Eavesdrop on our “Container Conversations!”

13 Feb

Hi Campers… welcome back!

Recently, I was considering the steps my family is taking (we’re beginning to actually gain speed and even [gasp!] make some progress) as we build our “Shipping Container House” out of Chinese steel, flotsam, and even some jetsam…

And… I started thinking that I’m “in it so deep, I can’t see the forest for the trees…”

After all, the world we live in is getting pretty difficult to navigate! I figure that using ISBU’s to build a house is just a commonsense response to the housing crisis, the economic failure, and the mortgage dilemma! After all, somebody has to come up with a solution, and if we wait for Washington… well… I’m not gonna hold my breath! So, I’m gonna do it, all by my “onesies!” To do any less would be “Un-American!” Granted, it’s presented a lot of confusing twists and turns, as I try to keep up with the gyrations of the politicians in charge.

Now, this “confused” condition isn’t uncommon to me. I have, in my possession, a very good reason for being both befuddled and confused. And, that reason comes in a highly ambulatory 30+ pound package, seemingly hell-bent to propel me towards an early grave, so that both he and his mother can bask in the twilight of my death benefits… while my corpse slowly turns into compost in the backyard…

So, I did what any “normal” person would do…

NO! I didn’t double up on my medication! Nuh-uh! The last time I did that, I woke up under a fountain in Ft Myers, wearing a dress, a green wig, and enough lipstick to look like a whole convention of circus clowns! And confidentially, Ft. Myers cops have NO sense of humor, let me tell you!! LOL!

I reached out to a trusted comrade, for advice. Now, I know… Using my character as a measurement virtually insures that anyone I associate with is a real “character,” but…

I also knew that he wouldn’t charge me $100 bucks an hour to sit there and nod, like that *$^%#@!! of a therapist… And he isn’t afraid to just laugh in my face and point out all my shortcomings… I suspect that he’s related to my wife… LOL!

But I digress…

As the house plans get closer to being “finalized,” I’ve been playing with the idea of having one container stick straight out of the house, to “cover” the drive-up entry. Think of it as a Porte Cochere (which is just a fancy name for a carport that you can run into when you get home late after playing poker all night with your pals)…

So, I contacted my pal, that “Titan of Tennessee,” that “Purveyor of Prose,” that “I told you so, you moron…” of a… (well… I’ll expand on that another time…) “Mister Manly,” (whom I affectionately refer to as “MM,” or “that hillbilly @sshole…”) and tried to bounce a few questions off of him.

Now, besides being in criminal possession of common sense, “MM” has the lofty distinction of being the author of several earth-shattering blogs, places where those of us lost in the forest can seek the “Siren’s Song of Wisdom,” and find our way through to the other side.

At least, that’s what he tells me… I suspect those “sirens” are sounding for a far more sinister reason… LOL!

Anyway, “MM” has been offering up volumes of advise, in places like “Mister Manly,” “Brit and Grit,” “The News Pays Its Dues,” and other places, since long before I can remember.

Of course, I can’t remember that far back because senility is a terrible disease, and… oh… never mind!

So, being absolutely desperate, and having already had several doors slammed in my face… I put down my medication with a trembling hand… and I asked him this question:

(I’ll put MM’s commentary in RED, so that you can tell which one of us is rational, and which one of us is a communist sympathizer… um… er… that’s not it… Relax… MM is no ‘Commie…” He’s just a Redneck… hence… RED text. LOL!)

MM,” let’s get right to it, shall we? You’ve laughed… um… er… watched as I navigate the perilous rapids of politicians, poltroons, and “prehistorics…” as I try to build a house for my wife and kid.

And, you have a vague idea of the scope of my project. I say vague, because from that “Scotch induced haze” you live in, even Mt Everest would appear like an ghostly apparition, huh? LOL!

I know, better “good scotch” than the swill I’m forced to drink here in Mississippi, eh? Now, I know you’re a man of refined tastes (that scotch you drink is Single Malt, after all…) so, I wonder if you’d offer me some of your sage wisdom?

