Saturday, December 3, 2016

Moved again!

Eerie cool photo of Mark walking back up the driveway.

No time for an elaborate post, but here's what happened when I took a quick break from an intense work period yesterday to beat heavy rains a-comin':
Graduated with honors and
is working in her field of study.
I'm so proud!
  1. Went to Old Spot, packed a bit, prepped what I could on the house for travel, loaded up the cargo trailer and pulled it to the new spot.
  2. On the way to New Spot, cargo trailer (a.k.a. "Squirt") fell off the hitch. I did not document the event because I was too mad at myself for 1) causing a delay, 2) damaging my new trailer and 3) being in such a hurry that I'd missed that the ball catcher thingy didn't "catch." Ugh. Luckily, a Good Samaritan stopped to help discover the ball catcher thingy was bent and helped me unbend it and I was on my way.
  3. Swung back through "town" to pick up Mark, with a smart stop to attend Lauren's graduation ceremony. I'm so proud of her! She's officially a working Medical Assistant! They grow up so fast.
  4. Back to Old Spot to finish prepping the house for travel, loading all the steps and whatnot—and then getting the house out of the woods.

    Through the trees.

    In the dark.
Break here to mention the incredible backing skills and unending patience of one Mark Ellis. Mark slowly and meticulously backed the house out with much-appreciated and expert guidance from Jay and Kim. Their patience was amazing, as well, and their willingness to help slowly walk us out of the forest was a gift.

And Bruce has another honor mark from the same tree that got him in the back bumper. Lol

So, that happened.
  1. Made a pit stop at the weigh station to finally weigh my house. Because we're newbs and the folks at the station hadn't weighed a tiny house before, we were all unclear about which part of the scale to put things on, so we weighed it a couple times. We didn't get a consistent number, so I'll be going back at some point to verify... kind of like a second opinion? Needless to say, it's pretty heavy.

    Also, it started to rain at this point.

Fun with Prisma
  1. Finally landed at New Spot around 3 a.m. We literally parked the truck with the house still attached and started back to "town."
  2. On the way home, Bianca's check engine light came on.
Guess what I'm doing today instead of setting up my house? C'est la vie.

Never a dull moment in the world of tiny houses.


Thursday, November 10, 2016


It's just shy of a month since my Cloe dog passed. I miss her terribly. Most days have been okay; some good, some bad. My friends have all been really kind and thoughtful, checking on me periodically... they've really been the glue that's kept me together. I am so thankful for them.

I've been staying at my tiny house off an on, commuting in for work when I can and staying in town other days. It's so far--about 130 miles, round trip--but I need to spend the quiet time with my house and my memories. I've been thinking a lot... my time in my house is very peaceful. I've been lucky in that I've been in my house when it's rained... I love how it sounds when the rain hits my metal roof, with the occasional roll of thunder in the distance. My head is quiet and the rain soothes my soul.

I've made a bit more progress on my house; I hung my painted pantry shelves. I think they look pretty good. Once I get settled, I'll use them to store canned food and other things that won't fit in my pull-out pantry, most likely.

I'm really eager to get settled. Mark found a solution for me in Blue Ridge. It's still a commute, but it's set up for horses. I'll be able to get horses within the next year! Unbelievable.

I'm eager to get my place more finished out and mostly eager to get a new dog, a companion. I will always love Cloe and she has a special place in my heart but I'm ready. I really would like two puppies, preferably Schnoodle puppies, medium-sized, by Christmas. Tinies or minis would be too small for a farm. I love Cheyenne, who's a Red Heeler/Australian Shepherd mix, but she sheds so much... I miss doggy pets and happy greetings and all the joys of having a dog brings. I know the perfect pair will find me when it's time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Precious Cloe, 2002–2016

I started this post on Saturday night, just about 24 hours since the time Mark and I rushed Cloe to the emergency animal clinic. Her condition—congestive heart failure with pulmonary edema—finally took its toll; she appeared to have a mild seizure and had a hard time breathing. When we got her to the clinic, her tongue was purple.

I'd watched my beloved companion deteriorate pretty quickly over the past six months. When she was diagnosed with her heart condition, they warned me about what could happen and how it could happen... You think you're prepared, but how could you prepare to lose your best friend? There's no way to emotionally prepare for that.

Mark and I were with her when she passed. I knew it was the best thing to do, but my heart is broken.

Now it's Sunday. Mark's been my rock this entire weekend. For someone who's never had a pet, much less lost one, he's been incredibly strong and supportive. She was his companion, too, and he cared about her. Moving throughout his house has been strange without my shadow, following my every move.

We've talked about Cloe a lot and all the joy she brought both of us. I've been scouring my photo archives, compiling my favorites. I'm missing some from the early days; they were on my computer that got stolen from the Allen apartment, but I still have a good smattering. It's been really cathartic to see how much fun we had and how much delight she brought to our world.

