it. Any of it.

All I really need is a place I can move around at my own will. 200 square feet is eminently doable, even on a flatbed trailer. And with a light enough frame, I can haul it with a much smaller vehicle than some monstrous truck behemoth. I’m ready to throw my life into the wind, to uproot. North Carolina is no place for us, not long-term. The NC legislature has basically done for public education in this state, and I don’t have to be a martyr. My sister’s place has enough space to build a tiny house in, and between us we have enough know-how and vision to make it a reality. The more we research, the more feasible it seems to become. What really transfixed me was Andrew Morrison’s [TEDx talk], coupled with his [Youtubed house tour]. Watch those, and tell me you aren’t dreaming of possibilities too.

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