Okay… How much land do you have for this project anyway? If you’ve got extra, you could put some containers of different sizes in the back, and play them like a giant drum set with a small wrecking ball. I’m assuming that your neighbors already don’t like you 🙂

Maaaan…”MM…” I knew asking your opinion was gonna bite me on the ass… LOL!

A surprising number of people say that after asking my opinion. Go figure. Of course, an even more surprising number can be heard muttering, “I should have listened to the bastard,” later 🙂

Okay… I guess I’ll have to wait for that “clear and envisioned moment,” when, accompanied by the gnashing of teeth, the tearing of hair, and the suffering of soul… I lament that I didn’t heed your advice, oh “Sage of Sages…” LOL!

According to those who are supposed to know, I’m going to be entitled to a parcel that is about 4.8 acres, located just this side of the sphincter of Mississippi, Biloxi. Actually, it’s a tract that is in unincorporated Harrison County, about 5 minutes from town. It borders the bay, which means that I’ll have water access, but only when it’s flooding! LOL!

And… Uh-huh… Nix on the drum playing container set, bub… Joshua would just get attached to the idea, and I’d never sleep again. He’s already discovered NASCAR and CMT (Country Music), and whenever either of those are on, he beats the crap out of anything that will resonate. It’s hilarious. I think he’s found a career track already…

But fear not! I promise to fully scar the landscape! I’m going to build an “outbuilding” in the back (using 4 containers), a place where I can go to be alone and experience those “mantasms” that people reading your blogs supposedly achieve. After all, nothing is worse than an interrupted “mantasm…”

I’ll remind you that my new (smaller) house plan calls for the use of 10 containers. Remember that I had to “downsize” because the politicians in charge have decided that building a large “stately” house would threaten the paltry lil shacks that they call their “Mississippi Mansions.”

I’m still using a masonry or concrete first level, depending on whether or not the concrete guy comes through… I already have a commitment from the State of Mississippi… um… er… that one’s for insanity… never mind.

Where were we? Oh yeah…

Obviously MM, even to the “untrained” eye… my house is a humble multi-level stack of containers, that sits on top of a concrete 1st level. But from the “front” of the house, it’s less than inspiring…

What do you think about cantilevering a container off the front of the house (on the “third” floor), to serve both as a Porte Cochere (see previous definition), and provide some additional area on the third floor, for more common space and a guest bed?

Looks to me like you have things covered pretty well. I like the idea of having the container stuck to the side of the house, very artsy. I would, however, suggest that you put a trap door in the floor to use as a murder hole against unwanted visitors. Oh, and you should stick an extra and empty container off the back to practice racket ball in.

I do have plans to put some glass block (a 4×4 patch) in the floor of the “container extension” over the driveway, so I can see “who ‘dat who says who ‘dat…” The little “connector area” attached to the house allows me a sniper position to neutralize any threats from hostile Jehovah’s Witnesses, belligerent Girl Scouts hawking cookies, or (gasp!) Amway salesmen…

Hey… did you know that you can probably build an indoor racketball court from (4) 40′ HQ containers? And, I even have lots of decking to recycle and use for the hardwood flooring! I used to play racketball, back in the days when we cut the handles off tennis rackets, and we used handballs as “implements of destruction.” But, you won’t see me on a court for a while, I’d just put my eye out… LOL!

You could also take one, cut the roof off, and have a nice swimming pool. Or, if you added a cut out on the side, covered by lexan, you’d have one hell of an impressive aquarium.

Funny you should mention a pool… because I am going to take one container and turn it into a lap pool, by cutting the top off of it, and applying a spray-on pool liner to the inside of it. I’ll end up with a lap-pool that’s 9.5 feet wide, 8′ deep, and 40 feet long…if my neighbors garden hose will stretch far enough to fill it, that is… LOL!

And ever vigilant in my quest to be “green…” using solar panels to heat the water, I can take a dip in my “Corten Pond” whenever I want to, to get away from the wife and the little miscreant…After all, the water was free…

I don’t know about a “viewport” in the pool, though. I don’t think anybody wants to see a bloated old Jew attempting to tread water…

And FYI: All my lexan is scheduled for the bulletproof windows, as a part of my “protection from angry mobs of rednecks and keeping fat Jews alive in the South…” security program. LOL!

