Archive | cats

raining kittens

2014-07-01 18.42.27There have been discussions going on inside my head about whether i should spend nearly all my money on a house..isn’t it nice to be able to buy something when i need it? why go back to BEING poor voluntarily? Usually its the spending of money that triggers the conversation – buying cat food and litter or filling a tank of gas, or paying a utility bill…things that used to cripple me financially.

Over the weekend I pickedup another kitten that had been squished by a car…after i had the MSPCA euthanized it, I took over the trapping of the rest of that family of cats. I did manage to catch mama and one more baby, then a tomcat. After dropping the Tom at the vet on Monday morning, I found a lovely hand delivered note from the new building owners, that they were refinancing the building and would be inspecting the apartments Tuesday. yeah….and me with 2 cages in the living room and a mud covered bathroom because i had stupidly switched from chicken feed  back to Tidy Cat. I launched into attack to make my aparment respectable again…all the while REMEMBERING WHY I NEED A HOUSE OF MY OWN AT ALL COSTS. I brought mama cat to the vet to join the Tom overnight, and dumped the kitten on another foster who already HAS the three kittens that were here 2 months ago, and later in the day I manage to trap the other two kittens who went to the same home. I stashed the cages in the garage, and the traps in the truck, scrubbed every floor and litter box, and washed every piece of exposed fabric….my trick to living with a few more cats than normal is to cover everything with sheets and wash them every week….but alas the sonofbitches still haven’t replaced MY LAUNDRYROOM with their own coin op yet!! So i had to truck everything to the laundromat where i immediately doused myself with concentrated bleach, ruining a perfectly wearable pair of Cankle pants, shirt and shoes.
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I set my photography equipment back up in place of the cages and you would never know there had been a methlab in the place the day before. They DO know I have cats…they think i have 9…which isn’t all that far from the truth, not really….but i certainly don’t want them knowing that i am still rescuing those that need rescuing. And as I expected most of the cats were hiding under the bed for entire 60 seconds that anyone was in the house.  The Property Manager did ask how my search was going and I related last week’s tale of the pocket listing that cramped my shopping…i need to keep up the appearance of someone who IS MOVING, eventually. I really can’t take the chance of getting evicted…even WITH money in the bank, I can’t sign a lease anywhere since it is my intention to BUY a damn house, not remain as anyone’s tenant.

I can’t keep pretending i don’t have my entire life squished into THREE GODDAMN ROOMS. I had to surrender my workspace in the basement which pushed a lot of storage into the living room..and the porch is still NOT REPAIRED well enough for the cats to have their own room. I already asked- the new owners didn’t give a shit, and I doubt i will get permission to do renovations of my own even if i am paying for them. So basically i need to get the fuck out of dodge. ANd no, there’s no movement on any front. Another small house came on the market in Portland over the weekend..but it’s smaller than my apartment which does me no damn good. What i am seeing is that no one wants a large fixer upper, in any market. and the investors buy up the small fixer uppers and make hideous changes to them and turn them into overpriced houses. It’s a feeding frenzy for those who have enouh money to pay cash, and then flip the house or in the case of this one…refinance it within the 1st month and put the money back to work. Sheesh…it must be good to be rich.

Going to battlestations pushed me way behind on working on the new website…the poor guy building it is tapping his foot waiting for me to contribute my part. Which is what i actually sat down here to do. I need to write content for all the pages, to go with the photos I shot. I still need to shoot video intructionals..but that’s fallen behind because i don’t really have a workbench anymore and until i move i am not likely to have one. fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Of course the clean living didn’t last…I had two MORE KITTENS dropped on me last night by someone else who is still trying to trap a family of five 12 week olds. at that age you simply can’t socialize all 5 evenly, you have to break them up to have half a chance. If you can’t socialize them in a month, they will soon grow into large juveniles which people don’t think are that cute..and god help you trying to place an actual CAT…no one wants cats…they all want fucking kittens – and they want them friendly…they won’t take the time to socialize them themselves. lasy bastards. So there is a lot of forced cuddling that needs doing..i just can’t DO it while I type…trust me i’ve tried. Work Work Work, we’ve got to protect our phoney baloney jobs gentlemen.

6 hour naps

maggie and company I spent about 2 straight days cleaning my apartment within an inch of its life, and that includes clearing off the porch and making headway in the workroom in the basement – the home inspection was yesterday. About 8 people showed up to inspect all the corners of the building looking for anything objectionable to take note of – and practically none of it focused on the areas I had cleaned.  Most of the folks were contractors hired by the new owner – apparently they can afford that kind of thing…this isn’t a nice couple with a few buildings. These are some rich folks with a shitload of apartment buildings..must be nice. The guy representing the owners was the building manager, whose name i have forgotten…you would think i would have remembered that, but i was busy…and paranoid… i had spent a lot of time and effort disguising my roommates presence – but not making it LOOK like i was disguising them. In the end they didn’t seem to care about that sort of thing, though he did ask me flat out how many i had…but mostly in a congenial manner..and of course i lied straight to his face in an equally congenial manner. He had been told i was moving out on the 30th...yeah not bloody likely, but he seemed actually relieved when i told him i wasn’t going anywhere for a little while. I wasn’t exactly sure what caused it, but as soon as they were all just tail lights going down the drive, i laid my head down for a minute and took a 6 hour nap.

