I’ve had it! I want my big ass house back

Published April 18, 2016   Posted in Having some fun

I gave this whole “living small” thing a good college try, and boy, am I ever regretting this dreadfully ill-conceived decision! What possessed me to ditch our big ass house for this 200 sqft shack?

The truth is I had everything that I ever could have wanted, and I squandered it.

Interior of our Airstream: Look at how cramped it all is!

Interior of our Airstream: Look at how cramped it all is!

A couple weeks ago we put our 1600 sqft house on the market and moved into our Airstream. This thing is only 200 sqft, almost like the manufacturer purposely wanted to test the American people’s ability to withstand hardship and torture.




Look at this place, it’s tiny! Sure, the dogs are comfortable here because they like to feel cozy, but I am sure we all know the word “cozy” is a code word for small as hell.

We loved to clean our big ass house!

Living small taught me an important lesson – living small sucks. Like, seriously bites.

I realized over the past couple of weeks that the countless hours my wife and I spent cleaning our previous big ass house was time well spent! It was our “together time”. We got to really know each other amid the piles of dust we removed from our furniture in our unused rooms. We cuddled. This was our time to shine – not just shine the house, but “us”. We shined.

The hour my wife spent dusting and cleaning the bathrooms was absolute gold – not fool’s gold, but true gold. “AU” gold. You should have seen the smiles. Experiences speak louder than things, after all, and cleaning large homes just freaking tops the list. I so miss that.

With each stroke of the mop across the nearly 1600 sqft of floors, I felt a sense of accomplishment. After the first 20 minutes, I’d stand and admire my handy work. All that section of the house is clean. Look at it sparkle! After the next 20 minutes, same deal. And after the last 20? Man, I felt great. This is what home ownership is all about, damn it.

My sense of purpose overflowed. Who wants to spend time outdoors when you have floors to clean and purpose to experience, anyway? You just can’t get this shit living in an RV.

Dining and family room from our big ass house; look at all that space!

Dining and family room from our big ass house; look at all that space!

Cleaning the Airstream is a joke.

It takes like 5 whole minutes to clean all the floors in this thing – not just a mild sweep, but a deep scrubbing. I mean, where’s the satisfaction in that? It takes around 15 to 20 minutes before we truly begin feeling a sense of achievement to begin with. Cleaning these floors, we’re never in that “satisfaction sweet spot”, are we? I swear these RVs are talent killers.

But just when I thought my purpose in life couldn’t possibly get any more magical by cleaning our floors, we also had a pool to maintain, and that upped the ante.

Cleaning our backyard pool lifted my purpose up into the fucking stratosphere. I miss the hours I spent dragging a pool vacuum across the surface of the pool…cleaning up those impossibly small devil leaves that always seem to make a b-line straight for the swimming pond, even in a calm breeze.

And the sweet smell of chemicals was unspeakably awesome. I don’t know what to do without buying chlorine and sprinkling it around the pool and meticulously testing the water’s chemical composition (I forget…does muriatic acid raise or lower pH? Ugh!).

And grinding pumice stone around the edges of the pool while dodging beads of sweat dripping from my head in an often-futile effort at chopping away at calcium build-up? Damn, man, this is livin!

I guess I never realized how wonderful this experience was until it was gone. Hey guys, remember the girlfriend that dumped your ass because you never truly appreciated her (you bastard), and the subsequent crying game that evening (that you will never admit to) because you finally realized how much of an asshole you were to her?

Let’s just say tears were shed. I want that responsibility back, darn it.

This RV also destroyed my love of spending money

We bought our Airstream for less than $50k. I mean, WTF? This RV is fully capable of housing a family of four inside its curved walls for decades, but we only had to pay less than $50k? And we get to change our backyard whenever the hell we want?

Where’s the fun in that? I’m so pissed.

