Day 48 of WTH Am I Doing: Batten Down the Hatches

Looks like this is the week I get first hand experience of hurricanes vs tornados in trailer parks. 

Luckily, hurricanes give you way more heads up than tornadoes. Growing up in Alabama, Roll Tide y’all! I’ve had my fair share of tornadoes. I’ve experienced two hurricanes. Once in Destin at a Hilton. As far as natural disasters go, it was pretty great. We were all brought into the ballroom where they kept us fed and beveraged. The other time I was on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean as the hurricane made its way by. After today, the cruise ship was way less stressful. 

Since I had some advance notice, last weekend I went over the corners and windows of the RV.When I say that I went over the corners and windows, I really mean The Mechanic Man did. In reality, I embraced the trailer park lifestyle. 

You’ll notice that I haven’t quite abandoned the bourbon Big Gulp cups. You know what they say about a little hair of the dog…

This morning, I woke up and remember the damn cat. Nowhere in my preparedness plan did I factor in that feline.  Mizzou, my pup, loves her cat. I made a mental note to plan to trap the dog’s outdoor cat after I lure her inside. Perhaps my indifference will draw her in. 

By afternoon the chaos started. The city shut down. No, for real. They’ve closed the all city offices for the rest of the week. Then the schools closed. Governor Haley announced that evacuation will begin tomorrow at 3pm. Interstate 26 will be reversed, all lanes are going out. Am I the only one who is like “what the what?!?” This whole evacuation, interstate reversal has me a little…y’all, I don’t even know. 

There’s a gas station across from the office, sure enough, LINES of people. It was only 4 and I managed to fill up without much of a wait. People had already started posting about stations running out of gas! Again, what the what!?! By the time I left the office late, the same gas station and everyone I passed going home, had at least 30 cars waiting in line. 

But what about my house blowing away, you ask? YEAH, THATS WHAT I KEEP ASKING. 

Looks like blowing away is only one of my concerns. My end of the trailer park FLOODS. So where the hell do I move the damn thing?! Even now I’m sitting in bumper to bumper traffic of evacuees. The RV runs, it isn’t up for this kind of long haul yet though.  If I move it out of the trailer park, I can’t attempt to tie it down. The Mechanic Man came up with a genius plan. People said to do over the top strap down. Dude, that’s a lot of strap. Instead, we (again, him, I just include myself to make me look active) are driving 4ft metal rods into the ground as anchors where we’ll attach it to the frame. Please God, do not let me white trash dwelling flip over or blow away. The RV is going to make moves towards an empty lot on the other end of the trailer park. No, there’s no power meter there either. I would have already made my way over there by now! 

The RV has to be moved tonight and anchored down. It’s cool enough out I can manage without power for the evening. 

But first, let me go to Home Depot. Legit, when I walked in that rack had plywood. I snapped this pic when I was checking out. Apparently, this lady for THE last generator in the store. All in all, Home Depot wasn’t that bad or crowded. Mostly people being idiots in the parking lot taking up 3 spots as they make a  mad dash for plywood. 

It’s an early post without the tie down, anchor my tin can down results. It might be a long night and I’d rather get some info in beforehand. After all, tomorrow is the big blog day! Hooray! 

Oh! Evacuation! Obviously, I’m not going to stay in the RV during the storm. No need to try and recreate witches on bicycles a la Wizard of Oz. I haven’t decided if I’m going or staying.  I’ve got a hotel room in Greenville and a couple of hurricane sleepover offers here. Priority #1 is secure the tin can. I’ll let everyone know after that! Stay safe y’all! 

How to Catch a Chicken: Get a Fishing Net 

If you’ve been following along, you know I had a big field trip to City Hall on Day 43 of WTH Am I Doing. As you all know, anything with government is lightening fast! Not really. It isn’t at all. It’s the exact opposite of that. The waiting has left me in what I’m calling “Building Limbo.” 

