Tiny Home Tennessee Quarantine
Due to COVID-19, the world has been on lockdown since March. I flew from India to NY on a special repatriation flight in June, and after two weeks at home with mom and dad, I drove back down to Tennessee, to the shelter of a tiny home parked at Gayatri’s warehouse.
Some background: two years ago I designed this custom tiny home on wheels. The owner of the local factory, Bill Baldwin, was 86 years old and had constructed thousands of these homes, boats, and travel trailers in his career. At that late stage of life, he was more interested in God than in money. So when he, Gayatri, and I spent a day together, he was very open to helping us. He agreed to build my design for $20,000, a super low price.
Halfway through construction, he had a heart attack and was in the hospital. I didn’t know what would happen to him, my half-built home, or my deposit. Apparently, Bill said, “I’m going to finish that tiny home if it’s the last thing I do.” He left the hospital and came back to work. The entire factory staff banded together to work on my unit – I watched the walls go up, the roof put on, the fixtures installed, the exterior bolted on. They upgraded everything for me along the way at no extra charge – deluxe windows, custom bookshelves, a full tub/shower, 11-ft ceilings, fiberglass roof deck, electric brakes, the works. Peanut, one of the workers, said, “This is the best one we’ve ever built, by far.”
The very same day the tiny home was finished, Bill breathed his last, and passed away. I couldn’t believe it. They showed me the documentation – it cost him over $27,000 just to build it. He basically made a $7,000 donation. I will always remember his generous service. Within weeks, his adult children came in and liquidated the entire business, selling all his tools and supplies for pennies on the dollar. I actually stayed on their parking lot for several days trying to figure out where to park the thing. Turns out to be an important consideration!
By Krishna’s arrangement, Gayatri’s owned a warehouse building just across the highway from Bill’s. He said I could park it there, and plug in. A neighbor towed it across the highway and it’s been here ever since. Over two years now of my own personal place, with no rent and no roommates. In hindsight, it has been one of the best financial decisions of my life.
Fast-forward to July 2020, moving back into this tiny bhajan kutir. Peaceful days of chanting, reading, and internet service. I bought 300 ft of hose to hook up water, and a superpowered router to get wireless internet out here too. Main intention is to create automated book distribution funnels online. More on that later!
Next concern: what to do for income? As it turns out, Gayatri’s warehouse is packed to the walls with fine oil paintings and museum frames, from a previous business venture. He asked me to help sell it all, and we negotiated a 10% commission. I posted on Facebook Marketplace, and people started flooding in. We’ve done about $40,000 in sales since August. They come for art, and leave with Prabhupada’s books! Now the warehouse is clear enough that we’re planning to have a Sunday program with yoga, kirtan, a feast, and Bhagavad Gita class in the new year.
I’m learning to go with the flow, to trust that things will work out as long as I stay humble, tolerant, and focused on devotional service. I have experienced no evidence to the contrary!