lizard brain


A year ago i challenged the universe…please take my advice…never ever challenge the universe, it always takes you seriously.   A year ago I got fed up with being miserable and tolerating the casual abuse flicked at me by my brother, like a 9 year old with food on a fork…  I threw up my hands and said “that’s it! I can be poor anywhere, I don’t have to be poor here.”  And today those chickens are coming home to roost..I may have just mixed a metaphor there, no I am not getting chickens…well probably not…forget the chickens – now that we are coming down to the wire, the actual costs are piling up…title insurance, the house insurance,  water and sewer, and today I arranged all the utility transfers…so for at least 3 weeks of August I will have two residences, with 2 electrics, 2 gas and 2 internets…like I don’t have a hard enough time paying my bills?

And the icing on that cake is that aside from still having to buy frivolous things like a bed, a dining table and perhaps a place to sit…the Back Door will cost about $2000…that’s not a misprint, that’s a two with three zeroes…the baseboard removal alone is like 5 bills and the specially sized door for my hobbity house has to be ordered – cha ching. Now that’s the icing…the cake topper…are you sitting down?  the comfort and my company, the most used room in the house, the space that will make this glorified dorm room of a house work for me and my fuzzy roommates? that’s like 12 grand….that’s a TWELVE with a grand after it.  And I said to the man…….”when can you start?”  - I swear to Bilbo, I am living out a subplot of Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House…what seems like a reasonable proposition with a reasonable price tag is dangled in front of your lizard brain like a damsel fly in distress and the tongue darts out and grabs it and only once it is inside your stupid gullet do you realize it’s a fully loaded Boeing.

The only saving grace is that IT IS the room that makes the rest of the house work for me.  I will have an enclosed space that makes the cats happy, yet keeps my mess out of the living areas…and I won’t have to heat it come winter.  Between this magically endowed porch and the waterproofed basement I will have doubled the usable space of the house for about $18k.  Yes, I realize I could have found a house for that price that was even bigger.. I can swing a live cat and hit several of them…but they would be fixer uppers and most likely out in the boonies.  Besides it was time,  I was done..I had no looking left in me. I can bitch, but it is a perfectly suitable house…’I’m’ the one with the baggage that doesn’t fit inside.

I took a cruise through Lowes to check the prices on the paint for the floors, and the epoxy for the kitchen – then there will be screen doors for the interior…or at least lumber so I can build them…as well as lumber for shelving..and primer and so forth.  It’s your typical, new homeowner crap…i guess no matter what house you buy and in what condition, it will always be a big hungry baby, sucking up all excess capital.    And indeed, i will certainly be poor somewhere else – but the somewhere else is 180 degrees away from where I am now……and technically no worse off than i was before, just a half a step off the bag.     I checked, she’s not leaving the patio set….but Lowes has them for about $100 … shouldn’t they be having an end of summer sale?


fruit on the bottom

241c4f40-9463-4b1d-911a-88c1b7f31875_400 Bought the 1st appliance for the house yesterday…well honestly it will be only ‘appliance’ at this time… the stove isn’t getting replaced with another stove, and the washer and dryer in the basement will be run until they die, because you have to take out two cellar steps to get anything larger than a laundry basket down there.   Aside from the Fridge, the other machine purchases will be the big ass dehumidifier. I was a little proud of myself for getting my MUST purchase list down to one big-ticket item…. knock wood. I’m trying to remember but I think this is my FIRST new-new fridge, I think all my previous fridges have been used-new fridges.  What I experienced when I bought the truck, is that dropping large amounts on a single  item is a bit shocking …your brain…well at least my brain..or HALF my brain, drags its feet in the dirt all the way to the store trying every which way TO FIGURE  OUT HOW TO NOT DO IT, “surely you can get away with a SMALLER icebox?” “what’s wrong with the one that’s already there?”, “why don’t you just eat less food? you cow!”  “Aren’t you just being wastefully consumeristic?” consumeristic..that’s a word right?   In the end it gave up.

e2d4a251-27f1-40f7-998b-a715fa70b835_400I was already thinking about a new fridge since before I decided to move…. and I have decided as with many things, we Americans have it backwards.   The empty fridge is essentially what is found in most small households, when I say that read – ‘ALL apartments’ and most poor folks homes.  The inadequately small freezer is at eye level, which prompts us to consume the frozen pizza and the ice cream first,  once you slide in a few bags of frozen vegetables and blueberry bagels, you are  have very little room for cook ahead preparations Any hastily wrapped leftovers will keep falling out when you open the door, hitting your foot one too many times, causing you to throw them in the trash, since you didn’t label the brown blob in the first place and can’t decide if it’s baked beans or burnt meat.   And then there is the ‘dead zone’ in the lower back where all the leftover containers slip away to die out of sight, out of mind, leaking their juices into the vegetable drawers below.  Speaking of vegggies, just to GET at them you have to open the door all the way, and do a squat thrust, to open the drawers…which are never quite big enough for anything more than a bag of potatoes and onions anyway.  The whole design leaves the soda bottles, semi prepared foods and  condiments at hand level.

