only on vashon- the weekly rundown 11/19/2021

Power went out for the whole island, but we bravely posted through it. We went to Thriftway, which had a generator going, so we all ate burritos and stared up at the glowing rectangular lights in admiration.


When you’re driving at night, pedestrians in dark clothes emerge from the fog like ghosts, and it’s a bit unnerving. Or, as a poster on the rants page put it: 

“What the flip people?! I get that PNW folks gotta breathe in the nature-stay active-be healthy all the time-even when it’s a torrential downpour..BUT for the love of all that is holy, could ya wear something other than black or grey when your walking in the road!? Maybe carry a flashlight? Ok. That’s all.”

We have suggestions for people who go out at night. They could wear reflective vests. Or bright orange life vests. (Dual purpose!) 

Some of us have offered people gear, though it’s rarely taken, except this one time when an islander gave a biker one of those blinky butt lights, and he still uses it to this day.  

If you see me walking my dog, please pull over and offer me free stuff from your car. 

And speaking of dogs, an islander asks if it’s weird when people call their pets “fur babies.” Is it insulting to people with human babies? Some people with pets chime in that they can’t have kids, so telling them not to call their pets babies is hurtful. I have zero opinions on what you should call your pets, or how you should view your relationship to them. If you want to call your pets fur babies, go ahead. If you want to call your children skin pets, that’s weird, but I won’t stop you.

There’s  a scam where you get an email that purports to be from UPS, saying that they won’t ship your package because you owe 1.99$, which definitely looks like a legitimate way to write a price. 

We’re reminded to stay vigilant, especially older people, who are frequently the targets of scammers. 

This reminder irked some of us, who feel that older people are smarter than they’re given credit for. The original poster asserts that it’s ok for her to warn older people because she herself is old. 

Then some young people chime in to say that they, too, need reminders, so she shouldn’t just remind our elders. 

As someone who is both old and young (I guess that’s one way to interpret middle-age), I think we could all use the reminder. The older I get, the more services and insurance companies feed off of my bank account. Sometimes I like to rest assured that I don’t owe 1.99$ for a package I didn’t order. 

Someone is looking for advice on how to legally put a tiny home on their property. All our advice is about how to evade the law.  

You can add a structure under 200 square feet to your property without any permitting so long as it’s not a living space. For example, you can add a shed or a small greenhouse. 

We suggest getting around the un-lived-in rule by getting an RV, or a house built on a trailer that you can haul with a truck. Turns out if you want your RV not to count as a tiny house, you have to move it around and park it in different spots. Though it makes me wonder: Who’s coming by to check that the RVs have been moved? And how often do they come? Can you tell them that you moved it, but put it back right before they came by? 

Another idea we have to evade the law (despite the poster specifically asking how to build legally) is to get a shipping container. It’s not as homey as a tiny house, and it doesn’t have the lofts you were looking for, but if you know a guy, you can have it trucked to your property for under $500. Just be sure it’s not too rainy and muddy, or the truck may never be able to leave. (Or, do it specifically when it’s rainy. Free truck!). 

But then we ask, what about septic? We’re just assuming you’ve maxed out your house’s septic and can’t hook up a tiny house to it.  We suggest a composting toilet.

So that’s our answer to the question of how to get permits for your tiny house: Don’t. Also, get a composting toilet. 

And one more thing, if you do go with the shipping container, be wary of toxic pesticide off-gassing. 

Finally, Thanksgiving is coming, and we’re discussing what we’re cooking, besides the obvious (Thriftway burritos.) 

We’ve got a delicious list: 

-a mean crockpot ham with honey

– a fondue rotation so people can come and go and try out a bunch of different ones

-broccoli casserole

-someone’s mom’s enchiladas, which are so beloved everyone who’s ever had them chimed in to comment on how cool it was that she made them flat

-folding chairs and a jar of olives (I’m the lady who brings a bag of chips to the potluck, so I like this answer. Let’s just hope the two of us are going to different dinner parties, or everyone will have an underwhelming dinner.)

-oyster stuffing

-beets with goat cheese and vinaigrette served at room temperature

-beer (You’re invited to my Thanksgiving)

-pizza (Also you)

-gossip (Definitely come over. Every day.)

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, and be sure to post all the heated arguments you got in with your families and friends, because I absolutely live for drama, but I also hate confrontation, so I need to experience drama vicariously.

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

2 thoughts on “only on vashon- the weekly rundown 11/19/2021”

  1. My heart will always be on Vashon. I love reading your quirky spin on Island life. Sounds like magical realism, but true Islanders know it is non-fiction all the way!

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