Archive | The Great Egress

I am blogging my move from Methuen to Saco Maine. I have been entrenched in this house since the 70s, nestled in with all my things and cats and obligations. It will be an interesting experience to divest myself of a lot of stuff, physical and emotional and see where I end up.

junk in the trunk

Today I pushed out a couple more books that had been in the pipeline…one about Dolly Copp who left her husband after 50 years in the 19th century, saying “Hayes is well enough. But fifty years is long enough for a woman to live with any man.” Good for her. I have been trying to understand Google Analytics, and apparently someone search the term “ex-husband” on this site a few times. I can’t imagine why, perhaps it was my ex.

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And speaking of things i no longer need….i am trying to change my diet, i also have intentions of getting my ass on my bike, how’s that for ambition?  But I had to run out to walmart for cat food and i figured id get a few things for myself…75 dollars later that’s all i got.  some eggs, packets of fish, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, yogurt, powdered diet water flavoring and if you peek in the corner a small packet of pudding…don’t tell.

I don’t want to lug my fat frame along with all my luggage to a new home. I certainly don’t need the girth I have put on sitting at my desk pushing words around. I will try to do something about that, perhaps if i am busy thinking of other things, it will slip my mind that i have that small packet of pudding in the back of the fridge.

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That’s one of the things my brains is percolating, the number of things i DON’T need to pack and bring with me is longer that the numbers of things i actually do need. I have a nesting GENE in have to fight, actually I have to pull out a mace and beat it into submission quite often. Moving to a new place regardless of where it is, is an ideal excuse to buy all new crap.  Do i need new dishes?  NO, so why did i spent 5 minutes handling the ones at the store?   This is where my rules aren’t helpful, my rule about not buying something new unless i get rid of something old, doesn’t apply, since the lizard brain says…well get rid of the perfectly good mismatched whatever and waste some money buying all new ones.  Hence I need new rules, if it ain’t broke don’t replace it, which the lizard brain doesn’t like because the ones i have presently are unbreakable and even the new ones i was looking at are melamine…remarkable what they are doing with melamine these would swear it was breakable.

The only substantive thing I have done about getting the hell out of dodge is  that i found a home for my truck/ What’s the point of using this 19 year old warhorse for a trade in? they would just make a steel cube out of it.  I got it from one of the rail trial members and I will be giving it to another rail trial member so that it will continue hauling trash off the rail trail as long as it can.    So that’s all good.

Aside from that I have been pulling stuff off the porch and getting it where it is supposed to be… all the rail trail stuff is off to other board members, tools going back into tool boxes etc..   Once the porch is cleared i can use it as a staging area for items I need to get rid of.   Right now there are already several things out there listed on craigslist.  Craigslist and freecycle lookout!, once things go out onto the porch they don’t come back in.   I think i need new trash cans.


greener fields

swathofmassWhy the fuck am  i looking at other towns?   I keep seeing very affordable or even fixable houses elsewhere but i keep coming back to Greenfield.      I actually tried NOT looking in Greenfield for a few days…and the more i looked at other towns the more i saw that what i liked wasn’t there.  Using zillow I drew a circle around a WIDE swatch of Cental Mass.    And I looked at every house for sale under $200,000.  That’s not a lot in the greater scheme of things, but it CAN buy something someplace.  I can even buy stuff here…i just wouldn’t want to.  Not all those red arrows are under my price cap, they are just the pool i am filtering.


There were huge cheap houses in Orange but not much else…..sorry Orange – but that’s a consideration…so what if i have a 4 unit building in a podunk town, i will have way fewer people interested in my units, and it will take work to keep them occupied… and I was warned off a couple of towns near Greenfield – they were described as SAD, which was good to know but I could have deduced that on my own,  from what i saw the lowest priced houses were ones that could be improved by being razed.   Deerfield is more upscale, better educated, smaller town larger median income…… but i can’t afford even the cheapest multifamily there.    Through process of elimination I am back at Greenfield.

