Sharing Sweet Pea with my Sweetie

Lina & Matthew with Umbrella Man

Matthew and me visiting Portland’s Umbrella Man

If you’re looking for a good way to test out a new romantic relationship, let me suggest spending a week together in a tiny house on wheels. I moved into my Home, Sweet Pea at POD49 back in August. I’m in a walkable neighborhood, I have great neighbors, and the house really is sweet as can be.

So I’ve loved living here… all by myself, anyhow!

I’ll admit I was nervous about the prospect of my new significant other sharing my tiny house with me for a week. Matthew’s housemate’s mom was in town so we decided that Matthew should stay with me so that she could stay in his room. Since I was rather honeymooney and didn’t want to be away from him, it sounded like a good idea to me. I figured it would be a good make-or-break experience.

One of my favorite things about Matthew is one of his favorite things about me: we both live our politics. Matthew has been impressed by my fascination (okay, okay obsession) with space-efficient design. He thinks it’s cool that I live in a tiny house on wheels. He is impressed that I’m compiling a series of ADU Case Studies. So I was really looking forward to sharing the Little Life with him.

Matthew & Raffi

Raffi loved the extra attention from Matthew!

The day before Matthew was going to temporarily move in with me it occurred to me that if I was going to move in with someone else for a week, I’d really like to have a place for my Stuff – especially in a tiny home where there’s a place for everything so everything can be in its place. I also realized that if I was going to live in a teeny, tiny house with someone else for the long-run it would be best to go into the adventure together, rather than trying to shoehorn someone else into my tiny space. The couples I know who have moved into a tiny house together (like Tammy & Logan) tend to do pretty well, but the ones who have one person move in with the other seem to struggle a bit more. (If you’re doing either, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section!)

Now the thing is, even though Sweet Pea is spacious, I’d already done a pretty good job of filling up the closet, drawers, and storage space under the window seat. (And this is after spending nearly a year being very conscientious about my possessions during My 200 Things Challenge!) On the Packing Lightly vs. Packing Densely continuum, I tend towards density. So I had a hard time figuring out a place for Matthew to put his Stuff. I ended up clearing out a bit of the closet so that he could put his clothes in there and tucking away a pair of my shoes so that he would have a place for his. I figured we were pretty well set for everything else since I have a well-stocked kitchen and his extra toothbrush had already migrated to my place.

I was ready for my sweetie to move in.

DSC02121

We had a Snow Day in the Tiny House – how cozy!

But the next morning I discovered that my hose had frozen. Now this had happened to me twice when I was living in Bayside Bunglow, but this time we were in for a longer cold snap. I called Matthew and warned him that we’d be living without running water for a few days. “Oooh! An adventure!” he exclaimed and instantly won himself brownie points.

Matthew showed up with a bag of clothes, his coffee maker, his favorite frying pan, and a pair of slippers. Now that, I thought, is my kind of man! He found places for his things and did his best to make himself at home in my wee abode. Two days later, we had a Snow Day in the Tiny House.

We settled into a bit of a routine. We both had days we were out of the house all day long and we managed to alternate them enough that we both had time home alone. My cat was delighted to have such constant companionship. We also made a point to get out of the house together so we wouldn’t feel cooped up because of the cold. We took turns cooking warm tasty dinners and doing dishes afterwards. We watched TV shows on my laptop sometimes and read to each other evenings. Sometimes one or both of us would be out for the evening. One night we even hosted a dinner party for five friends. Matthew borrowed my neighbor’s oven to cook a pork roast with apples and potatoes and my friends brought salad, cobbler, wine, and ice cream. It was quite the feast!

Dinner Party for 6

We even hosted a dinner party with friends!

With two of us here the house wasn’t as cold as it would have been if I’d been here alone. But not having running water was more inconvenient when there were two of us. It gave me a chance to reflect on Simple vs. Intentional Living. (It was also nice at the December Tiny House Mixer to find out other tiny housers were in the same predicament.) We hauled water from the BIG House every day. I showered at my neighbors’ place and Matthew showered at school. My neighbors were gracious about loaning us their space heater and letting us doing dishes at the BIG House. I even used the dishwasher after the dinner party. That was really exciting since I hadn’t lived with a dishwasher since I was in college!

Matthew was a good sport about living in a tiny box with no running water for a week. All in all, we got along just fine. He still likes that I live my politics. I’m more smitten with him than ever before. But whenever someone finds out Matthew lived with me in a tiny house for a week and asks how that was, Matthew laughs and says, “Well… it was during the cold snap so we didn’t have any running water” and inevitably the other person winces.

So here’s my advice:

If you’re trying to convince someone that tiny house living is simple, don’t pick the coldest week of the year to show them how it’s done!

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