And the utilities? What a joke! We’ve been running the air conditioner for weeks as temperatures in Arizona warm into the upper 80s and low 90s, and it only costs us about $1 to $2/day in electricity.

Come on, give me a break. There is something about those $300,000 mortgages that seem so…I don’t know, elegant, you know?

The burden of a mortgage makes me feel like a freaking American. Dropping $150 to $200 a month on electricity for a 1600 sqft house is the cost of doing business as an American. It’s good. Money well spent. Be. An. American!

And what am I now? Am I still an American if I don’t have a mortgage on the place that I’m living in? What if I spend just a few bucks a day to cool the place? I’m scared about what I’ve become!

I feel dirty. I feel like an outcast in a sea of perfectly normal Americans. I want my big mortgage back. I want to once again experience that feeling of ecstasy (I think they call it the “American Dream”) by opening up my latest utility bill and reading triple digit numbers.

It makes me feel complete. Like a real person.

This sucks. I want my love of spending money back, and quickly. I. Need. A. Mortgage.

Who needs “outdoor time” anyway?

They say that we humans need more time outdoors, but I find the outdoors overrated anyway. While it’s true that the RV does make outdoor living much more simple, there’s also not-so-nice stuff outside. Like flies. The sun. Who wants to sit outside underneath the awning of your RV when you could be sprawled out on your couch watching your 65″ flat screen television?

It seems like every morning and every freaking night my wife and I are walking around this campground. The people are insidiously happy, too, which is weird. Virtually all of them wave as you walk by, almost as if they actually want to be here and not overly pre-occupied by their own lives or their cell phones to give a shit about anyone other than themselves.

But not only do these weirdos wave, they also speak to you. Like, “Good evening!”.

What’s going on, and why are all these people actually speaking to me?!? I feel like I’m living back in the 50’s when everybody in your neighborhood knew everybody else and were actively courteous to one another and gave a crap about what’s going on in their neighborhood.

Seriously, who needs this shit?

What happened to the good ol’ days when I only knew my neighbors by the cars they drive and maybe – maybe once in a blue moon, I’d actually wave or say hi? Those days were sweet.

Hell, I lived in a community south of Tucson for 7 years and didn’t so much as know my neighbor’s first name (on either side!). In the campground, we already know several of our neighbors, where they came from and what they do (or did) for a living.

Gawd, I want to return to my sterile existence again by hiding in a big house and defining my success by how much stuff I had, working endlessly at a nameless corporation for a big enough paycheck to maintain my lifestyle. This RV stuff is the pits.

Oh, and one last thing – just kidding!  🙂

And I love you people. Every one of you.

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Comments

77 responses to “I’ve had it! I want my big ass house back”

  1. Sabbaticalia says:

    Phew! Thought you’d sprouted an extra personality with this post. The “love of spending money” subtitle tipped me off, though ….

  2. Haha you are right, nothing gives me more satisfaction than giving my house a deep cleaning! In all seriousness, that has to be a pretty nice feeling not having a mortgage…

    The Green Swan

    • Steve says:

      It will. We still have a mortgage on the house that we are selling (and the one that we are renting out), but by the end of the year, both of those will be gone. Gone for good!

  3. When you put it like that, I think I want to go back, too! Not. No way. The number of hours that we reclaimed cleaning and mowing are priceless. Great post! 😀

  4. Hahahaha — thanks for the Monday laughs! Hope your escrow is coming along well and you guys had a fab weekend!

  5. LOL. You almost had me, well not really. Enjoy the freedom and the time!

  6. I so enjoy your sarcasm, Steve! I often feel that having a home keeps me inside too much because I have to clean it! Granted, we are not in the sunny Southwest and having kids gets me outside a lot, but I’m sure RV living makes it easier. I’m jealous of your 5-minute cleaning time!

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, thanks Kalie. Yeah, it definitely doesn’t take very long to clean the floors in this place. Heck, when you only have 200 sqft (and not all of it is accessible flooring), it makes this process so easy.

