If I use "tiny" with the word "house" in any sentence, my husband's face turns red and his fists clench. It makes him so angry, he can barely breathe.
But the foul four-letter word just slips out sometimes, particularly when I think of the Singlewide by the Sea and how we can expand our vacation space on the little lot. A row of tiny houses constructed from portable sheds appears to me to be a reasonable and economical solution.
Perhaps that's where my husband's hang-up lies. He doesn't think there's a problem; therefore, a tiny house cannot be a logical or economical solution.
I usually have to pick at his sore spots a good while before he cries "uncle" and agrees with me that we need a solution to whatever non-existent problem I've cooked up. It began with buzzing about a honeybee hive until, out of arguments against it, he gave in.
Then last summer, I finally convinced him to help me build an outdoor shower. For the longest measure, he balked and bellowed that an outdoor shower was a stupid, frivolous endeavor. Each morning over coffee, I persisted in sharing my design with him, my vision of the finished feature. Exhausted, he gave in and got his hammer and saw.
He now farms the bees and frequents the outdoor shower regularly.
He has yet to acknowledge either as the solution we always needed. Nor does he have any inkling of how his capitulation emboldened me.
While hanging out at the Singlewide by the Sea over spring break, I brought up the tiny house again. With a touchy subject like this, I find that introducing it a bite at a time is the best strategy for breaking the man.
I fit it into conversations already in progress.
One morning at breakfast, he said, "One of these days, I'm going to make myself a big plate of all-you-can-eat mushrooms." He said it as if it makes more sense than a tiny house. I told him that mushrooms, all-you-can-eat or otherwise, are not a "one of these days" dream like my tiny house. He can go ahead and eat as many mushrooms as he wants any old day. My dear husband accused me of trying to ruin mushrooms for him by associating them with a tiny house.
The next morning, he called from the yard, "Come show me where you want to put it." I turned to our youngest son, a creative type, totally on board with the idea of designing a compact vacation shelter in a utility shed, and said, "He wants to know where I want to put it. I'm making progress with him!"
I stepped onto the porch of the Singlewide by the Sea and pointed toward a corner of the yard. "I measured yesterday. It will fit perfectly right over there..." My statement and my excitement trailed off when I caught sight of my spouse fingering the small, oval Tybee sticker we bought the day before. "Don't say ‘tiny house' to me," he warned as he held the sticker up to the back of my car to test for proper placement.
I selected a spot for the sticker. Instead of saying "tiny house," I revisited my plan to turn the children's old playscape into a posh chicken coop. He gritted his teeth.
Progress comes with baby steps. It started with the honeybees. He acquiesced to the outdoor shower last summer. He has begun to engage in discussions of my playscape to chicken coop scheme. These victories give me confidence that many projects will come to fruition on the way to the front door of my tiny house.
Lucy Adams is the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny and other books. She lives in Thomson, Ga. Email email@example.com.