The Rent is Too Damn High: San Fran Residents Pay $1,000/Mth To Live In Shipping Containers

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

There’s nothing quite like a grotesquely lopsided “economic recovery” in which a handful of cities boom, while the rest of the nation stagnates. Even worse, millennials living in such chosen cities face one of two options. Either live in mom and dad’s basement, or face a standard of living far more similar to 19th tenement standards than the late 1990’s tech boom.

With that out of the way, I want to introduce you to what a $1,000 per month rental in the San Francisco Bay area looks like. Shipping containers:

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.41.45 AM

Don’t worry, there’s a lovely garden out back:

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.41.59 AM

We learn more from Bloomberg:

Luke Iseman has figured out how to afford the San Francisco Bay area. He lives in a shipping container.

 

The Wharton School graduate’s 160-square-foot box has a camp stove and a shower made of old boat hulls. It’s one of 11 miniature residences inside a warehouse he leases across the Bay Bridge from the city, where his tenants share communal toilets and a sense of adventure. Legal? No, but he’s eluded code enforcers who rousted what he calls cargotopia from two other sites. If all goes according to plan, he’ll get a startup out of his response to the most expensive U.S. housing market.

 

“It’s not making us much money yet, but it allows us to live in the Bay Area, which is a feat,” said Iseman, 31, who’s developing a container-house business. “We have an opportunity here to create a new model for urban development that’s more sustainable, more affordable and more enjoyable.”

 

As many as 60,000 San Franciscans live in illegal housing, according to the Department of Building Inspection.

 

Iseman collects $1,000 a month for each of the 11 structures parked in the 17,000-square-foot warehouse he rents for $9,100. Tenants include a Facebook Inc. engineer, a SolarCity Corp. programmer and a bicycle messenger.

It’s not even San Francisco proper either, this is in Oakland. You could probably catch $2k per month for a cargo box in the Mission.

Iseman used to pay $4,200 a month in San Francisco’s Mission District for a two-bedroom apartment with a slanted floor and mosquito-breeding puddles.

He bought his metal box for $2,300, delivery included, then cut out windows with a plasma torch and installed a loft bed, shower and bamboo flooring. He estimates his all-in cost at $12,000, and plans to sell refashioned containers for about $20,000 through his company, Boxouse.

 

“What we’re doing is converting industrial waste into a house in a couple of weeks,” said Iseman, who also founded a pedicab fleet. Meanwhile, he doesn’t plan on seeking city approval for cargotopia, whose location he asked not be identified. “I’d rather ask forgiveness than ask permission.”

I want to be clear that I’m not knocking Mr. Iseman for starting this project. He seems to be a well-meaning, entrepreneurial guy trying to make the best out of a bad situation and solve a very real problem on his own. What I am knocking is the criminally corrupt American oligarchy, which left this legacy to our youth due to their unfathomable greed, cronyism and nearsightedness.

Of course, I’ve covered this trend several times over the past several years…

NYC Residents Will Pay $2-3k a Month for “Micro-Apartments” as Luxury Car Sales Outpace Regular Car Sales

Coming to San Francisco…Tenement Sized Apartments!

Back to 19th Century Living in NYC: Bloomberg Proposes “Tenement Sized” Apartments for $2K a Month

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Chuck Knoblauch's picture

Soon to be in one of Hilda's fun camps.

SumTing Wong's picture

Those of us out in Flyover Country have all-in mortgages less than $1000 per month in a 5000sq ft house, with 15 acres, a barn, lots of garden space, swimming pool, etc. Telecommuting....it's what's for dinner!

lordylord2's picture
lordylord2 (not verified) SumTing Wong Aug 3, 2015 2:48 PM

But you don't have the excrement, err, I mean excitement of a modern city.

MisterMousePotato's picture

I bought my house last year for $13,900. To be sure, it needs quite a bit of work, but:

1. Don't they all?

2. It was and is functional (natural gas, DSL, municipal sewer and water [the water is simply outstanding], etc.); and,

3. It is all very inexpensive to maintain ($275 per month for Everything associated with the house [taxes, utilities, etc.]).