Which brings us to Maggie and company. I got a frantic call in the middle of the night about a cat that needed a foster home…with her 3 day old kittens. There’s a backstory about a crazy lady who had the cat and lost all its previous kittens and now that a rescuer GOT the cat she needed to keep them moving, so that the crazy lady doesn’t come to her house to get them….it’s like three card monty with cats – you have to remember kittens are sold as currency by drug addicts..and therein lies a tale… So i say sure, bring them over and then spend the next few hours setting up a kitten hostel and then checking in every 2 hours all night to make sure these three kittens were all suckling and breathing normally.  I am just very glad this all didn’t happen the night BEFORE the home inspection, i wouldn’t have been able to pull off the – ‘oh no, i’m not a crazy cat lady’ facade I sure could use another one of those naps now.

I also loaded about nine different things on freecycle and managed to get them all picked up….i even have someone coming saturday for the large shelving in the basement.  I did kinda explain to the future building manager that i was putting all my junk in the little garage with the intentions of moving them further…his brow furrowed…i am trying not to think about it… as it happens, if i piled up all my crap, i would probably light it on fire.  So the more of my stuff i put in the little garage, the more of it i want to get rid of.   Hence a lot of things i was ‘Saving’ for the new house – like property maintenance tools….are totally up for grabs.  If it isn’t worth storing it isn’t worth saving – except the cat cages…. i may end up with all those back in the house where they started.

queer looks

photo (6) I ran into an old family friend today and as we were catching up, i let slip that i had been doing rescues for 10 years, and that i had some  cats…that was after she tried to convince me that i didn’t actually WANT to buy a house and we all know i NEED a house, cause….i have cats… that was the point in the conversation she made a face like a poodle hearing a weird noise and started talking to me like i was a simple minded crazy person… i stopped in mid conversation and tried to back her out of the expression. I don’t think she believed me.

Folks society CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! you can classify folks who do rescue, whether its cats, dogs, wolves or laboradoodles as crazy hoarding folks to mock and pity and then USE us to dispose of loose animals you just don’t want on your property… i’m still here, still have two cages with  kittens in my living room that I didn’t magically create because i got bored. My personal rule is that i don’t take animals into my home unless what’s going to happen to them is worse, and NO one stays.   I am not a hoarder,  I am not ashamed of my house, some days i am not happy about it, but ‘I‘ – cant’ figure out how to really emphasize the litter ‘I‘ –  am one of the people who gets called INTO deal with the crazy hoarding house people with more pets than they can handle. ‘I‘ am one of the responsible ones. ‘I’ am one of the people who cleans up other people’s MESSES… DON’T YOU LOOK AT ME WITH THAT QUEER AS FUCK SURPRISED POODLE EXPRESSION.. oh fuck you I’m getting a house.

I don’t just need a house, cause i’d make a sucky tenant.  I WANT a house.  unlike all those little girls who dreamed of being married and having kids and a life, I wanted a house.  My mother was bipolar and i wanted my own house where should couldn’t fuck with my thinks or bang pots and pans around if she thinks i was sleeping,  or find out she unplugged all my electronics and killed my fish.  The house I had when i got married wasn’t mine either, it was mostly the banks, and my ex was basically a large hamster, littering his cage with 9 different newspapers every week.  When the banks came in and reclaimed it because my ex wasn’t paying any bills and the money i was making selling all the antiques and furniture i had collected to decorate MY house, wasn’t really enough to keep body and soul together, i didn’t really feel like that house was ever mine to begin with.

If lets just say IF a miracle should happen and i could find rescue groups to TAKE the bulk of the cat volume and i could rent someplace, and 250k will pay an awful lot of rent….i wouldnt’ be any happier, i’d be in the same shit i am in now…just with a little money.  I WANT my own space, where i can knock a hole in a wall if it displeases me, if i drop a can of wood stain on the floor, i can shrug my shoulders and just stain the entire thing the same color, i WANT the chance to have chickens and fresh eggs, i want a garage where i can restore Ralegh three speeds, i want MORE than the three fucking rooms i have now.  I want an office with a door that closes, I want a guest room i can struggle every day to keep the cats out of, because we all know they will want the be in there more than any place else, i want to decorate or NOT decorate as i see fit, i don’t want to hear the neighbors through the walls and have to wait three days for a plumber, I WANT what i have been wanting since i was ELEVEN.  I want my own fucking house.