I don’t know about you, but if I had back all the money I have lost on food that went all blue, merely because it was hidden behind a wilting head of Romaine lettuce, I probably could have bought a bigger house….just saying.

That sort of refrigerator really only works in an urban environment where you can shop for fresh foods on a frequent basis, it’s not really set up for infrequent use or long-term storage.  The closer you are to fresh foods, the smaller your fridge can be. Now as much as I am looking forward to visiting Rosemont Market and Trader Joes,  I’m only one person if I buy fresh food once a week it’s probably a holiday.  I’m more of a cook when I feel like it and put away the extra for when I don’t feel like it.   But I DO LIKE TO COOK, and got very, very good at it, so I want a big ass freezer.  My other option was to buy a chest freezer – which still leaves me with the badly designed fridge with the dead zone, but gives me a hidey hole in the basement for all my banana breads and decades of premade meals.  For one person, who doesn’t get sides of dead animals delivered in little white paper packages, the chest freezer isn’t a truly frugal option.


All of this led me back to the freezer on the bottom resolution.  The Cheapest of the Freezer on Bottoms was $800 and was still pretty damn small. The freezer is a door, not a drawer, and in fact it was exactly like the small apartment size ones….cept assembled upside down.  The Second Cheapest was from Whirlpool on sale for $1100..yes I know I can buy a car for that…a shitty car, but a car… for that I got a decent sized cooler section about the same space I would get in an apartment size fridge…and it brings the veggie bin up to hand/eye level and gave me what I think can be considered a chest freezer for ONE person.

I really hadn’t planned on buying stuff for the house until I actually HAD the damn house, but the damn fridges were on sale this month at Home Depot, so I had to decide pretty damn quick which one I wanted and buy it now to get the sale price, and forgo delivery until September when I KNOW I will be home.  By then the kitchen floor will be epoxied, the stove will be removed and  I can stick the little bitty fridge that is there on the back porch..hopefully I will have one by then…until I can find a brawny person to help me remove the two steps and finagle it into the basement… yeah I know I don’t NEED IT,  need it. but my’s MAINE, you don’t think I’m going to give away a perfectly suitable lobster and beer fridge do you?


boxes Trying to come up with the logistics for moving all my crap. I am loathe to rent a box truck, not because of the expense i’m sure it would be cheaper than many trips with my truck, it’s not even the driving, the largest truck i’ve driven has been a 28ft Pensky through Boston no less….it’s really just the size differential- my new street is a dead end and not one with a large cul de sack, it’s the sort where you have to pull into someone’s driveway to turn around. And to make it interesting there are two large hemlocks drapped over either side of the driveway, getting something LARGER than my own beast into it first time sounds like challenging fate…..I can just envision pulling down a power cable accidentally. Then there is the unloading alone…if i bring up a single load in the pickup, since I loaded it myself, I know i can unload it myself and then get back on the road with an empty truck, a box truck is really a two person operation.

bluedishes1 Yes I have friends who have offered to help and I may press gang them into service to move the cats but simply getting more than one person available at the same time as another one, to drive two states away,  is flat out impossible. A nice compromise would be to rent a trailer, but we come back to threading the needle of the driveway with it.

Right now my intention is to start moving something every time I go up and see what that does for me….I am thinking not very much right now… problem with a sideless pickup truck is you can’t pile things up very high. Great if you have furniture, not so great if everything is boxable.

I started boxing the kitchen last night. It is kinda surprising to pull everything out from their hiding place in the cabinets. I guess i have been picking up blue pieces for 35 years now and I didn’t realize i had so much… and I refuse to abandon a going collection just when it’s getting good, I’ve given up way too much as it is. I almost thought I had scrounged too much bubble wrap but no, no you can never have TOO much bubble wrap. What takes up one shelf in a cupboard, out of sight out of mind, took up four boxes and a couple of trash bags of bubbles. SOMEONE in Portland is going to be very happy with my empty packing boxes when i unload. The metal bakeware on the other hand won’t take much bubble wrap, most of it was all banged up when I bought it to begin with. I will leave the few plates i use everyday for last packed/first unpacked, the nice breakable porcelain can stay boxed until I have actually put everything away and bought a dinner table.

