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Sh*tter’s Full: A Camper-Life Memoir

Hello, everyone! It’s been a minute since I’ve felt my creative juices flowing enough to write a blog post. Living in a camper full-time can do that to a person.

Last year we bought the most amazing piece of property—30 acres, close to the State Forest, very private, horses for neighbors, plus a 10,000 sq ft metal building. The plan was to start building our dream home immediately, so we went ahead and listed our current home while the market was so hot. The rest of the plan was to *very temporarily* live in a camper while we built our home. Apparently this is common in a lot of the country, but not as much here in WV since there are not a ton of new constructions. Our remodeled home sold in less than 24 hours (Thanks to Kim Jarrouj)—perfect! We moved our things into a storage unit and jumped into camper life. We started planning our build, but at that exact moment in time, the supply chain came to a complete halt. Many materials at that time weren’t even in production, so new orders weren’t accepted. Then reality set in and we knew the camper would not be temporary. *cue the first of many mental breakdowns* Plus, now we needed to change how we ran our business ASAP.

Most of us are used to having anything and everything at our fingertips. Well, when you move from a 2300 sq ft house into a 30’ tuna can, you get a little culture shocked. 3 words: First. World. Problems.

Want to get a glass of water? Flip the switch to turn on the pump, but don’t leave the switch on because it could burn up the pump. Want to take a hot shower? Go outside and fill up the water tank. Flip the pump back on and the water heater. It will take 20 minutes to heat up. It will only be hot for 2 minutes, so you will need to rotate days shaving each leg individually. You like to bake? Too bad. The oven is so small that nothing fits inside. Good luck cooking anything on a hot day because it will freeze up your AC. Say goodbye to your indoor washer and dryer. Try not to trip over the dogs. The lack of space is the least of your worries. Have you ever had a gravity flush toilet, equipped with a foot lever flusher as your primary toilet? Also, the sh*tter‘s full. We had to make immediate changes with the way we ran our business in light of supply chain issues and inflation. Firstly, the prices of jobs we already had in contract for 6+ months out were no longer within budget. We had to price all of our waitlist contracts back out and check with the home owners to see if they still wanted to proceed. Jobs that we were actively on were no longer in budget either. Most home owners were understanding of the situation, but we had some very rough times. Secondly, if we were going to continue work without pauses, we needed to order materials for the rest of the year. Now instead of dealing with our normal 3-4 clients, we were dealing with 10+. That was a huge adjustment. Owning a business is learning to master the *pivot.*

We were finally able to order our own windows at the end of last year and they’re projected to come in any time now, nearly a year later. Our custom glass and iron 9’x8’ front door was delivered last week, after waiting 6 months. Our other materials will have normal lead times, thank goodness. Could you live with your spouse in a camper for over a year, if it meant being debt-free and building your dream home? Something to ponder LOL. I’m not trying to be the star of a ‘Snapped’ episode.

Here’s to finally having a light at the end of the tunnel of this nightmare-ish character-building experience. Until then, if you catch me in public with one shaved leg, leave me alone. Stay tuned for the progress! It‘s going to be absolutely amazing!



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