down to the nubbins

2014-08-17 09.49.49I actually wish I could have moved all in one go. I  have spent hundreds of hours trying to work out the logistics …with the house as it is, nearly everything would have ended up piled on the lawn, and considering how WET the weather has been every time i was up there, i’m sure life would have gotten very ugly very quickly. I’ve scheduled another smaller rental truck on Wednesday for one last push, and aside from the barest essentials and the cats, everything possible will be fair game for that trip. Once the boxes were removed from the present apartment, it became possible to break down the bookcases and push stuff around the rooms piling up the new shipment. If I can pack the desk top computer and products it will all go too.

I’ve driven nearly 1000 miles recently and its wearing thin, yesterday’s flying trip up and back with the dog, accomplished some very small housekeeping items yet still cost the same in cash. I accepted a loan of an air mattress, rearranged the house to make room for the new offload..and brought up what i thought were items that could live in the SHED….What i discovered is that the shed is a teardown…the new lawnmower still in its cardboard box was now just a wet sodden pile of compost, and i suspect all the other items i have stored in there…like my bicycles are starting to rust. I’d rather store them under tarps on the porch until t2014-08-17 09.37.57he basement gets waterproofed…knock wood.

As many times as I have been to Maine this summer, I have actually explored it very little. So far I have marked out a gas station, a bank, and a chinese take out  place…and summer is basically over…I KNOW this, cause i spent three hours coming home on the Maine Turnpike with fleeing tourists! note to self, don’t go anywhere on Friday or Sunday eves in summer.

The only water spot I have visited is my basement…the poor dehumidifier is sitting there abandoned like Wall-E chugging along doing its job, but the amount of moisture down there is over its head. Once I am there, I will be able to empty it more often. When I’m there I will also deal with the attic, I didn’t even go look at it this time…I expect to spend a lot of evenings alone up there pulling nails out of beams, no longer sleeping on the floor will be a great motivator. There have been a number of suggestions that i sleep on the boxes of books…which sounds logical, but the air mattress sounds a lot more comfortable.

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As yet the only food I have eaten in my new house was a poptart…the fridge still only holds water bottles and the only food I have brought up is in cans..As yet there’s no way to HEAT anything yet.  I am determined to leave my large microwave and pick up the small dorm room sized ones on sale right now.  And maybe possibly perhaps treat myself to that Instant Pot thing I saw on Youtube.   The reviews are terrific for the device, but mostly because  it will allow me to move a number of things in my cupboard into storage instead of taking up precious counter real estate.   I was tickled to death this weekend to find that an old wine rack I had been using for rolled maps could be rearranged to fit into a very odd cubby hole.  I knew there was a reason to hang onto that bits of rack.

With the new house I will finally be able to implement a LOT of the weird crap I acquired over time and has survived the many clutter purges.  The new rule is that if it doesn’t fit, it can’t stay.  Most especially now when the storage spaces arent usable.  I wish I could do the same with the cats, but alas…they are family, I am committed to making the remainder of their lives comfortable, even if mine is not.  It definitely came to a head in this apartment..without the use of the big brick porch, my apartment wasn’t big enough for all of us…and until the new house has a new porch, its not big enough for us either.  Today, the three cats who prefer outdoors to indoors will make the trip to the wild life sanctuary, where they will have that choice.  I have been trying to move them along for a ouple of years now.  The rest of the troupe all prefer indoors to outdoors, though I am sure the cages aren’t what they envisioned.

I’m toying with the idea of changing the name of the blog to STILL LIFE WITH CATS, though I try NOT to think of myself as a cat lady. I dont’ have one image or printed things in the house with cats on it.  Cats aren’t even my favorite animal, but as time goes along I found i have curtailed my life to their schedule.  If it’s 90 degrees out and everyone’s asleep, I take their queue and join them, naps are good.



