Tiny House: Miracle 

16 Oct

Confirmation that The Scooby Shack was still standing the day after the hurricane left the Treasure Coast.

The eye of Hurricane Mathew stayed off the coast of southern Florida downgrading from a category 4 to about a category 2 hurricane when it hit the treasure coast.

I had so many people; friends, family, friends of family, friends of friends, students, coworkers and strangers praying and keeping positive thoughts for my Scooby Shack. 

I was fighting the paralyzing “what if’s” I didn’t know what I’d do if I lost the camper…hotel until I could find a place to rent, stay with a friend, give up and move back home…I wasn’t in a good place.

But I had two of the most important people in the world to me telling me over and over “I know it’s going to be okay, I just have a feeling, I can feel it in my bones…”

They were right and I got lucky.

I’m not a religious person; spiritual and living my life with good morals yes, but not religious. That’s a whole other conversation. So when I say it is a miracle that I still have my Scooby Shack it’s because there is no other explanation. Winds were strong enough to rip boats out of the water across the street from me but a pair of scissors I left on the bumper and cheap flip-flops I left on the stairs were still where I left them when I got back.

Luck? Answered prayers? Happenstance?

Miracle. noun. A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.

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Tiny House: Hurricane Preparations 

10 Oct

hurricane-matthew-florida-fridayTimeline of events: 

Mom and dad left on Sunday.

Monday was a holiday for my school so I spent Monday really settling in to The Shack.

Tuesday we are back at school and at the end of an increasingly nervous day were notified that hurricane Mathew would in fact hit Florida.

Wednesday we would have an early release and no school on Thursday and Friday. I had a plane ticket back to Ohio on Thursday night (for a wedding Saturday) that was canceled.

My older sister found me a ticket out of Florida Wednesday morning so I went ahead and called off work for the early release Wednesday

I needed to prepare the camper as best I could for what was expected to be a  devastating level 4 hurricane. I had to make decisions fast. My family was doing everything they could to help me from Ohio but moving the camper wasn’t an option. I had to prepare it to stay right where it was; just a 5 minute walk from the Indian river an a mile at most from the ocean.

I spent Tuesday night racing around town trying to find boxes, I couldn’t. So I bought heavy duty plastic and duct tape. I taped the plastic on the inside and the outside of every window. If the glass was going to break maybe I could save it from the rain.

All the food in the fridge had to be thrown out, breakables moved off the walls, I sent all of my Lilly Pulitzer clothing and my computer off to my sorority big sisters house; it felt like I was shipping my children off to the country for the blitz. I unplugged the camper, moved my kayak inside, locked the door and left.

I spent the night in Orlando, the governor had succeeded in scaring the pants off of my family and I. I didn’t want to risk evacuation traffic and miss my flight. For $5 a day I was able to park at the hotel; cheaper then parking at the airport and a free bus to and from.

Landing in Ohio Wednesday afternoon felt surreal. I left a state that was looking and feeling increasingly apocalyptic an after a few hours I was safe and back with my family.

The next 24 hours were terrible. We stayed glued to the weather channel and social media keeping tabs on my friends and the area. The storm kept getting worse, public officials and the media started to tell people if they didn’t evacuate they would die and no one would come to save them…

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Tiny House: Moving 

7 Oct

The process of moving my tiny house, now named The Scooby Shack, was not without trials.

My mom and dad did the moving. The vehicle they rented to drive it down to Florida from Ohio was canceled by the company 4 days before it was set to leave. A new vehicle was acquired only to find out it didn’t have the required equipment to hitch up The Shack. A third vehicle was then found, brought back home, and hitched up to the camper.

Hours later, raining, and the lights that were working on the camper are not not working with the rental. After purchasing a light kit my parents are finally able to start making their way to Florida.

The drive went fine, but as they’re driving down here my dad notices that the alternator is starting to go out in the truck.

We are able to get The Shack put in its spot an drive the truck back to the house I was  renting, where we called the rental company who in turn called a tow truck to get it. The tow truck driver was exceptionally rude. An it took over 24 hours to get another rental to move my larger items like the bed.

