Camping in the Cottage
Our little Cottage is nearly 100 years old-- naturally it’s going to suffer the aches and pains of age. With hot, dry summers, obnoxious termites (they seems to be everywhere in Venice), and wet winters, the wood here has been through quite a bit. So it was no shock to us when we recently discovered some structural damage in the wall of our bedroom.
After we cleared the hurdles of assessing for mold (luckily there was hardly any,) and talking with West’s physicians about potential negative health impacts from exposure by proximity (thankfully they determined that there was nothing to worry about), we settled in for weeks of camping in the main room of our tiny house while the repairs took place in the bedroom.
While I don’t want to live in an even smaller space, it was actually fascinating to experiment with 2/3 of the square footage to which we’re accustomed. We definitely still needed our closet, but we found ourselves doing just fine without the bookshelf and the dedicated bedroom.
Don’t get me wrong— I love our bookshelf and built-in bed, and I much prefer to have and enjoy them. But Adam and I found ourselves chatting about Murphy beds and trundles, and envisioning a way we could make-do in the living room / office for longer if we had to.
The biggest downside to the displacement within our home was that our mattress temporarily consumed nearly all the floorspace in the main room. There was only a narrow path remaining between the desk and mattress, and the front doors pressed into the bed each time we entered / exited. (When possible, we dragged the mattress into the bedroom and propped it up in there so it would be out of the way during the day.)
But the notable upside was our increased interaction with one another. It was a tough month for each of us for different reasons, but being inches away from each other sparked even deeper communication and observation, which was helpful at this moment in all of our lives.
Another upside was that our limited space encouraged us to do even more of what we love during daylight. We canoed. We used the bikes constantly. We took more trips to the beach and the library.
We stopped by small businesses we love here in Venice, and swapped stories with friends and colleagues.
Adam and West visited museums, playgrounds, climbing gyms, and more.
And we resumed the 2nd part of our outdoor makeover, as we were spending so much time out in the garden.
We are wrapping up the repairs this week.
Looking back, while the experience certainly wasn’t convenient, is wasn’t without some unexpected benefits. As such, I’m weirdly grateful for it. (And it’s a given that West’s clean bill of health after medical review was the most important part of the whole situation.)
As I shared on Instagram: Our house isn’t perfect. We aren’t anywhere near perfect. Our attempts to shift habits to improve our health and lighten our impact on the planet aren’t perfect. I never want to make it sounds as though everything is golden all the time... but it’s all about perspective. Is dragging the mattress through our tiny house (and through dog hair tumbleweeds) the stuff of Instagram dreams? Nah. But is our home standing and our family safe? Yes. Mattress on the floor or not, we are the absolute luckiest. It’s not about perfection. And it’s not about candy-coating the negative bits either. It’s about recognizing what actually matters, being grateful, and giving back.