Chapter 12. Nice Garage. Where's the House?

Given the project has sort of entered a new phase—I finally live here—I figured a new chapter was in order. It feels as though I've entered a new chapter in my life, at least. Yes, I moved in even though, as of this writing, I don't have a Certificate of Occupancy (temporary or otherwise). The Township kindly ignores this formality, and besides, it's just one piece of paper away now; all of the required inspections and tests are done.

The chapter title is actually something that many first-time visitors remark when they pull up in the driveway, since all you can see is the garage; the rest of the house is tucked down in a deep ravine, out of sight. It's fun to watch their faces as they step inside and are drawn down into the living space by the view—which has been known to hypnotize people into staying hours longer than they'd planned. I'll tell them, "Now you understand why I did what I did," and the response is a broad smile and a wide-eyed nod.

Originally I was reserving Chapter 12 for the house's completion, but that could still be years away given the rate at which things are accomplished these days. Now it's time to look at the bright side of where I live; even though it's not finished, it's at least safe, sound and (almost*) fully functional. When friends teased me because I got all excited by having a flush toilet, I asked them, "Have you ever had to do without for four years?" That changed their tune.

One of the first things I've noticed living here is that all of the concrete acts as a terrific environmental control unit: when it's hot outside, it stays 10-12 degrees cooler inside, with no AC (I usually only turn it on to knock back the humidity). And if I close the windows, it can be up to 20 degrees difference, still with no AC. The only downside? The steel roof turns the house into a cell phone black hole—I need to go outside to talk to anyone. As if that bothers me!

Recently I shot a panoramic image of the main living area to see if I could capture at least a hint of the magic of this place. Of course, the angles are all messed up and everything looks wonky, but the idea is to convey the 180-plus-degree view of nothing but woods. It genuinely makes me feel incredibly blessed that I can do what I'm doing, and it has inspired me to work that much harder to finish the place before I die. And also to invite people—those who appreciate this sort of thing, anyway—up to the property to enjoy it too.

On 16 August 2019 the UPS driver—who's been coming here for years—was making a delivery, and he confessed that he actually thought the garage is all I'd built, and that I'd be getting around to building the house one of these years (yes, yet another literal iteration of this chapter title). When I talked him into taking a few minutes off for a quick tour of the house, I thought his head was going to explode when he saw the living space and, more particularly, the view. Plus he couldn't believe how cool and comfortable the house was—and the AC was off. He helped justify everything I've done.

*Still no shower yet, but soon...

Where To from Here?

See the latest news for a running diary of progress. Or, explore the website from the Site Map—there are over 200 pages plus over 1,000 images and counting. Also see the new page, Transformative Moments.

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