Butter, Eggs, and Broken Windows

“Can your truck tow a tiny house?” I laughed. No one else did.

In horror, I realized that my off handed, half-brag joke had become an offering. “I mean, it’s really big and it doesn’t have any siding,” I tried to back track but the board was undeterred.

“The truck can tow it,” said the executive director, “and we fix homes so it makes sense that it’s unfinished.”

It was decided. I was out of non-lazy reasons to say no, and the 160House would be the Rebuilding Together float in the Petaluma Butter and Egg Days Parade.

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We are serious about our eggs and dairy products…

Since my last post, I mostly spent my work days preparing the house, clearing debris from in and around it, scouring the floor for sharp objects, vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning windows, and relocating spiders.

Look at it!!!

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Look how freaking clean it is!

The day before the parade the Butter and Eggs committee (renamed the Beer, Butter, and Eggs committee because hey, I was on it) met to clear the last of the debris around the house and tow it downtown.

Because nothing can ever be simple with the 160House, this became a complicated three hour ordeal. In a single afternoon I became a regular at the local auto-parts store, returning three times to fetch the proper tow ball, electrical hookups, and flat tire repair equipment (I have no idea how my trailer got a flat when it wasn’t even resting on its tires). Finally, we did get the house hitched and ready.

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My baby girl on a hot date with a classic car.

Another board member towed the trailer downtown and I left slightly after the truck so it took me a moment to catch up. Every turn I made, I could see where the house had been. Under every tree was a murder scene of broken branches and fallen leaves, and I caught up just in time to see us take out a phone line (I feel no remorse. My house is street legal. Hang your lines higher PG&E!).

The whole way downtown, heads turned and fingers pointed. I was pretty impressed with myself. I had built that massive, tree destroying, phone line snapping, attention grabbing trailer.

It had been a lot of work but it was worth it to support an organization I care about.

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Not her best side.

Then the above picture was sent to our executive director. “It’s really big and it doesn’t have any siding,” she texted back, “I don’t think we should use it.”

Rejection.

In the morning I went downtown to retrieve my house and tried not to think about the many hours of progress I had lost that month. On the way back we managed not to take out anymore power lines, and we almost made it without incident but just as we made the final turn, a tree took its just revenge. A branch slapped into one of my top windows, shattering the glass and the last of my good humor. “$200,” I involuntarily muttered.

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I gathered the broken pieces of custom window from the street, patted my gal and told her she was beautiful no matter what anybody said, and then we headed back to the parade. The rest of the day was great and was probably a lot less stressful than it would have been with the house in tow. We got the truck decorated, threw cute kids in the back, and handed out old t-shirts from wheel barrels. Afterwards I celebrated in true Butter and Egg Days fashion, by day drinking with people I went to high school with.

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Photo by Tyler Chartier

A couple days later, we got the tiny house back in her spot and leveled up, another all day ordeal, and a day later a neighbor hosting an open house begged us to move it. I didn’t have to be there for the second move. My dad towed it with a friend while I was at work. But still, more labor undone.

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Back where she belongs… briefly.

This whole post has felt very negative so here, a few positive things that came from the Butter and Eggs Debacle:

  1. Planning for the parade motivated me to finish my roof.
  2. The inside of my house will be much easier to work in now that it’s clean.
  3. I learned new life skills for towing and tire maintenance.
  4. I formed valuable relationships with the good people at O’Reilly Autoparts.
  5. I know that my house won’t fall apart when I tow it (but trees and powerlines…)
  6. I got a deep sense of pride and happiness watching people point and stare.
  7. I can totally guilt the Rebuilding Together board of directors into helping me bust out my siding now.
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You too can stand in a field of wheat.

Thank you to my dad for putting up with all this crap. Thank you to everyone who smiled and pointed when they saw my house. Thank you to the guys at the autoparts store for their humor and guidance. Thank you to all you cool kids who came back to town for our hometown holiday, caught me on my way back to my car, and talked me into drowning my tiny house sorrows in cheap bottles of PBR. It was great catching up after all these years! And thank you everyone at Rebuilding Together Petaluma for offering to fix my window for me, for helping me put up my siding (really so kind of you to offer with no pressure from me at all…), and for mobilizing over 600 volunteers to repair more than 50 homes and non-profit facilities in Petaluma every year! Seriously, you’re worth the hassle! And thank you Reader, for being excited enough about this project to follow my blog. I will try to have some real progress for you next month!