Finally after many, many hotel stays I made it back to the RV with kind of power. Even though some of the hotels were lovely, it was still extremely stressful. There was just too much unknown, too much hurry up and wait. Most definitely way too much not knowing where I would be the next night. Being back in the RV has been extremely comforting. Crazy how it’s beginning to feel like home. Must be the floors. Funny how not seeing the ground can be this reassuring. 

Getting back into my new safe zone of knowing where I’ll be each night and thinking of the RV as home, it freed up all kinds of head space. All the freed up life space and building limbo gave me the whole weekend to have new adventures and to slip back into my old life for a minute. It was very exciting. I showered, I put on a dress, I did normal things. My, how my standards have changed. But, I’m getting ahead of myself!

There’s been too much going on for me to have the chance to realize what all I’ve been missing. I miss Park Circle. All my favorite hangouts, my neighbors, the community as a whole. So I completely destroyed a burger over at Sesame in the old hood. Not being able to truly escape the land of tiny houses, I mapped out my day while attempting to eat every butter pickle they had. The afternoon,  I hit up some of the really amazing salvage places here in Charleston. It felt like I was on an HGTV show! 

First up, Carolina Building Materials and Salvage. It just so nifty. Not only can you score some amazing salvage pieces, it has this old school hardware store feel. I’m also especially attached to the old men there. If salvage isn’t for you, they have new as well. 

After a quick run through there, I made my way on over to Sustainable Warehouse. I’m not really sure what I would do with those humongous jars, I sure do want them though. They have a website, but their Facebook page is the way to go. They post all kinds of cool stuff as it comes in. Word to the wise, you see something you like, you better snag it before someone else does! Items go fast. This was my first time over to their new location. It’s way smaller than their old warehouse space, but like I said, their Facebook page is where it is at! 

Missing my community, I swung back over to the Circle for Palmetto Brewery’s welcome to the neighborhood Octoberfest. Not the best idea on my part. Approaching the event I saw tons of girls in their dresses ready for some day drinking. I miss the days of getting dressed from a closet instead of a Rubbermaid bin after a shower with indoor plumbing. My frumpiness has gotten out of hand. It’s perfectly acceptable for working on the RV, not so much for the social life I had been absent from for so long. 

My own little pity party started to get the best of me. Luckily, I complained to the exact right friend. A simple wish we were same state, same city was met with “I’ll see you in 5 hours.” Sometimes you’re graced with friends you’ve had all of time who just 100% get you. The ones that will look you straight in the eyes and say “you live in an RV in a trailer park. You’re completely insane, but I love that.” 

With new vigor, I actually got ready on a Saturday night armed with a new dress (mostly bc I don’t know where my dresses currently are) and a handle of bourbon.  Funny story, much like my dresses, I don’t know where my cups are and I didn’t have ice or even a way to keep ice cold. Giant slurpie cups from the gas station just seemed like the most logical solution. 

When you wake up the next day in an RV bunk after giant slurpie sized fun, you get a great view of all your wreckage. 

Tacos were needed stat. The weekend wasn’t over and there were more adventures in store. 

Sunday, I took my first trip to the Coastal Carolina Flea Market. Holy sensory overload, Batman! My original intentions were to find extension cords, that was a bust but I did make some mental notes of some booths to hit a little further into the build. 

Don’t you love those industrial light covers? Alas, like the giant glass jars, what would I do with them now? The best item of the weekend that I really had to hold myself back from were the potbellied pigs. Because really, what would I do with a potbellied pig? 

It was a mess of the senses with booths for stripper wear and tuxedos for rent to tires to the produce section, you could probably find just about anything there. 

Hands down, the BEST part were the chickens. One had escaped and I desperately wanted to see him cross the road. He must have escaped the fishing net. Oh, that doesn’t make any sense? Let me show you:​​

​​That’s right, she’s scooping the chickens up in a fishing net! So there you have it folks! You ever need to catch chicken? Get yourself a fishing net! 

