When my Wolof teacher, an elderly man with zany socks, needed a break from drilling us on vocabulary, he would say, “Il faut changer l’air un peu, quoi.” Then we would empty from the little classroom into the courtyard and sip too-sweet shots of tea and eat Biskrim or pain chocolat until he’d finished smoking his pipe and was ready to teach again.
With regards to our tiny house project: il faut changer l’air un peu, quoi.
I located energy consumption about the Nina Soft Spin Dryer and Tom said that that the envi heater would drink too much juice from our future solar panels. So, onto wood stoves. Four Dog or Dickinson Solid Fuel Wood stoves seem like the best options, depending on budget and/or floor layout. I asked my insurance agent about renting my house; he said a landlord’s policy is usually less than a homeowner’s policy (whew) but we wouldn’t be able to insure our tiny house, just the trailer it’s built on (boo!).
I also ventured into the lair of the evil giant, Comcast, to ask how much data we use every month. They said: 34G in November, 63G in December, and 56G in January. Yikes. Even if we were in T-Mobile’s local 4G network (we’re just outside of range) they don’t have a plan that would remotely meet our needs. Neither does Virgin (powered by Sprint) and Verizon’s plans are even worse. That leaves satellite internet, which is crazy expensive, and would chew through electricity, to boot. I could make due without a home internet connection but Tom can’t for his job. No access to reliable, high-speed internet would be a dealbreaker.
I’m very aware of how services, utilities, and products are designed to favor going large. There are plenty of wood stoves for 1,000+ sq ft, but only a handful built to heat less, and even fewer that wouldn’t overwhelm a 200 sq ft house. Of the stoves that are small enough to accommodate a tiny house, many are priced prohibitively – perhaps because they’re designed for someone’s secondary residence, a sink for disposable income.
When we add it up, I don’t think we’ll save much money by going tiny – at least, not right now. We’d have to finance the build through bank loans. One of us (*ahem*) wouldn’t pay off his student loans as quickly. Even after we moved in and could rent the big house, the monthly income from the rental would be around $300 after we paid a management company and the mortgage. $300 wouldn’t cover the monthly payments on the loan we took out to build the tiny house. We’d save on water and electric bills (about $100 a month, put together) but internet would cost more. I’m also hesitant to invest my heart and time (well, and money) in a home that wouldn’t be insured should something happen to it!
New plan: finish and defend my g.d. master’s project. Ride long. Enjoy our wedding. Save money. Attempt RAIN. Pay down existing debt. Spend time with friends. Start applying to jobs. Get rid of stuff we have. Simplify our lives as much as we can. Get rid of stuff. Improve our house’s insulation. Keep planning a tiny house and see where things are later this year. Maybe we’ll be able to start a build next spring. Or maybe we’ll move somewhere and then build. If we haven’t built before we move maybe we’ll buy a little land and build a permanent tiny structure. Not worrying about trailer dimensions will give us more room for insulation. We’ll see. Plans may change again, though – you never know!