Magic porch indeed

2014-10-15 09.56.06 LIFE’S BETTER. the magic porch made it better. Last week the contractor got paid..i can’t say he finished, but he packed up and left…he still has some tidbits he’s promising to come back for…and i still have his big gutter bending thing so he will be back.

Friday i was drafted to drive down to Massachusetts for the animal rescue fundraiser, 5 years in and they still can’t manage the computer without me. And I’d have to stay over and leave the cats alone for 24 plus house. So done or not the cat door went into the wall. The contractor did NOT want to put a hole in such a thick wall and ruin his beautiful porch. I told him, your doing it or i’m doing it because by the end of the day, there was going to be a hole in the wall – and its just the right size. I did have to devise an insulated door for it for cold weather. And if i stare at it long enough i will figure out how to make a swinging door that doesn’t let all the heat out. But no rush, when it’s cold they are all bundled on the bed with me anyway. 2014-10-09 11.42.47

With all the lovely space the porch provides I emptied out most of the living room of boxes and cages, all that’s left is the tv and the evil futon. the room needs painting and a floor..painting would be wicked easy if i wasn’t sleeping in it – i think 2 days of paint odor while i sleep in it, will probably give me the mother of migraines, and the floor well that’s just another 500 i don’t have. Moving car insurance is costing me a painful amount. So, to placate myself, the bookcases are going up, floor or no floor. Once the boxes of books on the porch are removed…well reduced, there should be a LOT of room out there for messing about.

2014-10-13 16.04.18-1Monday I paid the contractor’s dogsbody to finish the insulation on the 2nd floor..well he was helping me, but all i had to do was finish adding the air channels. The entire second floor needs paneling before i can sleep up there, which is an entirely NOT cheap operation. So that’s on hold as well. I have insulated a screen door to the staircase and screwed it in place to stop the draft. I guess for the winter, it’s a once story house at least until somehow i find more money to complete it.

Sales are completely in the toilet. Time to get my shit together. About the time this weekend when i started dragging boxes out of the house and onto the porch and could finally walk from room to room without turning sideways, i stopped hating my house. It is just the right size and when the second floor comes online…it will seem ENORMOUS. The office is still chockful of crap, today’s chore is drag everything out to the porch and arrange the shelving so i can unpack. Once i can FIND things…i can at least renew life of some of my projects, at the very least I can find stuff to list online. I’d be hard pressed to find a pencil if I needed one. Last time i looked all that stuff was boxed..somewhere, like my clothes. I may just stop pretending the living room is anything more than my bedroom and unpack my clothes – into what would be another question. But for the first time since i moved, feel creative, i don’t feel trapped…i fell broke and panicky, but hey..that’s familiar… feeling creative and not dragged in 10 different directions is new and different.

devices and desires

IMG_1831 Most of the money that is flitting through my fingers isn’t actually for tangible items, at least it doesn’t look like it is to me. I’m getting just as many items off Craigslists FREE section as I am buying in the shops. I actually feel kinda guilty how pleased I have been with my choices, the Truck for one makes me very happy. Aside from a camera, nothing else can be considered a big ticket item, unless you consider the porch and a shite load of insulation. The little Instant Pot has been a complete surprise how handy and delightful it is. Pricey little bastard at about $100, it does exactly what it says on the tin, it doubles as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, all around cook everything cooker. I haven’t missed the 36 inch stove i had least not yet, i’m hoping it wasn’t actually supposed to be heating the kitchen. I parked the pot on the counter and use it nearly everyday, boiled eggs, stews, soups, bread pudding, lasagna, i even did a fry up one morning with sausage, home fries and scrambled eggs. Buying it let me move the slower cooker and pressure cooker into the basement storage. I don’t regret spending the money on it.
IMG_1837 Another thing I am pleased with is the stainless tea kettle, i’m one of those folks who brews up a pot of tea and keeps reheating it until its scary dark. A better investment than the white plastic ones, which i had to replace every year.IMG_1835 There’s not much room in the kitchen for anything else…though the little Grundig radio turned out to be a lot less of a frivolous purchase, it was commandeered for the porch construction on the first day, besides it’s battery operated, for those Nor’easter power outages I see in my future.
IMG_1834 On the advice of the contractor, I picked up a little Makita hand saw, it should actually do all the cutting i need doing, considering I have as yet not used the large circular saw I picked up at the Pawn shop in May, i looked at the weight on this thing and jumped at it. My rationalization was that the more small jobs I can do for myself, the fewer i have to pay people to do. There’s a bunch of strapping needing installation upstairs as well as the paneling. However if I can scrape up the pennies, I will be hiring the contractor’s dogsbody to help me speed things up. I don’t mind paying him $15 an hour for a couple of hours helping ME do a task, but i wouldn’t pay him to do a days work unsupervised, that’s a waste of money. My hope is that once the porch is ‘finished’ as in usable by man and beast without either one escaping, i can switch focus to completing the upstairs project.
IMG_1873 One of today’s two acquisitions was a little relatively expensive LED flashlight, I found this model recommended by First Responders and I had actually gotten fed up with the cheap badly working ones I had brought with me. It was a little shocking how much illumination you get from this one, and the bezel glows in the dark so i can actually find it when i’m looking for it. It was indeed expensive as far as flashlights go, at least i’m not in the habit of losing them. I was a little fed up the night i ordered it, there’s no street lights on my end of the street and one you walk off my porch, it’s black as pitch hence the flashlight that doesn’t fuck around.