We made countless trips between the house I was moving out of and The Shack taking as much as we could with Kiwi my little Kia.

We also ran into an issue with the water heater; ended up being a flaw in their instructions and not the water heater. Very long story short we figured it out. But not before having to stay in a hotel for a night because we couldn’t get the water on.

It was a very stressful couple of days but we were able to get everything set up, stabilized, organized, and clean.

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15 Years Later

11 Sep

I was 13 years old.

Tuesday morning, 8th grade at Garaway High School in Sugarcreek, OH.

The halls are lined with cream-colored lockers. Pictures and stickers are on the inside of the locker doors, one shelf holds books. There is a hook on the left where I hung my coat and a hook on the right where I hung my backpack. In a few months I will put my muddy snow boots in the bottom and wear tennis shoes the rest of the day.

This morning I’m joking with my friends. Worried about my homework and the new zit on my chin.  Classes are changing and I round a corner and head to Mrs. L.’s science class. The hall is crammed with my peers. The students who left the history classroom with Mr. M. are upset.

Something is wrong.

I see R. crying… something about a family member in New York.

Whats wrong?

We only have three minutes between class, one is not late to Mrs. L.’s class. 2015-05-25-08-36-26

Something in going on.

We do science anyway. 45 minutes in the dark.

By the time I get to history class the second plane has hit. We don’t know what’s going on.

Is this real?

What’s going on?

My mom picks me up in the little purple Geo Tracker.

Something must be wrong. I ride the bus.

We drive to get my little sister from elementary, listening to the radio.

What is happening? I don’t understand. This can’t be real.


It was real.

15 years later I’m 28 years old. I live and teach in Florida. I have students who weren’t even alive when this happened. It’s so real for me, I see pictures and feel a lump in my throat form instantly. What is so real for me is already just…history to them.


7 Sep

d6817cdf04f55857e926d3274e9e770fI replay moments over and over. Things from years ago.

I’ll replay and analyze them endlessly; scrutinizing every detail and picking apart how I could have done it better.

I save particularly bruising moments for when I really want to torment myself; when I am already sitting at the bottom of a proverbial hole, I’ll dig out a select pack of memories and replay them like a lesson I just can’t learn.

It’s true what they say: you are your own worse enemy. You are your harshest critic.

#44 Buy A Kayak & Use It!

22 Aug

IMG_2326 (1)Bucket List Item #44 Buy A Kayak & Use It!

I’ve been talking about buying a kayak since day one of living in Florida. That was a year ago.

Last week I was walking around Wal-Mart collecting my weekly stash of supplies when I saw a blue Sun Dolphin kayak on sale for about $100 less than normal…and it was the last one. I bought the roof kit months ago and I’ve been thinking about it for a while so I just went for it.

I bought a kayak….finally! And this past weekend I loaded it up and drove it to the Fort Pierce Causeway bright and early in the morning.

I’ll admit…it took me a minute to get acclimated, plus I went alone so I didn’t venture too far out of the “shallow” swimming section of the water.

IMG_2332Buying and using a kayak for the first time was awesome but…that’s not the most exciting part of this adventure. While I was out paddling around minding my own business enjoying the calm water, warm bright sun on my skin and totally lost in thought I saw something brown pop out of the water next to me and snort.


Nearly gave me a heart attack until I realized what it was. A baby sea cow; aka a manatee! She (or he) was just chillin’ on the sandy bottom. I already had momentum so I couldn’t stop and the result was I paddled right over mom. Thank goodness she didn’t decide to come up for air she could have tipped me over.

Seeing something so beautiful just out living it’s life like that completely overcame me and I started to cry. Total dork I know.

Of course I need to try to get a picture of this so I reach into the compartment behind me and get out my phone and paddle back to where I saw the mom and her baby. I was able to get a couple of pictures though admittedly they aren’t very good.

Start to finish an absolutely amazing bucket list experience!

Tiny House: Floor Rehab 

13 Aug
New floor going in.

New floor going in.