Giveth & Taketh Away

That’s electricity! It was amazing! The AC was freezing! It’s all good with my 200 FEET of extension cords!  I was living it up! Then Saturday I come home to Mizzou being way too excited to see me. Turns out some mug unplugged my house. Dude! You can’t just unplug someone’s house!  Doubled up and […]

Powering Up & Power Tools

uber-has-changed-my-life-and-as-god-is-my-witness-i-will-never-take-a-taxi-again-where-available.jpgToday, as God as my witness, there WILL be power!

It will be over my dead body that they take that back up extension cord away. On the small chance (okay, HUGE chance) that I don’t get power today, I’ve got an extension cord. Crazy right? I can just plug my house up like those cars at the Tanger Outlets. I wonder if I could plug my house up at Tanger….probably not.

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It doesn’t take a special kind of plug to plug in the RV, the extension cord just needs to have the right gauge and voltage to get the compressor on the AC going. For instance, I need an extension cord that is at least 12 gauge and a minimum of 15 amps. Think of those big orange, outdoor construction extension cords, like that. And it will need to be 100 ft long to reach my target. That is where it gets expensive. In my head I was thinking hundreds probably because everything has been hundreds thus far. I looked, it’s only about $80 at Home Depot or Lowe’s. I found one on Craigslist, the guy hasn’t responded yet though. Then, hello! Where is my head! I started calling pawn shops.

For those of you that are jumping in and don’t have tools, you need to hit pawn shops. Don’t get all judgy, you’ve been considering a compost toilet. There is no room to judge. Pawn shops are an amazing place to find a good deal on quality tools. You’ll be able to get the hardcore, heavy duty stuff you need at basic prices. This is especially true when the weather gets cold and the construction jobs slow down. You can test them out there or return them within a time frame, just like a regular store.

Myself, I’m relatively handy with my own set of tools. It blows my mind how there are so many of you out there who have never used tools before and are going for it. Tiny Life did a post listing all the tools you will need to build a tiny house (you can read it HERE), he says that he spent roughly $1500 on tools. That’s like half my entire house budget. Somewhere one of the bloggers who posted a tool inventory actually said something along the lines of “don’t worry, I didn’t know what a claw hammer when I started either.”

In case you don’t know, this is a claw hammer: 900031872_0_9999_v1_m56577569831260140

The first time I read that, I thought “Dear Lord, what are these people getting into?! No wonder it takes these documentary folks years to build a tiny house!” Sidenote: I often also wonder why these documentary folks don’t have any friends to come help them.

Bishes, I will be calling all y’all over for an Amish style barn raising except with beer.

The more I thought about it the more my “Bless your heart” turned into “go on you! Not knowing about a hammer and building a tiny house!”

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Except you, that one lady who commented that it was very helpful to have a list of tools because she was a woman. Not go you, lady.

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Don’t go setting us all back. You not knowing about construction tools has nothing to do with being female.

UPDATE: the extension cord is saving my life! Power on, friend! Power on! 

 

 

Day 43 of WTH Am I Doing: Adventures in Being Legal

I don’t know which upsets me more: that my “ask me if when I’m due,” wear it only when I’m mega low on laundry, purple balloon dress seems to be good luck or that I got teary during the freaking meeting. You see, one of my co-cospirators often says that I’m homeless and that the collective we of whoever is in the room needs to help me. Usually, it makes me want to jump in to say “I’m not that kind of homeless!” Only today, when they were talking it kind of hit hard. I am that kind of homeless. F***. 

It went well (maybe the make look pregnant dress helped excuse the getting teary). First up, Planning & Zoning. Turns out that flipping Hawthorne City is a special case on zoning. Oh, don’t you worry! I’m all over finding out the ins and outs of that ba-huey! They’re flipping grandfathered into dual zoning somehow. Oh, but I will learn their secret! I will learn! 

On top of that, I’ve got some homework to do and some research to share. Learned a bunch. 

