I love our Garagehome. I love it more now that we bought a $239.00 dehumidifier. Who knew one mechanical device would suck approximately 12 gallons of water out of our home’s air in five days? Not us. Who knew one mechanical device would cut down on (and almost get rid of!) the oppressive layer of dust that you never actually got rid of, just swept around to different places? Not us. Who knew that one mechanical device that we had put off purchasing for roughly a year because we saw it as an unnecessarily expensive purchase would so change our quality of life that we now regard it in equal affection to our dog-children? Not us.
But the Garagehome is a little, cozy slice of sweet, quiet respite from the busy, busy world. The year that I’ve spent with Maple in the Garagehome has been a year of constantly redefining our small little space. We build, find, re-create, re-build, scrap and use pieces and parts and then re-use and re-scrap pieces and parts. (It helps that there’s the constant influx of TS goodies…)
When I first met Maple he didn’t have a sink. Or a stove. He cooked all his tasty stir-fry’s on a hot plate that didn’t get hot enough to boil water for the dishes he did in a soup pot. His teeth were brushed in a mason jar that sat by the door. (He was not, as I worry this post makes him sound, a cave troll.) There were two tables and a desk, but no chairs (excepting one rolling chair.) About three months after I met him (and promptly moved in) we graduated to a single propane burner that we pulled out of a dumpster. That little propane wonder boiled all our water and cooked all our food until I got my current job at UAF (we purchased a stove with my very first paycheck.) Want to learn patience in a hurry? Live with a single burner. You’ll realize as you’re getting up a 5:45 am because you need to boil water for coffee before you boil water to wash your hair before you leave the house at 7:30 to get to work, that all of life is encapsulated in those precious moments of quiet before the sun rises; that all that you know in this moment is the cement beneath your feet, the dogs slowly stirring and the sound of a spoon scooping out coffee…1, 2, 3, 4. OR you will spend your morning cursing the slowness of a single burner and wishing that you had a stove. Some days – clarity, some days…not so much.
I grew up in a very feminist home, that placed a lot of importance on not gendering any activities that might be viewed (by traditional society) as either feminine or masculine. But I have to admit, throw a lady into Maple’s home, and a year later…let’s just say it looks very different.
As you can see we’re not living very rough. And while it’s true that the influx of a practical neat-freak who happens to be a lady has resulted in the creation of a counter, sink and stove, it would only be fair to mention that Maple cooks, I clean (usually) and we both build.
One of my favorite things about our house is the amount of art we have as a couple. I think both Maple and myself place a lot of value on having art to hang on our walls, arrange on our windowsills and fill our lives with. When I was a little girl one of my favorite picture books was about a little old lady who lived on the beach and collected things every day. Her home was very tiny but filled with found objects that she displayed as art and driftwood furniture. The pictures showed a cluttered, cozy space, where a pot of stew was always bubbling as the wind howled around her small, cozy home. I don’t live on a beach, but when it’s -40 and the fire is hot, and something is going in the crock pot, it feels pretty close to the pictures I looked at as a little girl.