This week two families I know tragically lost their homes to house fires. Although both experienced major losses, one of the house fires will be covered by insurance and the other won’t. My friend’s family lost many irreplaceable possessions including photographs and a cherished collection in addition to their dear pet cat. Although these items can never be replaced their insurance money will help them start over. On the other hand, Kim lost her almost completed tiny house and insurance won’t cover it. I posted a letter from Dee Williams in the hope that tiny house enthusiasts would be able to help, just a tiny bit. I’ve felt the sadness of their losses this week. Other than making a small donation to Kim’s rebuilding fund and checking in with my friend who is helping his family, I haven’t been quite sure what to do. Today I’ve realized that one thing I can do to make sure something good comes of this tragedy is to continue the conversations I’ve had with Dee Williams and other tiny house advocates about finding a way to insure tiny houses. It may be that we can find an insurance company that will take on tiny houses. It may be that we create an insurance collective so that the tiny house community can be self-insured. We’re not sure what form this will take. If you have any ideas, contact us!
Meanwhile, as I think about what my friends have lost I realize that mentally at least I’m playing with fire. As my family friends start to consider how they will start over, what they will purchase with their insurance money, I’m thinking about what I would replace if I were in their shoes. It’s interesting to realize that some of the items I own I love so much I would replace them with exactly the same item. I love my Savvy Rest mattress, my three Gregory backpacks, my black Teva boots, my Wustoff knives, my Nau raincoat. There are a few irreplaceable gifts from loved ones – the quilt my sister made for me, the bowl a friend made the year she apprenticed as a potter, the tea pot from my mom. I couldn’t replace them with precisely the same thing and that would certainly make me sad, but at least they have functional equivalents. So as I think about what I own and what matters to me, I’m going to continue playing with fire.