Just piling the boxes up in the house is also a pain in the ass, any cardboard within 12″ of the floor is indistinguishable from a scratching post.  And until the floors get painted in the new house, I won’t be able to pile them up there either.  That doesn’t leave much to transport, at least until the back porch gets built.  I guess i will start with what can go in the goofy little garden shed. – the wooden storm windows and shutters i have been hoarding for a glass greenhouse that may never get built.  Bicycles, and any gardening equipment that i haven’t given away as yet…. i wonder if i can get some of it back?  I didn’t realize i was buying a garden with a house attached to it.

living space

82 devon I got caught up in packing and forgot to write… sheesh, why do i own all this junk?

The owner gave me the heads up about this 1924 picture of the house…before the bathroom and cellar stairs were added…as well as the stairs going up into the ‘attic’ …I am just greatful the house isn’t still that small.

I went up Tuesday to meet with the Cellar Guy and the Porch Guy…Cellar guy is going to set a french drain around the interior of the basement…that’s where they dig out a trench lay in a drain pipe, like the kind generally put around the outside of the house..and cement over all the uncemented places. Combine that with a big ass dehumidifier and the basement becomes more living space. The guy was a little shocked that i didn’t even blink when he quoted me five thousand. What am I gonna do? quibble? without it, the basement is essentially a garage with a funnel for a stair case and I don’t need a garage…making it dry as a bone, I got an additional 500 square feet of space…if i did the math right.

Space is at a premium, i can’t afford to ignore the basement…. i KNOW i have packed a lot of detritus i won’t need, but i have convinced myself to cull best i can now and then cull again when i unpack. If there is no room for something there’s a freecycle up in Maine too.   By waterproofing the basement, i won’t worry about using it for storage, or I’m hoping a nice fat shipping area just like the one i had in the basement here.  In the long run that’s a business investment. So no I didn’t bat an eye, i just asked when can  you get started?  I asked him to do it in September. I just will have to not put anything in the basement until they are done.2014-07-11 12.24.58

The porch on the other hand will be a lot less than I was prepared for…at least something finally is… The Porch Guy is also the BackDoor Guy and I’m hoping also the paint the floors guy and a few other things.   I also lined up a plumber to remove the baseboard from under the window to clear the way for the door…another $500… I’m starting to get frightened – money will be flowing out before i have even moved into the joint.  But the Screen Porch is exactly like the basement…a capital investment…a 12×18 gives me another 200 square feet seasonally… not just a roost for the cats, but a place to store my bike, receive my packages and collect my recycling, so most of the mess won’t even make it into the house.  Of course I may find room for a little Tiki Bar and a hammock.

The more space I recover (there’s actually an alcove behind the washer dryer wall where the old oil tank used to be)  The happier I am with the house..I didn’t want to lose my shipping work area that i had in this house, i didn’t want to lose my screen porch and for an additional $10K i will have added them to this house.   The only things i am losing is my beautiful view..but I do have a great private backyard which is worth a LOT.   Of course I am losing lots of bookcase space… I may well end up with books in bins stored in the basement…cest la vie.

The biggest thing I am getting with my money is Portland, it is a highly desirable city, I’m still in shock about how much they accomplish with such a small population (66k)  Today I discovered the local trails group has added a boat ramp to a local quiet water river that will be suitable for me and my jon boat. Yay.   I understand why people are literally killing themselves to find affordable housing…I’m AM starting to freak about the few thousand dollars I have spent on myself, what if i NEED that money? I wish i was better at making and saving it. I need to work on that big time….the house is already proving to be very it just a TINY hungry baby?

