Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Roadtrip, The Workshop, The Latest BANina Split...

(Nina reporting...)
WOW...this post has just been hanging out, waiting to be finished and published.
I figured I'd better get to it so that we're not TOO far behind.  Yeesh!
I'll add pictures later...pictures make everything better.

The Roadtrip to Minnesota:
As far as truck problems go, all that I had to do this time around was put some Gorilla tape on an errant windshield wiper. That's it. BA's new truck ran like a champ. (YAY!)
The drive up was so smooth that all we had to concentrate on was having fun. We stopped before we arrived at our destination and parked in an industrial area where there was very little traffic and we could sort of... regroup. I washed the windows and worked on the interior of the tiny house...plus we organized the truck a little bit. A colleague of BA's (from her legal life) was wanting to see us and came to have a tour.  After tidying up, we headed toward our events in Olathe, Kansas (at the Garmin International compound-  two separate events on the same grounds). We are so grateful to Garmin for rolling out the red carpet...I mean..WOW. (Thanks Brad! Thanks Mark!) The first event was to meet the Garmin employees and they toured (and I got a Garmin tour...what a fantastic place!) and then the Kansas City Tiny House Collective event was later the same night. Its always fun at meetups and these people had alerted the media...another great interview for BA!  That evening we enjoyed the company of Shannon, one of BA's old pals. We had a fun night at Cafe Gratitude and laughed and talked and then Shannon put us in an Uber. My first Uber! (She was nice and we were only her second ride).

The most awesomest thing? GarminBrad loaned us an RV660... a navigational device that he programmed with the total weight, length and height of our rig so that  it would be like "HOLD UP! YOU DON'T WANT TO GO THERE! YOU'LL LOSE YOUR RIDGE CAP!"  (and really, it doesn't say that...it says "LEAVE THE ROAD"  which is just as scary as it is comical).  We had a few times where the red circle/slash appeared and scared us... I hadn't gotten that far in the manual yet BUT it was fairly easy to figure out as I went along. And to its credit, if we didn't HAVE to go down the lil' country lane for the workshop...we totally would have LEFT THE ROAD...it wasn't the best of roads for the tiny house to go down.
The RV660 was a spectacular toy for us to try out...and boy did we. It is better than any Garmin I've owned in regards to the information it provides...and thankfully it is WAY more reliable than our phone apps when it came to staying connected while we were out in the boonies. We didn't just enjoy it, we RELIED on it at times. Did we say thank you to GarminBrad? Yes, but NOT ENOUGH.   That baby was precious.

We went on to Minneapolis by nightfall to stay the night with another of BA's friends, "Minnesota Kelly" is how I know her and I've only met her on Facetime once. Her family welcomed us and we got to relax and play with their new puppy. It's fun to see the faces on people who have been anticipating seeing BA's house for so long...and so priceless. After a restful time there, we were off to Brainerd to stay with BA's sister (Janice) for a few days. One day, BA took me to Nisswa, a charming little town of shops that lined the main street. We visited Kelly's parents at their cabin (gorgeous cabin and lakeviews) and I was able to see many of the lakes that makes this the land of 10,000 lakes. BA drove me around Brainerd and I saw where she went to high school, where she sold corn in the summers, where she trudged through snow in winters... I think that's why I came back to Texas with some homesickness for NorCal... seeing that connectedness that BA had to Brainerd, the roots of her life began there. I was also introduced to Menards, Fleet Farm and a few other local stores that were truly...midwest. At the local farmer's market I found some natural bug repellant and anti-itch sprays. I got to meet BA's parents and Janice's friends and family and BA and I were able to load up on food and beverages for the workshop. We were told there would be food provided but, as vegans, we know that we need to provide backups because otherwise we'll be given apples, oranges and salad and that's about it. We got LUCKY and were able to find Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada out on the edge of nowhere too!  (Take note GarminBrad, if the RV660 can check the inventory for who carries favorites like Prairie Organics Cucumber Vodka in the vicinity, then it would be perfect!).

Oy.  where do I begin? While we were at Garmin, BA had gotten an email from Facebook saying that she was in violation of ... something. They shut her down. She didn't exactly have the time to figure out what they wanted her to do (in their lengthy email) and so she shelved it. We thought she would have time to deal with it during the downtimes at night at the workshop. Turns out you need wifi...something we didn't have while at the workshop.