I WANT what i have been planning, to buy a house for about 110-130K, put 30K of Solar electric and other energy saving systems into it, populate it with furniture and appliances that i didn’t get off the curb.  I want to build bookcases and have all of my books on shelves at the same time.  I don’t want to OWE anyone my rent, or a utility payment, i don’t want anyone to ever have THAT kind of power over me.  I want to put some of this money INTO my business and make the money i need to pay my bills, without feeling like a useless slacker cause i can’t make ends meet.  I finally want the power over my own life.  and my brother can go fuck himself.

I emptied another bookcases out onto the work table, when i get home from the Boston Book fair tomorrow, i will dust them and sort them into boxes and i used the empty bookcase to hold all the loose books from the non bookcases nooks and crannies.. there isn’t a foreseeable end to the book boxing… because of the lack of space they are popping up all over the place.  I feel bad that my apartment doesn’t LOOK nicer, it will NEVER look nicer, it will just keep looking more and more like a monthly storage unit.  I’m sorry but it’s three rooms and I have been here for 20 years, it’s not like i have a lot of options.  Neatening up around here is the equivalent of just moving things from one side of the room to the other.   When i have my OWN house,  if things don’t have a place, then they will go onto the curb and they can end up decorating someone elses apartment.

 

almost fair

Somewhere in the middle of the night a brownie or borrower or some other tiny creature crawled inside my skull with an ice axe and has been banging away between my eyes. I got up at 5 am took the Excedrin and then sat up until it my chin hit my chest and woke me up, then i crawled back under the covers until the pain came back. Besides that i had a nightmare about spending money on things i shouldn’t. No doubt because yesterday was the ERRAND day, cat food, cat litter, cleaning supplies, gasoline..so essentially i was broke at the end of the day and STILL had bills to pay that are unavoidable…and thus the nightmare.

brother2270Today was a total turn around, i had a couple of larger sales come in and the funds went out almost immediately,  i paid the comcast account and the cellphone…I still have to pay the car insurance but i have until next week.    And the larger sales are for products that i have to reorder, so that money is already on its way out the door.

Meanwhile i have 7 orders to ship, 3 are already boxed and the damn printer cartridge has given up the ghost…this time a lot sooner than normal.   The Cartridge refill place has raised the price to $44 dollars for the toner for the ancient HP5L …..so I  have talked myself into buying a new printer NOW instead of waiting until I move…..

I was also trying to put some money aside to go to the Book Fairs in Boston this weekend… so right now it’s either  buy a printer and ship the orders or save the money and go to the book fair. I am leaning towards the fuck-it side of that argument.

blackcatstrutThe universe practically gave me a black cat every day this week….too bad the kittens are about 16 weeks, they are too old to socialize well for adoption, one of them is just a bitch….all i can do is fix them and put them all back next week hopefully before it snows.  One or two of the kittens COULD be hand tamed to live in a house or a barn, but at this age they will almost never be your typical housecat; they will always been too fearful… it’s not like it is impossible, but the socialization takes ages and it has to be one on one.  overwhelmed  fosters like me who have several to contend with just can’t get the job done.  The three who ARE going to live elsewhere when i move are JUST like these… social enough to grab for vaccinations but completely indifferent to me the rest of the year.   Besides i still have the two who are being adopted out…and as yet they really only like me when i am opening cans of baby food.

Honestly cat food and cleaning supplies are my largest expense….a few more mouths to feed now and then  doesn’t even registered as a blip. Caged cats however do use more litter than free range, because i have to change the entire pan twice a day…whereas i can just scoop the others.  I will get a few bucks on Monday when i do the clinic, its primarily for gas as I am SUPPOSED to be volunteering but i use it for whatever my roommates need.   I will drag all these guys to Mondays clinic and then put them back on Wed or Thursday.

One of the voices feels quite guilty about NOT being here to accept deliveries of cats that would just have miserable lives if no one intervened…but then the other voice is doing a backflip, since once I move, I won’t have the constant struggle trying to keep my living room cage free.   I am sure there are cats in Greenfield that will need rescuing…i am just praying that no one gives them my address!

long term storage

IMG_8354 It’s not that an empty bookcase is a scary sight…the scary sight for me are sealed boxes of books. I’ve been pretending to be a book dealer for about 35 years now and i know a LOT of book dealers with sealed books of boxes. A friend of mine who just passed has sealed boxes of books decades old and even some from HIS father’s bookstore older than that. I suppose if you have a big enough going concern, than a few dozen boxes of books don’t matter. But over the last 15plus years in this apartment i have slowly whittled away at my collection both personal and for sale until i have only a fraction of what i used to. Anything that for sale isn’t even IN the apartment, its down in the workroom along with the Sicpress supplies.

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What’s freaking me out about packing to move isn’t the idea of packing the books in my apartment away…it’s the idea of doing it so far in advance knowing that the LONGER books stay in boxes the greater the chance they may never be released again. In my head i know i am working towards a goal of moving into a larger location, one with more built in bookcases and space for not only the books i have kept after many many culls over the years, but hopefully room for MORE books.