And the latest acquisition for which I don’t feel guilty for plunking down the money, was a new USED laptop straight from the Pawn Shop…my other laptop had been working perfectly well when i put it on the sidetable this morning…later noticing it had been on the receiving end of a golden shower probably by the chihuahua…i think he was trapped on the bed and couldn’t get down. So the moisture hits the motherboard and the motherboard goes to motherboard heaven. The repair shop that services the college advised me to go to the pawn shop which was having a sale. It’s not a bad little machine and the price was adequate, A laptops not something i can do without for more than a few days.

Still a surprising amount of pricey crap for a tiny little life in a tiny little house.


2014-10-01 15.59.01 Finally a feeling i recognize…dread…for a while i wasn’t feeling much of anything, nothing terribly bad has happened,  i just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  The number of things i have had to keep paying for has just decimated the bank account. I’m approaching a scary balance and i still don’t have a bedroom to sleep in and the second floor isn’t insulated. The porch is nearly almost finished, though ‘finished’ means it is an empty shell – which is what i actually wanted, but as a shell it is unusable until warm weather by anyone not wearing fur.  It will at the very least give me someplace to move all the living room crap, so i can spend still MORE money on adhesive least that’s something i can put down myself.

2014-09-18 14.53.42I am casually looking around for a part time job, i have been told that Maine is not a bad place to be POOR in, i am hoping that rings true. Strangely everyone seems to be hiring, my problem is finding someplace i won’t burn a bridge, something i can do, get paid and go home. Right now Home Depot is in the running, i’d like to get some of my money back…and Uber which is a smart phone based car service branching out into Portland, if they do well in Portland as they did in other cities, that may be my best bet. No sense having that big ass truck sitting idle in the driveway, when i am 8 minutes from the airport.

It seems every day something comes up that i HAVE to buy to get on with things, this didn’t actually happen in my old life. I had lived in the Apartment for 18 years and the house for 40 so everything was just THERE…like Windows, and screens, Door knobs and locks. I just  had to buy new ones for the new doors, and rekey all three doors to be the same..I went with the LEVER style..though the cheapest models…..i have that thing where you get older everyday…and my grip is fading… so far with rekeying the deadbolts, its about another $120+,. which is kinda odd, cause i never used to even have to lock my door before.2014-09-19 15.18.27

Since the Shed in the backyard  is complete waste of space and the back porch wasn’t completed, i shelled out $100 (which was a discounted price) to get one of those tupperware things for the front porch. Right now it has bags of cat litter and cat food in it, a decent amount of storage for winter. It also may end up being the defacto package drop off and pickup, since there’s no damn roof on the front porch.2014-09-26 15.57.09

I try NOT to buy  ‘decorative’ pieces for the house… though I did drop a bit on a few things that make me laugh. Instead of having a wall mirror greeting me every time i go into the very tiny bathroom, I spent $30 on this old Homer Winslow print of Feral Pigs on a beach in Bermuda. I think it’s charming…much better to see when I walk in the room than my puss. I did spend $35 on a good quality shaving mirror it fits the small space nicely. I felt guilty about spending that much on a mirror until i actually needed the magnifying side…i didn’t feel guilty about buying the pigs. (that ugly light fixture is going away…i have an old one from the old house to put there.)2014-09-15 16.11.44

2014-10-03 11.25.57

Absurdly I went all out buying the door mat, when i could have gotten the cheap and cheerful wisk type ‘Go Away’ door mat, I opted for one of the Maine made recycled Lobster Rope mats, in theory it should outlast me and the house. I have GOT to stop shopping like that….I have been thinking ‘what do i WANT to see in the house’ and then shop for the best price, instead of thinking ‘whats the least i can spend to solve the problem.’ But aside from a couple of really important .insulation and heating related issues, i think i have covered all the MUST have items by now.

