600: Old and New

I have purchased another house. This one isn’t new, either, which means there are things that need to be fixed to suit me (and others, if I should decide that I don’t want to continue living in this place until I go to my great reward in the hereafter).

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Older homes become dated-looking. No matter how spiffy your home once was (at the very pinnacle of fashion), things change. That nifty and trendy avocado or burnt orange color scheme that was so popular once – isn’t now. Unless you want to maintain that home in the 1970’s style as a hipster showplace, there will be things to change and work to be done to bring the home into the current era. This is necessary even when the old, dated stuff is still mostly functional, especially if you ever plan on selling the home again at some future date.

Then, there are the things that some other occupant/owner of the home did in some previous iteration that you stand gazing at in absolute wonder and stupefaction, scratching your head and wondering, WTH? This includes funky things like:

  • a bedroom that can only be accessed by going though a bathroom, or, not quite so egregious: another bedroom (????)
  • a toilet installed smack in front of a bathroom door with one foot clearance between the front of it and the sink cabinet, such that it becomes a tripping hazard. Did they step OVER it to get into the bathroom previously?? And, when it comes to using that toilet, whose legs are that short?
  • a kitchen with no lighting fixtures. At all. Not even one. ?? You had lamps – in the kitchen?
  • the ever-popular favorite – doors installed so close to each other that each interferes with opening the other.
  • an elaborate, attached to the roof, shingled, installed cover for the central heat and air unit that funnels rain water right smack into the back door. In floods. Did it never rain while you were there?
  • windows that are painted shut. *sigh*
  • door hardware that does not match – literally seven different styles of knobs, hinges, and finishes in the one house. Did you buy a sampler pack?
  • exposed electrical wiring, or funky outlet placements – such as running the plug for the fridge through the side of a cabinet (all the way across to the other side) to be able to plug in the fridge. Not much experience in planning, hmmm?
  • a room the size of a closet – literally three feet by four feet – that has AV coaxial cable installed in it.   ???
  • Astro-turf (literally, plastic grass) as the master bedroom carpet. Indoor sports?? Needed that look of nature? It was the cheapest floor covering they had?

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Weird and questionable homeowner decisions aside, the last category of items you must deal with when you purchase a home that isn’t new are those things that are just worn out. This includes things like flooring, paint, siding, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, hot water heaters, central heat and air units, appliances, chain link fencing, the roof, and various and sundry other necessary (and costly, usually) things.

Still. I am sure that there have been people who have purchased homes I have owned who have scratched their heads over some of the things I did, too. Karma. Doing its thing.

552: Home, sweet……aaawwwwww, HECK, no.

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I bought a property upon which to live with my new husband. It is two half acre plots of land on one adjoining tract, so I have .01 more than one full acre, and it came with a trashed double-wide modular (trailer) home on it, complete with well and installed septic/drainfield. We can do the absolutely necessary repairs and upgrades, and live in it for hopefully less than three years while we pay off the tiny little mortgage, and build the new house we would like to have on the acre – and then we can sell the newly upgraded modular home to someone else to move it off the property – give it to my dad for an escape cabin, OR let the local fire department practice on it, and burn it to the ground…whatever it takes.

I totally understand that a modular home is all that many people will be able to afford in their lifetimes. I am not a housing snob. OK, maybe I am. What I have learned in the process of getting my hands dirty in the gutting of this place (putting a new roof on it and redoing the rotten flooring, ripping out grossly nasty cabinets and redoing bathrooms, painting and caulking, and building new cabinets and ……well, you get the idea……) is that modular housing construction in the United States of America is pretty darn shoddy.

What I have discovered is that it will cost far more than I wanted to spend to put this trashy, temporary, poorly built house to rights to be able to live in it for two-three years, even if I can eventually use the things I am purchasing in the new house, which, thankfully, I can do.

In the meantime, I am reading the books I asked for on interlibrary loan on straw bale construction, which is the house I’d like to build: super insulated, virtually totally fire-retardant, pest-proof, sound insulated, sized and priced for us and exactly what we would like to have for the rest of our lives. Finally.

I am drooling over house plans: www.balewatch.com

and reading up on construction details in a free e-course: http://strawbale.com/store/free-16-day-e-course/

and I really like what I am learning about building with straw bales in order to create my forever home. More resources:

http://www.yourhome.gov.au/materials/straw-bale

http://www.shtfpreparedness.com/lots-free-straw-bale-house-plans/

541: Married

Marriage

It feels very new.

Shiny. Unblemished. Stain-free. Clean.

Like a new pair of running shoes – a little stiff and awkward still.

