Our house sold in late December 2019. Our downsizing was going well enough. We found a location for the tiny house. We had a closing date for funds to release so we could have Forever Tiny Homes start the build. Design was finalized enough for them to start. All in all, things were going well....
Except we had no place to live while the house was being built, estimated 4 to 5 months (that would become 7 months, primarily pandemic reasons.) We were close to panic mode and all the thoughts raced through our minds: Do we rent a house? Do we buy a trailer then sell it? Do we try to live with family? None of those were ideal solutions for various reasons. Key was not using any of the proceeds for anything but paying off debt and paying for the tiny.
On a whim one night, I had an idea. I posted to Facebook "I know this is going to sound crazy, but does anyone have a trailer we could borrow for 6 to 9 months while our Tiny House is being built?" Gave myself a few extra months, just in case things ran long during the build (this would prove prescient). We did NOT expect a reply.
Only we did get a reply. Quickly. From a friend who I can never thank enough. I won't mention his name here without permission, but rest assured he knows who he is. :) He offered us use of his 26' trailer for as long as we needed it, and I offered a small monthly payment to offset insurance costs for him (though I also took out a policy, to cover his property and what we would have inside.) He and his wife were so kind and accommodating during the entire process, never once worrying or checking up on us. It was complete trust and true friendship. Again, I can never truly repay such a kindness.
We contacted the place we would be living in the tiny house, and asked if we could move in early with the temp trailer in the spot we would be in, just pay for the location starting then and then swap out when the tiny was ready. Was not a problem, and on January 21st, we moved from an 1800-ish square foot home into a 26' trailer. We stashed what we wanted to definitely keep in a very close-by storage unit, moved a few suitcases and bins of items we needed to live day-to-day into the trailer, and sold or donated everything else before the move date.
Now please understand this is ZERO fault of my friend or ANY complaint of the trailer itself. Yes, we had to make some repairs during our time in it, but that is simply because most (if not ALL) travel trailers are NOT MADE FOR FULL-TIME LIVING. The appliances, the furnishings, the overall build all have life expectancies based on total use. 2 weeks here, a couple weekends there - you might put in 20 days total living per YEAR and that's on the high side.
We lived in the trailer for just shy of 7 MONTHS STRAIGHT. To its credit, it held up fairly well. I had to repair things like the thermistor on the refrigerator, burnt out LED light bulbs, a bent stabilizer jack. We had to adapt to a 5 gallon hot water heater and showers that involved turning on the hot water for a minute at a time, scrubbing and rinsing and hoping we wouldn't suddenly get a blast of freezing cold water - man, I missed long hot showers, not to mention a simple thing like a bath. And don't get me started on the horror that is a black water tank....ugh....
But persevere we did. And all the while, the world started crumbling around us. What was normal became taboo. Our cruise vacation to Alaska was cancelled. Our regular Saturday night dinners out became impossible. I refuse to get political on this site, but our country became a hate-filled powder keg, our state exploded in flames and our world became a contagion. We were suddenly forced to spend more time in this little metal box then we had ever anticipated.
I cannot thank my parents enough. We agreed early on that our "quarantine group" would be them and my son and daughter, with her fiancé. We kept the group small, and found ourselves- just for our sanity - spending the weekends at my parents house. There was room to stretch, conversation beyond the little metal box, reason to look forward to Saturday and Sunday.
And we continued to talk with Arlin and Dominic. The design stayed true, with small adaptations as needed. Despite the chaos of the world and the difficulty in getting things that were just recently easy to source, the vision was never compromised. If anything, they found ways to add even more details and unexpected touches to the house. We limited our visits to their facility to just twice during the entire process. Texting probably drove them crazy, but it was weekly (if not daily sometimes), getting the details, the feel, the dream just right.
The months pushed on. The expected 4 months became 5 became 6 became almost 7. But suddenly, almost unbelievably, the day came when were scheduling my friend to pickup his trailer, washed and cleaned, our belonging stashed into an already-packed storage unit. Two days later, a driver came around the corner....and behind him, was our dream home.
Our forever home.