“Evolution or Intelligent Design?” Say what?

17 Aug

As some of you know, my family is building a home, out of shipping containers and old aircraft hangar parts. We’re doing it, because it’s the only way we’re going to get back into a home, after Katrina ate our old one…

Last time you were here, we started discussing how this house came to be. And, at the end of that discussion, I promised to give you a more “complicated” description of evolution…

But, since President Bush says that “the facts about evolution should be weighed against those of intelligent design…” and the President of the United States couldn’t possibly be wrong… I’m taking all the credit for this house…

(I’m also taking about twenty minutes off, so I can stop laughing about the prospects of President Bush always [or possibly ever] being “right…” about anything! Doesn’t anybody check his speeches before he gets in front of a camera, or a microphone? Oy Vay… And I voted for this idiot… He seemed like “the lesser of two evils…” Gawd, what was I thinking?)

Color me “disillusioned.”

And three months into this (the “blogging” thing, not the “building” thing…) I’m still getting email from people scratching their heads, trying to figure out what medication we need to be on… So, I think a “primer” is in order.

So Obiewan, tell us… I still don’t get it… How exactly does this house thing work?”

When we started thinking about the house, we started taking a hard look at the circumstances that brought us to this path…

Hurricanes ate our homes, twice. In a &$^%#@!! row. First, there was Ivan. Now, you expect a hurricane named Ivan to come in and do some damage… After all, it’s a “cold war” kinda name, huh? But then, Katrina waltzed in, to show us a “lady” could kick some butt, too…

Alas, as a home is just a giant shell where you put all your stuff, we lost our valuables as well as our shelter. Now, I can live without all those boxes of clothes I outgrew eating everything that could possibly be fried in the South… but we also lost our photos of our children, video tapes of “first steps,” and even some of our “memories and dreams.” That’s the part of “new construction” that can never be rebuilt.

So, we decided to build something a little more worthy, when measured against Mother Nature, and even the locals, this time…

Crisis brings out the best in people, but it also brings out the worst. Everywhere we look now, we see crime, violence, and hardship. Everybody around us is scrambling, and some of them are really taking advantage of the “goodness of others” for nothing less than “greed’s sake.”

For example, we don’t have much, but we’re not gonna let anybody go hungry. And, because we’ve lived “close to the earth” before, we stay “well stocked” so the pantry supports us, when things get hard. It’s common for us to have bags of groceries ready to hand out the front door, to people in need.

Imagine our chagrin, when we found out that some of the people we were “feeding” were taking the food to the doorstep of the local “Circle K” and selling it for beer money… Argh!

In fact, people told us, when we confronted them with “the facts” that it was “well-known” that we were an easy touch, and that we were known to the neighbors as “the instant six-pack…”

Now, I’m flattered as all get out, but I don’t know how my abdominals got into this… LOL!

I admit it’s because we don’t live on a golf course, and we’re not surrounded by mansions. We’re “everyday people.” Hell, we could be the poster children for “the common man.” Really “common.”

The hardest part is the realization that we look at people differently now. We’re not so optimistic, we’re “suspicious…” And that just stinks…

The hurricanes didn’t just take our shelter away, they took our spirits too.

Now, we know we can’t heal every one, but we can heal those we can reach. And that means that we have to start this healing, at home. Which means we have to rebuild one, obviously.

This home needed to provide all of our needs, keep us safe from all harm, and we needed to live with it, and not just inside it. The house needed to be a part of our lives, and not just a place for us to throw our dirty socks at the end of the day…

So we started plotting…

The house needed to be strong. (And, it needed to be “bulletproof.”) And what’s stronger than steel? So, we needed to figure out how to get the steel we needed, when all around us, building drives up the price of construction materials.

I know! We’ll use stuff that nobody wants… Right?

I started looking around, and I realized that I had what I needed, and it was right under everybody’s noses. All I needed was a way to assemble some bits and pieces together into the house I needed.

So, like a lemming looking for the proverbial cliff, I started looking through every indexed page on the Internet. And, low and behold, there are grants that allow you to take down aircraft hangars, for “recycling” purposes. Now, you gotta do your homework, and there are a lot of bridges to cross, but it’s possible. Hangars are made of… steel. So, a hangar can provide the “bones” for a house. The skin can be used as “siding” or sheathing materials.

Or even fencing… Tall, magnificent, privacy insuring fencing…

But that’s not the only resource we found available. We live on the Gulf Coast, near shipping ports. And shipping ports always have a mountain of steel, just sitting there, for the taking… in the form of shipping containers.

