Monthly Archives: December 2012

Little Yellow life…

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Life in Little Yellow is wonderful. It’s actually very much like normal, but without the things that used to bug me about living in other people’s spaces. In fact, most everything that pissed me off or stressed me out in previous living situations is no longer problematic. I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes, I can move or change whatever, whenever, and everything I love is organized all nice-like under one roof.

Basically? I love my house. I had planned on loving it so it’s not a surprise, but I feel so relieved that I genuinely do because this would be a very extensive experiment if I didn’t.

It’s like the whole thing is one big relief. It’s a relief to have a simpler life. It’s a relief to have less things. It’s a relief to be compact and contained. Like a hug, I like to think that my house is quite like a hug.

The timing of my move north has been so serendipitous it’s crazy. 3 days after arriving, I had a job, made an awesome friend, and met my awesome boyfriend who happens to think Little Yellow is as great as I do. He’s a do-er and a fix-it type who really gets things done, a wonderful presence to have around.

So! Here’s a breakdown of how it’s going. If I’ve missed something, ask away!

Living situation:

I live on a little ranch down the hill from my landlords’ house in a pretty wee field with a nice set of bushes and trees just beside; a perfectly adequate distance so as to be totally left on my own. I have decent cell reception in my house, but no internet. Not having it was sort of a shock at the start, but appears to be very good for me. I get way more done and am far more creative without it that with. I have family close by anyway, so it gives me a grand excuse to visit.

My boyfriend is a friend of my landlords’ son, so he comes and goes without bother and there’s plenty space to fit several cars comfortably. I pay rent each month and work off a little by cleaning stalls a few hours a week, which I actually kind of enjoy. There’s something vaguely reflective and therapeutic about shoveling horse shit.

Storage:

Storage and space in this house amaze me. I have many things inside, but I don’t feel cramped and don’t feel the need to fill it any further. Everything I’ve needed to find a spot for has one.  It sounds a bit ridiculous to write it out, but all I can say is that it feels big to me.

It feels so big that I can barely think of Little Yellow as being as small as she is, and certainly not tiny. There were 4 people eating dinner in here the other night (myself included) and it felt no different than having 3 people for dinner anywhere else.

Maybe it’s a magical house. Like that wacky carpet bag Mary Poppins had, where you could fill it far past it’s apparent capacity and still have room for your umbrella. Except my house isn’t made of carpet.

Food and water storage:

As you may know, I decided not to have a refrigerator in my house. Mostly because I didn’t feel I need one, but also because being without saves a goodly amount of electricity and makes you more creative with shopping lists and leftovers.

This is something that I didn’t experiment with before leaving the driveway, so my first attempt at fridge-free food cooling came after the first trip to the store. I had read good things about pot-in-pot (zeer) methods but unfortunately for me this did not work at all in my coastal climate. It failed spectacularly at keeping anything I put in there colder than house temperature and the terra cotta flower pot began to sprout some pretty disconcerting mold after a week or so. Conclusion? Nope.

So when my boyfriend came home one day with a standard cooler full of block ice, I begrudgingly went with it. It’s not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, but it works and it aint molding.

I also didn’t think much about drinking water. The hoses I bought are potable, but what comes out tastes nothing like something you’d actually want to drink. After re-filling plastic bottles for a while, I now have a pitcher system filled periodically by a beautiful 3 gallon jug with a copper handle that my boyfriend made (he’s a metal fabricator).

Kitchen:

My kitchen is wonderous. Wonderful. Wonder…empty. Well, not empty. Thought there might be another ‘wonder’ word, guess not. Would wonder-empty be the opposite of wonderful? Everything about my kitchen suits me very well. I have never a lack of counterspace, all my things are nicely organized, my dishes drip directly from my hanging rack to the sink, and I can cook anything that can be made with 2 burners. In theory.

Actually I do cook a lot now that I have someone to cook for, and my stove does a very admirable job. It smells more than I’d like it to, I think that’d be my only complaint. My boyfriend has recently introduced me to the marvel of cast iron pans and I cook mostly everything in one these days. Seriously, a pan you don’t have to wash? Sign me right the hell up.

Shower:

That shower is pretty darn great. You just have to step a little higher and squeeze a little tighter than normal, but my yellow curtains are such a nice sight from in there 🙂 I’ve barely used it since I go in the ocean every day, but it’s there for when I need it and still gets used for its bathroom sink function.

The only thing I might have done differently is to make the drain angle down somehow so the water would be better directed out. As it is now, the water ends up pooling a little on the sides.

Toilet:

Ah, my toilet. Such a lovely thing it is… It does look a little lovely, actually. I rebuilt the horrific hexagonal box around it the day before I left the driveway, out of nice 1x redwood left over from my fascia boards. I’ll have you know that wooden toilets can be quite sightly 😀 As far as function, it’s honestly not that bad. I really resented this part of my house for a while, but I have to say that it has become very ordinary to me now.

It don’t believe it to smell more than any other form of toilet would in so small a space; a little earthy if anything. Sawdust-y, you might say. I also have 3 windows at the hitch (bathroom) end of my house, and any whiffs one might want to waft away are gone within 10 minutes of their opening. Nifty, eh?

Sleeping loft:

I love my loft. I love it so much that if I have to sleep away for so much as a night I get at least a little sad. When it’s sunny in the mornings, my entire ceiling fills up with buttery yellow light that shines through the crystals in my windows and casts a thousand rainbow beads across my walls. Did I mention that there’s an ocean view from my window? It’s a small section of the ocean and there’s a house, a hill and a tree in the scene, but it’s still an ocean view and THAT is cool.

Cleaning:

I can honestly say that I’m not a very tidy person. It’s one of those things that’s followed me around my entire life and seemed to make everything I inhabit for any amount of time look like a freak hurricane passed through. Without fail, my spaces have ALWAYS been a tip. Which is why I’m so bemused that it’s not that way at all in my house. There is something about it that just makes me want to clean.

I sweep my floors, wash my dishes, scrub my counters, organize and tidy on a totally regular basis. I keep my clothes folded, I don’t throw things on the floor, and I fuss over the littlest things left out. My car? Total mess. Not likely ever to change, but my house? Golden. I’m actually quite the homemaker 😀

Expansion and more expansion:

When my darling yellow door got made, I remember one of the selling points my neighbour mentioned about the wood we used being that it was extremely dry, and therefore unlikely to warp. In the exceptionally dry climate of Frazier Park, this was totally true. No warp-age whatsoever.

Of course then I move to a soggy, coastal climate and that’s the end of that. It started out that I just couldn’t close it quite right. Then the next day I could close it and then the day after that I couldn’t get it open again. By the time I stopped procrastinating and finally got around to it, we had to cut nearly an inch off the lock side because the tongue and groove boards had expanded so much.

That meant taking out the plates, knob and lock, skilsawing the length, resetting all the hardware and putting it back up again. And sticking some seriously long screws at both ends to keep that thing from thinking it can change, ever again. Expansion sucks. The only plus side is that my floor used to squeak something terrible when you first walked in and now it’s silent as fully expanded wood with no freakin’ place to move 😀

Working on this project through the build year, I got so bogged down in the process that I think I almost forgot that when it was done it would be my home. Every time I drive in and see the tiny little A frame smiling at me with its tiny little porch light I get all proud and fuzzy.

I’ve found my house to be an unusual crossroads of exactly what I wanted and exactly what I needed. Perhaps I’m still in the honeymoon phase with Little Yellow, but I wouldn’t live in anything else for the world.