  7. James says:

    Ha. Good stuff! You had me … until the second or third sentence. Keep livin’ the dream, my friend.

  8. Apathy Ends says:

    I spent part of my weekend cleaning and doing yard work…….AMERICA!

    Glad you are enjoying all your free time!

  9. After another weekend watching my kids experience the world through a 7 inch iPad screen, you may be on to something.

    Thanks for a jolt of Monday morning clarity.

  10. Ba ha ha ha. I’m so sorry to hear you’re missing so much time together polishing your GOLD! I’m loving the updates. It sounds like such an awesome transition. Congrats again, you guys.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Maggie, appreciate the kind words. About the only thing that I truly miss about the big house is the counter space, but even then, we are quickly getting used to it here in the Airstream. 🙂

  11. This is a good read and just what I needed this morning – a great reminder. So glad it’s going so well!

  12. Haha, your title had me thinking it was a joke, but then you’re first few paragraphs got me hooked, thinking “uh-oh – he’s serious!” That would really suck, but I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

    Funny enough, I had a few minutes of quiet sitting at home this weekend and was thinking “this is too much house for us.” Maybe I should convince my wife to follow your lead!

    — Jim

  13. Matt Spillar says:

    Haha, as soon as I read the title I was like “No way. This has GOT to be a late April Fools joke or something.” Thanks for the laughs, and glad you’re loving the new lifestyle!

  14. steve says:

    hahahaha, nice could relate to much of it, just like a few others I’m sure. I got the sarcasm from the start, great post that points out how ridiculous we all can be.

    Enjoying following along as always. The part about the pool had me laughing my a** off.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Steve, appreciate your comment. Yeah, that damn pool – it totally sold the house for us (along with the view), but yeah, I could have done without the maintenance. But, it’s done with now. 🙂

  15. Your comments on the pool maintenance are a key reason I keep reminding Mrs. Root of Good that a owning your own backyard pool isn’t as much fun as it looks in the movies. I am certain I would spend more time cleaning it than swimming in it or lounging in it.

    Mrs. RoG said she could solve that problem by hiring a pool boy, but I think she has ulterior motives…

    • Steve says:

      If you keep up with the pool maintenance, it’s not THAT bad – the summer is the worst, of course, when algae grow on the bottom and sides of the pool. The key is to stay up with it and you’re only doing massive cleanings every couple of months or so. But still – yeah, a totally unnecessary expense and use of my time, for sure! 🙂

  16. Loraine says:

    Ahhh, I really like people who appreciate sarcasm as much as I do. 🙂 Glad to hear you two (four) are enjoying your new life. I’m happy for you! (no sarcasm intended) 😉

  17. That didn’t take long. I figured you’d realize the error of your ways in less than a month. I thought your whole plan was a bit unpatriotic from the start and would do little to help America be great again.

    To help out, I would love to invite you and your wife to help out with some of the chores we have around our big ass house. I’ve got floors to clean, rooms to organize, and mountains of STUFF. It will be right up your alley and give you some real PURPOSE in your life. With your help, I may be able to buy an even bigger place – so i don’t need to expand into a storage garage. BIG – That’s America! 😉

    • Steve says:

      Ha! Thanks MrFireStation. ‘MURICA! I would gladly help, but the last thing that I’d want to do is take away from your sense of purpose. I mean, where would you gather your inner strength from if you didn’t do a bunch of house cleaning?

      😉

  18. Ugh, I hear you! I keep watching my bank account yearning to have all my housing and utility bills back just so there will be some regular activity. And I really miss dealing with the mold that was growing inside the window frames of our old apartment… maybe the van will grow some someday!

    • Steve says:

      Tell me about it – that “regular activity” stuff is where it’s at. Fixing problems on your dime…even better! Man, I’m gonna miss it!