Today I got my new license plate for the truck…the Lobster plate was an extra $20…which i didn’t really NEED to spend.. but i was already shelling out $200 to reregister the freaking thing..ouch….but I just don’t think one MOVES to Maine and doesn’t get the Lobster license plate. Still to deal with will be the drivers license..i need a new mug shot for my Uber application anyway.

I’m going to try to finish insulating the second floor, but it has really broken my spirit. Even once the insulation is up there, i still need to panel it before i can use it as a bedroom. And that’s just one of the two rooms up there, if i don’t get it all insulated in the next couple of weeks, before the heating season starts..i may as well pile what’s left of my money in the driveway and set it on fire.  I never got to implement ANY of my ideas for saving money on heating or energy..basically i bought a tiny house with traditional utilities, leaving me no money left over for solar panels or improvements.

Yes I can hear myself whine..i’m a whiny bitch.  Never happy with my life, always dreading what’s around the corner.  I just feel like such a failure, I weigh out my decisions so carefully, trying to do what will work out in the long run and I still struggle.  It was very nice living this summer like I didn’t have a care in the world. Eating out from time to time, replacing broken items, being able to loan money to people who have been there for me in the past, I knew it wouldn’t last, but I had hoped I could get my life in order for it to be less poverty stricken.  I guess some people just aren’t meant to have money. Sales have NOT perked up, i can’t imagine why i thought they would just because they always have before.  The investment in a new website and new products seems like such an awful awful waste of money now.  I will have to throw even more money at the problem buying advertising someplace.  I have thousands and thousands of dollars in products just sitting here gathering dust. It’s almost laughable. As an experiment I shipped off some of the Inkredible erasers to Amazon fulfillment…i had actually sold several listing them ON Amazon’s site, but their shipping costs are nearly as high as the product, I figure i may sell a few more if that was eliminated. Knock Wood.




be careful what you wish for.

2014-09-26 15.23.13So i took a month off….at first because i was flat out busy and then it just got to be a habit.  What do you say when you get what you want and it still doesn’t taste right? I elected to say nothing.  Someone asked if i was ‘all moved in’ …what do you say to that when half of everything you own was still outside covered in tarps….and the i got the…’are you loving it?’ to which i didn’t respond at all. ..see it gets hard… i have exactly what i wanted, a small house all my own…but to complain about the string of crap that just isn’t ‘right’ yet just makes me sound like an whiny bitch.  I neither love it nor hate it. . . but I am warming to it.

2014-09-02 12.45.13After some mis-steps, the ‘magic porch’  is finally taking shape…the original contractor, took the deposit, put in a back door which stepped out into mid air like a Warner Bros Cartoon and then quit the job.  It took a number of threats and embarrassing phone calls to his materials vendors as well as the state attny general (when are people going to learn NOT to fuck with me?) but I got the deposit back, cept for the costs of the door.  I even got him to take back the 2000 dollars worth of ugly custom ordered windows.  Then there was a week of trotting 6 or 7 more contractors in to look at the problem, none of which would do it before Spring of 2015.  Finally I got in a guy recommended by the folks who fixed the basement…he’s working out very well…yet it is a constant struggle, because EVERY Contractor and i mean EVERY FUCKING ONE of them, insisted I don’t want what i am actually asking them to build.  Where I wanted a traditional screen porch, nearly all insist that what I actually want ia an addition that would be heated and insulated and drywalled and so forth and so on… i’m thinking of getting a t-shirt that says ‘just build what i told you, damnit!’  So far the only mission creep, i have had to pay for is the extra 10 inches of insulation in the floor.

IMG_1603The basement was a less dramatic story…it was FAR FAR wetter than advertised..the was a constant 2″ pond under the stairs, and more moisture than the dehumidifier could handle.  I didn’t dare store ANYTHING down there until after the big dig.  The  $5000 big dig, was well worth the expense, after the floor was jackhammered and the drains went in, the walls were wrapped with plastic. I still have to add some insulation to the ceiling and some of the nooks and crannies, but as long as the dehumidifier is working, it is acceptably moist.