The bookcases i CAN make with my eyes closed is the standard unfrills unfinished pine with 2″ wood screws, backs are optional depending on whether i have access to a table saw.   Essentially once i have a space painted, papered, or plaster stabilized…as long as i have a wall to attach it to, it can go up in an evenings worth of television.  So once i relocate i can unbox fairly quickly.

In the meantime, once i make boxes of books, where do they go? out of the apartment? into the basement? into the carriage house?  Knowing what i know about books and boxes…and about that i am an expert…i can say with certainty, once the books are in storage, bad things can happen and usually do.    I sell book deodorizer for a reason…because books and boxes absorb odors…and moisture when its available.   In my apartment that’s never going to happen but moved into a NON living space, even one considered secure, adds to the risk.  And I just can’t get over that feeling that something bad will happen to them if i look away.

When i moved into the apartment i came from a larger space and for a lot of years i had boxes of books and vhs tapes… in the end the vhs tapes got thrown en masse. As i whittled away at the boxes of books, i learned a lesson that cardboard boxes are evil.  They become damaged when used in a living space, not just absorbing all the moisture out of your air and causing your skin to dry out, but they unless they are fully packed they dent and collapse and make excellent scratching posts.  I don’t want them to be in boxes longer than they have to be.

If i thought they would stay in boxes for many years, i would cull the collection over and over again until it was down to the books i wouldn’t be able to replace.  I would sell or give them away and they replace them when i wanted to see the book again.  When i culled the books the 1st time after i moved, that was a rule, if the book was common as dirt and i didn’t NEED to have it in the house.. like Moby Dick and the dictionary, then out it could go..i fact i don’t think i have a dictionary younger than 1780.

As the internet has grown and the value of books has dropped, i am certain i could cull my collection down to a couple of bookcases.  Even though comparatively i own very few compared to other book people…like the rest of my possessions, when i thought i would spend the rest of my days in these three rooms i cut everything down to what would FIT neatly in this apartment. And even then all the books are neatly in shelves in the bedroom and the 2 glass bookcases in the living room.  If i didn’t have my roommates, i would probably have a lot more open bookcases in the living room, but i found it was cleaner and easier to just keep culling the books i didnt need to own.

In a new space, the same rules would apply, everything for sale would be in a pet free room and not exceed that space.  Instead of keeping books for decades hoping they will sell, i prefer to rotate the stock out. reduce the price to $5 and after a year donate it.  I’d rather sell a small number of GOOD books than a barn full of five dollar books.  I suppose if that was the only thing that provided income i would feel differently, but like a lot of us, i have learned not to rely on books to make my living.  i have to bring in money from many sources.  When i buy a book for resale NOW, which is rare, it’s something i know will sell for at least $20 more than i paid for it.  If its a 10 dollar book worth 20 dollars, it’s not worth my time to bring it home and enter it in the computer.  I say that now, but i haven’t actively bookshopped for years, where i live there is nothing to buy and most of the books in shops are already listed online.   If i buy something to resell its usually off the internet.  And i look forward to having a small fund dedicated to doing just that.   Another starving child  the house sale will have to feed.

IMG_8356Watching either of the hoarding shows on television is a great motivator to cause you to tackle something you don’t want to do.  I understand the schadenfreude in america which makes us watch Hoarders, and Hoarding! and even Extreme Couponing which is just another puppy in that litter.  It makes us feel better about our own nests.  But on the flip side it also gives us a scale that homes with a normal amount of stuff in their living space don’t look all that bad.

Many folks have the assumption that if you do any sort of rescue that your home must be unhabitable.  Which is not the case, i know a lot of rescuers, dogs, cats, wolves, birds..it’s about evenly split between homes you want to visit and those that are shelters people live in.  It always comes as a shock when people do visit and find this particular hobbit hole is not like that. It takes a lot of planning and daily maintenance but you can keep them in their place.

Books on the other hand will self replicate and take over your house if you let them…i can’t say just like cats, you can actually control the cats.  Inky and Buttons, like all the kittens before them are NOT here for long term storage.  They are here until they are ready for adoption. Right now they are shy and  need to come out of their shell, they live in a cage i just handle them as much as I can.  I devised a fabric sling so that i can type while they are being against my chest.   The rescue group gets them back, they don’t STAY.

 

I didnt want to post this part i deleted it once already.

Cats in long term storage are ones that aren’t adoptable, of those i have three ferals who have a place elsewhere, aside from them i have 3 that are semi feral, which means they aren’t lap kittys but don’t want to live outside and would not do well.  These guys just need a warm safe place to live.  I’d love to get them into a sanctuary and perhaps once i have some money to throw around I can buy them into one.  At least three of the others  are suitable for adoption, two guys whose owner moved to another country and left them with me intending to send for them and one whose kittens all got adopted but she was passed over. That brings me down to 5 – yes i have five personal cats, get over it.   Folks who come in won’t see more than two or three at any one time. And if i didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know who was here at all.  When i move i will be moving with 10, but that’s not a permanent state. And those that do make the trip won’t have an all access pass to the entire place.  The office and the guest room will be pet free and they will have their own cat porch where i am sure most of them will hang out, especially if i give them some chickens to watch.