I’ll deck around it, and connect that deck to one of the decks behind the back of the house, so I don’t have to blaze a trail thru the bushes, to get to it…

I have about 2000 square feet of “open” grating I scrounged from a local hotel, after the hurricane. It was a part of their “elevated” landscape walkway. Open grating is cool, because it’ll allow drainage, it’s still easy on the bare feet, and sunlight will pass through it to let the grass grow underneath it.

When I was getting stuff from the “crap pile” at a local hotel (I have a contractor friend that got me access) it was sitting there in stacks by the other crap. I asked the guy if I could have it, and he said he supposed I could take a few pieces if I wanted. So, naturally, being a good and faithful Jew (I love stereotypes, don’t you?), every time I returned to get “crap material,” I’d check, and then… I’d take a few more pieces. In the end… I’d taken all of it, every last panel. Turns out they were supposed to save it, but by the time they figured it out, I had it all “off-property.”

I thought about offering to sell it back to them, but I was scared of the felony… LOL!

It’ll look really um…. er… cool, even though it has the hotel logo embossed into it, and from underneath it (remember it will be 8′ off the ground) you’ll be able to look up through it, and see…. never mind. My wife will figure it out, if I say it…

As to the grating, save one section, wield rings on either side and a bunch of weight around the edges. Mount this with two 30′ poles over a platform of railroad ties. Add a hoist and a quick release, and you have the ultimate dicer! Film the bastard dropping on various melons and such, and you could not only have lots of fun, but cut in on Gallagher’s market. Unlimited potential!

I do like the idea of “Mondo-Dice-A-Matic!” But, I’d use a local Planning and Zoning Inspector, to be determined each week. At the current “Pay per View” rates, I’d cash in! I bet the hotel I got the grates from would try to muscle in on the action, though… After all, it was their grates I “obtained by completely innocent means.”

Hey, I could offer my services to the State of Mississippi, too! Now, you could have a choice between hanging, electrocution, lethal injection, or “instant fertilizer!” If I plant carefully, I bet my rose bushes would be spectacular!

Now, about the house.. can we talk about the house? Please? I mean… Really… sheesh!

I figure that if we turned a 40′ HQ Container on it’s side (9’6″), the extension off the front of the house would give us enough space to play with, or even create an in-home bowling alley!

Plus, the ceiling will be plenty tall (as it will probably be arched) and built in a contemporary design. So, we’ll have the ability to “open” the top of the container, to expose “the ceiling” and increase headroom. By using a container door on each side of the “extension” we can enlarge the “connector” to about 15′ (plus or minus a foot).

The “added” container can be as long (or as short) as I want, but I’m thinking to use the whole thing, so as to cut down physical labor (and the chance that I might hurt myself using “complicated” power tools) to cut it to length… .

Once it’s welded into the existing structure and supported by columns, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. (If I don’t set myself on fire, or accidentally weld myself to the framework…)


Originally, as you can plainly see (even though you’re probably intoxicated LOL!) there were three bedroom and bathrooms all squeezed together on the “family” floor… but it was getting expensive, what with all the redundant fixtures and plumbing. Hey, I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t outgrow the house…

However… my wife said the only way we were gonna reproduce again was if I learned how to “clone” myself, so we didn’t even need all those bedrooms…

Well, okay, she didn’t exactly say “Clone yourself…” more like “Go *&^%!! yourself!…” LOL!


So as you’ve probably already figured out…

After we’d thought about it, we really saw no reason for so many bedrooms and bathrooms.

Every once in a while, “reality” has to rear it’s ugly head, even at “Ronin’s house…” When will we ever entertain “guests,” anyway? Hmmm? Who knows better than you that people avoid us like the “black plague?“ I don’t know why… I bathe every Saturday, and the boy gets semi-regular diaper changes…

And, BTW; I’m thinking about putting in a “murphy bed,” anyway. If we just provide a “fold-down, uncomfortable, bumps in places, lumps in others…” bed, it will make people think twice about ideas of visiting for prolonged periods of time. LOL!

