Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Don't try this at home, y'all!

I originally wrote the post below in March of 2013, but I'm updating it so that it'll come up first when you visit this page. Spoiler Alert! BaHa Ranch is now defunct - it didn't work out. I think this is the post that comes closest to explaining why it didn't work...read on for the dirty details!

So I haven't posted anything in a while. I didn't want to get on here and complain, but then, you don't really have to read this, do you? So stop reading if you don't want to hear why living in a shipping container is a very, very bad idea.

I am cold. I have been cold all winter. Luckily for us, it has been a mild winter, with days in the 60's and even in the 80's. But that doesn't stop the temperature in this semi-arid environment from dropping below freezing even if the day has been mild. Many nights have been in the 20's and 30's. And we've had our share of cold fronts, too, when it's cold around the clock. Here's what we use for heat:

It's not the most efficient wood stove out there, but it's what we could afford. And it's priceless on cold nights. See the wall behind the stove? Yep, that's just bare, un-insulated metal. So basically, the temperature inside matches the temperature outside, until we get a fire built.

There are cracks all around the pipe, because it doesn't fit flush with the wall. The duct tape we put up to solve the problem has melted in several places. So wind comes right in through the cracks. 

Then there's the original hole the we made for the pipe, which ended up being too low. Now it's a duct-tape covered cat door for Soy Sauce. And it doesn't close all the way, so wind just comes right through here, too. But the cat is happy to have her own entrance.

Additionally, it was so cold everywhere but right beside the stove, that we had to move the bed into the living room:

So it looks nowhere near as cute as it did when we first put everything together, but cuteness gave way to practicality a long time ago. I figured if anyone was actually reading this blog with the intention of building their own container home, then I had better be brutally honest about the drawbacks. 

We also have a space heater, but with all of our electricity being provided by several hundred feet of extension cords, most space heaters trip the breaker. We've tried many, many types and ended up returning them all to the store. I traded a 1500 watt ceramic heater for a 600 watt oil heater, and it is the only one that we've found that won't trip the breaker. However, 600 watts won't heat a large area, so we keep it in the bathroom (getting out of the shower can be absolutely brutal without it). Hairdryers also trip the breaker.

And speaking of bathrooms (This may be TMI for many people, but for those who think they want to live the way we are living):

We gave up on the indoor chemical toilet long ago because it was just too icky. I won't go into detail, but I'm sure you can imagine. We are now using a porta-potty. It really sucks going outside to do your business on cold, windy nights. Or in the rain.

I still get lots of "Awesome! That's so cool!" when I say I live in  a shipping container. Maybe it is, maybe it was, maybe it could be for people who know what the heck they are doing as far as construction, plumbing, electricity, and all that goes. But all I know for certain right now is that I'm cold, I have to use an outhouse, and I have to time showers around the weather. And my yearly sinus infection has taken me almost 3 weeks to get over, when it should have taken one.

But hey, my ancestors, just a few generations back, would have thought that I have it made. They would have thought my fancy fiberglass outhouse was the height of technology, my drafty cold domicile was quite cozy, and my shower was the coolest thing on earth because it provided hot water (thank God for our water heater). So I must have it in my genes somewhere to just shut up and stop complaining, and to maybe even try to look on the bright side of things.