filling voids

2014-08-15 11.29.11My new hovel in all its glory. it was just easier to pay the guys who removed the rugs to keep on going…paneling, fiberboard and so forth…there are some old cardboard BALL Jar boxes still left behind the walls up there..also a shit ton of nails and tacks lurking for the unsuspected. I can actually say I have bled for this place already, must remember to wear boots up there. I’m actually less stressed out about the way it looks now than you would expect. i know given enough time and sugar, i can pick out all the debris and fill up the voids with insulation. THAT’s when i have to call in someone with better power tools to install some beadboard everywhere. Good thing I don’t actually HAVE any furniture for those rooms. Until then I will be sleeping on the flood someplace downstairs. I have a borrowed air mattress coming. i DO have my nice ikea platform bed but it’s in a box leaning up in a corner.
2014-08-15 11.35.13 Under the carpet of the living room was old linoleum..which also doesn’t bother me…one day i will get bored and scrub it within an inch of its life, but for now I can ignore it completely. I go around barefoot 90% of the time, it will be nice to have a floor i don’t have to worry about. Behind the melon paint, is some sort of paneling and behind that is well….the same sort of nothing we found upstairs…i suspect I will be buying spray foam insulation by the case load for this place. Though I haven’t ruled out skinning it like the second floor..just not today. Another room I don’t have MUCH furniture for…the Ikea Billy Bookcases I purchased are standing up in a corner. I am just happy they are there when the time comes to assemble them and unpack my books…. which will probably be months from now late at  night with a pitcher of daiquris in hand. I can pretend I will replace them with something more traditional booksellery barrister cases..but i know i won’t..these will fit in the room nearly to the ceiling, wasting very little space.

2014-08-15 11.34.42And that’s what it is all about in this So far I have found a couple of walled up hidey holes, one under the stairs which will fit my box fans and space heaters nicely…and one corner upstairs behind the chimney where a knee wall drawer unit should fit..a little pricey but real estate can’t be wasted. in fact i need to call the chimney folks about removing it entirely. I wonder how much money i have left? i haven’t looked at the bank account in a week…i’m afraid to, there’s very little money is coming in and if i know exactly what’s there, i will be afraid to spend what i MUST spend,’s not like i am wasting much…the most frivolous thing i have bought is take out pizza.  i can’t bear to cook in what’s left of my’s not the cooking, it’s the idea of cleaning anything…it’s such a wreck, once everything is GONE i will clean it as well as i can.

Not counting the DVDs, a lot of the crap in boxes is what’s left of my ‘workshop’ a lot of book repair materials, tools, general fix it, sewing, furniture repair, electronics, you name it..if it was a thing used to fix other things, it is in one of the boxes…none of which i can bear to open until the basement is suitable for occupancy. I parked a two hundred and sixty dollar dehumifier down there yesterday…i have never been down there when it WASN’T wet..note to self, look into mushroom culture…As much as I have been banging on for owning way too much crap…it doesn’t look like all that much when spread out amongst the rooms and will look even less cluttered with the attic and the basement come online.

2014-08-15 09.49.19I am renting a smaller truck for Wednesday, to drag the last of the bulk items up north… i need to break down all the bookcases…that wood will end up as shelving in the basement…I will also have a few things that are in reserve for the not yet existent porch…the table in the living room, the cedar chest in the office, a coffee table etc… but right now I am playing a game of 3D the max amount of objects into the smallest amount of space. The only room that’s looking more like the final result is the kitchen and that’s only cause i had the stove removed, and on the 3rd the new fridge will arrive. The table seems a little big for the space, but I will use it more than the kitchen counter…note to self, measure the kitchen counter for a second hand replacement.


2014-08-11 15.05.57 Well i’m not driving and I’m not asleep, which is essentially all i have been doing since I bought the house. I have had to drive back and forth to Portland everyday, in the truck that has really shitty gas mileage.    The previous owner finally moved out on Sunday, I brought a load of boxes on Monday. The guy from the pumbling company came by to remove the baseboard and stove, and helpfully gave me a tour of my heating system..including pointing out the flaws in the building. Like the water damage and mold on the second floor, which paled compared to the fact that there’s not a stich of insulation in the entire place. oh joy.

The oddjob guys i hired on Tuesday to remove all the rugs for me, agreed to pull down the paneling and cardboard on the second floor for a price…lets just call it by its proper name…the attic.   Here I was thinking I would be painting the kitchen by now…and as it is, I don’t have a place to sleep.