On a serious note; When Char recovers, the downstairs bedroom could always become a “guest room,” if we need it (G_d forbid!). After all, where will my young, vivacious, rather buxom Swedish nurse “Inga” sleep, when I’m old and senile?

I need a nurse, I tell you! Whenever Char gives me a spongebath, she tries to hold my head under the water…I hate that! And the soapy water hurts my eyes!

I know that all these goals seem “lofty…” But, we can do this! By my count ( and I took off my shoes and socks, to make sure) we’ll have extra containers left over. So, by adding a container (extruded into the front yard) we can add intrigue, a little whimsy, and expose the “horrid roots” of “that industrial park of a @%#$!” house, all in one fell swoop.

I’ll even leave the bottom of the container exposed as well, so people can look up in the driveway and see it.

Adding this “protrusion” lets us build a “washing workstation” in the house, a little space for a TV area, a pocket gym (so I can start trying to get back in a shape besides “round…”) and it can double as a play area for Joshua while We/I do every chore ever recorded since the Magna Carta!

I’m thinking about a holding pond in the front of the house to channel runoff into, so I figure… why not make it “ornamental” and float the end of the container from it? That way, you could look down and see the mosquitos swarming in formation, before they attack the peddlers!

It’s just some concrete, a little steel, a little _art,” and a few tubes.

I kinda like it… What say you?

Is it just getting too weird?

If memory serves, they ship containers by rail, so you might want to give some thought to making a couple into self contained luxury passenger units. Really, given what other unusual modes of travel rich people will pay for, why not being shipped across country in a small, but lavish, cabin with complete privacy for a few days. Heck, you could also rent them out for sea voyages. Don’t people from China pay over $20,000 to get in one even though it’s not a private room?! You could make a killing, and since you’re a friend I only want 5% of the profits.

I like the idea of “Luxury Container Railcars,” but I’m sure that the Fed’s would just get in the way. Hey… I suspect that they are afraid that you would turn them into brothels, poker palaces, and similar “dens of iniquity…” I’ll have to give this some more thought! LOL!

And your wife couldn’t cut you off, because she wouldn’t know where you were getting it! LOL!

I’ve heard that they use ISBUs now to build passenger barges in France.. But, you know how the French are. Those barges probably sink like stones! It’s not like the French would care, they would have already emptied your pockets of every Euro or Dollar you ever possessed, before you got onboard the damned thing…

You should also give some thought to adding wheels and a motor to one. That should draw some attention going down the road!

I could always build that “motor home” I ran in the blog a while back. It was basically a cab and motor attached to a container… It was pretty scary, and it’d take about a 24 point turn to turn it around in traffic… LOL!

You might also consider rigging single containers out as “man caves,” so regular Joe’s could turn their homes into compounds by dropping one in the back yard for a reasonable price.

“Mister Manly Man Caves” does have a rather pleasant ring to it. And, since they are movable, if your wife gets too cranky, you could move it to a more remote location, and claim it as a “vacation home.” Then, recycle it into a “ISBU Bevy O Boobs and Butt…” and cash in! Ka-ching!

Still, with the open invitation to opine that you gave me, you must know that I won’t stop! So, have you thought of using a container or two as a basement? You seem to know how to make the things water proof, so even in Mississippi it should work. Plus, once you prove it works, there might be a container basement market to go under normal homes?

MM… MM… MM… Basements are a “no-no” in Coastal Mississippi! This area is basically just reclaimed swampland. The water table is so high that if you scuff your boot in disgust, you have to start immediately pumping out the water, to avoid drowning.

And even if you could build a basement, there aren’t enough cranes available to lift all the single-wides up, so as you could put the containers underneath! You’d have to look for “rich people living in their double-wides!” Gawd forbid you should look for a “normal home!” Around here it’d be easier to find “The Holy Grail…” LOL!

I knew I’d be sorry for asking your opinion. Thanks for not disappointing me! LOL!

PS Don’t forget to keep an eye on the giant stimulus bill making it’s way through Congress in case you can snatch some of the “green” incentives. Better you than assholes in California.