There, now if you can add…the four of you know how many cats are in my house.  Right now they are all asleep in their respective sun spots.  And when covered with towels the cardboard boxes make excellent cat beds.

 

 

 

 

 

homemade storage units

homedepotwoodencrate I have been thinking about these plain style crates for a long time…well i guess if it has slats its a crate, if it’s a solid board its a box. Either way, I have always wanted a LOT of them. one or two is nice but they vary between 10 and 20 dollars depending on quality and source. So a stack of a dozen can get pricey.

I have had a couple of ideas for mass storage that involve them, and i think the move to a new house may be my chance to try them out. As I am making plans for a location yet to be decided, it seems that BUILDING storage out of smaller units is the most adaptable method.

bookbox
The drawback common to BOTH designs is that when purchased they are made with STAPLES not nails or screws. Using staples they have strength going in certain directions, but not in all directions. I use one of the crates in the car as a dog seat, with large hooks to secure the box to the back of the truck seat. Very quickly the weight of the box yanked the staples out, so i reinforced the slats with metal strapping. As any book person will tell you books are heavy. Decorative shelving is designed to be placed and not moved while holding weight. HOWEVER many booksellers use wooden boxes to store and transport books to book fairs. These boxes are longer and thinner than the storebought variety and they are also much better constructed so they can easily carry many pounds of books safely. I’m not getting any younger, I don’t want a box i can’t lift.

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Bookstores use crates a lot for stacking and displays and there are a TON of do it yourself decorating ideas on the net especially for kids room storage.  In my house I have been using VINTAGE woodenboxes to add storage on walls where i can’t fit other shelving. I attach the boxes with angle brackets and then screw them directly into the wall for support. If I were to create a stack, a stack that when toppled over could crush someone, I would not only attach the top ones to the wall, but them to each other, or to a 1×3 run up the backside.  Stability is good, and boxes packed tightly with books are stable, but one can never be sure. Vintage boxes though attractive are never the same size besides, right now i am interested in mass storage, not just a decorative shelf here and there.

IMG_8059 I have some ideas for designing three standard sizes..the more standardized the cheaper they will be to manufacture as well as purchase the boards…and i have quite a number to recycle that i will be bringing from my house and barn.  Then i can apply the template and cut them, add the hand holds on the sides…..BELIEVE me, you need hand holds for heavy boxes.

Which brings me to some more additions to my MUST by list… new tools. I have hand tools for building one or two things but not for anything in bulk. I am also hoping to save a lot of money by doing a lot of the work on my house myself. I will hire people do do what needs a certification, plumbers, electricians etc..and of course things that need a strong back, but i am competent enough to do much of everything else. I have been looking at buying a set of rechargable power tools like the Ryobi Nail Gun and a circular saw and i will need a jig saw to cut the hand holds. This is all about $300 including the batteries and chargers and such. But i think i can save that pretty quickly. nailgun

I have in mind three sizes thus far…one for paperback and trade sized books, about 8″ tall (inside) and either 18″ or 24″ wide…then the traditional 12″ tall …and then a cube i think. and a couple of specials for photography books.

I am not mad about the CRATE design for books, as it lets DUST inside, but the slats make it easy to snake cables and power cords for devices and lights, so the crates are good for other things. When i measure the available wall space in the new place i can create the custom shelves into the corners and around things like windows and doors, it is  a way to save space and NOT HOG up the large wall spaces where i can hang my photographs.

Now that I have the BOX design in my head, i am thinking of adaptive designs… i can add clear plexiglass door to some of them by cutting the plexi to fix and then using epoxy to attach the hinges to the plexi and adding pull knobs. perhaps i wont need to buy more barrister cases. it will also keep the cats from climbing into shelves not meant for them.
bookbox3 Speaking of cats…my ORIGINAL idea to use store bought crates,  When i move the cats  i will designate one room for them until all the Solar Energy and other construction is done on the house, i don’t want them to get in the way of the workmen, and i don’t want the workmen letting them out in a new city. My IDEA was to buy twelve of these crates and then stack and screw them together sideways in a offset pyramid design, then attach squares of carpeting to provide beds and scratch post area. i can even screw on toys and distractions etc.. I have examined every store bought cat TREE on the market, none of them are designed to be repaired. By using my method, they can destroy it to their hearts content, then i can unscrew and rebuild the entire thing, and replace the carpet squares. You can’t do that with the storebought ones. As things are going i will have a lot fewer cats when i move so this tower isn’t a priority now.