Most of the work is cosmetic, and can be done cheap by using CraigsList and one's own labor. There is some serious work, too, to be done, but all that really is just an exercise in tedium and attention. The house did have some pluses: A new steel roof that doesn't leak a drop as best I can tell and PEX tubing, which is nice to have when the pipes freeze, which they will if one is not diligent.

It is in a very nice place. In fact, it is just about six miles from is what is, in my experience (and I have been a Lot of places) the most beautiful place on the planet. (On the other hand, there are also some of the ugliest communities I have ever seen located just down the road, too - leftovers from shuttered mining and that curious rural aesthetic that involves a lot of out and out trash strewn about one's property). But I don't have to look at them from my house, so ... .

It can be cold here in the winter. Not nearly as cold as many places, to be sure, but a lot colder than, say, the northern California foothills. I heat with wood and wood is just about free (the mountains and forest begin about four and a half feet behind my kitchen sink). Massive (and I mean truly massive) wood piles here.

And, it snows. A lot. But I like snow. I have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, paid for, and a 20-foot long 'driveway'. And, I don't have to leave the house unless I want.

Walking distance to the Post Office and library. (Great library. Massively overfunded. They let me bring the dog in.)

Small town. People don't just know your name; they know your dog's name, too. The Mayor's dog comes over, stands in front of the house, and barks for my dog to come out and play.

Quirky, weird place. Like living in an episode of Northern Exposure. About a month after we got here, I'm in the front yard splitting wood when a car drives up. Driven by two little kids (and I'm not talking about teenagers; no, little 8- or 9-year-old kids, maybe). They jump out and give me a piece of paper (notice about shutting down water temporarily) and say, "City Hall asked us to hand these out." (Are you kidding?)

Number of Code Enforcement Officers in our county: 0.

Number of traffic lights in our county: 1 (unused, but kept for historical reasons).

Etc.

There's no grocery store in town, but there is one just 5 miles away (and several others, including a WalMart, if that's your thing, just 15 minutes away). And, to get there, one drives down to the four-land interstate highway about a quarter-mile away where it cannot be seen or heard from my house, and drive 75 miles per hour to the store.

Nice ski area four miles away in one direction and a nicer one 12 miles the other direction.

Remote? Well, yes and no. Only 600 people in town (and there are times when I look around and think, "Everyone has died"), but there are all newly paved roads to my house, and one Federal District Court less than an hour in one direction and about an hour and a half in the other.

People walk around with guns here. Drive vehicles that look like stuff from Mad Max.

People are generous. They give us moose burger. Moose lasagne is good.

My wife hated it here. (We bought the house sight unseen over the internet. Had umpteen yard sales and sent every penny to the seller. Still had tons of stuff to U-Haul here even after taking 6,000 pounds to the dump, donating and giving stuff away, and selling maybe half of the nice stuff).

We nearly divorced, and would have if circumstances had been different. She hated it here. And me for uprooting her and dragging her here.

A few months ago, she looked around and said, "You know, Honey? This is great. I love it here. You're a genius. I never would go back to California."

And, with that, I have to go back upstairs and finish doing something about the roof rafters. (You know how in your house, you have rafters holding up the roof? In my house, the roof is holding up the rafters. Seriously. There are parts of this house that appear to violate fundamental laws of physics, but it's been here over a hundred years, so what do I know?)

And if one saved up just about a year's worth of rent for this shipping container, well, that could be you.

I would live in a tent (actually, I did live in a tent for three years when I was younger) before I'd spend a thousand dollars a month to rent. Anywhere. Are you crazy?!?

For that matter, I would live in a tent before I'd spend a thousand dollars a month for a mortgage.

I don't have to worry about money. I could sustain my lifestyle, which is actually pretty nice, support my family, and set aside some money each month on the lowest paying job in America (i.e., working the counter at McDonalds for minimum wage at 29 hours per week [you do the math]). To be sure, a new Beemer every four years is probably not in the cards, but I really don't care. I guess, too, I can forget about that time share in Cabo, but I actually like it a lot better here than even any of the destination resort communities where I have also lived. (There are no mosquitos here. Or black flies. Or noseeums. Or humidity. Or hot temperatures at night. Or crowds. Or people with more money than breeding. Or urban problems.)