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I have been hemoraging money since I bought the place, I can’t drive by a Home Depot without dropping 100 dollars… you know they make teeny tiny shop vacs?… I am bribing the oddjob guys to empty the rental truck on Friday…in all i think i will have paid them nearly a thousand dollars by the end of the week. They agreed to empty it, if it didn’t contain any heavy furniture…since i have abandoned most of my furniture I intended to only fill it with boxes.  But for good measure, I moved my desk into the house, which i don’t consider a heavy item…and I took a mad dash to Ikea to collect the bed and three glass door billy bookcases..which are THE HEAVIEST DAMN THINGS i have ever bought. They may not get installed for months, but i won’t have to drive all over hell and creation looking for bookcases.

2014-08-13 12.15.38 It doesn’t look like the downstairs has any more insulation than the upstairs… I am actually toying with the idea of ripping these walls down too. In for a penny in for a pound. The Carpenter has turned out to be a passive agressive sort, he made a stab at installing the back door, but hasn’t actually done it yet. He won’t do the back porch without a building permit, which is understandable…but alas, the building permit process in Portland is way more complicated than I am used to, so it doesn’t look like i will be getting my magic porch any time soon…nor probably my deposit back. I am trying very hard not to fly into bits, weep and rend, i bought the son of a bitch, and it would have been way worse to buy an unoccupied fact the only way i could have spent my money and NOT had it blow up in my face was to buy a trailer home or condo. Something boxy and modern in which to die a slow painfully boring death.

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Tomorrow I pick up the Pensky rental truck, and I have given myself a day to fill it..mostly with boxes. Now that the attic is empty – really empty, I will see if i can bribe the oddjob guys to fill it with my boxes. As long as they pile them in the middle I can scoot around them to install the insulation myself. The cats…well the cats will have to be caged until the porch becomes a reality..i have no idea when, since i have no fucking idea how to get the building permit submitted. I tried going to the actual office and it was like a joke, they just waived me off saying ‘it’s all online.’ if it’s all online…why do they have a bloody office?

I dropped more money on amazon, i ordered cages..tall cages… they are going to be wicked unhappy and be making a terrible mess, but at least they will be safe. I have rearranged every plan I have ever made…and tossed them all out… right now the only plan i can see, is to try to squeeze everything i own into two tiny dry rooms of a tiny house. I will most likely have a lot of things under blue tarps outside for quite some time. I am going to absolutely run out of money before its done. I feel like Mr Blandings when he gets locked in the closet of his house under construction and all he can do is bang a nail keg on the floor until someone finds him.

a place for my stuff

Whhere would be all be without George Carlin for verbalizing the need for A place for your stuff?  It’s the only thing that runs through my head these days… Today was ‘the signing’  - personally I think the day the house was MINE, mine was last Monday when I basically emptied the bank account and paid for it…but ‘the signing’ day…i signed about 15 things and shook some hands and was handed some keys. Congratulations you have a place for your stuff.   I just wish i had less stuff.

To make the trip count, I loaded the truck with all the things from the garage that i could stuff into the SHED…don’t get me started on it…it needs a roof and a floor and a flamethrower..i will get an estimate from the carpenter on improvements or replacements AFTER he finishes the porch and after i get him to look at a couple of other physical changes I need done to make the house suitable for me and my stuff.   The previous owner is leaving in the big deal, i can’t leave the cats more than a couple of days at a time anyway.  So I go up tomorrow and try to get things measured and painted etc…

All the time I have spent  measuring the house and planning where to put things has been in my imagination,  that will finally be able to do it for real tomorrow… as it lays, I am giving away more items that I thought I would be taking…a dresser, a chair, a trunk, the microwave..anything i absolutely have no affection for doesn’t NEED to make the trip.  With the rental truck I will be moving the piles of boxes of books from this house to that house with the exact same result..all boxes no room.  Hopefully once the porch is complete, I can move all the boxes from inside the house out to the porch leaving actual room in the room.

I got to spend some time with the previous owner today while we both poked around the house… and got a few hints about the neighborhood..i had forgotten what close built houses were like…… lawnmowers and leafblowers and after hours deck parties… so the whole way back, my brain was chewing on this..wondering what have I done?…and how I can get out of it, if it all goes to shit.    If i do end up killing and burying my neighbors for various crimes and misdemeanors, I can always put the house up for sale and find one of those big empty fixer uppers I avoided.  Of course I really do need to improve my income so I don’t get hoist by my own petard.

