By Amy Knight

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The House We Live In: A Series on Building the Sustainable Home in Tucson, Arizona

You know that corny old phrase, when God closes a door, he opens a window? Well, this week a window opened, and then a door closed. And I sure am glad it happened in that order.

My dad heard about another builder we hadn’t talked to who was well liked and specializes in green building, and I decided to talk to him even though the bidding had already started. We met, and he was incredibly excited about the project. He was also excited about the level of detail in the plans, which will make Matthew happy. It will slow things down a little bit—he’ll need three or four weeks to bid it, just like everyone else did—but it seemed we were back up to the four bids we’d been looking at all along.

Until Saturday. While I was out for my morning run, we got an email from one of the three remaining from our original group—like the one we lost last week, he had decided he was just too busy with other projects.

Boy am I glad the window opened before the door closed. I can imagine I might’ve started to feel a little panic, when four became three became two. Four, three, four, three is much easier to live with. Three still feels like a good number—plus I’m happy to have someone who’s been an outsider to the development of the project bidding on it. Both of the other two remaining bidders worked with us fairly extensively during the design phase to work things out. So now we still have two insiders and an outsider, and the universe was kind enough to sequence those events to prevent me from freaking out.  

He we are in May. Hopefully by June, I’ll have chosen a builder, and we’ll start the permitting process. Building will happen. Where there is dirt, there will be a house. It’s a winding road. But I’m walking it, one day at a time.



Amy KnightAmy Knight is the fiction editor for In this weekly series, she chronicles the process of designing and building an eco-friendly house in Tucson, Arizona. The series will explore both how it’s done and what it means, from the perspective of someone who wants to do the right thing but knows almost nothing about sustainable building. Look for new posts every Monday. You can email Amy at or leave a comment here. Visit her website, or follow her on twitter @amypknight.

Photo of windows courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Amy Knight by Richard Whitmer. is the first online literary journal of place, publishing award-winning literature, art, editorials, and community case studies since 1998.