Next time… we’ll return to our “regularly scheduled program,” and we’ll try to make some sense…

Stay Tuned!

The Renaissance RoninRelax… It’s Friday the 13th! Did you think I was gonna write “War and Peace?” Nope.

Addendum: Man… evidentally, Baptists have no sense of humor, either… after they read the “comments” on this post. I’ve gotten three email “tongue lashings,” a few family ancestry “assaults,” and even an “invitation to a good old-fashioned ass-whuppin’.”  So, for the record… I was just teasing someone I know to be a good, solid, stand-up Baptist grandma (even if she is short, and kinda belligerent!)… I have nothing against Baptists! In fact I like them… Sheesh!

(If they are properly marinated and BBQ’d at a slow, even temperature!) LOL!

4 Responses to “Eavesdrop on our “Container Conversations!””

  1. wildkitty February 13, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    “I do have plans to put some glass block (a 4×4 patch) in the floor of the “container extension” over the driveway, so I can see “who ‘dat who says who ‘dat…” The little “connector area” attached to the house allows me a sniper position to neutralize any threats from hostile Jehovah’s Witnesses, belligerent Girl Scouts hawking cookies, or (gasp!) Amway salesmen…”

    You forgot ‘short, crazy Baptist grandmothers’… although I’ve never once peed in anyone’s corners. Okay. Not that I was ever able to remember the next day, anyway!

    I like the looks of option #2 much better.

    And please tell me Joshua is a Tony Stewart fan?

    • renaissanceronin February 14, 2009 at 5:14 am #

      Here’s how it works;

      If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness, a belligerent Girl Scout, or even an Amway salesman, we actually give you a sporting chance. If you’re a “short, crazy, Baptist Grandmother…” we just sic the dawgs on you at the gate… LOL!

      We figure that “Option #2” makes more sense, and even adds some character to the house. (Like it needs more “character” with us living in it!)

      You know, we actually met Tony Stewart, more than once. He’s what we in the South affectionately call “an @sshole.” He was rude, full of himself, and too busy posing… for the ladies, I suppose…

      We like Mark Martin, and even Jeff Gordon. Oh yeah, and anybody named “Busch…” or “Kahne.”

  2. wildkitty February 14, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    well… at least put some catfish in that pond so I can have a last meal! LOL

    Yep, Option #2 is more aesthetically pleasing. I likes it.

    Tony. Well, yeah. You either love him or hate him. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. But the same could be said for Jeffy 😉

    You guys like Kurt? I know a guy who works for Roush who was the head body hanger for the 97 team when Kurt first came on board. He got to go to the banquet the year Kurt took the cup. I was pretty happy for him!

  3. renaissanceronin February 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    @ wildkitty: No catfish! I’d end up with a bunch of gospel singing, tent-pitching, “holier than thou” Baptists… in the front yard, trying to steal my fish.

    Hey, my dogs would get fat, though! LOL! Another energy saver! I wouldn’t have to feed them!

    “Option #2…” Isn’t that the one where we put bordellos in a container and move it by train, from State to State? Is you hankerin’ to become “Madame Kitty?” LOL!

    Tony was supposedly a nice guy, when he was still a rookie. After that… say it with me… “@sshole.”

    Met “Jeffy” too, several times in fact. A gentleman, great with the kids, and always ready to take a minute to make you smile. And, on the track, he’s an “animal.” Ronin like that, makes me think about PETA wackos getting roasted over an open fire, in the infield, whilst RV’ing at the races… Could “family entertainment” get any better? LOL!

    (We have a relative in the NASCAR “business…”)

    And, we like Kyle. He’s aggressive, he always steps up, and he always delivers. He’s gonna be a force to reckon with, for a long time.

    But, Mark Martin… Maybe a dinosaur, but I’m gonna hate when he becomes “extinct.”

    (Funny turn this post took… I really am NOT a huge NASCAR fan. Too many years in Europe watching “civilized” racing, like Formula cars, and Group Racers…) LOL!

    But when in the South… do as they do… but do not eat the catfish…

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