shelf life

2014-07-19 10.22.25You know how you are supposed to have 4 boxes when you clean? keep, save, donate and throw? how come i end up with like 9?…  Nearly all the books in the house have been boxed…the last batch will be the expensive ones, that will take longer as i need to bubble wrap them…and i actually just ordered two more..investment grade..i won’t be able to spend that kind of money after i buy the house..i shouldn’t be spending it now..but i got a good deal on them a couple of nice modern firsts Ready Player One and RedShirts, that will only go up in value- i should have bought them years ago when they were cheaper…i really need to start looking for more investment grade books…

hemnes-glass-door-cabinet__0177354_PE330330_S4I have packed about 4 boxes to sell off… and that’s without opening any of the boxes i packed up last fall.   If i can get the bulk of the kitchen packed pack up this week..and the food pantry…then i will go back and revisit those boxes one at a time.   It doesn’t matter really but it gives me something to do…I also need to break down all the bookcases, but i will wait on that… most of the wood will be repurposed in the new house…..mostly in the basement… right now i am toying with a couple of ikea pieces for the nicer books in the living room.  Glass fronted is pretty mandatory, and the only USED options i have are barristers bookcases…their problem is that they are usually for bigger houses so just getting them in place will be problematic and they take up a certain amount of real estate.    The least amount of real estate would be taken up by built in bookshelves..but i can’t use every flat wall in the place for shelves..there aren’t that many of them… and investiment grade books deserve need glass doors.

I am going to TRY to get exact measurements of the ceiling and walls Tuesday.. so far i just haven’t had the time. I’m not exactly sure if these Ikea Cabinets will give me the most volume – but they are inexpensive enough to make a mistake with. I will be making a big drive down there anyway to collect a platform bed, it’s the ony way i can GET a bed up to the second floor. in a flat pack box assembled in place and with a mattress rolled and tied. Second floor shelving, on the other hand, will be built out of 1″ x 6″ as much as I can. Under the eaves and around the door frames etc.. I can get pieces up the stairs and then cut and assemble them in place. The built in bookcases i have now I cut and built out of 1 x 8″ and then attached to the walls – the last house I built them with 1 x 12s…my libraries are getting progressively smaller. But nothing goes to waste…the shelves i have now will be reconstructed as a pantry in the basement and i have an eye to hanging them from the rafters against the walls, so that the condensation about the floor will never be an issue… well that and the $200 dehumidifier should do the trick.

Pine board isn’t the kind of shelving i want in my living room, not even in the office..for the office i am really leaning towards white laminate that should make the room feel a smidgen bigger, and if i get some white laminate cabinets from the big box stores, i can hopefully hide the clutter and try to keep the shelves neat. I had hoped to find a house with a lot more walls… i hadn’t planned on covering the entire living room with shelving, and i still can’t get away with it – there’s not much ROOM in the ROOM. I need to find a balance perhaps hanging SOME shelving on half of one wall, and then on the opposite wall using the far side of the room. I’m just moving all the pieces around in my head trying to get a feeling that’s only half bookcases….it saves moving bookcases around the room when they are filled with meat.

2014-07-20 12.44.00 I thought the solution i had in THIS office was clever, i just mounted boxes on the walls…boxes are getting pretty damn pricey these days… i’d love to get away with it in the new place…they can be moved around odd shaped areas. Dear god, am i just planning to fill my house with nicely organized clutter? what if i DON”T put shelves everwhere? will that just mean the clutter is on the floor or things stay in boxes a lot longer? Wasn’t i supposed to be getting RID of the stuff that needs to be shelved? at last count i had about 40 boxes of books…if i cull from the closed boxes I probably can get it down to 35 boxes…and if i leave some boxes of research materials boxed in the basement…i will still need to properly store at least 30 boxes of books in a house that is smaller than most people’s rec rooms. oy vey.

I haven’t even BEGUN to think about the kitchen…it DOES have a little more cabinet space than the one i have now…well it has more space period..but nearly no wall space that would be appropriate for 3 boxes of cookbooks. The only place i have for those is off the kitchen in the stair well..perhaps if i line the skinny staircase with bookshelves, when i take my inevitable tumble down in the dead of night…my fall will be cushioned by some fat James Beards.


last hurrah

2014-07-11 12.22.15 The home inspection went sort of as planned…the very nice old guy doing the inspection itemized a hundred things that made want to wet myself and then turned around and said it was a very nice house. On the whole everyone thinks it’s a very nice house…even i think its a very nice house…it’s just a bit…WEE…. I need a house to contain myself, my business and the roommates….as it stands it can only handle two of the three. I have spent the last two days calling contractors of every stripe trying to find one who can squeeze me in after the closing yet before i have to be out of here. I need at LEAST the back door installed, and hopefully the screenporch…and after this inspection report…there are some issues in the basement to sort out. It’s not that I can’t live in the house as is, or even move in…but i know my reading chair won’t make it into the living room past the kitchen without the backdoor, that’s when I got the bright idea to send it out to get recovered and pick it up AFTER the door has arrived.