  19. Love your humor in this article haha. It must be really nice not having a hefty mortgage to pay which gives you plenty extra money to spend in other ways! Hope you enjoy this freedom and your many backyards!

  20. Don’t forget that if you get your big house back you can spend more money and time on remodeling, painting, additions, adding more landscaping, and filling your garage up to the rafters. Then you can rent a storage space to find room for the extra stuff and tools you need to do all that work.

    Come on what wrong with you – don’t you want to live the American Dream? 🙂

    We spent the last 5 days walking, hiking, sleeping, and generally taking it easy at our campsite. Not once did I have to do any projects other than setup and tear down at the campsite. Ahhhh- the simple life!

    • Steve says:

      And there always seems to be *something* that could be done at the house, too. I suppose it’s nice to be able to do those things if you truly enjoy it, but man, you sure do pay for that privilege. Pay handsomely in most cases. Living here at the campground is night and day more enjoyable. 🙂

  21. You deserve a round of applause for this post. Excellent work! 🙂

  22. Mr. SSC says:

    Nice one! I love cleaning our house so much I’ve enlisted help to keep up with it. 🙂 You run short on time when you spend almost all of it polishing your gold you know. Well, of course you know… 🙂

    We’ve been in our house 3 years now, and unlike our last neighborhood where we knew everyone and talked to everyone around us, here, we didn’t realize our immediate next door neighbors had kids the same age as ours for almost a year. We never see them outside, hear them or anything. It’s eerie…

    • Steve says:

      Ha! Yup, polishing my gold alright. And yeah, if you didn’t see your neighbor’s kids for the first year that you lived there, that is eerie. I couldn’t stand being cooped up all that time in a house. Wonder what was going on…

  23. ZJ Thorne says:

    I’m so sorry for the diminishing of your skills and accounts payable and time indoors away from beauty. This is a tragic burden you are carrying. Unyoke and get that mortgage. Get that cleaning time with your wife back!

  24. Paul says:

    Here’s one thing I’ve been wondering about the whole tiny house and RV movement. What if one person has a serious case of mud butt. The other person just learns to deal with getting hotboxed?

    • Steve says:

      Yeah, the mud butt issue is a tough one to crack. Real tough to crack. Yeah *crack*.

      When one person comes at ya gun’s hot, it can lead to trouble, but with a little practice and creative use of English, the mud butt issue can be safely avoided.

      🙂

  25. hahaha thanks for the good laugh. Had a hunch the post was sarcastic a paragraph in and it was further confirmed along the way. Best of luck in your RV, spending all that time outdoors because you are cleaning it so quickly!

    Bert

  26. Slackerjo says:

    I dunno about that “outdoor time.” There could be nature!

  27. jonny4879 says:

    1600 SQUARE FEET IS NOT BIG. SORRY, BUT THAT’S JUST A FACT. SO YOU NEVER HAD A “BIG ASS HOUSE”. THAT’D BE TOUGHT TO ROCK WITH JUST 2 PEOPLE. I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE DOING (PROPS TO YOU) BUT LIVING IN A BOX ISN’T FOR EVERYONE. THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO (FI + LIVING LARGE) BESIDES HAVING TO LIVE IN A BOX. TOO EACH THEIR OWN. CHEERS!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jonny! Though *YOU* may not find 1600 square feet big, respectfully, I am not aware of any hard-and-fast requirement around the use of the word “big”, which would ideally need to happen before claiming that it’s a “fact”.

      The “fact” is 1600 square feet was big…for us. Huge, in fact, way more than we needed.

      And Airstreams aren’t boxes, good sir. Airstream’s are rounded and sleek – regular trailers, however, are boxes. In “fact”, Airstreamers are the ones who typically call the traditional RV a “box”.

