Sunday, August 14, 2016

Afloat in Portland!

I've been trying to set aside time to write a blog for a few weeks now. I have so many stories in my head, I could explode..... or maybe one day, I'll start writing the book that's rattling around in my head. It's been an amazing, emotional transition getting settled into our tiny floating home and I will share that it's incredible to have a place of Our Own!! No more living out of duffel bags and ZipLoks while we are in Portland. It’s a huge and positive change for us after 5 years of being vagabonds while working multiple jobs. It's not a lifestyle for everyone, I might add.

Looking toward our place from the ramp.
1 of 4 layers removed fromthe bathroom wall. Scary stuff.
You may recall that we purchased our floating home last fall before we left for Mexico. I know, timing is everything. We thought we’d be anxious while we were gone about buying a home and splitting town, but hey it's us and frankly, once we were on the road heading south for Pura Vida, we’re about living that life to the fullest; the northwest life can wait.

Mike tearing out and rebuilding the bathroom
We arrived in Portland on February 28th for my long anticipated return to my 30-hr/wk job, a continuation of the 10-yr/wk I was doing during our winter months. So you jump right into a work environment where the pace is fast, the deadlines are real and the sitting factor, intense. No more up and down the ladder
when the boat is on the hard as the last couple weeks before our departure, no more balancing on a moving vessel which is part of our core strength, and importantly, a greatly reduced randomness that comes from a boat lifestyle.
LazyBoy loveseat- splurge for our living room.

And so began this journey toward a home of our own. It’s been a long, tumultuous time as we prepared our ‘tiny home’ for us, for our lives, after our self-imposed relative state of homelessness. Five summers of moving multiple times into variable living situations each with its own opportunities, blessings and challenges, and of course, being ready to vacate on demand. Five years of "visitation rights" to see our stuff at Public Storage.

Using dinner plates that we haven't seen for 5 yrs
This summer we had the distinctly cool deal of moving back in with our 80 year old roommate from late last summer (our 4th place in 2015). He’s our friend’s dad, a super nice guy, great place on the water, fun to share a living space with. And flexible to let us stay longer than our anticipated “one month” before we could move into our new digs. We wanted to move in, but buying our floating home ‘as is’ has a broad range of opportunities, shall we say, and we were in for the long haul.
Our first fire on the deck. That's friend Tony's boat

When I say long, I mean long enough that our contractor just moved his incredible cache of equipment out of our place in late July, just in time for my sister’s visit and us to figure out where stuff could actually fit in our tiny space. Plus, the house resettled after his heavy saws, drills and painting gear moved such that we listed even more to port, if that was possible.

Kitchen after

Kitchen before

My digression – now that we are moved in to our tiny home (658 sq ft / 61 sq m*), we had the floatation / leveling dude come yesterday. I’d hoped that leveling process would mean our wonky front door actually fits!  But alas, we still have a major air gap to be dealt with. His tasks included: removing 2 old beaver nests (go away!), a spent oil drum whose insulation melted away and installing additional floats and shims on our old growth giant logs to get the house level. For now. I understand flotation changes over time, so we will become friends with the floating home leveler. And, please, no more beavers under our house! We had one swim up to our float 2 nights ago with a giant branch in his mouth and he dove with that nesting branch just under our home. We yelled: NO but I don’t think they listen or care.

The new pantry cabinets ROCK
Although I suppose a whopping 650 sf doesn't qualify us as a tiny home like on the shows, which varies depending on what you hear, I have to say, ours is quaint and small. We measure every space 10 times to figure out walking space, furniture placement and trip hazards. It is interesting to note that on the 10th time, the measurements are still the same! So you execute accordingly. Example #51: cabinets. To create a pantry for food storage (mandatory!), we installed the typical 12" upper cabinets in a lower space to create a pantry, as our walkthrough space had to be large enough to actually pass between the “pantry” and “office”. 
Assembling the grill so
we can cook. No stove yet.

This will be our office. Mike building the desk.
Currently, I'm sitting at this crate as my desk.
Now this space usually would serve as a kitchen seating area but for us, it’s got to be two unique spaces – office AND storage. More stories abound on that front but only for those who actually care about the traumas of downsizing and crazy things like no storage. No garage, alas and that also means no more monthly Public Storage payment!

Another aha! moment - we are never more than 10 steps from the kitchen garbage receptacle which, upon reflection, can be a good thing.

There’s more stories waiting to unfurl from my brain but for now, I’ll do this post and share a few photos of this lovely place we now proudly call Home.

* For those who comment that we "should" be used to a small space on Pura Vida, she offers more storage than our home.

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