Frankly, the weather here, during the late spring, summer, and early fall, is as good as it gets. For all you people in California, the choice boils down to: Do you want nice weather during the winter or do you want nice weather during the summer?

When I read the articles here about house prices and rents, I think, well, I guess I'm the only one who still reads Thoreau? Or The Richest Man In Babylon? Anyone?

Cornfedbloodstool's picture

Didn't read it, too long, but plus one for paragraphs.

Perseus son of Zeus's picture

Me other either but I wish I thought of that username. I could have been a contender.

Meat Hammer's picture

I read every word.  The man is living my dream.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Mine too. We have found a few places like this and I almost convinced him. We are capable enough to live like this and growing up on a WA dairy has given him many skills.

He's just too comfortable here to give all up yet and I'm just not pushy enough. Does make one jerk ones chain though.

Miffed;-)

Mr. Ed's picture

Dear MisterMousePotatoe:  it sounds great!!!  I'm in the process fo buying more land... about where are you located?  Can you give some coordinates?  A state?  A county?

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

Forget the steel box for $20K and buy a used travel trailer for less than $5K.  Everything is already designed and well laid out for tiny living.

TahoeBilly2012's picture

SF was great as kid from Sac going down to see punk shows. That's all gone. It's lost its soul and man did it have one. 

And Mouse share you secret skier spots would ya. Doesn't sound like Ketchum or Squaw LMAO.

Oh and I am buying a new badass 4x4 Sprinter van and tricking it out as a mobile sales office slash ski RV slash armagedeon wagon. When the SHTF I am heading out. I have a fear of dying inside or starving inside, at least I won't face that!

Manthong's picture

Dudes.. get a clue..

..a 40’ container could be a cool place to be if it ventilated, plush and well appointed.

lunaticfringe's picture

I did 25 years in Ketchum. California annexed it.

TahoeBilly2012's picture

yes it did, another extended suburb

SSRI Junkie's picture

"Forget the steel box for $20K and buy a used travel trailer for less than $5K.  Everything is already designed and well laid out for tiny living."

 

I went mobile. A 1991 Toyota mini motorhome as a backup plan in case things get really bad. $6k

Manthong's picture

the good news is that commodity gas is pretty cheap now and mobility is way more affordable.

..my newest SUV is 15 years old

Countrybunkererd's picture

I am jealous.  My newest SUV is only 10 years old.  We did the city thing, the corporate thing and jumped.  We do miss a bit of culture now and then, but the filth left behind is worth it. I see homes with an acre go for 50-80 grand and can't for the life of me understand who would live in a box the size of a prison cell and PAY for it.  Techies need to move rural and start a computer shop.  We mock the FSA, but what sane person would amass boatloads of student loan debt and go live in a F-ing BOX for a grand a month? And models show Calidumbass as a contender to win a civil war...righhhhtt. 

Chain Gun Smoke's picture

He has it all but his kids will be in a 1 room school house.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Actually, for historical reasons, the local school, like the library and some other things, is grotesquely overfunded (gifts from the community before the mines shut down). The facilities are a little dated, but extravagant nonetheless, especially when one considers that the local junior/senior high school has but 52 students. In my daughter's class, there are five students, including her.

What is really strange, though, is the amount of time my daughter's class (and others) are left unsupervised; i.e., "I have a doctor's appointment, so you kids go outside and, well, do something." Coming from California, even if it was the nicer, if not the nicest part of California, it is almost unimaginable leaving a high school class unsupervised. As far as I know, there were no incidents, although there was some speculation that a couple of the older kids might have tipped over a Porta Potty nearby after school. That caused quite the scandal, let me tell you.