A back door would make hauling all the boxes into the house much easier with a small ramp instead of steps. Without the screen porch in place, the cats would have to be contained in the basement for a week or so, which means i need to construct a sort of a wine cellar section, but then I have a contractor coming to look at the waterproofing for the cellar, which would have to precede that. Basically it’s like trying to unwind a big messy yarn knot, trying to find the end to start rolling up the ball….and yes my brain is very busy and content trying to solve all the puzzles at once.

I have almost accepted that i won’t have the big screen porch to dump all my crap – all to be sorted at my liesure. Which means I have to find room INSIDE the house for everything that can’t be left in the yard..which is everything. If the living room is filled to the brim and the office nearly so….that leaves me no room to work or build shelves and so forth. Don’t even mention the upstairs, the only things going up there are clothes and bedding, until i get shelves built under the eaves.

All those lovely boxes of books I packed in September and October will need to be revisited..again… today I unpacked, culled and repacked a number of plastic bins, and made up four boxes of books to sell to a dealer in Maine, the other boxes are sorted into unpack immediately, or unpack whenever and doesn’t need to be unpacked. Yesterday I presented a box of local ephemera to the Lawrence Public Library special collections, they were tickled pink with all my bits and bobs. I had to explain to a friend of mine, keeping things just cause they are cool is now a luxury, I have to be ruthless. I have already culled thesse boxes a couple of times and here i am again trying to decide what I can give house room too and why. A lot of books i have collected for research can stay in boxes, I am loathe to get rid of something if i had to hunt it down in the 1st place.

The glass fronted bookcases will be missed, I have my eye on a couple of Ikea cabinets which have glass fronts… the traditional barristers bookcases would be ideal, but i think they would dominate the tiny room. Just some open shelves would work, but i never dust and the cats love to sleep ontop of books when you aren’t watching them. In fact I think my home may be an Ikea subsection…at least with that stuff you can bring it in flat and assemble it in place, very appealing.

As a knee jerk reaction to learning that my house has a lot of crap to fix that will cost money…and I have to surrender half of your belongings yet again, I ended up buying myself somethings to make me feel better…what else…books, but REALLY GOOD books..collectible editions of some of my favorite titles, that i have had my eye on. WHy not really? that’s my answer..If i HAVE to have fewer books, than the ones i have left are gonna be really GREAT books. THat’s really the new rule i am implementing. If i can only fit in ONE CHAIR…it’s gonnna be MY chair with a new skin, if i can only fit ONE of anything in the house, it will be the best of the thing I can afford. No sense cluttering up the place with junk..when I die, they are gonna find me with all my fingers and eyes eaten off…not buried under a pile of newspapers.

don’t be a pussy

2014-07-11 13.36.25 I’ve gotten past the fear of spending the lions share of my money…or even the blue whale portion of my money…basically unless things pick up in September as they usually do…knock wood…i will go straightback to living hand to mouth again…but i will have a house and a car i both love…so hey..i should feel like i just won a game show. I have to get out of here in a few minutes…the home inspection is scheduled in two hours….i saw the house Friday, we made our 1st offer friday night and our second on Saturday and we settled on saturday night.

We are secretly hoping the inspecion will go badly…so that we can negotiate it down a little bit more…as you can see the place HAS NO BACK DOOR, which is the 1st thing i have to add..but then if they stand firm and say as is, i am not backing away. I bought the cheapest house in one of the nicest..neighborhoods, which is on the edge of one of the countries most livable cities. If i can’t parlay that into a comfortable life, than that’s on me. If i need a little more money, there’s a hundred low paying jobs i could take. If the house throws a shoe, i can ALWAYS get a loan on it, which is something someone with no credit could do if i had house with a mortgage. So i am JUST NOW absorbing the idea that i haven’t SPENT the money on the truck or the house, i just transmuted it into an slightly less cashy substance.

exampleporchThe SECOND thing That i have to do to the house to move in, is find SOMEONE, ANYONE to add a screen porch to it, before September 1st. Both the contain the roommates, AND as a temporary storage unit for everything i own. With a house this small, built in shelving and storage will be important and i need to be able to bring things into the place slowly and thoughtfully, which means i just want to drag all my shit up there and dump it on a porch for now.   This is basically what i want, except i need the bottom section solid plywood and i will slap some t-11 siding on it.  It the bottom is solid, the snow wont build up inside as much – and a shorter top screen will be easy for me to replace with pet screening.

