Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I write and teach writing for a living, so revising is a process I'm very familiar with.  Building a house and living off grid, however, have taken me into a whole new realm of revision.  I've already made several changes to my plans over time, and recently I've made a couple of really big ones.

I've had to face the fact that things just weren't functioning very well the way I was doing it. The hidden costs were adding up.  It was all taking too much time and causing too much stress in other areas of my life.  I mentioned in my last post that I even considered giving up altogether.

I'm not going to do that, but what I am going to do is build just one dome instead of three.  And the even bigger decision I've made is that I'm not going to live out there.

In the middle of September, I moved into a new rental house in town.  I love this place.  It's a funky sprawling adobe that was handbuilt over many years by a woman, my landlady's late mother.  I adore my landlady and her family, and this is the most comfortable, functional house I've ever rented.  It's on two acres so it's quiet and private, but it's also very close to pretty much everywhere I go on a regular basis.  I can walk Eliana to preschool from here.  And the rent is very reasonable. 

As I've settled in here and felt the stress of the past few months dissolve away, it's become quite clear to me that I need to quit swimming so hard against the current.  I need my home to be a sanctuary, a peaceful, nurturing place for me and my kids; and as a single mother with multiple jobs, I need a simpler lifestyle that doesn't involve a 40-minute commute, a third of which is on really really crappy roads.

So my revised plan is to build the one dome at a leisurely pace, and have it as a retreat space.  In the future, I can always add on and live out there full-time if my situation changes in a way where that makes sense.