The floor in the camper wasn’t terrible, it was just cheap stick on squares. That’s fine for a part-time camper. Since I’ll be living in it for at least 8 months I want it to look really beautiful, and thinking down the road to resale nice floors are going to help get a higher price.

To start everything need to be off the floor. All tools, furniture, use a shop-vac to get it nice and clean because you’ll be down on your knees to get the old flooring ripped up off of it.

I used a pry-bar and a utility knife. The knife to cut along seams and edges and the pry-bar to slowly lift the floor off the wood sub-floor.

In this camper, at some point, someone put 12×12 squares over top of the original which was one big piece. Everything came up pretty easily, the only thing left was a thin layer of paper from the back of the original floor…I’ll be honest getting this off was a major pain, ultimately it will produce a better finished product.

I’m now all ready for the beautiful new floor, which is a vinyl plank wood look in a gray tone. This is adhered with special glue. Make sure and run your lines to follow the longest direction to help make the space feel larger. Work from the middle out, staggering your end lines.

Living in the Moment 

2 Aug

I really struggle with living in the moment. I’m constantly making lists, thinking of things I need to be or should be doing. Things for the next hour, things for tomorrow, next week, several months from now, or years down the line.

It’s important to plan and think ahead. If I do a good job preparing now perhaps my life later will be better. But I hate giving up the life I have now.

That’s what I’m doing though. I’m giving up my life now for one I could have later. I’m constantly stressed out and plotting what’s next.

I already gave up a year for the next ten and I’m about to do it again. I just hope it’s worth it…I hope that all of the years I’ve spent preparing will in fact give me better later.

Until then I really want to live in the moment and enjoy the life I have now because it’s the only guarantee.

The Tiny House: Wall Rehab 

1 Aug

img_2073The walls in campers are just standard gross. Gross texture, gross cheap thin paneling in a…you guessed it; gross wood tone somewhere between orange and sun-faded wood tones.

Spray paint is costly and time-consuming to paint all the walls. I’m about sick to death of painting after doing all the cabinets. So the idea of taping and painting the walls…no thanks. Plus everything would be a new color of boring flat monotone.

I want to add some interest to help break up all the white cabinets.

After doing some research I found a great way to add some color and interest to my walls: beachwood wallpaper.

In order to make the wallpaper look it’s best all the walls need to be striped of screws, nailed, brackets, and trim. Then take a wood filler and fill any and all holes left by what was removed.

Once that’s dry sand everything. Wood paneling is essentially plastic so adding a little rough texture will help the wallpaper stick.

After sanding everything wash all the walls. Nothing will stick to a layer of dust.

Follow the steps that come with the wallpaper and your result will be extra interest, color, texture, and character in a small space!

I did two walls with this paper and brush painted two others a coordinating blue color. I finished the whole look off by painting spray the window trim white.

Tiny House: The Next Great Adventure

27 Jul

img_1984Forgot to post this!

After extensive consideration and introspective contemplation I’ve decided this next year I’m going to join the small living, simple living movement; more commonly referred to as “tiny homes”.

At first I thought I’d build a tiny house from the wheels up. My family certainly has the know how to tackle such a project. But those houses have a tendency to be quite pricy as well as heavy for transporting realistic livable space.

I’m single with no indications of that situation changing, I have a good job but a limited income, I want the freedom to go wherever I want without major ties such as a lease and lots of “stuff”. With all of that I still want a place of my own…something I can make feel welcoming, where I can host movie nights or visitors. Location is important to me; I want to be near work and the beach.

That’s a tall order.

My solution? A camper. I know it’s a little strange but it answers all of my desires: no lease, my own space to make cozy, room for guests, I’ll park it at a site between the beach and my place of work so everything I do and need most will be within four or five miles, the space rent is the most affordable option  by half for the area and the purchase price and updates of the used camper is equal to first/last/deposit. This will allow me to save more money and have more freedom.

Bonus: when I am done with it I can sell it for a profit.

Unconventional…yes but I’m exceptionally excited about this next adventure.