I found a handyman who was willing to meet with me this morning,  I did explain my time crunch and he was willing to come anyway. I am hoping he’s hungry….Besides the porch, i have a lot of other little things that need doing.   Now I AM handy – my struggle will be to balance out what i have time to do and screw up and do over, and what needs to be done correctly the 1st time.  I’m also short…and there are some two person jobs… and i need some plumbing and electrical stuff which is out of my wheelhouse.   I figure i can hire him once a month to do something i can’t do…or finish something I started.  I know I can make a stab and insulating the cellar ceiling (upstairs floor)…but I’m gonna get sick of it before it gets finished.

2014-07-11 12.24.47I supposed to be packing these last two days…but all i did was sit and thinking and make a little stream of consciousness list…i didn’t pack ONE book, in fact i bought two more over the weekend…but i went through nearly every book i own INSIDE my head…yeah..i can do that..that’s my superpower…. and decide it there is room for it in the new house..and if so which room and what sort of shelving.   Working WITH a house this small instead of against it, is figuring out what sort of shelving works with each room..a book case or a built in? hooks, hangers, closed cabinets, etc… without a bedroom closet, I will split up my clothes into seasons and rotate them from storage containers and hang what i am wearing from the back of a door and so forth… same with books, certain books, certain rooms. I don’t want to cover every flat surface with a bookcase, it will make the rooms feel like a cave…speaking of caves, I think i found the spot in the basement for my workbench…it hadn’t even occured to me when i 1st looked at it.  I found a company that waterproofs basements, i toss in a kick ass dehumidifier and an electric heater if i need it in the winter.  I can’t afford to look any part of that house as unusable. waste not want not.





we don’t need no stinking badges

8562197071_4a63089a44_zOkay race fans i JUST signed a purchase and sale on 82 devon st in portland maine for a little more than i am comfortable with.   Shall I remind you it is a VERY small house
smaller than my apartment really, the house is so small, i went on a diet after seeing it.

There’s a slim chance in hell, I can get the price down a little, the home inspection is next week and I swear to go there’s a lot in that place that is NOT to code.  the Sleeping loft and the back stairs are just one problem.

And it looks like I WILL have to cut my belongings in half AGAIN, including books, clothes, furniture, dvds (weep), etc… anything to lighten the load is going overboard.
I wish i could cut the cats in half, as it is three of them are FINALLY going to the wildlife sanctuary, as soon as I can get those kittens out of their cage.

But with a house that small, I can’t sell BOOKS with a capital B, but I can probably get away with selling a few books of significant value…if i get my shit together about my job.  I can certainly get all the book repair products into ONE closet…but this house doesn’t have any. OOPS..i have my eye on the basement after i dry line it.

But driving ghe other day I had another idea….i love it when i have an idea to make money and i actually REMEMBER IT, this time i sent myself a text.

medieval-manuscript-cat-paw-prints-closeup_65680_200x150It’s an idea for biblio merit badges…now wait and hear me out…

ADAFRUIT is an electronics supply company that has done very very well relying on hackers and they have a line of SKILL badges   There seems to be a new one every week.      And lets not forget the folks at Nerd Merit Badges. who seem to have run out of steam..or ideas for more badges. 

Why are we letting tech guys have all the fun?

I still have a wee bit left in the bank to invest in business,  and i have a company that made badges for me before. Best Part is the entire inventory will fit in a fastener cabinet!    and all they have to do is sell slow and steady along with all my other crap at Book Repair

What do you folks think of the idea?   and I will need some more ideas for merit badges besides mine, i have a lot of ideas, i don’t know how many are good ideas.
i want ideas that appeal to kids, adults, booksellers – i think a nice little proprietary gift item is what is called for.

catbadgeI started designing them with the BIBLIOCAT badge NOT ACTUAL SIZE…I’m shooting for regular Merit Badge size of  1.5 inches.  I got the idea from the medieval manuscript cat.

Inky Cat paw, rampant on a field of Loren Ipsum….what do you think?

Other Ideas so far:
100   -  which would be a book with a 100 over it.     a merit badge for
having read all 100 books on ANY list of 100 greatest books

Bookstore cat badge…
doesn’t have to be for anything specific, basically for having a
bookstore cat….or dog
Road show badge
I want one for doing bookfairs
either something that applauds exaggerated mileage or quantity in a year.
I’m trying think of one for getting bonked on the head
perhaps a head with a book on it, like in deportment class.
and  you get if for getting hit on the head with a book at least 5 times
a year or something.
books by the pound badge
Books being weighed on a balance scale
which you get when pound for pound you own more books than anything else.
the after hours badge
not the traditional martini glass but a rocks glass
for spending more time at a book show talking to more booksellers than
definitely need a badge for actually writing a book yourself
not sure of the design
perhaps a couple of crates of unsold books rampant on a page

please let me know what you think

Here goes nothing. 

