As the final days of August approach, I notice the coolness begins to settle in earlier in the evening and the breezes rustle the leaves in the trees a little differently. Bees are happily sipping nectar from the spirea bushes while bird ‘V’s fly in a southerly direction above. Daisies are looking less than stellar with their desiccated heads and the shriveled day lilies droop atop their tanning stalks.
Soon, leaves will slowly turn hues of brown, russet and gold while shriveling up and falling to the ground. Heavy sweaters will once again emerge from their slumber in the closet to fill daily laundry baskets. Pumpkin lattes and ales will become the drink of choice among many. Christmas music will fill our ears while we shop for Halloween costumes.
This is the downward spiral of the death of summer.
Last weekend, two of my friends and I attended the Tiny House Jamboree in Col
orado Springs. Not because I want to consider living in a tiny house, but because I love the idea of small space organization and wanted to see how others were solving the issue. (Curse of an organized person!) The ingenious ways of making a small living space livable truly surprised me!
Since around 2008, the tiny house and small house movements have been gaining momentum in the U.S. Tiny houses are made less than 400 square feet, and houses made between 400 and 1,000 square feet are designated as ‘small’ houses. They are said to be a return to The Progressive Era of 1890 to 1920, when industrialization lead to changes in how and where the workers lived, often in small homes provided by the workers’ employers near the work sites. It was a simpler lifestyle. Today, the economy and a desire for many people to return to a more self-sufficient, less complicated lifestyle have led them to seek out these homes. The houses are built onto large trailers, although they can be built upon a foundation. Building codes are different depending upon whether you wanted to tow it or build it in a permanent location.
My friend, Donna, said that at least 10,000 people were expected at this event. I thought, “They won’t all be showing up at once.” Well, it appeared that all 10,000 did, indeed, show up on Saturday morning! Reports from other attendees state that it was crowded all three days of the event. Wow! I never guessed there would be so much interest and that those varied interests would be cross-generational!
While some of the houses were very plain on the outside, they held exquisite décor on the interior. Some were a little more fancy on the exterior as well (a couple had porches!). It was fascinating to see how each builder solved storage problems, managing to utilize every valuable square inch for full efficiency optimization.
(Taking photos inside the houses was a bit difficult due to the crowds and the limited space!) We were able to chat with some of the builders, especially an impressive young man, Ryan, who introduced us to his own home; which he brought to the show. He began his business by building his home by himself in about four months and now builds tiny houses for others. (www.KonaContractors.com)
My favorite exhibitor was Scout Wilkins’s display that Donna dubbed “The She Shed”–a brightly colored structure that drew one in like a moth to a flame. This fabulous shed that she and her business partner are building is part of their Women’s Building Workshops. They help women learn how to build. The pride in her work showed as she led me through the shed, showing me some of the details. A photo scrapbook displayed some of their past tiny house projects. She said she had always been in construction and that she gains great pleasure from building. Definitely shows. Talking with her gave me great joy. (Makes sense now–After returning home, I looked up her information and found that she’s also a life coach.) You can find more information at www.facebook.com/tinylivinggiantjoy or scoutwilkins.com/my-life-in-tiny-houses.
While the reasons people were interested in seeing the tiny houses varied, they all had one thing in common—they were all very nice, down-home people. Chatting while standing in line to see inside a house (Remember—they are tiny—only 3-5 people can enter at a time!), giggling with everyone who entered a house saying “It’s so tiny!,” visiting about small farms, a general wave “hello” certainly made the day a pleasant one.
In Salmon of Doubt, author Douglas Adams was asked “What are the benefits of speaking to your fans via e-mail?” He answered, “It’s quicker, easier, and involves less licking.”
Maybe it’s due to introversion or maybe it is due to my efficient nature, but I tend use e-mail and text messaging to speak to people rather than call them on the phone. Easy and quick, made even easier and quicker with a smartphone. Thinking of questions I wish to ask a friend or simply having the time to respond to someone tends to happen at the most inconvenient times for the recipients. (I’m up and working; why aren’t you?) One can lose friends pretty quickly if one calls them at 4:00 in the morning to ask if they’d like to join you for lunch. (Have I mentioned I’m a morning person as well? Why do morning people tend to make friends with not-so-morning people?)
Now, don’t get me wrong—I do enjoy a good conversation. Also, I like people much more than I let on. I merely prefer those conversations to be in person. Physical feedback—facial expressions and body language—play an important part in being understood or misunderstood. If my friend looks away and focuses on her cell phone while we’re enjoying our salads at lunch, I’d probably be a little peeved. But if my friend focuses on folding laundry while I’m speaking with her on the phone, I probably wouldn’t notice. (Hmmmm. Not sure that’s really making my point. I enjoy multi-tasking myself.) If my friend misunderstands something I’m saying while we’re finishing those salads and preparing to salivate over a possible dessert we’re about to decline, it is easier to have the back-and-forth dialogue that can straighten it all out. Doing so over the phone gets trickier as it is so easy to talk over each other, thereby missing out on whole sentences. (Did you just say your diapered dog just kissed a deer on a hayride?) And, worst of all, there’s the whole “How to end the conversation” issue!
One of the downsides to sending e-mails is that my style of sending those messages tends to be what one friend called “terse.” (Now that I think about it, maybe she’s no longer my friend. Haven’t heard from her in ages!) I get to the point—ask the question or provide information requested and get out. They have stuff and things to do as do I, and I don’t want to take up too much of their time since several of my friends claim they get tens of thousands of e-mails a day. (I only get about 50 per day and feeling a little left out.) Okay, so I realize that this may be perceived as impersonal. I get it and am trying to improve on that. “Good morning, Friend! I do hope this finds you well and having a fabulous day!”
Is there a difference in how extroverts and introverts choose to communicate? According to Business Communication Coach, Nancy Ancowitz:
“The tugs on our sleeves are different. If you’re an introvert, you feel the tug to solve problems alone in your cubicle, corner office, or Batcave. If you’re an extrovert, that sounds like solitary confinement. The tug on your sleeve is to bounce your ideas off others, brainstorming energetically out loud.”
I suppose introversion is one reason why my computer and I get along so well (except when it chooses to become a tantrum-throwing computer similarly to a two-year-old tantrum-throwing human). It serves as my own little “Batcave.” With the vast Internet as a resource, many solutions can be presented with several clicks of a mouse. Okay, maybe lots and lots of mouse clicks. And lots of reading. And source verification. Yeah. I probably need a nap now.
How do you prefer to communicate with your friends? Do your communication methods change when communicating with business colleagues? Leave a comment and let’s have a conversation!