One of my favorite memories was when I first brought her to his house over a decade ago, she was still a whirlwind of puppy fluff and I remember she tore through Mark's house, totally messing up all of his neat piles of paper... they were literally flying up in the air. I laughed, but it was pretty bad! She was quite the spaz in her early days.
I couldn't get her to stay still long enough to take a good picture!

The Muppet

Cloe always reminded me of a Muppet. Her hair was floppy and shaggy and just like Velcro when it was long, which was most of the time. I tried sending her to the groomer's once, but that was a disaster. They trimmed her like a poodle and put bows in her hair. Boy, she was so unhappy about that! I ended up trimming her myself from then on.
The one and only time I got Cloe a professional haircut. By the look on her face, you can tell she hated it!

The Cow Patty

Cloe was very well-behaved, so I usually let her off the leash when we were at the barn.
My two fur babies tolerated each other!
On one visit to see Stetson in Celina, she was off running around as usual. It came time to go and when she came running back, her hair looked odd to me. As she got closer, she appeared to be wet. Oh, but no! She was covered in cow poo! She'd gone to visit the neighbor's cows and rolled in a fresh patty! I had to hose her off, cover my car seat with a couple of towels and ride home with the windows down because she was so stinky. Making a bad situation worse, it was about 50 degrees outside; being wet was not ideal. She got a good, warm bath when we got home, but that was nasty.


Cloe, the big black dog. Photo credit: Darcy Melton
On a fun camping trip in Oklahoma with my friend, Darcy, and her family, Cloe was once again pretty shaggy. The campsite appeared harmless, but she ended up getting covered in burrs. I mean, there were hundreds of burrs, matted up in her hair, all over her legs and stomache. It was so bad, there was no combing those out—I had to shave her when I got home!
Before: Burr-filled shaggy dog
After: Sleek and not a burr to be seen


Cloe was definitely fearless and always up for whatever situation we put her in. I was always proud to say that Cloe was a big dog in a little body. Her attitude wasn't that of the stereotypical "little dog" who just thought they were big. She could actually keep up with the big dogs—she actually fared much better in the big dog pen at the dog park. While she was always friendly, she was too much for the little dogs; they'd run to their owners or pretty much ignore her doggy pleas to run and play.

My favorite memory of her being a "big dog" was how she managed to keep up as we tubed down the Guadalupe in New Braunfels. It was me and Lauren and Cloe and Cheyenne; we each had a tube and the dogs rode on their own or swam. We'd gone during the dry season, so there were several spots where we had to get out of the tubes and walk. Cloe and Cheyenne had to run along the bank through those spots to keep up with us; Cloe "hung" the whole way, over rocks, water inlets and varying terrain. She seemed to really like standing on the tube and floating down the river and even swam a little. They were both really pooped afterwards, but I think they had a blast.
Cloe was cold at this point and unfortunately looks miserable. I had a great picture of her standing on the edge of the tube, really looking fearless and excited for the adventure, but I think it was lost in the early photos.
In the car after we finished tubing. Cloe was known to do cat-like things—like laying on the back dash of car.

Cloe was not afraid of storms. I used to sit on the front porch at my big house to watch thunderstorms as they passed through. She always sat with me to watch the rain and lightning. She never needed a Thunder Shirt.
It was really pitch black outside, but I'd managed to capture a lightning strike
with the camera flash at the same time; and there's Cloe, just taking it all in.
Lauren would hoist Cloe up in the air on her feet; she never minded!
Cloe looks especially Muppet-like in this shot.

The Friend

Cloe was a sister friend to her pack. She was always friendly and easy-going, very chill to all the kitties and dogs she was introduced to. I socialized her early and she become friends with all of my friends' fur babies, too. At one time, her pack was up to five. She helped raise Cheyenne and Kenai (although Cheyenne is the best mommy dog I've ever seen) and even taught them a thing or two about escaping. 

The Traveler

Cloe was a well-traveled pup. I loved having her with me and took her wherever I could bring her. In addition to New Braunfels and multiple camping trips, she went on road trips with me to Florida, Colorado and Austin. She's camped, tubed, road-tripped and kayaked, always my companion. Cloe was always willing to go along with me and seemed happy to be there.
Chilling at the campsite after a day of swimming
Thanksgiving at my dad's in Punta Gorda, Florida

My Tiny Companion

Cloe was there with me when I built my tiny house. She was there the first night I spent the night in it and there with me for the rest of her life.
Photo credit: Darcy Melton

My Best Friend

She's always been my "familiar," my best friend and my loyal companion. There are times I cursed her for escaping out of the back yard, wished she wouldn't pee on every rug in the house or lick the furniture, but she was my fur baby and my confidant. Cloe was my only friend at times, always happy to see me. She was always my shadow and in the last year of her life, my special needs older family member.
I'm really glad Emma-Rae got to know Cloe.
Cloe had a great life. I loved her. I love her. I miss her dearly.

My heart hurts.