Last month, with abundant self-compassion and humoUr, I questioned the wisdom of an overly hand washing worrier with OC tendencies to throw herself into tiny house living. Between the farmhouse and the tiny house, I find plenty to worry about. I find plenty of reasons to wash my hands.
Unfamiliar or out of practice with a gas cooktop, propane tanks, a PV system, and a woodstove, I assumed my paranoia with the tiny house would be explosion and fire. Not at all! My challenge is where the bacteria and bugs may lurk—not contaminating the fresh water tank when filling from the hose, relying on the well water pumped from the scary farmhouse basement, managing the graywater tank, tweaking the composting toilet medium to get it to the care-free state reflected in the youtube videos.
My suspicion of bacteria stems from food poisoning in 2001 that had me down for the count for four days. The cause: tainted non-local strawberries. I love fresh strawberries but wouldn’t eat them for years afterwards. Working in a restaurant kitchen twenty years ago, proper hygiene was engrained. After ordering a hot drink or smoothie at a counter these days, I often turn away, knowing I’ll probably enjoy the drink more if I don’t see it being made.
No one is more familiar with my idiosyncrasies than MAC who has visited, camped, hiked, backpacked, and road tripped with me. At the one dodgy motel we stayed in on the road trip east this year (my vote was to sleep in the car, but MAC and Greta (17 year old cat) overruled), I removed the “bedspread” and slept on top of the bed in my clothes with a jacket for a blanket. We laughed a lot but even MAC wouldn’t take a shower there.
There was recently a headline on a reputable Canadian news site about catching bed bugs from airplane seats. I chose not to read it. I might feel vindicated but also never get in a seat on public transportation again.
For the tiny house, I’d received some helpful tips from Dawn, an experienced tiny house dweller. After mentioning I was frustrated with myself already for silly mistakes, she commented about the opportunity to work with our triggers.
Oh … of course.
I was planning for the tiny house to be a peaceful place for meditation. I didn’t realize that the tiny house, along with the farmhouse and the rural location, would all be such a big part of my Buddhist practice: giving me plenty of opportunities to examine my reactive emotions to challenges, missteps, surprises, and bugs*. I think living in the tiny house, renovating the farmhouse and property, and building a vegetable garden next year will help to break some of the OC tendencies which no longer serve me—because they cannot be sustained here and because I am already very very tired of them in a way I haven’t been before. And unless I break them, this is not living simpler.
*Bugs don’t generally bother me BUT if just one flying insect (I’ve had house flies, fruit flies, black flies, no-see-ums, bees, lady beetles, moths, and mosquitos) gets through the door and into the tiny house, it is always in the same room with me. I remind them that they have such a short life span that they should go have an adventure outside but they do not listen. A June Bug in here in the spring will really push the button.
- PV: photovoltaics. Tiny house is mainly sun-powered.
- MAC: mon amie Caroline.