Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Nailed it! Almost. 10 of my Top 15 design "must haves."

I revisited my original list, drawn up before I started building, and I was able to make most of them happen. I still might make the other five, but they will take time to finish building out. I also need to put up my fish collection! As is with any house—large or small—there are always projects going on!

Check out my photo gallery to see how some of these turned out.
  1.  A cozy place to lounge. I totally created that in my sweet, little nook in my "living room." After a long day, I lounge in my cozy space, equipped with cushions from Holy Lamb Organics. They are soft and very easy to clean. The rest of the pillows are some I acquired in my travels. I love to curl up there to watch a movie or eat dinner. I still need to build out shelving, a multi-functional table and pull-out bed.
  2. Stairs with storage underneath or in them, as pull-out drawers, or both. This was a fun project to figure out and build. I have a tremendous amount of storage under there, including a place for my fridge. I use the steps as additional surface area/counter space, too. I still need to add the railing. (How many times have I said that?!?!) I've entertained the thought of extending the top step, too, to provide more surface area when coming down out of the loft. I really do love them, though!
  3. Larger loft areas. I have two lofts and each fits at least a queen-sized mattress. I'm using smaller mattresses; the floor space creates a more "roomier" feel and allows for an additional lounging area.
  4. Sleeping options for guests. I have the second loft, which sleeps two. I have plans to build out my nook seating into a pull-out bed, so that will accommodate a couple more. Realistically, I'll probably use that one for myself sometimes, too. I haven't been sick in my house yet, but I wouldn't want to climb up and down the stairs when I'm sick.
  5. Lots of windows. One of my favorite features of my house. I love how much light comes in and especially how the breeze streams through when they are open. With a total of 11 (including my skylight), I think I have lots of windows. :-)
  6. A composting toilet and shower. The Nature's Head toilet I have works out really well. My friend calls it my litter box. LOL I built out the bathroom a bit larger so I have room to move around to get ready and stuff, and I built custom cabinets for more storage. My shower setup is sort of temporary. I have a vision for building it out so that it can be a wet area... I'm picturing a mosaic somewhere...
  7. Farm sink. Absolutely one of my favorite parts of my kitchen. Having the larger, deeper sink to do "kitchen" things in was a must. I bought a rack made for the model I have, which I highly recommend. It keeps stuff off the bottom of the sink, which allows me to have things in it and still run the water without worrying if those things will get wet.
  8. HVAC. I don't know why this was one of my Top 15, I mean, it's AC. But, it was critical for me to have a good one and to have it professionally installed. I'd wondered if the interior part of my mini split would bother me, but it doesn't, surprisingly. It's very quiet and does such a great job heating and cooling the place. Leveling it out is a "thing" and it will leak if you don't get it just right. An improvement would be to reroute the drip line so that doesn't happen. Another one for the project list!
  9. Butcher-block counter tops. I have so little counter space, this was actually kind of hard to find. The one I did find was a lot thicker than I'd hoped to have but it works out nicely. The height of it is even with the stove, which I like.
  10. A large area of wall for hanging family pictures.The spot for this one changed a couple times as I was building but it ended up in the perfect place. That would be the first wall you see when you enter my back door. I haven't hung them yet—another project—but I have the frames, the layout and my favorite pictures ready for framing. 
Next Up
I've been gathering photos of some of the projects I have completed and I'd like to post some "how tos" on those. It's been fun! I'd like to blog on more features in detail, too... hopefully, that happens sooner than next year! Ta!

A Few of My Favorite Photos of The Little Fish House

Someday I'll get a professional up in there, but these will do for now.

The Little Fish House

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Not-So-Tiny Surgeries

It's been a while since my last post. I think about writing every day because, frankly, it's been a pretty eventful year. But the thing I want to write about comes up right when I need to sleep. Sleep wins.

Both Katy and I had surgery the end of May. Our recovery wasn't too painful, but it was painfully slow.