I like my idea for the crates and boxes instead of store bought furniture, and I would have bought the tools anyway when i started working on my house. I can see them in my head, some with doors, some with lights and some with cats sprinkled in between. The key to keeping them from fucking up your stuff is to accomodate them IN YOUR DESIGN, if i leave a few open with carpeting they should stay away from the breakables. At least that’s my theory.

mortal remains

DSCF0168I havent been able to hear out of my right ear for a couple of days.  no doubt some sinus infection run amuck.  A new symptom to what is  merely a chronic problem.  No big deal. But combining that with increasing frequency of heartburn, migraines and a peculiar intermittent pain in one toe… I am remembering my friend- my ersatz grandmother, Marian, who at 90 would have just shrugged it all off, and consider it small payment for every additional year above ground.   She was a much better role model than my actual mother, for whom every new ache and pain was another opportunity for keening and wailing.

Regardless, it all reminds me that i need to get my shit together to wrap it up and present it to someone else when i get hit by that inevitable bus.   While my name was still on the deed from the house and my brother being my only kin, and most of my property was pretty worthless, I  let the whole thing slide.  I figured he’d could have all the lovely fun of sorting everything out. I didn’t mind leaving what little i had to his wife’s kids, i even offered to make them heirs to my publishing empire, but he absolutely refused – which told me that he didn’t realize he was my de facto heir. I  had expect the local rescue group to take the cats and i everything else could be donated  or trashed, as i did with my mother’s belongings.  But moving so far afield and now realizing the the rescue group has little concern for my cats, with me alive or dead, and my brother has no interest in anything with my finger prints on it,   i need to make some real arrangements.

IMG_2140Once I put my name on a deed for a new house, things will be more complicated than having a little cash and a lot of crap. Most especially, when i top load the building with solar panels, PV system, a minisplit heating system and so forth, making the house more valuable.     I will make a point of  a will when i get the accountant.

I can’t see it being any more than a page or two.  The difficulty was choosing with whom to grant this extra large dose of pain in the ass.   I came to the conclusion to have everything liquidated and donated to the Animal Rescue Veterinary Service, that’s the clinic I volunteer with in Londonderry, NH.  I will speak to Dr K___ on Monday about being the executor, she’s 20 years younger than I am and if she declines it won’t change my decision.   I expect her to keep any of my computer equipment or belongings she liked, selling the rest including the house, truck etc.. and putting the cash into the non-profit perhaps getting them a building of their own.

The only things I need to account for will be any pets and valuable books in my possession at the time of my death.   I am HOPING i will have fewer pets in future, but Dr K__ would be the ideal person to decide on their disposition.  She can evaluate them fairly and has a network of 20 potential rescue group destination.  As with the ferals they would go to their new home with an adequate trust fund.  I trust her to use her own judgement, in fact she’s the only one I do trust, even more than my own.  My outlook about rescue and rehabilitation has changed dramatically in the time I have worked with her.  I now see the practicallity and kindness in euthanasia which I didn’t understand 10 years ago.

Right now very few of my books are worth anything at all, perhaps two hundred but like all book freaks, I am hoping that i have more when I die.  I have a saying that booksellers collections are usually worthless when we die, because we sell off all the good copies and keep the shelf copies for ourselves. However I do have a number of valuable books on book repair and binding; a collection I have been nursing for a few decades now.   I had sort of left oral instructions that a bookseller would need to be called in.  Now I will have to put it on paper.  If the booksellers I recommend predecease me, then containg MARIAB for a recommendation would be in order.   I see the possession of  antiquarian books as a responsibility…you don’t actually OWN it as much as you FOSTER it for the time that it is in your possession.   An curated collection should only be broken up by another bookseller or auctioneer, it should never go to a thrift shop.  The physical act of transporting and vending these editions reduces their value.  That’s just my opinion, but i will ask that they be sold to benefit ARVS as well.

Helen Gibson - 1920The only other collection i have of significance is the Helen Gibson ephemera collection,   have already made up my mind to donate the entire collection to the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.  I just haven’t done it, because i am not finished with it yet.  Whether I publish a book on her, or just keep adding to the collection if i ever have money again, that’s to be decided.  But that museum is the most appropriate home for it as they have nothing in their collection as yet.  Once i have larger accomodations I will bring it out of storage and decide what i want done with her, I already put all my information about her into her Wikipedia article so that my research would not be lost to history.

Seems a lot of nitpicking for someone whose entire wealth would break down to a couple of hundred thousand, but having no one to leave anything to except my pets, it takes longer to figure things out.

Truth is I never expected to live this long.  I can only imagine that those of us who suffer from intermittent depression throughout our lives and  view checking out on our own accord as a viable exit strategy have trouble planning any further ahead then buying concert tickets.  I distinctly remember the 1st time i bought tickets to something 9 months ahead of time.  I found it a very strange experience, i still can’t imagine how other people make plans that far ahead.   Making plans for appointing and altering a house which i won’t have for many months, is still an elaborate fantasy for me.   It all contributes to the stress I am feeling at having to WAIT until it happens.  I never plan that far in advance, I am never completely certain I won’t step off the wrong corner and get hit by a bus.  My present visualization is that i will be the lady found weeks after her demise with her finger tips chewed off by furry roommates. 

