As long-time readers will recall, back in April of 2020, I was living in my van, parked in the street outside my friend Suzanne’s house. The pandemic was raging, the great isolation was on, and I was not exactly enjoying van life. Vans are great when you’re going places. When you’re sitting still, they’re… less great. Anyway, Suzanne had, in her back yard, a renovated garage. Her stepson had been living there, but he’d moved out. Let’s see if I can show you some pictures from back then…
It had a few problems: no heat, no hot water, and the vivid orange was not a color I could live with. All solvable problems! By June of 2020, I was cozily ensconced in the freshly-painted tiny house, newly named Serendipity. A few more pictures:
In the summer of 2021, I finally moved back into my van, but as I headed east, I realized that I really didn’t want to drive anymore. I loved Serenity, the van, but I also loved Serendipity and Arcata and sitting still. By the beginning of August, I’d sold Serenity and was hopping on a plane to come back to Arcata for good.
But as wonderful as Serendipity was/is, living full-time in a space so small posed some challenges. First and most significant, the sink was a bar sink, suitable for washing a few glasses, impossible for washing anything large. My cooking options were limited anyway, but even using the Instant Pot was a hassle, because I needed to run into Suzanne’s house to wash it. I’d bought one of those Ninja Everything cooking tools — an oven, an air-fryer, a toaster, a dehydrator, all-in-one! — but the pans for it wouldn’t fit into the sink, so I rarely used it.
Challenge #2, clutter. As you can see from the above pictures, everything I owned was out in the open. In those pictures, it’s not such a big deal, because I had an enormous closet (aka, the van) parked right outside and most of my belongings stayed in the van. But when I moved into Serendipity permanently, everything I owned moved in here with me. The shelves were overloaded, the cubes overflowing. I tried to stay organized, but there was only so much I could do. Ruthlessly culling my possessions could only take me so far.
Challenge #3 wasn’t actually a challenge, but an opportunity. The floor in Serendipity was wood laminate and when Serendipity was unheated (when Suzanne’s son lived here), it had gotten damaged by the damp. They thought then that it was water seeping up from the ground, but I think it was probably just Arcata’s climate. S had warned me that the floor would feel cold and wet & that there was no point in putting rugs down because they’d get moldy, but with the heat on, that never happened to me. So I didn’t think it was an ongoing problem. But if we were going to try to solve Challenges #1 & 2, it seemed like a good opportunity to solve #3, too.
Challenge #4, also not a real challenge. But I hated the bathroom floor because I could not get it clean. It was just impossible. The dirt was ground in. No matter how hard I scrubbed, it looked dirty. The dirt didn’t come off, so it wasn’t like I was walking in mud puddles every time I dripped water on the floor after a shower, but still, it felt dirty to me and I’m not a huge fan of dirt.
So, the solution/plan: a new kitchen sink, a real countertop, cabinets for storage, and a new floor for the entire place, including the bathroom.
We began two weeks ago, by tackling the storage shed, cleaning it out and making space for all of my possessions to go into it. (Along the way, we found leftover laminate for the bathroom floor and I discovered that what I thought was dirt was actually the pattern of the laminate. Ha. I went back into Serendipity and studied the bathroom floor and realized yes, what I thought was “dirt” was actually patterned. Somehow my scrubbing had never made that clear to me. Oh, well. TBH, I’m glad we’d already purchased the new flooring and that I didn’t know it could be returned, because the new floor is soooo much nicer.)
Ten days ago, Suzanne helped me move my mattress into her house and then headed off on a trip. I then moved all the rest of my belongings, either into her house or into the shed. Last week, the old floors, sink, shelves and cabinets were removed, and then new ones installed. This weekend, I moved all my stuff back in. So!
As I look over this blog post, I feel like I could have done a much better job with all the current photos: the cutting board still had the plastic wrap on; the light wasn’t the greatest; there’s some random clutter, like the bright red tupperware top sitting on the countertop. And I actually redid my bins in the closet so that the colors are nicer (because I had extra bins leftover after getting rid of one set of cubes.) If I was an interior designer or a realtor, I’d definitely stage my pictures better. But I’m neither of those things and this isn’t a blog trying to sell anyone on new cabinets, just the explanation for why I mentioned moving last week!
In other news, I’m exhausted. Ha. But recovering now that I’m back in Serendipity and not lugging my belongings around, and looking forward to some fun cooking now that I can clean-up, and some productive days now that my own clutter isn’t stressing me out!
In Luck news, I’ve sold 23 copies and it looks like maybe 2 people have read via Kindle Unlimited. Not bestseller list #s, that’s for sure, but I am deeply grateful for the 25 of you who’ve bought me a cup of coffee, and I hope you enjoy/ed Laurel and Niall’s story!