Monday, July 13, 2009

Dents, Cuts, and Pony Walls

Last Tuesday, we headed down to the lake for my dad's birthday. As kids, we grew up around the water, boating and water skiing, so this is something that our family continues to enjoy doing together. My dad has a houseboat on Pine Flat Lake called the "Skinny Dipper" ( good reason). My sister Karen has a ski boat which she brought along, and my sister Gail has mastered the art of prepping for and running an extended stay at the houseboat, so she is basically in charge of the trip. I'm the newbie, but wanting to learn the ropes. This will be important later on. So we had a great time down at the lake, skiing, tubing, swimming, playing cards, and using up sunscreen. My intended two-day stay stretched into five. Mark had to return home on the third day to receive our next lumber shipment. While we were there, I celebrated my 43rd birthday knocking the rust off my waterskiing bones, skiing for the first time in several years. All in all, a fantastic five days...that is, until the very end.

It was my job to drive the jetski back home, so I had to back the tiny trailer down to the launch ramp. I've backed the 35' travel trailer before, so I was certainly game to try this. Well, try I did...literally probably 40 times. In the process, at some point unknown to me, the trailer jack-knifed enough to put a whopper of a dent in the bumper of the truck (to the right of the hitch).

Of course, I was distraught and felt like a complete boob. But the thought of how Mark was going to take the news made my blood run cold...a dent in HIS beautiful truck! However, he took the news very well. Uncommonly well. Shockingly well. Later, he confessed that the book that he just finished, "The Last Lecture" (a gift from his brother John), tempered his reaction. So...thanks, John! If that's not a powerful endorsement for a book, I don't know what IS!

After we returned from the lake, we finally got around to giving Mark a long overdue haircut. The girls wanted a part of the action, so I did the first half:

And then they took turns. Only minor bleeding resulted.

And what of the house progress?

Here is the loft, with the new "pony wall" (the half wall in front of Mark).

The loft will be open to the living room below. What may not be apparent at first glance is that there are windows in the pony wall, which is kind of funky. We have a lot of southern-facing windows for passive solar and natural light purposes. In order to let the light deep into the house, we incorporated these interior windows (with safety glass). We chose this over a more traditional treatment of balusters (like this),

because I thought it might be too common for stuff to drop down from the play area in the loft, and I found the look of so many little posts overpowering. The trick will be to make this look farmhouse-y, versus modern. I'm thinking divided lights may help.

Here we are, in the loft, looking at Mark working, as usual. The ladder beyond him leads to the now-complete subfloor for the attic storage space.

We went up there:

It is freaking HIGH up there! Think THIRD STORY! Now, I'm not real comfortable with heights. I distrust my own, and everyone else's, ability not to fall off the edge. I have involuntary spasms and cringes when people get anywhere NEAR the edge. Zack in particular finds this amusing, and has proposed that he and Mark belly-crawl any time they get within six feet of the edge. I think it's a darn good idea.

Just what we need...another smarty pants in the family.


  1. I know where we're spending vacations in the future! Boating on the "family" lake. I'll have to get that book. I've seen it but haven't read it yet. I love the new hair cut, Mark. I'll have to have the twins do me next.

  2. Great idea! Very interesting. How are you going to distribute the heat and A/C? A friend was telling me that they now have (for electric heat and A/C)the electic wiring in the wallboard. New stuff all the time. Love Dick