Cuckoo Bananas

“Cuckoo Bananas” is a catch phrase of one of the cheerful handicapped (is that still the right euphemsm?) teenagers at the high school.  i subbed for a program assistant a couple of times this week, and a number of times last year.  Apparently they have great difficulty finding substitutes to cover in the rooms for the differently abled students. I can’t imagine why… you spend the day doing the same puzzles over and over and labeling everyone as cuckoo bananas, easy money.

To be honest I actually dodged a couple of substitute call ins early in the week when i was having a little stress.   I had run out of ideas to unload cats that i do not want to bring with me.  I have three in particular who had been scheduled to be ensconsed into a sanctuary three years ago, but so far they have made no accomodations for them and I am pushing the issue.   These three are happy enough to eat sleep and poop inside my abode with everyone else…just being here pushes the limits on what i am willing to clean up and spend for cats that really don’t like me looking at them in the eye.   They WOULD have been TNRs  (Trap Neuter Releases) and if i had to do it over thy would have been, but where they were rescued, the rest of their family had already been run down by speeding cars and they wouldn’t have lasted too long.

After school yesterday I took the remainder of the money in the bank and went on a road trip to Wolf Adventure in Goffstown, NH.  And offered  my friend D__ the same deal I offered the cat rescue folks..  If you take my feral cats into your colony,  they come with a trust fund.   D__ of course said she would take them no payment required.  The situation there is different from a contained sanctuary,  it is more of a barn placement without the horses.  Their small colony of  rescued ferals are free range with  access to the building basement for food, warmth and furniture.    I hadn’t heard from D___ in a few months,  she had been mourning the death of a beloved rescue. But her spirits have  brightened as they just rescued two elderly wolf hybrids and are started building more pens.  and like all other sanctuaries they can always use more money.  But I have an alternate idea to repay her generosity.  Their previous building was destroyed in a flood in ’05 and for a couple of years they were living in an RV  but the town was still expecting taxes based on the house that didn’t exist anymore…. Kafkaesque huh?    they settled on an amount that they are repaying the town…but the interest rate is a usurious 18%.     When I finally get the money and the accountant tethered to it, I will arrange to refinance their outstanding debt using LendFriend.com   I certainly don’t need more than a couple of percent for loan management costs, but it will certainly save them boocoups $$ on the pinterest.  I haven’t told her my plan yet, she still thinks I am just going to give her an annuity for my furballs.

Meanwhile I still have a couple more cats than i ideally want to bring, but we are getting down to a socially acceptable level.   In Greenfield among the absolute must haves are a screen porch and an out building.  Ostensibly they are both for my personal use, but a screen porch is practically mandatory for anyone with more than a couple of passive housecats.  Unlike children you can always lock up your pets when they are starting to make you cuckoo bananas.  Lined with pet screening, and appointed with a few shelves and you can create a kitty theme park on an extremely limited budget; add a flappy pet door and you will have trouble getting them back in the house.

There are as many ‘catios’  custom made Cat Patios as there are pet owners.  see Google Images for proof.   SOme are just the size of a large cage outside a window or porch, some are long wire tubes stretching into the yard and around trees, some are large walk in cages without human accomodation.   Balancing what you can get away with, with what you can afford to spend…and then expanding as money allows….think erector set.

catios

shedwithporch

Obviously i have no fucking clue what I will end up having to build,  i have no idea if my best purchase will have a garage, and/or a porch.  I did spend some time looking at those  KIT outbuildings, the largest are between 6 and 9 thousand depending on fanciness.  However using that benchmark,  the guy at PVsquared recommended a Greenfield contractor whose specialty is outbuildings – barns and sheds, and he assures me they can scratch build a better one for less than a kit. One of their  models appealed to the voices in my brain who screamed in unison “MULTITASKER” “Two for one special” an outbuilding AND a screenporch in one.

Build this bugger close enough to the house and I can walk straight out my backdoor straight into my summer porch to work on my laptop or my bicycle.  Is it just me?  or do i spy with my little eye…. a tiki bar in the back of that porch?  Banana Daiquiri anyone?

1 1/2 oz light rum
1 tbsp triple sec
1 banana
1 1/2 oz lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1 cherry

Combine all ingredients (except for the cherry) with 1 cup crushed ice in an electric blender. Blend at a low speed for five seconds, then blend at a high speed until firm. Pour contents into a champagne flute, top with the cherry, and serve.

Prius-ism

prius You realize don’t you? that I have spent my portion of the house money, like nine times over already?  is  anyone keeping track? cause this rampant window shopping has reached a ridiculous level,  and my must have list is starting to look like Santa’s list of naughty children.  Everything I think i need is linked to four other things prerequisite things.  Extrapolation when done right can take you nearly anywhere it wants.

And yes that is a Prius, and it really didn’t take me very long to get to that extreme.      I got a little wound up the other night researching and designing the transparent house website.   In fact I didn’t go to bed and had to skip subbing at school the next morning.     Don’t get me wrong it is a wicked clever idea….but it is so way in advance, most likely  two years out and in internet time that’s like a century.   But it was FUN, and unlike picking out futons, every dollar I put into making the house energy efficient i expect to get back.