I dropped, a few hundred on some used cabinets, a spectacular steel workbench and a counter top,  it will make an excellent workshop.  But so far everything is still in boxes….i think i need to have a baseboard added to the kitchen which would be right above the workbench..and i will probably have to disassemble it all to get at that spot.  I try not to look at the bank account, every day something else needs to be bought and paid for, and for every $300 worth of brand new insulation I try to compensate with used clothing or food from the dollar store. I am used to being poor, i am just not used to HAVING to buy something Right Damn Now. 2014-08-15 11.31.20

The Attic  doesn’t look all that much different..i’m still sleeping in the living room, on that goddamn futon..i wouldn’t be so pissed if i had bought it used, but i bought it new…who DOES THAT!?!  but now i have piled feather bed and cushions on it, so my back doesn’t ache as much.  What i HAVE done in the bedroom is add all the Corning Products – the foam AIR CHANNELS cost $17 a Package of 10…i think i had to buy 4 or 5…and that’s JUST for the big room, now i am stuffing insulation $600 under the strapping…it’s a lot like trying to pad out a herd of christmas santas.  I can’t seem to work up there more than 2 or 3 hours at a time before i get sick of what i am doing and take a 28 hour break.

So it’s taking me weeks alone to do what a contractor would have done in a couple of days with a helper.  I am JUST not one of those people who take pride in saying ‘I did this all by myself!’ fuck that.  I’d rather just have it DONE by someone else so i can move on with my life.  Though my clothes and my brand new bed are still in boxes, I guess i am just not in that much of a hurry to get it done. I STILL have to fix the floor and some how get it paneled before i can make a bedroom out of the attic that they pretended was ‘sleep ready’ when they sold the house.

IMG_1760Working up there in an enclosed space, i have a lot of conversations with myself… mostly along the lines of ‘you got what you wanted, now shut the fuck up’  - I knew the house would have problems…and i am certain a bigger house or  cheaper house would have had more and more expensive ones.  So i get pissed at the problem, and the cost, then i get pissed at myself for being pissed about it.  I got what i wanted and its still not enough…well it’s certainly not something i want to write about every day…”dear diary today I got sick and tired of my new life and had a good cry,”  tomorrow is another day.  I have hung a LOT of hopes on that damn porch…all my books, most of my business, nearly all my clothes and half the cats are all still in boxes.  I keep telling myself that once the porch is enclosed, once  i have the extra 190 square feet, i can finally GET STARTED.  I can clear out the living room, which i swear to got has a tiny walkway between cages on one side, boxes of books on the other and the single bed futon.  i think i have twisted my ankle permanently,  crab walking back and forth. Once the cages are gone away, i can move the boxes into the porch, wash the floor, throw down some adhesive vinyl flooring and set up the book cases….once the boxes are GONE gone, (really i won’t feel at home until my books are on shelves) the porch will have some basic furniture and cat perches….these wicker couches i picked up yesterday for cheap money… i just threw a coat of $1 a gallon marked down Cabot Stain on them.  The porch will be 12×16 with a ceiling that starts at 8 feet and goes up onto the roof a little bit, making it the largest room in the house.  I do expect to be using it A LOT, if only to open and sort boxes.   Truly one day, I may run insulation into the walls and ceiling but not before this winter. I just won’t have the money for it.

You know every September for the last few years, orders start coming in like clockwork after the dead zone of the summer time?  well this year…not so much.  orders trickle in, leaving me to think that winter will be worse than normal.  Things are so bad that i keep thinking i need to get a job outside of the house..then i run down all the jobs i have had and all the possible ones i could get hired to do, and then i stop thinking about it..why would i do that to those people?  they hire me on good faith to do whatever it is we are both excited about, and then realize that I am a very large personality taking up space in their very small office.  I need to find ways to work in the house alone, and not inflict myself on people i might actually LIKE. I started burrowing through the parts of the business that isn’t in boxes. I know once the books are shelved I will find a number of them to sell, and I started experimenting with sending the Inkredible erasers TO Amazon to let them fulfill the orders, I figure if folks can save on the shipping I may actually sell more of them.   I have such a list of projects to work on that could bring in a trickle of money, but instead I have to fuss around here, just to get shit done before the REAL weather sets in.

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.

2014-08-17 14.03.44

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.

2014-08-11 15.06.01

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.

2014-08-13 11.48.37
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.

track visits
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