ISdwdkiqsvklij1000000000 I need to lose some weight… a LOT of weight…and i don’t mean just what i am carrying around with me. Friday was look at houses day…. the first one was a make-us-an-offer-any-offer tear down in Biddeford and the other…well the other lured me in because they took the time to post a picture of a frog on a lily pad in the water feature in the garden…a very small lovingly cared for garden…in a very small house…i want to emphasize the ‘very small’ here. This little cottage is in Portland, someplace I hadn’t even considered, but i had cast my net wide and was now looking at everything in my ballpark in southern coastal Maine, regardless. It is smaller than the one in Saco that I dream about at night, it’s actually smaller than my apartment if you measure it correctly. I can tell a lot about a house living area from the listing even the parts they don’t show, I can dope out. But basically i bother to go look, to see the NON living space, to see where there is room for storage, and for work areas and for the damn cats. So I said, sure lets see it, what have i got to lose?

Long story short I have signed an offer on this one. What I am seeing in houses that have been empty for a while, is a lot of moisture and mold that has to be addressed before you can even live in it while you make changes. Putting aside the costs of any sort of improvements or fixes, moisture is the enemy of the book. Fighting the rising damp can take a life time and sometimes can’t be beaten, ask nearly anyone in England or Florida. This house is occupied, and the owner like me has her eye fixed on another house, a bigger house elsewhere and is in a hurry to sell. So there is a very good chance she will take my cash offer for lower than asking price. In my opinion and that of my broker, holding out won’t bring her asking price, it will just delay her move and force her to keep reducing the price. WHY? because of the ‘very small’ part of the description. The second floor isn’t really a floor, it’s basically a sleeping loft..there’s head clearance down the center but not for anyone taller than me, and even i bump my head at the top of the stairs. 2014-07-11 12.58.57

But that can be fixed which is what anyone else looking at the house is thinking, that they are going to have to tear the top off and add a second floor, but not so I.  Though I will start saving for a dormer for the bedroom. The cellar isn’t much taller and isn’t as damp as it could least right now in summer, with the itty bitty windows open. But that too can be addressed. The only thing i MUST do to it before Day One is replace a window with a back door and add a full screen porch/catio – that will get the furries out of my face and actually open up the charming back garden, it is a shame the house doesn’t actually have a back porch to begin with. It also doesn’t have a closet in the place, cept an improvised one in the 1st floor bedroom/office.  The gardens are to die for because the woman who lives there also works at home and has time to garden. It already has the insulation and heating system improvements I would have made, cept without the solar aspect. I literally don’t HAVE to do anything to it unless i want to. And that has a SIGNIFICANT dollar value attached to it.  Instead of buying a big hungry baby, i’m buying a little old lady with some peculiarities.

2014-07-12 16_40_48-82 Devon Street, Portland ME For Sale - TruliaThe tininess of this house puts it within my reach monetarily.  I had to let go of a lot of decisions I had made; some as long as a year or many years ago….. no small town,  no view, no guest room, no garage,  and very few walls  bookcases.  All those books I packed last September have to be gone through and culled down once again, even the few pieces of furniture I retained have to be reconsidered.  Things have to be built in place, and be svelte and minimalist.  Being neither svelte not miniscule in all but height myself, i need to start with me. If I can reduce MY size, the house will seem bigger,  if I bring in less stuff the house will seem bigger, if what i bring in solves many problems and isn’t being one, then the house will seem bigger.   I still have no idea what to do with my clothes should I buy this house..I spent years getting it down to ONE closet full and now I am considering a house with no closets at all.

Why not keeping looking for a bigger house? why bother?  why shouldn’t i scale all my crap down to fit inside the house?   How much of it do i really need?  I have been fascinated by the tiny house movement for years, it’s time to put my clutter where my mouth is.   I’ve been saying large houses have large problems, small ones have smaller ones. But this is all rhetorical unless she accepts the offer one of the hooks is that the closing would be very quick, sooner rather than later, which is scary on its own face.  Am I still as prepared as I was?  Unlike the little red house, I know nothing about this one, and only a smidgen about the neighborhood, and what I know abour Portland is its a great place for me to spend my money.



creeping sloth

sloths_fun_bizzare_oddities_weird_cool_200907301641424508I got drunk and joined a gym last night and it’s Robert Louis Stevenson’s fault.