The state I'm living in caters to home schooling. Our daughter was accustomed to home schooling and, after a few weeks trudging off to school, asked me, "Dada? Why do I have to get up when it's dark and spend seven hours doing what I can do at home in three or five (she's actually a very responsible and diligent student)."

I had no good answer, so the second semester, she switched to a charter school an hour away set up for online classes and the internet. All that. So, she gets the imprimatur of the state on her education, which has more positives than negatives, I believe, but still can sleep in 'til I've warmed the house up, which did sometimes take a loooong time.

There are a number of such charter schools and online academys to choose from. They all seemed pretty good; the one we chose absolutely outstanding. Comprehensive and rigorous.

Curiously, if you decide to take your children 'off the grid' entirely, this state respects that. By law, you do not have to seek permission or report anything or test anything or anything. Anything at all. In fact, the principal at our school told me that he was forbidden by law from even asking questions about a child's home schooling if the parents decided to school the child themselves.

He wasn't a statist at all, but he confessed to mixed feelings about this; viz., while it worked very well for some, it didn't in most of the cases he knew about; namely, the parents simply neglected the childrens' education because they were lazy, too busy, or just didn't care.

So education is not a problem, whatever one's inclination. (although they didn't have enough kids this year to field a football team.)

Dog Will Hunt's picture

You're far from the only one who reads Thoreau.  Perhaps one of the few who retains Thoreau...

lordylord2's picture
lordylord2 (not verified) Dog Will Hunt Aug 3, 2015 3:19 PM

"You're far from the only one who reads Thoreau.  Perhaps one of the few who retains Thoreau..."

Sounds like something Thoreau would say.

Manthong's picture

The only problem with ponds is mosquitos..

and maybe some algae...

 

StarfishPrime's picture

Sounds like a very simple, yet satisfying life. It is obvious you'd rather not say exactly where, but will you let us know which state you are in?

Meat Hammer's picture

I'm going to guess Colorado or Utah.

Nobody For President's picture

Northern tier - Maine, Montana, the Dakotas, like that.

Or the Ozarks - Ky, W Va, 

Their ARE places in the USSA tht are really, really cool and affordable if you are willing to work and do not have the illness of needing a big city 'stimulation' and 'culture' - small towns have culture too - just different.

So hoorah to you young man. I've been out 40 years now, and never regreted it.

Ms No's picture

There is only a few places that have decent sized Moose populations in the US anymore.  I have lived in a couple of them.  The problem is you have to find someone to go with you or you will get bored and winter baked. 

plane jain's picture

States with moose season:

ME NH VT WA CO UT ID WY ND MN MT

For beauty I'm thinking national park.

CheapBastard's picture

Maine might be pretty cheap since they are in a serious slowdown more so then other states. Parts are very beautiful.

jeff montanye's picture

i believe the gentleman mentioned no mosquitoes or black flies.  that makes maine less likely.

roddy6667's picture

Maine has blackflies that will; eat the flesh off your bones and fly off with your children. OK, so I exaggerated, but only a little. It's far from a paradise.

And the "Potato People" up in Aroostook County are like something from "The Hills Have Eyes".

And they only have two seasons...Fourth Of July And Winter.

Some people have added a fifth seasson-Mud. It takes place between Winter and Spring.

Raging Debate's picture

Cheapbastard - Maine is great right now. Compared to other states that are batshit crazy. NH where I am from used to be great this way. Maine politics were just starting to change for the better.

Anyways, Money mag and a couple others had three cities in. NH being the best place to live in the country. Up came the liberals from Mass. Not only liberals but femanatzi ones, too radical to be elected even in Mass.

They had control over the legislature and soon every penis was a target for taxation through family law, police state cops, equality gender bullshit where state got fines (taxes) which encouraged employees to sue, the works. Few know but NH went bankrupt in 2011.

I moved to Florida which is much more business friendly but also police state which its taxation methods dont effect me. A recent study showed the most stressed out place to be was Florida and the least Maine.

I will be moving back up north in a couple years. The fiance just scored a hard won promotion and we decided to let her bask in the glory for a bit. When we move will be to Fryeberg Maine, just over the border of the white mountains in NH. So Ill get to visit my scenic love while I give NH politicians the finger.