The frustating thing is I have spent Damn little time exploring Portland or even BEING in Portland or Maine..I only decided to move there, what?  Three weeks ago…. and so far I’ve been driving up doing what needs doing and then driving back…if I am lucky, like today I get to grab a bite with my broker. Today it was Brealu a charming Breakfast/Lunch place on Forest Ave.  very creative, worth finding a parking space.   Aside from that I really only visit the mall by the house, which is nearly identical to the malls I have around here.  Not a lot of  terroir experienced yet.


Size matters

2014-07-12 16_41_35-82 Devon Street, Portland ME For Sale - TruliaI thought I had a good grasp on the whole packing thing…but as the days count down, I have absolutely embraced the fact that by the end i will go completely mental.

Despite having gotten rid of any furniture of any size I still seem to have a lot of it..and now almost all my stuff is piled around the place in boxes. I have just about given up keeping it clean, it’s heart breaking but what i have are little pathways between  piles of boxes. If someone vomits, i count myself lucky if i find it by stepping in it. There’s still more yet to pack, but if i packed it, there’s no place for the boxes to live.

I swear i REALLY didn’t think I owned all that much stuff anymore, but i guess having it all neatly out of sight out of mind, in cupboards and closets isn’t the same thing. Hauling every stitch of clothing out of my ONE closet, yields 7 boxes, that doesn’t seem like a fair exchange to me. I still haven’t broken down the food pantry, 1 because some of the foodstuffs are NOT making the trip…ferinstance those unopened boxes of pop tarts are getting donated…and 2, if i boxed them, the boxes would sit in the middle of the kitchen floor, canned goods are things could be packed for a very long time…at least until the end of September when they finish waterproofing the basement. So they would continue to sit on the kitchen floor in the new house as well.

2014-07-15 11_51_54-82 Devon Street, Portland ME - Trulia Even the stuff that IS making the trip, is becoming problematic. I asked the lady IN the house to measure the bedroom slash office window where she has HER work table. Lucky for me my OLD steel desk may just fit there, whereas the very nice desk slash table someone gave me for the new place won’t fit anywhere so I am passing it along to someone else before I go. Unlike HERE where I have lots of room to hide my mistakes, barn, garage, basement, porch….there, if it doesn’t fit, it will basically have to sit in the yard until I can move it. I am trying very hard NOT to fill up the new porch with all my castoffs that i just can’t let go of. I’m going to have to make some new rules about that.

The very awesome kitchen table I bought at reStore is 48″x24″ smallish for a kitchen table or any table for that matter, it seriously reminds of a lot of library tables,  it may not actually FIT in the new kitchen comfortably.  I have been using it constantly for packing and shipping and sorting,  all banged up and scratched it is my new favorite thing. So screw the kitchen, the table is coming, black and blue hips are a small price to pay.

The plumber is coming on the 11th to remove the baseboard from under the window/soon to be a door. Once that door goes in, it will be way easier to trundle in all the boxes of books staight into the living room piling them against the wall, creating a cat stair case to the hole in the ceiling to the bedroom. When all is said and done, will will put a hole in the floor for winter, leading them down to the nice warm basement area. Hopefully by giving them their own spaces, they will stay out of mine.  Which reminds me I have to make sure i bring all the tools I need to build the internal screen doors, the door frames are undersized, so nothing off the rack will fit, so i will build my own.

I had to turn down a very kind offer to borrow a truck…the truck is an f350 for hauling equipment… I could have probably loaded it fine off my back porch here, but there is no such dock at the new house…pulling boxes and materials off a truck bed chest high would have gotten old very quickly.   I broke down and rented a 16′ Pensky truck for the 14th…i’m a little shocked that seems cheaper than I had expected it to be, but in the end I am sure it will cost more than the quote. But since it is a walkout cube truck, it will be worth it.  I can load nearly everything of size and weight at point A and unload it at point B, and if i have the energy I can make two trips, but I doubt that will happen.   I can’t really move the computer, the products or the cats until the new porch is completely enclosed and i doubt that will happen until the week after.