Bright with the promise of new, uncharted miles to be run.

Possibilities. Unlimited horizons. Opportunities.

No hint yet of fatigue, or of sweat. Tears. Pain.

I know those things are there, too, waiting to be discovered. Experienced.

Shared.

That is what marriage is, what marriage means.

Good, bad, easy and hard, exciting, sad.

I am here for you.

Welcome home.

420: Well, dookey.

I have four days off from work. This is fabulous, since for the past two months, I have been doing very, very little other than get up, go to work, work, go home from work and work some more at home, go to bed and freaking DREAM about work. I THOUGHT I would really be able to relax and get some OTHER things accomplished that I’d RATHER be doing besides work.  Yeah, right.

What is actually happening is that I am paralyzed with indecision about what to do next, since every available minute is not already previously scheduled. This stinketh mightily.  I have a lovely stack of fabric just begging to be stitched up into some creative fashion statement limited only by my fertile imagination, I have a box of beads just waiting to be transformed into wearable art, and I have a partially completed canvas that is calling my name to come and complete. What do I do? I clean the house. PHULEEEEEEEEZE. I cleaned the house. AAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHhhhhhhh!

This is what happens when you get free time so seldom that when it finally happens, you don’t know how to handle it. Kinda like when your love life is going really, really well (for ONCE) and you freeze in terror that something horrible is about to happen, because it is going TOO well, ya know? It is like being in prison and then finding yourself suddenly paroled, free in big sky country – and freaking out because it is too much, too soon – and you don’t know how to deal with all that space and free time and….and…and FREEDOM.

This is embarrassing. I have got to get a grip. Like, NOW.

 

334: Movieland

I have movies I have seen that left  me wondering what in the world I spent nearly two hours watching that for? What a waste. And then, there are those magical ones that you actually search out to purchase. The good ones. The really GOOD ones.  My favorite ones are an eclectic mix of romance, science fiction, comedy, horror and drama. I used to enjoy going to the movie theater to see them, but not any more. There are  too many people who have cell phones and don’t mind at all having them go off during the movie, and carrying on long, involved conversations, usually right in the middle of the best parts of the film.

Much better to see them in my own home, where I can get popcorn that does not cost an arm and a leg, and I can pause the movie if I have to visit the restroom – and MY restroom is clean, thank you very much. And I don’t (usually) have to wait in line. Much better all the way around – I don’t even have to dress up! And the movie does not start until I am ready for it to start, and I can have a warm, purring kitty in my lap, all of which does not happen at the theater.

What are some of my good ones? Enemy Mine, Galaxy Quest, Cold Mountain, Tank Girl, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Sommersby, Gone With the Wind, Braveheart, Mad Max, Waterworld, The Postman, Road Warrior, Tim, The Thorn Birds, The Bad Seed, Titanic, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies,  Zombieland, Barry Lyndon, Ben Hur, Bull Durham, Dr. Zhivago, and a host of others I can’t recall right now, but they know they are my faves.

What are your faves? Which are the ones that come first to YOUR mind?

309: Panic Time

People panic for various reasons. Usually, panic accompanies some life-threatening event, like the time I looked up to see a Rottweiler (BIG, bad dog) in full charge at me across a back yard, snarling, fangs visible. I did not know he was safely chained until he hit the end of the chain and flipped over in the air. It took a good half hour to get over the shakies after that one.

People panic understandably when they perceive that their lives might be in danger. Everybody understands that. Paramedics are trained to recognize the signs of shock when they arrive at an accident, because panic is expected then. Some people, however, panic over things that are not exactly life-threatening. Things like a spider. Or a mouse. Or a snake – OK, that one could be life threatening, I’ll grant you.

Some people panic even when there really is nothing whatsoever to panic over: like getting into an elevator or other confined space, like a MRI diagnostic machine’s patient tube. Or a visit to the doctor (or the dentist). Even though you know you are very unlikely to die, the panic reaction still sets in, complete with full adrenalin rush.

I am having panic symptoms over a non-life-threatening event coming up: I am going to be boarding a plane (with my three cats) to leave Morocco on my way to Panama City, Panama.  For weeks now, I have packed and re-packed, looking for one more crevice where I can stuff one more item. It’s not like other vacations, where I know I am coming home – I am moving home, so what I can’t pack and take with me is getting left behind. Apocalypse.

My husband will remain in Morocco for a few weeks, settling the last items, closing the bank account after insurance reimbursements and selling the car, finishing off the last items of furniture, etc. Then, he will get to have his OWN panic attack as he boards his flight to Panama City, too.