Oh NH will someday adopt better politics again but fuck them for ass raling me and ruining my home state. If I told you the tales of injustice I could go on for hours. It would have been better if NH had just implemented a state income tax than building a police state for revenue.

matermaker's picture

OH, no...  I came to the Ozarks from Houston.  The best little microcosm southern MO and northern AR has to offer.  I did the same thing.  Bought an civil war era farmstead and started fixing it up.  It was like camping the first few years. I slowly bought some more land while staying out of debt.  It really isn't that difficult if you have the notion to give up comforts for freedoms.

MisterMousePotato's picture

It was like camping the first few years.

You remind me ... Folks, I guess I forgot to mention some of the bad stuff: When we got here, all the electric (from the weatherhead down) needed to be replaced. Even I could see that, and I knew nothing about the subject. Since we were on a limited budget and I was doing the work myself, it took five weeks because I am neurotic and had to first read the NEC twice, the PG&E Blue Book thrice, and the Avista Green Book once (to say nothing of my making a nuisance of myself with everyone who even looked like they knew about electricity). And, it was a challenging installation in that there was literally a four-square-inch place on the front of the house where the weatherhead could legally be placed, etc.

So, for a little more than a month, we had only a generator for power. That was kind of a pain in the butt, but the lights, computers, servers, DVD players, etc., all worked. Well, sorta, but good enough.

Too, the power company wouldn't turn on the gas until the electricity was ready, so no hot water. In other words, camp stove and a camp shower hung in the bath. That, too, was, well, not entirely to our liking.

But when it was all said and done, about $300 later, I have an electrical installation that made the inspector laugh and ask me where I'd gone to electrical school. (Knowing what I now know, I could probably do it for $150 buying stuff at The ReStore and CraigsList, but I was pretty uncertain, never having done this before.) I was lucky ... the eight-foot grounding rods went into the soil like I lived in Florida or something. Still need to do the branch wiring, so we're still relying on a single outlet in the bedroom, and one of those moster orange contractor extension cords and a bunch of power strips (actually, high end Panamax line conditioners normal people use for expensive, high end stereo installations) and extension cords. Really can't do the branch wiring 'til I finish the interior cosmetics.

But it all works. Well, unless we use the microwave, toaster oven, stereo out in the parlor, and washing machine at the same time, and the refrigerator cycles on. We've adapted.

The cords are kind of an ugly nuisance, but it does all work. I run a server out of the house for a bunch of doctors and transcriptionists, and it has worked with near 100% reliability.

And, it's temporary. I'm only about three or seven days away from another circuit upstairs (and three receptacles), the bedroom ceiling light, and my two 20-amp circuits to the kitchen. Should be down hill after that.

Too, we sold the washer and dryer when we left California. Next time we move, if we ever do, I will sell everything and buy it back when I get there. Everything except the washer and dryer. Selling the washer and dryer and buying them back actually cost money because until we bought the replacements and hooked them up (several months), we went to the laundromat. Haven't been to a laundromat in years. You wouldn't believe how expensive it is. I'll bet we spent over a hundred dollars there in just a few months. And there's only three of us. On the other hand, the lady who ran the place was really nice, and it was fun to talk to her. We still stop by and say hello when we're near.

I bought a clawfoot tub today. I had two in the last house (built during the Civil War. Grass Valley Historic Resource No. 10 with a bronze plaque out front and all that). The one upstairs was really cute. Very short (my recollection is that it was just three and a half feet long). Just darling. A normal claw foot tub, but about half as long as what you normally see. I did once try to take a bath in it; what were they thinking?

Anyway, as of today, I have another (normal sized) clawfoot tub. Took me about a year to find this one, but I wasn't looking real hard. We did, after all, have a shower and bath that worked just fine. It was just kinda, well, Home Depot, an aesthetic that I, personally, do not find inspiring. (The Libbey Glass Company in it's American Brilliant Period advertisements would intone: "Nowhere is the inspiration of beautiful objects more important than in the home." [I still like that even though it's finally been settled that Libbey used figured blanks.]). A former owner removed the clawfoot tub that was in this house and put that insipid piece of crud in instead. (What is wrong with people?)