Having to gauge  how many trips to take is probably the backwards manner of moving, most people do it in one big push with a couple of little ones, but until that magic porch goes in, pushing just creates a problem…and I can’t wait until the last minute, either. I need more ROOM in the ROOM to do more packing.  I am dreading packing the books from the glass cabinet… the most dangerous point in a books life is when it is in a cardboard box…minding its business up on a shelf it is safe.  Getting dragged around in a non descript box, it is vulnerable.  I even wish I had a cupboard to put them in for now. perhaps i will put them in the kitchen cupboards and leave the pots and pans in their boxes.   I swear some days I just feel I am moving boxes from one side of the room to the other without getting anywhere substantively. Like I said…i will only get worse from here on end….

spreading the wealth

2014-07-31 19.23.14 I really can’t be trusted with money….what is it they say about first recognizing you have a problem?…’s errand was to go north and give the Screen Porch Guy a deposit on the job…I can’t call him the Back Door Guy with a straight face now can I? With that he can order the door which will have to be cut to 5’8” …my house is already like a cut down version of a real one, everything has to be slightly smaller than the average… I’m still on a diet, though not much of one, I have just stopped eating anything i am fond of. Trying to double up on errands I brought my reading chair…really my only piece of upholstered furniture up to a shop in South Portland, it will be ready in 4 weeks, just about the time the back door will be installed so it can actually FIT into the house. Good thing it’s not a very big chair, I can’t afford a very big door.

Along the way I drifted through the local Habitat for Humanities’ ReStore, with the very best of intentions..I was browsing for a light for the back porch, which I got for $12, and a cheap chair I can use temporarily…which I found..a small blond glider and ottoman $25 which is in excellent shape and can end up on the new porch. I also found the abused Morris Chair (pictured) $20, they told me that they had JUST thrown out its mate which was in better shape… The Morris Chair once stripped and repaired, will easily fold down and fit up the stairs into my second floor – there isn’t much furniture that will do that.  Replacing the webbing and tying the springs and recovering the horse hair cushions is basic winter project work…not like I NEED ANOTHER project, but I just couldn’t leave the little chair there to get destroyed. I also found a 1950s Raleigh Robin Hood which I immediately put on Craigslist when I got home..whih reminded me to sell the mint Raleigh Robin Hood I still have stored in the garage. But I may sell that in’s worth about $400..and wont stay MINT if I keep dragging it around.

2014-07-31 19.29.40 I didn’t REALLY need another trunk..and this one wasn’t cheap, but I haven’t seen a tiny one in many years…it doesn’t need much repair to make it a good place to store my bed linens in my itty bitty bedroom. My regular size trunks won’t make it upstairs, and neither will my ersatz grandmother’s cedar chest. My Porch is gonna end up looking like a second hand store if I dont start giving away things that don’t find a place inside the house.

I picked up the trunk and a few books at one of the antique shops I drifted through, I always cruise the books, I am trying very very hard to only buy books for resale these days.  But I am on the fence about the signed Joyce Chen Cookbook….  I used to have one and sold it, so now I have another…which I will eventually sell, I’m sure.  I will cull the cookbooks again when I build the shelf for them.

I rarely buy things that are breakable like the vase….especially since I don’t NEED nicknacks of any sort. But this glaze attracted me in the worst way… I thought it was underpriced at $25, the finish has a lot of metalic and verdigris I could look into it all day..which will be convenient, I will have to park it in a glass case...still to be ordered from IKEA,  so that my roommates don’t pit it against gravity to see how it fares.

2014-07-31 16.04.03 I would have been wiser to NOT go into any stores at all, I am buying gifts for a house I still don’t own yet. And it’s not like I can’t go shopping later when i actually NEED something to fill a need or a void. I think in the back of my mind, it’s an anxiety thing. I really need to find something else to do with my stress: stress eating, stress shopping.. I need a replacement activity, that gives me the endorphin rush. Used to be I could ride my bike or row my boat, moving to Maine can’t come soon enough so I can get back to that.

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?

track visits
Office Depot