This the second post in my series about our interactions with our local building inspector and the steps we took to get a Certificate of Occupancy thereby making our tiny house a legal single-family dwelling.
Read the first part of the story here.
This post is a compilation of excerpts from my weekly letters on December 23, 2012 and December 30, 2012.
“It takes courage to put ourselves out on the page, but it is better to be in reality than in denial. Reality is a place to start something. Denial is a place where something is already going on that we do not want to see and be a part of even though we are.”
- Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper
When the certified letter arrived from the Building Department, I knew what it would say. My heart started pounding so hard that I was sure the mail woman could hear it. She was kind and charming and talked about how special Christmas was with her children. She wished me a happy Christmas; I smiled and wished her the same, but I’m sure I had an absent stare. Once she drove down the hill, I tore open the letter and all I could see was “violation”.
I don’t violate things.–That’s my story. If I hadn’t devoured Daring Greatly by Brene Brown today, I’d be feeling a major shame storm right now. But instead, I’m being kind to myself. I’m breathing deep and practicing gratitude. I’m feeling scared and sad, but I’m not trying to numb the feelings. I’m “leaning into the discomfort,” as Brene says the Wholehearted do. Dammit, I’m a Wholehearted person! I fill with joy even as tears well up in my eyes. I don’t know what will happen, but I know that we have acted in the best way we could through this whole process.
Karl will talk with the inspector on Monday. I’m incredibly lucky to have Karl—his courage and confidence hold me up when I’m crippled with fear. I pray that we can work around this challenge with grace and connection.
If nothing else, we can buy an old travel trailer and live in that until the “big” house gets built. How’s that for irony? Of course, we’ll be working some magic. Ah, life.
Try it. Next time you are faced with fear and vulnerability, take five minutes to write out a gratitude list.
I’ve been hammering together the big house with Karl. When I’m out there pounding nails, I feel good since we’re moving toward what we want. But then I come back into the tiny house and worry that someone is going to take it away from me. The thought of losing this sweet little life is heart-wrenching. Yuck. At Christmastime, no less. Many are struggling with a very dark time, and I feel the pain of the world. This makes me feel totally interconnected and humbled. There is unexpected joy in being present for life’s difficulties.
I confess, I am in tears right now. Because I don’t know if we can keep living here. Maybe we can. I am hopeful, but maybe we can’t. Karl spoke with the building inspector who says we need a structural engineer licensed in the State of Virginia (a third party) to certify that our home is structurally sound. It is. We followed the International Building Code. Karl is the most fastidious guy I know. We lived through the sustained winds of hurricane Sandy’s outer bands, a derecho, and several ice/snow storms.
The house is solid, but our inspector doesn’t know that. I appreciate him, as he is being quite reasonable to work with us on this. He could have said a flat-out “No.” But he didn’t; he gave us an option.
Our search is on for our engineer.
One more post in the series. Stay tuned.
Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration you all give us. We are so grateful for this community.
Another tiny house family starts the legal process.–Check out Drew’s bravery here.