Next I wandered to Building, where it takes all I have in me not to yell “why can’t I have power?!” I also seriously have reached the point of staking out the head of the department one morning, ambushing him with coffee and gumption. Luckily, (freaking preggo dress) I caught 4.3 mins with him. Double luck! LEGAL POWER TOMORROW! At the very least, crazy long extension cords. 

There is a guy who just worked the same route in exploring with the city, which is a really good thing. Not to be shrouded in tiny house mystery, I’m not going to cover that yet. Let’s see what they’ll let us do then I’ll share the path of the tiny. That leads to my most frustrating point, flipping labels. Know how I pleaded for them just to tell me what to do or say or whatever on the level of extreme daddy issues? Turns out the moment anyone hears “tiny house on wheels” they shut down. Jay Shaffer did a podcast called  “Can You Take The Tiny Out of the Trailer Park?” that said they should just  call them habitable vehicles. It makes me think of the interview with the guy who created golden doodles and has regretted it ever since. That’s right, that adorable fluff was a Frankenstein he wants to take back, read it HERE

This seems really jumbled and will probably get a rewrite at the very least. Did I cover everything everyone was worried about today? 

City went well, no No’s

I’m homeless and out of the hotel, but staying with a friend until POWER tomorrow!

Labels are bad. 

If Only You Were a Million

Gearing up for my meeting and studying up on what’s the whats across the country. I wish there were a million followers out there who could be like “bam! Here’s my knowledge!” Where do you live? What’s the word on tiny houses there? What do you wish you could tell me? 

Under Cover

Last night we crawled into the bed closest to the AC. Since then we’ve slept in and decided to stay in. We’ve got cable. It’s football all day, that’s what normal us would have done. 

Day 37 of WTH Am I Doing: No Power For You

I’m starting to realize why people skip through loop holes and build illegal tiny houses. Just going to be honest, this is hands down my breaking point. It’s been, what 3 weeks without indoor plumbing? (that part really isn’t that bad and was maybe more my fault then circumstances) Now rounding out 2 weeks without electricity.

Checking out of Motel 6 today, I told myself I can stand on my head. It’s just two days. Monday, the power will be on. The thought that it could be Thursday of next week, IF EVER, until I get power is crippling. I do not know that I can keep it together that long. At this point why did I even bother with the RV? I could just be living in some stupid tent with better airflow and no stupid, overly expensive, special bunk sized mattress! 

Luckily, the universe was looking out for me. Just before I learned there’s no power for me, one of my AMAZING sisters sent me a hotel confirmation. At the time I was all “I couldn’t! This is too much!” Then the news of the power came and I sang a different tune. Clearly, I was wrong. My cheap motels this last week were a bad plan. THIS HOTEL IS PHENOM. This hotel is the best thing ever. 

I’m spending my weekend studying zoning laws and ordinances in prep for my meeting next week. 
It is thrilling to be involved with the possible changes of tiny houses. You know me, I’m all over being involved (strangers, if you don’t know me, I’m overly involved). I just happened to be the right go getter in the right place to be around to discuss. Changes take time, but maybe in the meantime we can maybe let me have a meter from the power company. Straight up asked “if I promise not to build anything right now, could I get electricity?” That’s a direct quote. They have to get back to me on that one. Great. Thanks. 

Hotel, Do Tell

I’m concerned this week of indoor living has done more harm than good. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to go back to regular indoor living. It’s not just the big things like having a floor and a bathroom, it’s the little stuff like being able to sit up in bed and not climb down from a bunk. Returning to the RV is something I might be dreading. 

The hotel stays have also created this unknown panic. Where will Mizzou spend the day? Even though I showered last night, I should make myself shower again this morning simply because it’s there. When will I just have a shower right here again? 

It isn’t just how unbearable this Southern heat is without electricity, it’s how the hell am I ever going to fix this situation or move forward without any power? Plus, this is costing me way too much money. Hotels and Mizzou babysitting. Upside, I rarely eat anymore which might balance some of this out. 

 For the first time in my life, I’m ready for summer to be over just so I don’t freakin bake in my hot tin can.