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One: Eventually

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

The last time Dave told me, “It’ll take two seconds.” was about an hour and a half ago. It was also about the hundredth time he had turned this phrase since we started our tiny house on wheels venture nearly a year ago. Now, 90 minutes into our current two-second job, pulling up the floorboards of a water-logged section of our bathroom floor on a snow-driven winter afternoon, I reminded Dave that I’ve heard this clip before. He laughs. He thinks hard labor is funny. Me, I’m a back-office kind-a-guy; this job was missing a desk and a computer. This was no laughing matter, and my griping made that abundantly clear.

Dave and I started Camped Inn officially in April 2022. The idea behind our tiny house -- located on Sundial Farm in Westchester County just north of New York City -- was to offer a one-of-a-kind, off-the-grid experience to guests. Sustainability, at the heart of our mission, is the focal point. A solar generator powers the house, a bin for food scraps, and a compost toilet are among the obvious signs of a sustainability-driven concept. It’s a small-dose model of ecological grace; an attempt to balance our real-world consumption vs. our desire to protect the earth and our environment. The home itself is a minimalistic effort, as best we know how. It’s a tiny house for one. 170 square feet with a loft. Everything has a reason for being there, and each has a place.

Take Dave and me.

Dave is a landscape designer whose company plants native habitats to help support overall biodiversity. He drives a truck and can fix stuff. Like leaky pipes seeping water through bathtub grout and under floorboards. He knows what a camshaft in a car does and presumably how it works. (Whatever, dude.) He grew up near Rochester, NY with a Christmas tree and can bait a hook and catch a fish and does so for fun. (Huh?)

I’m a high school guidance counselor and know how to post videos on Instagram. I like buying ceramics and air plants on Etsy and can use Excel for more than creating columns and rows. I grew up in Kingston, NY where congregant Abe Hirschfeld once told me after my Bar Mitzvah that my Haftorah rendition was inspired, and he was 97. Men of that age don’t lie knowingly.

On the floor of the bathroom, we’re folded up in between the sink and the shower and the toilet, dirty, damp rags and various hardware around us. Dave is using tools that have fancier names than “Phillips Head”, and I’ve been given jobs generally designed for small children. “Hold this here. Tighter, Jesus!” The rest of the time I look quizzically at the action pretending – poorly – to offer any semblance of insight. The Scientific Method I know not of.

As usual, the job got done with Dave happily slapping my back and shoulders. “See, I told you, two seconds!” he crowed. I learned a while ago that “two seconds” meant eventually.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, let’s talk about Pittsburgh.

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