To be sure, this tub needs some serious cleaning, but the porcelain is actually in very good shape, even better than the ones I used to have. And, it cost less than a fiberglass bath/shower stall from Home Depot (maybe; now that I think about it, I guess I really have no idea). Better still, about two months ago, I found hardware for it at The Goodwill. For $4.99. The hardware, too, was really nice; in fact, even nicer than the stuff I had in the last house. So, we have (or will have in a month or two after I tear out and replace all the crap in the bathroom; i.e., everything, including the floor) a nice clawfoot tub.

For not very much money. It is my intention to fix and remodel - completely remodel - this entire house for maybe three or five thousand dollars. It can be done if one is patient. And diligent. And ruthless.

Yesterday, we bought a kitchen sink. There was a pretty nice stainless steel one here, but, well, my wife wanted white porcelain. Okay. CraigsList. Six miles away. Twenty-five bucks. Absurdly heavy thing; I'll bet it weighed nearly half as much as the tub. It was a struggle for my wife and I to lift it up to the counter, and we had no problem with the clawfoot tub. Had really, really nice hardware attached to it, too. I know someone paid a lot of money for this thing new. Had to replace two o-rings, but I finally fixed the drain underneath it that had leaked a bit since we got here. When it was all done, I found out the tube to the sprayer has a leak, so I gotta buy another one soon (I taped it with this amazing Superglue product, a tape that stretches and adheres to itself. Really amazing stuff).

So MrsMousePotato is all happy. Cool tub and sink and way cool faucets. (You shoulda seen her face when I installed our one receptacle near her desk and the undervoltage protector in the Panamax things shut off all the electricity except that to her computer and her work in progress. Lotta cheap thrills working with an old house.)

Mentioned that I heated with wood. Well, last fall was just lovely. Indian Summer every day. Until November 2nd, was it? The sixth? Can't recall. But there I am thinking, this is gonna be a piece of cake. Then the temperature plummeted. It was overnight like two degrees faranheit. There is (was) no insulation in the house. The upstairs acts like a chimney because of the myriad holes. Some of them gaping.

The dog's water bowl in the kitchen froze. Not a skim of ice on top. No, I'm talking like a hockey puck frozen.

In a panic (it was impossible to heat the house beyond sixty degrees no matter how much wood I burned or how hot), I ran around and used up 63 twenty-ounce cans of spray foam installation, which helped quite a bit, but all those sheets of foam insulation bought used from a roofer in Montana are still sitting underneath the house waiting for me to finish fixing the rafters. (Online, look up poor man's DIY spray foam insulation ... cut a sheet to fit and put a bead of spray foam around it to seal it. I can attest that it works a charm. A bit tedious, but doable with a little care.) The insulation - more than enough to do the entire upper story and roof, bath and laundry room cost just $125. And, it's about the best one could buy (again, because I am neurotic, I had to read every word of the never ending debates on polyiso versus xeps versus xms versus etc. etc. only to realize that plain old polystyrene (styrofoam) is unquestionably the best if cost is any object. "Just be sure to use a 'vapor barrier' if you use it in a cold climate."

Uh, oh. Vapor barrier? Well, it turns out that plain ol' latex paint is a vapor barrier. Could mean another trip to The ReStore, but, again, I got lucky. Our local dump here (which is, by the way, free for residents, which is just amazing to someone who used to live in California), anyway, our local dump had a pile of free for the asking cans of latex paint set aside one day when I was there, so ... . No, it's not gonna look pretty (although so far, it's all been semi-gloss white), but it's up in the eaves and behind the tongue and groove red fir and cedar I'm putting over it, so who cares?

