All this talk, lately, about this little house of ours, and I haven't told you the backstory, have I? Not really, no.
Here begins a series of words that will take you back to the beginning, lead you up through the middle, and place you right here beside me, now. Sound good?
I drew a pencil line across the paper, exactly eight feet long, in quarter-inch scale.
The vision of this wall and its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves flashed onto the screen of my mind like a slide in a projector. Yes, this would work: three feet for the width of the hall, plus two feet for the ship-ladder staircase, yes, that would leave the perfect length for the bookcase wall, which would also be just right for the bathroom on the other side.
Each wall, in turn, slid across the screen, and I drew them down in that shallow winter light: a bump-out for the sofa; another on the facing wall for a window seat at the end of the dining table. Opposite the bookshelves, stretching across the gable-end wall, would be the kitchen. A simple kitchen, just over thirteen feet long, all of it.
I tapped the end of the pencil at my lips.
Then sketched some more.
Under a shower of ideas, necessities, graphite dust, and eraser crumbs, a little house was forming. A cabin, if you will.
Born from the thought that maybe, just maybe, we could one day build a house debt free, we had long ago begun a conversation of outside-the-box ideas about what a stepping stone dwelling to that debt free house might be – Sailboat? Cabin? RV? It all seemed far fetched and a little off-your-rocker, especially since we were a family of five living under a mortgage, under possessions, and under unspoken expectations. But still, the thought lingered, the ideas mounted, the conversation continued.
And we weren’t sure it would ever happen.
Dreams seem to tantalize just beyond reach, sometimes for years - the antithesis of angst and intrigue. With crossed arms, you wonder if it wouldn't be better for those dreams to just disappear and leave you alone with ordinary.
Then came fall, 2011.
After languishing for two years, the mortgaged house sold, the rental lease was up, the summertime care-taking position was over. It was time. Time to either fly or fall with these cross-grain ideas of living small and debt free. Only thing was, we weren’t exactly sure how.
All we knew?
Since Wyoming is home, a sailboat was out.
Update: You may follow the story to Part 2 here.