Some folks already know the back-story: in July of 2016, we sold our home in town in order to meet our goal of living on the ten-acre property we call Grove Ladder Farm. There was no house on the pasture at the time, but there was a very sizable garage that we decided to transform into our future home. As we waited for that project to take off, we lived at my mom’s beautiful place for four months. Then God re-shuffled the deck again, and it became clear that living on the farm sooner rather than later would be better for our family. So we decided to purchase a 1988 Airstream fixer-upper: her butterstick yellow color earned her many nicknames, most notably Her Royal Twinkieness. (I prefer to lie about her age so that she and I share the most holy birth year of 1987.)
Sometime in November of 2016, I wrote a lovely post about preparing for a peaceful, mystical Advent. Well. My Advent was absolutely not as mystical as I had hoped, unless of course you count the deeply mystical experience of pooping in the frigid moonlight. (While we did have an indoor shower and sink, our Airstream has no toilet so we relied on an outdoor sawdust commode. I’m a true Floridian, and there were some winter mornings that were so cold that I felt certain I would find a whitewalker using the outhouse before me. Sometimes it was like, 50 degrees, you guys. ALSO THE NIGHT IS DARK AND FULL OF TERRORS.)
Moving on: one of the first things you’ll notice about these images is the Christmas decor. I took these photos in early December, with the hopes of sharing them here on the blog. As it turned out, it was much wiser to keep our living scenario hush-hush (who knew it wasn’t legal to live in one of things temporarily?! Certainly not me!) so the images were soon forgotten. We also had no wifi during our time in the Airstream, which made updating the blog a major challenge for a mother who only steals time to write late at night.
At the time that I took these pictures, I was pretty stoked about living in our Argosy. What an adventure it would be! And it was truly an adventure. Although not exactly in the way that I expected.
I’ll lead with the aspects of Airstream-living that I loved:
- My household chores took less than 15 minutes. Sweep, wipe, done.
- The only belongings we had were the ones we truly needed and truly used. No clutter whatsoever.
- It is always gorgeous in Southwest Florida during the months of December, January, February and March, which means my kids were outdoors most of the time. The month of April was tolerable but decidedly less cool and therefore less fun.
- Our kids ate most of their meals at the outdoor picnic table, so when spills happened, it was a non-issue.
Now for the hard stuff:
- For me, it was extremely hard to accept that I couldn’t make my Airstream look like a Pinterest Airstream. I have so many ideas! Why can’t my Airstream be perfectly boho-chic, with crisp white walls and splendid leather poofs to perch upon!
- The humidity was annoying. This is Florida, so even during the cold months things are definitely damp, especially first thing in the morning. If you left your shoes outside by the door, for example, you would find them soaked. Or if you hoped to sit outside with a cup of coffee, you would need to dry everything off first.
- No bathtub. I don’t take as many baths as I would like in this season of life, but I do like to put my kids in the tub daily, mainly because it keeps them so blissfully occupied. We ended up bathing the kids in a feed trough from time to time but it was annoying to fill with the hose and wasn’t easy to drain.
- No toilet. 3 children.
- No A.C. This only became a problem at the very end when the weather began to heat up, and then suddenly it was a big one. I ended up spending long days at the mall play area to soak up a little cold air.
- No wifi. While I like a good screentime cleanse as much as the next gal, it was a bummer that I couldn’t post to the blog, or research things when I wanted to (i.e., what to do in case of snakebite).
- Tiny-ness. Every time I would stand in a normal-sized living room, or wash a dish in a standard kitchen sink, it felt like my wings could finally unfold. Real talk: if it were just me and Tim, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But “tiny living” with three tiny children was hard AF.
In the end, our Airstream adventure pushed me to recognize my privilege. I realized that every modern home I had lived in up until that point had been a small palace of comfort. I had to deal with some ugly parts of myself, the parts that felt entitled to my first world lifestyle of A.C. and indoor plumbing. I’d like to believe that I always met the challenges with grace: often that wasn’t true. To make the challenge even more interesting, we also attended RCIA during this time. If you don’t know what RCIA is, I will summarize.
Me: I think we want to become Catholic. Like, officially.
Church: That’s what you think.
Me: No, really. We do.
Church: Alright but you better be ready to jump these hoops.
ME: How many hoops?
Church: NINE MONTHS OF HOOPS. Then you’ll be Confirmed. Then there will be hoops forever after that. MANY HOOPS ALWAYS.
Me: Don’t you want to make this easier for us? We are special millennials.
Me: Do you want to make this easier for us because we have three kids under five years old? Getting to RCIA every week is kinda hard.
But we survived. And now we are now are special millennial Catholics moving into a real home, with wifi and rugs and A.C. and lots, lots, lots of gratitude.
Stay tuned for photos!