Katy somehow broke her kneecap right after her spay surgery. She didn't show any signs that anything was wrong except for a slight limp. I took her to the vet; things seemed fine, but it didn't get better. They X-rayed her leg—broken kneecap. At five months old, she had knee surgery. That meant two months of nothing but crate time. And I mean nothing. I let her out to potty without being leashed once or twice and she managed to break the wire with just that little bit of movement so it was serious. Two pins in the leg needed to stay put.
She was extremely unhappy about it but we got into a routine and she managed to deal with it. Broke my heart to see her puppyhood interrupted like that. Keko was a trooper, just going with the flow! She didn't need "only crate time," but she started chewing on the baseboards so she got her own crate, too. (Hello, 7-month-old puppy! Thank you, Carla!) Silver lining is they are both truly crate-trained now. Keko did get to go on walks and be out without Katy, but Katy got so excited she needed anti-anxiety medicine to calm her down during those times… we started reducing the amount of time Keko went out. Even still, they both didn't gain but a couple pounds over their normal puppy growth.
Meanwhile, I had surgery a week after Katy did. I had a medically-necessary breast reduction. I haven’t shared that with too many people… not that I’m embarrassed about it—on the contrary. I’m thrilled! But, large breasts have such a prominence in our society that talking about reducing the size of them isn’t something most people think about positively. I’ve thought about doing that since I was 14. They’ve defined my life through so many everyday things to big events—not in a good way. I basically stopped swimming… that in a bathing suit was downright obscene. And water is one of my most favorite things. I was unhappy. Those are minor points considering the toll they were taking on my body. My blood pressure was high, I consistently retained close to 20 pounds of water because of them and I had the classic back trouble—the weight of them even pinched nerves to cause carpal tunnel-like symptoms in my hands. The pain was so intense, I’d lay in bed crying because I couldn’t find relief.

So, I went under the knife! I was mildly concerned but 100 percent sure I was doing the right thing. It was a day surgery, believe it or not, and I was back at Mark’s the same day. The pain wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, but I had some great pain meds. I was completely bed-ridden for a week, knocked out on meds. I thought I’d prepared for handling the pain meds, but, man, those kicked my ass and I was down for another week because of them. Turns out I needed the rest, of course. I really focused on not doing too much too soon and I think I’ve done the right thing there, too. As someone who really has a hard time asking for help, I had to bypass that issue and actually ask. I did not learn that skill; I still have a hard time asking. I got to catch up on my shows. I thought I was going to get to read and blog more… didn’t happen. I slept and focused on maintaining my health.

I was an F and I’m down to a C now. Original notes—It’s been 12 weeks as of this writing and I’m almost to the point where I can perform most functions. My arms are incredibly strong now! My posture is much better. I do not get hot much anymore. I repeat—I do not get hot much anymore. My blood pressure is normal, almost low sometimes. I’m off all medication… it’s incredible how much better I feel and just am. I love how I look in bathing suits! No obscenity. Every day is a slightly stronger, better day than the last.
Update—It's been exactly six months now and most of that is still true. I am hot sometimes, but I'm also cold sometimes, which never happened before. I haven't worn my wrist guards since the night before I went into surgery. My blood pressure has leveled out, on the higher end of normal. Still no more back problems!

Through all of that the pups and I stayed at Mark's. He was so generous in letting us stay at his house, even with all of my and Katy’s unique needs. Between the two of us we couldn’t do stairs, so we took over his master suite with the dogs in the bathroom and me in the bedroom. Minimal movement was key. Aside from a couple of miscommunications (right Lauren, Randy and Cliff?) he was downright sweet, making sure my pillows were right, taking Katy to the doctor and just making sure everything was in order. He's been pretty good with the dogs since—even though he's never had a pet—and they adore him. Taking care of two puppies was definitely trial by fire!

My friends, family and even my workplace have been so supportive. My wonderful kids made sure I was taken care of, too. I really think their support made my recovery that much better. It’s incredible how great I feel, y’all!

Katy's made a full recovery except for some scar tissue around her knee. She slowly got out more and we have spent so much time at the farm, running and running... She seems so much happier now. Her little (big) body wiggles like the 11 1/2-month-old almost-not-a-puppy she is. She only favors her leg when she pivots on it a lot, which is less and less as time goes by. The pups truly smile now.

Progress!

I've made progress on my tiny, too. I really want to document everything so I'll remember the deets later... (How many times have I mentioned that?) The short list is I've finished my dog yard, replaced and winterized my water intake system and (wait for it) REMOVED MY TIRES! ::gasp:: I'm working on the skirt now, but more on all of that later!

Meanwhile, I'm juggling my living situation and trying to figure some things out. The anniversary of Cloe's passing was difficult and, while I've been somewhat troubled lately for other reasons, it could be worse and I'm super lucky to I have some great people in my life who care about me, if only just to hear me vent.

Now, I have to take the dogs out and get some much-needed rest. Ta!