I guess that deserves an explaination…I’ve spent the last few days glued to the computer trying to finish all the content on the new website, ..sitting in front of the computer is pretty much how i have spent the last 18 months…NOT on my bike, NOT out in my boat..just sitting and typing with the added bonus of getting up now and then to recycle some tea and cleaning litter boxes. My usual accompaniment is a good audio book – the most recent being J Martin Troost’s Headhunters on my Doorstep, in which he weaves his personal story of getting sober with revisiting a string of South Pacific Islands in the paddle prints of Robert Louis Stevenson. Headhunter,s like Troosts earlier works, is thoroughly enjoyable and will easily be something I revisit. As many reformed addicts sometimes do, Troost took up an addiction to running to replace his addition to drink, so the tales of beautiful island scenery are punctuated by descriptions of Troost running up or down atolls.

All well and good, but as I struggled and fussed with the really bad refresh rate on the beta test ISP, I indulged in some homemade guacamole and a take away quesadilla and a very tall daiquiri. So I wasn’t exactly DRUNK per se…i probably have one drink a week and I am of a substantive size that it almost amounts of a waste of good rum, but we can agree that my judgement was a little impaired. Among my adventures last night I spent about 30 minutes pulling great bags of garbage OUT of the dumpster and down to the curbside, including all the recycling from around the property. Creating a void IN the dumpster, allowed me to finally empty two barrels of my household trash and spent litter INTO the dumpster. The theory being it will all get taken away this morning. (YES, I know i SOLD the place, but I hate an overloaded dumpster. so I tend to keep the place clean.)

Thirty minutes of me huffing and puffing myself up and down the hillside reminded me that I can’t exactly WAIT until I relocate to get my shit together. One of the reasons I WANT a house that is near enough to walk to places, is so that i will WALK TO PLACES, Here I can walk but it’s all fucking hills which sucks on my arches and there’s not PLACE to walk to. I logged into the website for the gym down the block and found they were having a $10 a month sale, and were open 24/7. Lucky me, I don’t sleep at night anyway. Of course by then I had sweated out all the very nice rum, I pulled out shoes with arch supports, some ear buds, and made sure my kindle had at least 3 audiobooks to choose from. I joined the gym at about 9:30 and then walked two miles on a treadmill…i would have walked further and longer, but i felt that I should stop before I overheated, passed out and someone would try to drag me back to the ocean.

Big surprise, I am heavy and out of shape, I wasn’t always this way, the weight has crept up on me…though as long as it was just tagging along behind and my clothes still fit, I didn’t worry about it too much. When I had outside money coming in, I felt free enough to throw my bike in the truck and go for a ride in the country, at least every other day or so. Same with the boat, as long as I got all my work done and kept the bills paid, taking a couple of hours to row myself fit, wasn’t much of a chore, it was fun. Once things got VERY hard, I mean harder than ever before…every minute i spent NOT working had a big guilty weight attached to it. I worried more and more, and i rode and rowed less and less, figuring once I moved I would make a reason to stop being such a sloth.

There I was fussing with the pokey little computer, trying to WILL it to work faster, so i could be DONE sooner…and hearing Troost’s words about the highs of running..realizing I have never actually RUN anywhere not unless someone was dying, which has happened. Even as a gift, I would never visit the south seas, I abhor beaches and all the things that accompany it: sunlight, surf, sand, sweat. I have become a fat little hobbit in my hobbity hole, with a packed larder and all the comforts of home. Why would I leave? But then i glimpse the person and a half who is walking around in my clothes and realize that of all the things I am not happy about, THAT is at least something I can fix.

Gyms as a whole have no appeal for me, i can’t think of ANY place more boring to spend hours of your life. I would rather BE ON MY BIKE, or on the river or even walking with a camera in my hand…. but right now i would be more of a road hazard than anything. I need to treadmill past the huffing and puffing stage so I can enjoy going outdoors, instead of planning to go into cardiac arrest in public. But the 24/7 thing appeals to me…I really don’t want to run into anyone I know…but I needn’t have worried.. fat folk are basically invisible in such places, and for the most part everyone keeps to themselves with focuses on their personal task at hand..kinda like a men’s room.

Joining is one thing, going is something else…another day spent fighting with the computer and I am just bored enough to get off my ass and walk about couple of miles. I have some Carl Hiaasen on the kindle.

track visits
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