Oh, speaking of beaurocracies ... our car registration lapsed. I registered the car locally by mail before we moved here, not realizing that the United States Postal Service does not deliver mail anywhere in this county. Then forgot all about it. Well, the local DMV sent a renewal notice, but it got returned because I had used our street adress, not knowing that the USPS doesn't deliver the mail to anyone's home or business. Forgot all about it until it was time to renew the Post Office Box (free, 'cause they don't deliver mail), but our expired car registration was one of the documents I grabbed to prove residency.

Uh, oh. Well, you know what? Went down to the courthouse to renew the registration (way cool old courthouse). The girl says, "No problem. No late fees or anything. Registration is going up next week, though, so you want to do this for two years?" You bet. It was only fifty or sixty dollars. I can't recall exactly. MrsMousePotato did this while I was at the hardware buying yet more sacks of construction screws and nails. I used to wonder why anyone would buy one of those gigantic, heavy boxes of nails. Now I know. In fact, I may have only spent $14,000 to buy the house, but I'm starting to wonder if I'll end up losing money on the deal because of the cost of the fasteners.

The place where I bought the tub had a window. Nice old, six pane, wood window for twenty-five bucks. No rot or deterioration at all. Very stout and true, and just the right size to replace that piece of crap that let all my warm air escape last winter. In fact, it's just slightly smaller so I can now put the window back in the center of the house instead of two inches to the left like the freaking morons who built this house.

The construction in this house is so bad as to strain credulity. It has to be seen to be believed. For example, since I was in, oh, the second or third grade, I have known that if you want a board to stick to something, you drive a nail or a screw through it and (and this is the important part) there has to be something behind it for the nail or screw to attach to. I thought everyone knew that. I was wrong. Apparently, there are a lot of people who don't know that, and they all got together and built my house.

If you got me drunk, blindfolded me, put ski mittens on my hands, and gave me a shotgun to make cuts, I would do a better job. And I say that in all modesty, not claiming any supernatural constructor powers or anything like that. Just, well, make sure there's something behind the board you're trying to nail in place.

In some ways, what I see leaves me utterly aghast, and in some ways, it's very comforting. I can state, unequivocally, that there is nothing that I can do here, no matter how wrong or how bad, that will not be a significant improvement over what is here. Even if it's just tearing all the crap out and taking it to the dump (it's really not doing anything anyway, so it's not like I'd be weakening the structure like in a normal house).

Anyway, the point of all this is that there are challenges (I wasn't kidding about this nearly costing me my marriage, for instance), but nothing so far that hasn't resolved happily. And it is nothing short of a miracle that the floor my chair is sitting on at this moment remains where it is. Part of the house is, well, levitating. Apparently. Or, maybe it's just so ugly that the Earth is repelled by it and is pushing it away. Dunno.

You all have been very kind, and I am tempted to tell you exactly where I am. I mean, how cool would it be to have all the empty houses here in town (about half of them) bought up by ZeroHedgers? Not sure how my new neighbors would feel about that, though, so I hesitate. Too, there's this unintended consequences thing. Not Maine (I've lived in Maine, both on the coast and halfway between Millinocket and Greeneville, miles past Baxter State Park, if you can imagine). Not Oregon. Not Montana or the Dakotas. I did say that it doesn't actually get very cold here. In fact, last winter, other than maybe half a dozen days when it got below ten degrees, it generally stayed teens and twenties at night. We were lucky; it can get to twenty below zero here. We also didn't get much snow, which also is unusual. The locals have told me about the times when the National Guard has been sent here to this town to rescue people from the snow. Remember the pictures of that 'lake effect' snow in New York last winter? That sort of thing, I am told, occurs every decade or so here, and even in a normal year, snowfall averages ten feet. I don't think we had even three feet of snow last year, and it melted away during the winter.

So far, God has blessed me and my family. Abundantly. And I'll be damned if I know why.

 

clade7's picture

Beautiful MMP!  Read every word... well done...!

Vullsain's picture

Sounds great, realistically I have to work in the concrete jungle until I am 65. I am keeping fit and strong so I can find a spot like yours and enjoy 20 years of tranquility before I die.