      🙂

  28. Ms. Montana says:

    I love this! We are 3 weeks into our 6 week road trip, and it’s going amazing. I’m not sure 2 adults, 5 kids and our dog, cheesy taco, could do it full time (it’s only a pop up camper). If we had real walls and a toilette, we would be set! The lack of cleaning is amazing. =) And I love getting to know people. Glad you guys are having fun. You need to make sure Montana hits your itinerary! =)

    • Steve says:

      We love Montana and will definitely be back in the area. We visited Glacier National Park last year and it was an amazing experience. Without a doubt, we will be back! 🙂

      • Ms. Montana says:

        That is right in our neck of the woods. =) There are some awesome campsites on Flathead lake. My profile pic is Avalanche Lake, a short hike up from Trail of the Cedars. =) When you make it back to the area, feel free to hit me up for some info. =)

        • Steve says:

          We loved visiting Avalanche Lake on our trip to Glacier National Park last year. We definitely plan on finding camping up there one of these days after we hit the road! 🙂

  29. Sharon says:

    But I like my big house! I like cooking in my big kitchen, I like bathing in my nice ensuite and watching sports and movies on my 110″ theatre screen and projector!

    I live a frugal lifestyle so I can put money towards the things I truely value in life and invest for wealth building. My home is my best performing asset. What’s so bad about having a big house and paying a mortgage if you still have enough to invest and live a comfortable life?

    • Steve says:

      Hi Sharon – so long as you feel comfortable with paying for and maintaining a larger home, there’s nothing at all wrong with it. My wife and I certainly weren’t okay with spending money on our home like we were, so we made a change and haven’t looked back. 🙂

  30. Thank you for the insightful and humorous blog! When I tell people I am a minimalist a lot of people will say “I couldn’t do that”. Or when I tell them I hate to shop they think I am crazy. I actually think your blog will hold true to a few people who are defined by the size of their house and whether they have a pool-they think they love the rat race of “Keeping Up with the Jones” but I think they would be surprised how enjoyable it is to simplify if only they would give in a chance.

    • Steve says:

      I once said, “I couldn’t do that” to the thought of giving up cable…or eliminating meat from our diet when cooking at home, or several other things that we used to spend money on and consume that we thought were ingrained within our lifestyle.

      Most things aren’t, and it’s not that tough to get used to a new routine. The toughest part, of course, is that immediate transition.

      Thanks for reading!

  31. This is the first post I was seeing from this website and was very confused until I got to the “The burden of a mortgage makes me feel like a freaking American.” :p then I slowly realized that it might be a joke. Definitely had me fooled for a good while though!

  32. Oh Man , I absolutely loved the sarcasm 🙂 Great post

  33. […] created lasting memories and focused family time. (Plus, as Steve from ThinkSaveRetire mentions in this post, we love campground living – people in campgrounds are so friendly and happy, providing a […]

  34. Alen says:

    Hi.
    Nice post, but do you really think that this could replace a house?

    • Steve says:

      Hi Alen – it does for us. It depends on the family, of course. Kids add complications to living in a space this small, but then again, many families with kids do just that. It’s definitely possible to make happen if you want it bad enough.

  35. […] created lasting memories and focused family time. (Plus, as Steve from ThinkSaveRetire mentions in this post, we love campground living – people in campgrounds are so friendly and happy, providing a […]

  36. Mr. Grumby says:

    Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Zach says:

    This whole article is fantastic! This is my first time reading your blog so I didn’t actually know this was sarcastic until towards the end…I love the humor though, it gave me a good laugh.
    But seriously it’s a great wake up call that there indeed is more to life than cleaning a big ass house.
    Awesome post! 🙂

  38. Mary R Sherwood says:

    Realizing that he was joking was such a relief because I’m in the process of doing the EXACT same thing! Experiencing the “American Dream” for over two decades was my talent killer too. During the last few years I’ve been preparing to start a new life and begin living small. I want to become one of those insidiously happy, dirty outcast he refers to but having so much freedom is overwhelming. I am struggling to find my sense of purpose and I do miss being located so close to my friends-previously known as neighbors.

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