This is How we do it

Jennifer Savage essays

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It has come to our attention, of late, that people are talking about us. Behind our backs, in whispers. Among friends and among people who barely know us.

This scuttlebutt centers around living in a tiny house but has nothing to do with where we hang our clothes, how we cook in a tiny kitchen or where we store our skis. It seems no one is really that interested in our foldable art table, the kitchen chairs that live outside or the fact that we have really creative storage to hide our phone and computer cords.

Though the kinds of questions we fielded when we moved in included: How do you take a shower in that tiny shower? Where do you keep your shoes? Where do the kids sleep? Where are their toys? It seems these were not actually the things most people really wanted to know. These questions were subterfuge, smoke and mirrors, conversation starters tossed out casually while our friends tried to summon the courage to ask the one question they really wanted to know the answer to.

It seems our friends talked among themselves. They may or may not have even put money on a theory or two. Then someone finally asked, finally came clean about the real talk that has been surrounding us though we didn’t know it.

“Okay, I get. You have less stuff. You are creative and can hide your shit but what everyone really wants to know is how you do it living in such a small house. I mean the kids are in the same room. So…you know…how?” he said.

(Mom and Dad, stop reading here. Bye, bye now!)

This friend happens to hilarious and direct. When he asked how do you do it, he didn’t mean survive living in a small space. He meant the middle school definition of do it. The get down, get it on kind of do it. Everybody’s been talking about it, he said. Everyone wants to know.

After he asked, it seemed, the floodgates opened. Three other people unrelated and unknown to him asked the same thing within a week. Sometimes after a beer or two, sometimes in casual conversation.

“So…how does that work?” one friend asked. “It does work, doesn’t it? Lunchtime? Somewhere other than home? When the kids aren’t there? Silently?”

Yes. All of those.

We’ve also taken the phrase “young at heart” to a new level as we’ve reached back (way back) to channel our seventeen-year-old selves. In the car? Yes. When you know no one is home? Yes. In the 30 square-foot bathroom? Yes. So quietly that the only sound you hear is a zipper working its way down? Yes.

We are, however, not seventeen. We are in our late thirties. The hormonal drive that pushes you to snag every possible opportunity at seventeen doesn’t exactly exist at 39. (This is where Seth says, speak for yourself.) Anyway, it’s not as easy because we are not as clueless as we were as teenagers but there is muscle memory, folks, and most of the time we can make it happen when we want to.

My greatest fear at 17 was getting busted by a parent, my greatest fear now is getting busted my our children. But it is now as it was then, that fear of getting caught, that extra layer of risk translates into a challenge. So, it’s game on.

Seth and I can both be extremely goal oriented people. When presented with an impossibility we are the ones you want in your corner. We can get shit done like no two other people I know so, really, this is no different. But there is also this: we do pretty much every other thing in our lives because we are supposed to. We pack the lunches, we help with homework, we navigate kid personalities, we fall into bed exhausted like the rest of you. In our culture, we’re not supposed to live in a tiny house. And we’re really not supposed to be able to get it on in 282 square feet with two children, an ancient yellow lab and not-so-bright bunny under foot all the time. But, somehow, we do.


About the Author

Jennifer Savage

Jennifer Savage is a writer and mama of Eliza and Lucille. Lately, she's learning to be a farm girl, again. She writes from her home at the base of the Mission Mountains in Arlee, Montana. She is also one of Mamalode's favorite writers and you can fall in love with her too at .

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March 2015 – Simplify
We are partnering this month with the marvelous minimalists:
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