And nobody wants shipping containers. The shipping companies here don’t even want them. It’s because America isn’t an “export nation.” Now, don’t get me started on that, because it’s another post, filled with rants, tirades, and obscenities…

But, nobody “here” on the Gulf really wants them, either. If they did, they’d sell them at Walmart. You can be sure of that… Talk about your “rollback specials…”

Where was I? Oh yeah… Shipping Containers.

After all, shipping containers are ugly, they’re too small to use by themselves, and they just aren’t “kosher.” Well, “kosher” or not, they ARE steel, and they are easy to stack up. And at $1000 a pop, for 300+ square feet, they’re cheap-cheap-cheap!

Now, you have to start thinking this through. Shipping containers measure about 8’x8’x40′ in the “standard” configuration. You can find taller ones, called “cubes” by the trade, that are slightly taller. At 9’6” tall, they provide more headroom, so using them gets you a taller ceiling.

Now, if you connect a few of these babies together, side by side, you get a box that is 24’x40′, with a ceiling height of 9’plus… That’s 960 square feet, for $3000. That’s $3.12 a square foot, for the “raw” space… Let’s see your local contractor do that!

I can hear THAT phone call now…

Hello? I was just wondering… Can you build me a house shell, for about $5 a square foot, that’s bulletproof, weather resistant, and capable of being erected in one day? Well… can you? Hello? Hello? Martha, I think they hung up!”

Now stack this newly created box on top of another identical one, and you have a 1,920 square foot house, for less than the price of that old mini-van that’s sitting in your driveway… A house that exceeds the average size of family homes in America, by about 120 square feet, according to statistics.

(Admittedly, this is dependent on whose numbers you believe…)

Of course, building a home isn’t that simple. You have to insulate the boxes, cut holes in them for windows and doors, and plumb and power them. But, you’re already well ahead of the game, because you’re already “closed in” against weather, and the structure is easily secured.

And, it took ONE DAY!

Yep. One day. All you did was drop them down onto a slab or pilings, and connect them together, with connectors that are already built into them.

You can see where this is going… High speed construction, cheap components, and a face that Mother Nature can’t put a dent in, without trying REALLY hard.

Ever see what happens to a shipping container that gets hit by a huge tree limb? Nothing. It might scratch the paint a little bit. But it’s like hitting a Hummer with a dirt bike… You get out of the cab, and after making sure everyone is okay, you just laugh…

You have your basic box now… What’s next?

Next time, we’re gonna address some of the more important issues of home ownership. Issues we all share, and need solutions to.

And, I’m gonna keep you in suspense about what the first topic will be…

Why? Because I’m like that.

Stay tuned…


4 Responses to ““Evolution or Intelligent Design?” Say what?”

  1. Nancie August 17, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    I am absolutely intrigued by all of this. Can you put pictures of the progress up? I listened to the interview with the guy in Portland. I have a ton of questions. What point are you at in construction? What type of illness does your wife have? (I am praying for her and your family) How old are ya’ll? Were you in the military or did you just grow up there? Is anyone helping you guys with the work? I’ll stop for now!!

  2. renaissanceronin August 17, 2008 at 10:40 pm #

    Nancie: Didn’t your mommy ever teach you that it’s not nice to be nosy? Hmmm? LOL!
    I could answer each and every one of your questions (Oy Vay, does the girl have questions!) right here, but then you wouldn’t have to read any of the posts I’m currently writing…
    And, I wouldn’t want you to miss anything… LOL!
    But wasn’t the interview I did with http://change.peat.org a cool thing? It was fun!
    Start keeping notes, because you’re about to learn way more about us than you want to know! LOL!
    Now Git, before I tell your Mom what you’ve been up to! LOL!
    PS. Check your email.

  3. Nancie August 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    Nosy? No, I’m just interested and concerned. After all we southerners are known for bein’ friendly right? I once lived across the street from a very mean woman from up yonder in Philadelphia. When she moved into her house, I took an entire meal over because that what we southern belles do. She told another Yankee neighbor that she didn’t like me or trust me because I was just too nice and must have some evil motives. Hah! I purposely waved to her every chance I got after that with a big, “Haaaay, how arrrrrre you?” I mean, what a girl to do?

  4. renaissanceronin August 18, 2008 at 4:43 pm #

    Nancie: “Haaaayyy, how arrrrrrre yaaaaaa?” LOL!

    I know how she feels, I don’t trust “Southerners” bearing “gifts,” either! You were probably trying to feed her grits, catfish, or “Sweet Tea…” Yuck!
    Or that trifecta of Southern Cuisine, all three of them, in the same meal! LOL!
    But people from Philly are like that, it’s all the cholesterol, from those steak sandwiches… It’s more than their arteries that get hard…
    Honestly, I appreciate your concern.
    Now git outta my yard, before I sic the dawg on ya! LOL!

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