621: House, interrupted

Hubs and I are fixing up a foreclosure house we bought. I SAY “we,” but most of it is me. He helps when asked for the heavy stuff, or the stuff I cannot do by myself, but mostly, it’s me. He says that’s because I am in charge of the house – which, technically, is mostly true. Still – he lives here, too, and abdicating all responsibility for the stuff that needs doing is pretty annoying sometimes. Still, when I am working, I do admit to getting in my solo groove – I suppose because there isn’t any other alternative? And, getting it done myself does mean it is done to my standards, which might be the whole crux of the matter.

Over the months since we bought this house, we have had the roof replaced, the kitchen gutted and redone (new cabinets, kitchen appliances, flooring and ceiling), more flooring, a hot water heater, washer/dryer, more flooring, painted walls and ceilings and trim, bathroom caulking, painting, new doors, new locksets and deadbolts, more flooring. More trim. More painting.


Lighting fixtures, more walls, ceilings and trim painting. Curtains, drapes, sheers, rods, brackets. More painting. Salvaged kitchen cabinets that now are storage for a craft room that someone else might use as a bedroom or a nursery. Caulking, running trim, painting trim. Sweeping, hauling debris. Calling for repair, and more estimates. Running to the store for more materials. Again.

There’s always something else to be done: paint, hemming the window treatment curtains, straightening up, cleaning up, unpacking, sorting, putting away, not to mention the usual stuff, like a load of laundry, or repairing garments that have popped a seam, lost a button, or pulled loose a strap or snap.

If I sit down, I pretty rapidly become a cat’s bed, since one of the two resident felines claims my lap. Nothing gets done unless I do it.

If I sit down, nothing else gets done. It waits on me.

It is a darn good thing that this isn’t a contest with any sort of deadline.


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).


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?


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.

490: Broken and Still Valuable


Things have intrinsic value. Even when they are broken, some value remains.

Some people have the skill, knowledge, and time to repair broken things. And, some broken things are worth repairing, more so if they are old things not easily replaced with a new thing.

People are not really things, but they can be broken, too. Sometimes people break themselves. Sometimes it is done to them.

People can, sometimes, fix themselves when they are broken. Sometimes.

Broken or not, a person always has intrinsic value. They are not replaceable. Ever. Life will go on without them, but they are not replaced. Others are added, perhaps.

Adding someone new before the repairs are complete is not advised. That is a recipe for new, further and more extensive brokenness.

Repair what is broken first. Then add someone.

Be patient.

Fixing something takes time.

Especially when it isn’t a thing.

392: Overwhelmed

HOW COME, in my life, that I cannot have just one part of it go to hell at a time? I can cope if work goes to crap, if the other parts are chugging along OK. I can manage if my family life takes a nosedive, if the other parts are OK. I can make it if the money runs out, so long as  the other stuff is fine. I can deal if my relationships go south, as long as the other parts of my life are running along smoothly. As long as it is only one part at a time, even if it is a significant part, I can handle it. I don’t like it, but I can cope.

WHY, oh, WHY, is it that it never happens that way? When one of those life compartments falls completely apart, all the other parts promptly get jealous about the attention it is getting, and like three-year old toddlers, throw a tantrum and go straight into the crapper as well. It is like your car – it KNOWS when you have an extra hundred dollars in the bank, and it will fall apart to get it. Every time. NEVER congratulate yourself that you have almost made it to the next payday and you still have a couple hundred bucks left…wheeze, gasp, rattle, bang, CLUNK. Oh, crap.

And GOD forbid you make the last payment on the credit card that pays the damn thing off………you will break a tooth, a leg, get pregnant (or get someone ELSE pregnant), the washer will die, a pipe will burst and flood the house, you will find termites, your kid will need an appendectomy or tonsillectomy (or BOTH)……………something will happen to blow that proud accomplishment all to pieces. I guaran-damn-tee it.

It is a good thing that God loves us. Just THINK how much worse it would be if the devil was in charge!


75: Morocco cars

Our car is wrecked. On Monday, the first day back at work after a week’s vacation, my husband was hit in the car. The other driver was at fault. We have been told that this means that he will be paying (or his insurance company) for our expenses to repair and replace the car, plus other costs. What it does not pay for, however, is the trouble and inconvenience. And when I say inconvenience, that word just seems a little too small for the trouble and maneuvering that must now take place in our lives since we no longer have a little plastic car, which I miss very much.

First, there is the laundry. We used to bring our laundry to the apartment laundry room, and I would wash it before school, hang it out at lunch, and take it in, dry, at the end of the day.  I cannot, however, bring several loads (not even ONE) of laundry with me from Azrou in a Grande taxi, not to mention the detergent and bleach I would also have to carry. I am not a donkey who can carry heavy loads for much distance! So, I have been reduced to washing my laundry by hand. Even the jeans and blankets.    

Second, there is all the walking. I walk, at a fast clip, fifteen minutes to the taxi stand each morning. Then, I walk thirty minutes from the taxi stand to school, to arrive before eight o’clock. There is a free shuttle, but it gets me there a minute or two late. I take it only when the taxi gets me to Ifrane too late to walk. And then, there is the trip home: back to the taxi stand (30 minutes) if I leave before 4:30, or after the shuttle leaves at 4:30, and then the fifteen minute walk home. This is an hour and a half walking a day – and it is not leisurely walking. I am developing friction sore spots from my clothes rubbing on my skin!! I have been reduced to wearing my loosest garments to cut down on the tender spots. Plus, since the accident, Ifrane and Azrou have been experiencing dreadfully nasty weather – weeks of rain, sleet and snow – which I am walking through.

Then, there is the problem of repairing or replacing the little car. We are unsure of how to proceed. Our avocat, our lawyer, has told us because the other party, which the police AND the judge have told us was at fault, is insisting that the accident was NOT his fault, that the court case could literally take three or four YEARS to settle. This is not how things are done in the U.S., so we are not sure what to do. Do we repair the little car, or does that end the court case, since the car would then be fixed? Do we purchase another one, and leave the little car totaled, as the insurance adjuster says that it is?  If we need to buy another one, the least expensive ones are to be found in Spain, but there are problems importing them into Morocco, and fees to pay. We don’t have this sort of money. Cars in Morocco are much more expensive, even when used. It will cost us less to repair the car than to buy another one, even a very-much used one. *Sigh*

In the meantime, I am walking, and wearing hand-washed laundry – all the LOOSE ones.