Friday, December 23, 2011


So, I'm thinking about adopting.  A cat.  Apparently the park is a magnet for lonely, orphaned animals, including cats, chickens, dogs, and, rumor has it, peacocks.  I've been noticing the cats hopping in and out of the dumpsters and sunning in the parking area, but didn't think anything of them until yesterday.  While dumping a bucket of water outside, Caroline called me over to the maintenance shop.  In the middle of all the guys was a little orange and black feline timidly bouncing from hand to hand in an attempt to gather as much attention as possible without getting caught. 

Being a cat person, I bent down to say hi.  It didn't take long before she noticed me and padded over to let me scratch her ears.  She looked perfectly content, a great addition to a house.  Wait!  I thought.  You aren't even living in your own house yet, and you're already finding four-legged roommates...maybe you should focus on actually finishing the house first!  But then I looked back at her and considered how cool it would be to have such a chipper mouse hunter roomie.  She reminds me of one of my parents' cats, Ginger Ale: stout and compact, with a smooth, powerful purr, kind of like a turbo diesel Volkswagen Jetta.  A man's cat, but cute enough too.

Last night as I was laying in the loft listening to the rain fall on the tin roof, I considered some of the challenges of tiny house pet ownership.  Obviously, there's the space issue.  A fairly limited amount of creatures or stuff can fit inside and still allow for functional movement.  I've seen some dog owners build tiny houses, which to me seems to be too close of quarters.  Like other houses, hair and dirt can definitely collect, but perhaps the small space might make it easier to clean.  When my friend Eric came over last night, I also realized that pet allergies can be a big bummer for some, and probably bigger the smaller the space gets.

So, there's a lot for me to consider before I take a big step like that.  But, on the bright and exciting side of things, once I'm done, I will have my own house, so if I want a pet, you can be damn-sure I can get one!  Until then, it looks like the dumpster kitties will have to keep hangin' with the raccoons.      

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lofts, Windows, and Floors Oh My!

Wow!  It has been quite some time since I last posted, mostly because I haven't been making any progress on the house the last few weeks.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I've been very busy gathering materials and prepping for the next project, so money's been spent, it just hadn't materialized into an increase in "housage".

That is, until this past weekend.  My dad got up early Saturday morning to make it from Rappahannock to the construction site by 8:30 a.m.  He had generously made a trip to Sam Dwyer's (the millwork guy who made the pine flooring for my parent's house) to pick up the flooring for my loft.  I could have just gone to Lowe's and bought some tongue and groove flooring there, but since I have a background in forestry, my goal has been to source as much of my wood products from Virginia.  Plus, as my dad pointed out, you can't just call up the home improvement store and ask for tiny house quantities of custom dimension, quality product.  As expected, the flooring turned out beautifully, and we were able to install it in a couple of hours.

Dad positioning tongue and groove flooring for storage loft
    I had been waiting to nail my loft end walls in place until I had the flooring, so once we were done with the first project we kept rolling onto the next.  I was a little nervous that they wouldn't quite fit, but with a bit of persuasion (it only took a framing hammer, not a sledge :p) they popped right into place!  You can see one of them in the picture below; I'm pretty satisfied with the size of the window opening- it provided a cold breeze, which during the summer will be great at night!

After a late lunch, we jumped right into window installation.  I had ordered custom Jeld-Wen wood windows from Goodwyn and Sons.  While I was very impressed with them when I picked them up from the store, I was a little concerned to read in the installation manual that the average beginner's installation time is 4 hours.  I was having nightmares about weekend after weekend spent solely on painstakingly installing windows!  However, when my dad looked at them, he estimated that we could get a couple of them done by the end of the day.  And right he was!  As it turns out, to install a window all you have to do is make sure its level, apply some sealant, and hammer it into the frame.  I'll have to go back later and spray some insulation, attach drip caps, etc., but all in all it wasn't that bad.  I think the windows are the biggest step so far towards furthering the image of a true house, which makes me happy :)

These windows are so impressive that the next door neighbors were already upgrading theirs the next morning :p

Clifton was back for college, so I tricked him into helping out on the house again Sunday afternoon.  We made good time finishing installing the rest of the windows, and moved on to cutting the pine flooring for the main floor.  My parents had some flooring left over from their living room, so I spent Thanksgiving break sanding the stain off to bring it back to the natural heart pine color.

It was tedious work, but it helped me save some on flooring cost, and I think the end result will look rather nice.  Clifton was a trooper, working with me into the night up until it was time to go to the Spanish mass at St. Augustine's.  Thanks Clif!

Practicing Christmas present wrapping on the house

It was a great weekend, with lots accomplished!  We plugged the stereo in Sunday afternoon, which really helped it feel like the beginnings of a home.  Probably the only construction site you'll hear Brittney playing!