After the first rush of excitement of moving into the shed, the feeling that followed was basically a growing ball of dismay and fear in my gut as the day to day reality of living in the dirt, bugs and heat with no kitchen, barely a bathroom, no walls, no safe areas for the kids, thing after thing, wham wham wham. Certainly the idea of living in the shed was a romantic idea, but the reality was a little more grim.

I started to feel bad and just stay quiet when we met up with people. They’d be all excited to hear about the details and the shed and the fun and the excitement. So I nodded and smiled and inside I felt that knot of Oh My God What Have I Done. Because they might sound all excited but I was the one who had to go home and herd the kids into safe areas, peel off their 3rd set of brown clothing for the day, bath them in the bathroom then watch them drag clean towels all round the shed floor, cook dinner on a camp stove, make 17 trips back and forth to the bathroom to boil the kettle, brush teeth, clean plates, fill water bottles, try to block the light with tarps and put my kids to sleep in portacots, then slink around silently so they didn’t wake for the rest of the night. Not quite as romantic as imagined.

During the day in those first weeks of January, if the temperature went up and the sun was out, the shed was 5-7 degrees hotter inside with no insulation – just a steel box that held the heat and baked us slowly. If it was 28 outside, it was 35 inside and felt like a sauna. We had one fan and it was on constantly. And being in cow country, the flies are horrendous. I feel bad about the ozone layer, but sitting down for 2 minutes and having 6 flies repeatedly landing on you is just not my cup of tea. I tried so many things, but we’ve settled on just spraying round half a can of poison a few times a day and getting rid of the little bastards. Sometimes there are 30-40 flies that go down. (Little dead fly bodies are part of life.. yuck) If I complain, my friends say, “Oh yes, our place is terrible too!” And then I go there and there’s like 2 flies in the house and they are complaining. And I say nothing because I guess if you don’t get it, you don’t get it!

But we survived. One day at a time. And things that seemed so very hard at the start got better, or we just got used to them. I think we can adjust to almost anything if we are motivated enough to stick at it! (Or don’t really have a choice..)

First the bathroom was completed – that was the main necessity.

Then the completion of the kids bedrooms gave us back our evenings and provided a place for them to call home. And a place to store a whole lot of things that were in the way!)

Then we got shelving into the storeroom and moved a whole lot of stuff in there, and suddenly you could see the floor and it didn’t feel so horrendously disorganised.

And time passed. And we survived.