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I have talked about our little 390 square foot basement apartment that we are gamely moving into. There will be water and power but the house will not yet have a furnace. we have windows and will have a roof. We have some doors. We have a front door and a back door and a (wo)man door. We don’t have garage doors.

Even without doors our sense of adventure for doing something challenging has been overtaken by our need to be in our own space. It came to me a few weeks ago that what has bothered me for months is the lack of privacy. It would seem that living with people coming and going up and down the stairs by your door and into your house while you live below would not be very private. For me, though, it is about being in my own space and not having to live in someone elses space.

The construction workers will be at our house working. It is our space. It is a place where we can life fully. We can live creatively, mistakes and all, since we will be home.


When I first proposed we create this little apartment I jokingly said it was “about the size of a cruise ship cabin.” It stuck. This is my tongue in cheek cruise brochure.

For A Once in a Lifetime Experience: A Winter Cruise Aboard the USSS Elk Mountain

Join us this winter for the inaugural voyage of our builder-family venture on the USS(tamm)S Elk Mountain. Your trip begins with embarkation from the glistening white snow and Adriatic blue skies of Elk Mountain, Montana.

As a Suite guest, your commodious accommodation includes a private retreat of 388 square feet accompanied by 110 square feet of shared space that includes a capacious locker dedicated to your cabin. On this luxurious voyage, special rates are offered to our best guests while we execute extensive improvements on the ship’s upper decks. Rest in complete confidence that on the lower deck, in your glistening suite, you will be buffered from the swells of the upper decks.

During this 3 month cruise, a host of exciting events help you while away the time. Thrill with excitement to the unplanned events that can come with calm and rough seas alike. If you prefer planned events, here are just a few.

  • For the Adventuresome
  • The Dusting Competition the rules of this competition are simple: See who can create more dust, the busy crew or the passengers as they trundle around behind them. The competition will continue through the entire voyage. Points will be tallied each week and the grand prize awarded at the end of the voyage.
  • Keyholeing during this event watch in amazement as an expert member of our crew cuts small round holes in things.
  • Tile Tossing Be sure to wear casual clothes and closed shoes for this one! Watch as an expert tile-layer breaks tile after tile trying not to shiver while cutting tile in a 40 degree garage.
  • Lumber Dodging This chestnut event will take place on the Lido deck where crew will be dodging you while laying floors with 16 foot flooring boards. Make sure to bring your ear plugs if you have tender sensibilities.
  • The Sophie Spa

Unlike most voyages, on our all inclusive voyage, there are no additional charges for Spa Services. Just the sampling below from the array of services will enlighten you to what awaits. The Spa is easy to find as it is located just to the starboard of your very own kitchen.

  • Flour-scented Baths Enjoy these baths in our special 30” x 34” bathtub. These tiny tubs leave you refreshed and cleansed by combining yoga and bathing.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing Learn breathing that calms the body’s fight or flight response by learning  how to take normal breaths while maximizing the amount of oxygen that goes into the bloodstream. The training will be offered throughout the ship. Learn to focus your breathing in response to construction dust, loud noises and sad looks on a contractor’s face as he heads toward you with a clipboard.
  • The Penultimate Treatment Of course the Sophie Spa offers the penultimate treatment named after the famous spa-dog herself—belly rubs. Make sure to sign up early for this one. While there are no extra fees, appointment times are limited. Additional times may be added depending on the availability of Greenies.

Join us on a tour of your very own Suite.

Welcome aboard the USSS Elk Mountain from the garage. Your commodious cabin is fore, the garage aft. The stairs to the upper decks can be found on the port side. To your starboard side you will run smack into a wall so do mind your 6’s.

entrance with kitchen ahead


 Enjoy your Lilliputian spa-style bathroom and Bates Motel Metal all-in-one Kitchenette, each just steps from yourview with tiny kitchen on left looking forward into the small bathroom living room and the front door should be desirous of a quick escape. For your peace of mind there are no rocking chairs or shower curtains on the USSS Elk Mountain.


view from living through kitchen into bedroom with office

Leave behind the constraints of modern life rushing from one place to the next. On the USSS Elk Mountain your sleeping accommodations are located just steps from your living room, your kitchen, your bathroom, and your desk.


Sleep soundly in your own little berth knowing that the morning sun will not displace your slumber. Your rest and your safety are preponderating to our crew. Your egress window well keeps you safe in stormy seas yet undisturbed by morning’s light.

bed with storage bridge


As you disembark the USSS Elk Mountain you will know your life has changed forever. You have a renewed appreciation for space and for not having saws around you. You envisage the true Visqueen. You find freedom on the upper decks. You know you are home.

french doors looking into grage from apartment