The 25th of January is a milestone date for us. It’s our oldest son’s birthday and our one year anniversary of living in our little house that Husband built. Last year we enjoyed a birthday dinner for our son at our favorite local Chinese restaurant with the part of our family who live in our area. Afterwards, everyone came to our in-progress house and oldest son and youngest son carefully carried our new sofa sleeper from the garage into the house and placed it in the almost bedroom. We had unofficially moved in. At that time we couldn’t share much about moving into our house because technically we weren’t supposed to live in the house until the last local government inspection had been completed. So we kept a low profile about our living situation, getting by with very little so as not to raise suspicions when inspectors came during the last months of our building project. We were able to openly have a picnic table and chairs, and a cooking table with microwave and toaster oven because we explained that we spent our days working on our house and needed to eat. But the sleeping and bathing had to be concealed. Thus the hide-a-bed. What an ingenious and handy invention!
Why would we insist on living in a construction zone, you ask. Why live without hot water, a bathroom sink, or a proper kitchen? Let me note that we had a toilet and water to fill a pan to wash hands. And we had heat. Let’s just say that a year of living in an RV had taken its toll. Three MRIs in a month had kicked my claustrophobia into a raging monster and I wasn’t dealing with confinement well. Dear Husband was so compassionate that he agreed to the crazy idea of camping in our uncompleted house to get me out of the squeezing walls of the trailer. He’s my hero! It certainly put more pressure on him, but he willingly did it for my sake. Side note: none of us know for sure when we’re young and infatuated if the spouse we choose will turn out to be faithful and caring. That’s one reason to choose very thoughtfully and to ask for God’s guidance. There are no guarantees, but we can increase our chances of a good outcome. (Meeting in a place that shows your values like church, college or even better, a church college really increase your chances! A bar, on the other hand, is, as they say, a crap shoot. Remind any young person you know.)
“Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right. . . I Corinthians 15:32-34
So Husband planned strategically. There couldn’t be a hot water heater until the floor was installed. So one of the first things he did was to install floors- starting with one wall of the living area, he completed it half way till he got as far as the hallway. Then down the hall as far as the utility room where the hot water tank would be. In no time we had warm showers right in our own house.
Then farther down the hall and into our bedroom so we could have clean floors instead of dusty subfloors in our bedroom. Meaning no more dirt in the bed, ahem, sofa. The day Husband rigged up a temporary plywood counter so we could hook up a kitchen sink was another landmark. We could use glasses and real plates instead of paper!
Later came the day hired helpers and neighbors came to bring our kitchen stove and refrigerator into the house. I’ll never forget hiding my face while Husband and a willing worker strapped the fridge to their shoulders and stumbled through the deep mud between the outbuilding where we had been using our fridge and our little house. Oh, the delight of having a fridge and a stove in my kitchen! Imagine, being able to stir fry again! And not have to store the veggies and milk on the conveniently cold cement floor of the garage. Remember, it was a very cold winter. Or remember to grab the meat from the outbuilding fridge while I was doing laundry there. Which brings me to a later development… a washing machine in the house. Ha! We bought a used washer and Husband, being practical, decided he should test it outside before bringing into the house and risking a leak. It seemed advisable to test it before even unloading it out of the pick-up. So he hooked up the garden hose and brought dirty clothes from the house and proceeded to do a wash cycle in the back of the pickup. Unbeknownst to him, the contractor working on the next door house was watching. Our new neighbor reported to us later that his contractor had inquired, “Is your neighbor ok?”
And then there were doors. Much less awkward for guests to use the bathroom when there are doors! I know that family and friends deserve medals for visiting us in our trailer and during construction. We do appreciate you.
Two months after we ‘moved’ in, we got kitchen cabinets. Then began the saga of making cement countertops which you can read about here.
How many times a day do I still think, “I’m so glad we aren’t in the trailer right now.”? Every time a gust of wind slams into our strong walls and tight windows. Rock a-bye Baby sounds romantic, but the reality is that having your bed rock isn’t romantic, it’s disturbing. How often we were awakened by a forceful blast making the trailer shudder. Sometimes I had to brace myself against the kitchenette counter so I wouldn’t loose my balance while cooking. Every gloomy, rainy day in our house I’m thankful for big windows and an open living space. I’m thankful when I wash clothes in my house instead of carrying them to an outbuilding in the rain or snow. I’m thankful when I sit at my computer which isn’t on our eating table. When I load my dishwasher. When I go to bed without having to walk sideways to get in. I savor living in our own little house. I’m so thankful.
But what about the millions of people on the planet who live in much worse conditions than a clean, safe RV? They have no hope of bettering their lot. They know their situation isn’t temporary. They can’t even imagine the luxury of clean water, fuel for cooking at the turn of a knob, or a safe place to raise their children. Dear reader, I can’t explain why we’re privileged and they are not. I just know that I’m obligated to help, to be thankful and not entitled, and to use what I have for the good of others.
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.” 1 Timothy 6:17-18