Nobody For President's picture

Wrong. DO NOT WAIT! "Realistically' my ass - I mean EVERYBODY told me I was nuts to leave my 'good job' and 'promising career' to move to the country. Most of them are dead now. Jesus, vullsain, you are only trapped if you think you are. AKA, life is what happens while you are making plans.

Every single day you commute to some concrete jungle job is a day you are dying, instead of living. It is really not hard being (a lot) poorer, if you are on your own land working your butt off to build your place and your life.

Your response just hurts me. Please Dear God, don't count on 20 years of tranquilty. Better to retire now and be poor, but happy most days busting your ass, than retire later, old and sick and unable to enjoy life. I had 40 really good years on this place with my wife before she died 18 months ago - beats the shit out of ten plus years I would have had, while she was already fighting cancer, if I would have waited to 65. 

You never know how much time you will have - why the fuck continue wasting time in the concrete jungle if you want to find a place in the country. For God's sake, for your sake, do it now. NOW! Your fantasy is similar to most of my friends in the city - most of them died in the city waiting to retire. FUCK waiting to retire. Retire early and often - you would be surprised at the kind of second life opportunites the country offers. (I became a Fire Chief, amoung other things...)

California Nightmares's picture

I have a Nelson Rockefeller for President bumper sticker. He would be perfect. He's long gone.

Countrybunkererd's picture

NEVER WAIT.  I am a relatively hard worker, if my name is on it and all that... My brother worked his ass off as an exec. for a global big name and had huge plans for retirement.  He traveled the globe and had one of those black card things...and died at 49.  He didn't enjoy life until may of 2011 he got 3 months of joy (knowing he will likely die though) and he died in November of that year.

I jumped from corporate prior to this to get out and be poor myself.  I still work too hard, when i pay off the other Toyota (Lexus) and the rest of the house (or sooner) i will cut to say 20-30 hours a week.  Being poor isn't easy to do, you need to work at it because we are taught to be over productive and burn ourselves out for "the man" and all that crap.  I am anti socialist to the core but also anti consumerism and you tend to realize that everything is junk from China or such and pointless in pursuit of being happy.  I decided to semi-retire as soon as possible and work until i pass away into God's hands.  I still work too hard and am upset at myself for it.

I said Lexus for a reason.  Mine is paid off and 10 years old with 81K, the misses is 4 years old with 45K and soon paid off.  We intend to run them forever and a day...if using a product for useful life, be comfy about it.  I bought a house for 30K cash and fixed it intending to stay in it.  I "broke" my back during that and we had to go to plan B and jump into more.  Hopefully it will be paid off within 5 or so...it is too big for two but two of the five bedrooms are office and income generators for us and i don't need an outside office rental.  TMI but...never wait, tomorrow may not come, or may come with a stroke or paralyzing accident.

Countrybunkererd's picture

One more point.  His wife got a huge life insurance settlement and re-married in less than 6 months... and we all know what that means while he was away.  Someone else gets to live his plans.

lunaticfringe's picture

Unless you die sooner. I jettisoned when my best friend died at 51. Retired at 46. Tomorrow is promised to nobody.

TheEndIsNear's picture

Where do you live?  I would like to move there.

I'm guessing Sweet Home, Oregon or Dexter, Oregon.

FreeNewEnergy's picture

Dude, I just bought 5.7 acres in upstate NY this March.

I've read Walden and the Richest Man in Babylon.

You're due for some John Stuart Mill. And don't forget the existentialists, Sarte and Camus, especially.

Enjoy, my friend. You'll earn it, and you'lll love every minute of it.

Fuck Wall Steet.

BTW: 0 code enforecement officers is my personal wet dream. Too much info? Sorry.

Rock on.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Read 'em. You made me realize that it's probably been 12 years or more since I had a Sartre- or Camus-induced nightmare.

bluez's picture

I think it's Maine. Good move. Only down-side is, of course, Big Foot. Each year sharks eat 6 people, lightning strikes down 600, and Big Foot carries away 6,000 in the woods. But out of 330,000,000. it's not many. But don't worry. Big Foot is twice as smart as we are, so there's not much to do about it.