Speaking of that…. yesterday I called PV² which is the co-op Solar installation company in Greenfield. Unlike the ‘big’ energy company, they were indeed helpful, gave me some PRE-purchase advice  and sent me lots of lovely references. . . an architect for the additions I may have to build on the house I don’t have,  a shed contractor to build the outbuilding in case the house that i don’t have doesn’t have one, and concierge green living broker to look for, advise upon and help me buy the house I don’t have.  For a few minutes there I felt  safe….then i called the concierge broker…who was very charming…but i came away with the distinct impression that I am a little low rent for them.  I mentioned houses I had liked in town and I could hear him give a sommelier volume  SNIFF into the phone. ” Well my customers wouldn’t even look in those neighborhoods. ”  to which  i replied “well fuck you very much, you elitist cunt” …no, actually i said…”you heard me say i’m from Methuen right?”  don’t get me wrong he was still nice…but i am starting to get the feeling i am going down an expensive  Solar rabbit hole here – following folks who made their money and babies and have ELECTED to simplify their lives by buying a new one out of the Pottery barn – folks who choose solar power for their home out of conscience, not penury.   Anything i own from the Pottery barn came right off the Salvation Army’s showroom floor.

Ductless minisplit - both units - Mitsubishi

But I did learn a lot about solar homes in a very short time…the recommended heating and cooling units are japanese, wall mounted, and ridiculously efficient.  Apparently these Mitzubishi minisplits are revolutionary, and I wish i had one of these fuckers for the last 10 years.  In the long run they are well worth the three grand to have them installed.  So now i am into the house I don’t have for a heating and cooling system, which won’t do a bit of good without new efficient windows and extra insulation and so forth and so on.  That damn NOW house project was turnkey…i can see myself  living out of boxes while the house keeps getting ‘improved’.   I can literally feel money draining away from me like blood running out of my veins onto the bathroom floor.

While researching all of these expenses that are supposed to save me money, i found a readable blog called the Up Hill House,… where folks of conscience have built their home to be NET POSITIVE, which for me, is a consummation devoutly to be wished… These folks generated so much electricity on their second year that it behooved them to increase their usage instead of taking the credit from the utility.  Because the utility doesn’t credit them as much as they would have to pay for it.  Hence they bought a hybrid.    It was their story about the hybrid that caused me to turn around and look at one.   I am a truck woman, i haul things.. . but NOT all the time.  And once I move and get settled I may not need the truck as much as I do now,  i may need it more, who knows.   I made a deal with myself, I will buy the 2010 F150 this time around, and in a couple of years sell it and buy the hybrid if the whole solar thing works well.

I had stopped looking at the new listings in Greenfield, it was painful to see houses go off the market that I could have settled for.  But I had to go back and give a second look at the ones I skipped over.   If i have to tear out an old heating system and replace windows and blow in insulation..i can actually LOOK at houses where the hearing system NEEDS to be replaced, and have windows that suck and so forth. Which on one hand cheers me up,  cause i can spend less on the house, on the other hand freaks me out because the place will probably look like shit.

The voices in my head have been having a field day with this tidal surge of information. One of them screaming ‘you can’t possibly afford’ all these expenses!  you don’t make enough money!, you won’t have any left in the bank’  and the other one screams back ‘you can’t afford NOT to spend the money on these things! inside of a year you will be broke again because you will have the same monthly bills you have now, cept they will be larger PLUS taxes, insurance and god knows what! you have to prepare for later!”  Mind you these voices are NOT your classic good angel bad angel voices…neither of my voices are very good, just angry and each much more clever than I am.   It’s like constantly having dinner with divorced parents.    Whenever I throw them a new puzzle they treat it like a chew toy, I listen to them shred it to pieces and until they are done and  its time to sweep up.

I ran out of steam on the clean and toss front.  I’m falling behind on the clean part, i suppose it would be more imminent if the house was being shown.  At this point I have run out of people to beg to take my three feral cats.  well that’s not true, i have asked my friends, now i have a whole host of strangers to ask.  i offered the rescue group five thousand dollars…yes you read that…i offered them enough money to build another room on their sanctuary to take several of my cats.  And to my surprise they said no. Well they said ‘ you don’t have that money yet.’ yeah i fucking know that, but unless i can draw down on my roommates, i won’t be able to DO much about it.  As it is the Concierge broker suggested I rent in greenfield until a house comes up that i want to buy…and when i mentioned i had roommates…he backed away from that idea rather quickly.  I am sure there are more people in the world who WOULD be interested in a piece of the funds I don’t yet have.  I mean if i have to give a chunk to the lawyer, the accountant, the broker here, the broker there, the solar install people, all the bill collectors and so forth, I would rather put a chunk of it towards something that will make me feel better about giving them the boot.

 

 

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