This workshop was VERY different than any that BA had ever been in. Here, she would be presenting & hosting tours of her tiny house and helping build...not hosting or organizing it. She usually has all the pre-workshop welcome packets to send out, has all the skinny on the participants so that she can go into it already knowing a bit about who and where everyone is coming from. This was just...different. The workshop was being hosted by a husband and wife at their home/business site and BA got the list of participants names (and their home state) on a piece of binder paper when we arrived.  The wifi was only available to me if I sat in a specific chair in a specific room in the main house...BA's worked for about 3 seconds a day...so really, not at all. We had electrical and water but no internet in the tiny house. That was a challenge. BA's facebook problems would have to wait...another 5 days.
My role at this one was just as BA's entourage I suppose. I wasn't slated to speak and my social media hands were pretty tied with the limited access we had. (Man, that SUCKED).
I had taken a stack of "Thank You" cards to work on while there and we set up a canopy/mosquito netting/tent for me to be safe from the mosquitoes. I had also purchased mosquito-repellant bracelets (one for each ankle and wrist), yard guard, deet spray, citronella candles and a bug zapping tennis racquet thing.  BA laughed at the bug zapping racquet and got one as a joke for BuilderDaniel. After seeing them in use, WE had the last laugh as she made sure to get one on the next trip to Fleet Farm. HA!
I was introduced to THE largest mosquitoes I've ever experienced, the loudest and most persistent deer flies and horseflies that were angry and intent on feasting on humans and not deer or horses. They were SO LOUD!

Daniel got to the workshop after we did and was taken aback at the list of materials (and tools) that were needed for the build and hadn't been purchased yet. He said he needed to make a materials run and so off we went.  It was NOT a short trip.  He's used to having a big box store nearby... that was NOT the case on this build. It was troubling... multiple trips to multiple smaller hardware stores (also a long ways away) were a daily occurence. NOT ideal.

The first morning of the workshop was a bit of a weird thing... Daniel and BA had the participants go around the room and introduce themselves a bit and then when that was done, the hosts introduced themselves, and then the woman introduced Daniel, and EVEN ME...and then sort of left BA to introduce herself. It was awkward and seemed like a big slight. I don't know if the participants noticed but Daniel, BA and I sort of side-eyed each other and gulped.  Onward.  I won't mention the bear, the bunks, the difficult...  yeah.. Onward.  We got through it by just doing what we could when it came to schedule and participants needs and NO internet.  My best analogy for this workshop experience is that it felt like we were in a freakin' potato sack race and when it was over, we fell across the line and just tried to untangle our feet.  BA was a star, Daniel accomplished what he could with the build and we met some great people who had traveled a long way.  On the last day we got out of there and back up to Brainerd to have a dinner, margaritas and try to get back to normal.  The next day was BA's birthday and so we turned in and spent the day placing her tiny house in the yard and organizing...well..everything...and then went to have dinner and drinks on a lakeside. It was a great way to celebrate another year marker for BA.  Then?  I left with Daniel..roadtrip!!! We crossed a couple of states and ended up in Colorado where he dropped me off at the airport and I flew back to Dallas.   It all buttoned up quite nicely there at the end.  (Flying back meant I left my bug zapper behind. boo. )

SINCE being back... my tiny house has come a bit further.  We had left it with zip roof, a back-up of 30# felt and Tyvek.   When I came back we worked from 6am-10am (and past that on a couple of days) to get framing done on the gable ends and the skylight. We had a Sunday workday (that came together as a surprise! I mentioned  I was going to be working out there and more and more of my peeps said they could help! Nice!)  I have some stellar help. Gosh.  The following week my skylight went in, fascia boards went up and then the roof went on. It is starting to really look like a house!  It's crappy that BA isn't here to share in the big moments (like when the skylight went in or the roof...big deals).  And again, those milestone moments could not have been reached without my DFW tiny house peeps.

What's coming up:
BA is in Minnesota and will have events scheduled up there during the summer, check out her website page for events.
Nina will be deciding on siding (seriously...cannot decide!!!) and windows and the french doors go in next. Then Siding. Then the interior can get the electrical and plumbing systems put in, then insulation (Roxul) and ... then I move in!  Ha! no...but...I'll probably want to.
Most of the people that are into tiny houses are on their way to Colorado Springs for the Tiny House Jamboree....  BA will be kicking it off by speaking on Friday morning at 10am.
Nina will be here doing tiny house stuff (although many of her DFW peeps will also be gone to Colorado).  There's plenty to do here for me and probably the only valid reason for someone to not attend the Jamboree is because they are actively building on theirs, right?
I hope to see lots of fun pictures and hear stories about how it all went. It's got over 10K people set to attend.   Like crowds much?   Eeks!

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