Today I took a long cruise through the Greenfield city website……i read the zoning ordinances and the city charter,  and looked that the community projects and the clothing drives…..and I can’t say how much I am certain THIS IS THE PLACE.   It is actually the place wish Methuen was. The residents have worked hard on beautiful community projects that we could have easily done here if we only thought about community first.

I described Greenfield to someone as everything Methuen isn’t.   That’s a lie…what i said was it was Methuen without its head up its ass.   Greenfield has 17,456  Methuen has 47,255… and they have done SO MUCH MORE with less.  My god I can’t even get the town to pull their own archives out of a wet basement!.    The more I read about Greenfield, and compare it to where I am,  the more I want to weep.  I could write reams about what Methuen doesn’t have, and i just can’t bring myself to do it. I may do it later, when I am gone, when it hurts less.

After spending the last 5 years hip deep in city management trying to build and improve things and finding nothing but ennui, I couldn’t understand how the entire country could function IF this WAS an example of how all the other cities are run.   It just CAN’T be like that.   Of course it isn’t……I just couldn’t prove it by looking at other towns around Methuen…..each one is broken in some major way…and thinking about all these missed opportunities makes me sad.  I don’t want to be sad.  I want to be happy.  I want to go to a fundraiser in a park. I want to be part of a summer fest,   I want to spend greenfield dollars and do some weed dating.    I want to BANK at a BANK that has a huge TREE around their ATM!  Isn’t that awesome?  I WANT to put my money in that bank.

LOOK!  They restored their train station into a park and now they have concerts there. 



Their business organization actually PROMOTES local businesses…they have a local currency – greenfield dollars.


Weed dating…i love it! ha!


I can’t wait for someone to buy my house. the 1st person to make the offer gets it. I am not kidding. I want to be packed and ready the day i get the check, I don’t care if i am sleeping in the park. I just dont’ want to be here.

house to house searches


Why pray tell am i looking at houses now? this beast isn’t even LISTED yet. if i see something that’s a good deal i certainly can’t put the damn thing on layaway. Besides i also can’t get out there and SEE them. Damn there are fuck all for pictures of houses on the internet. One would have assumed that MORE pictures and videos would be better…but i really think the Estate Agents are playing a con on us. by feeding us crap pictures and nearly no information it FORCES you to contact them, you can’t shop on your own, you HAVE to ask for their assistance.  For the long distance shopper that truly bites.


Would you believe those are the best images of those two houses and the one on the left i got from the assessors database NOT the listing.  The misty one is intriguing…it’s in a small town outside of my search grid, not a place that draws me there for any reason..and too far away from the bookstore alley I am aiming at.   But it is actually as big as the house i have now…4 units, 18 bedrooms…100K!   less than half my money spent on a house, the rents …someone must be renting in that area…hopefully three units of rents would cover the maintenance of that beast.  But alas location location location…

The little one on the left isn’t all that little it’s LONG and i am thinking it’s a Fixerupper with a capital FIX.  the last time it changed hands was in 74. and I think its owned by the city.  But doesn’t it just SCREAM “crazy cat lady inside”?   If its still available when i get there i am definitely checking it out.   It’s priced ridiculously low…like pocket change low… perhaps i could start buying, fixing and flipping”? Yeah…that’s not me, I know.

The biggest drawback is that i need to get out there and define my grid pattern.  Who knows i might like to live in a place called Orange, what do i know?  And to that end I had a plan today to SIT and work on the mass mailing i need to do for  i have been planning it for weeks.  I have the  campaign all set up, i extracted about 1700 emails from all my previous customers.  I just wanted to tweak it a bit and customize it….and of course…because i had made a plan, the universe came knocking……

I got a call to do a cat rescue and collect 2 kittens and a mother cat.  The homeowner left me ON the line while her kids ran around trying to catch the kittens…i gave her a few minutes of this..of course..i knew i’d be going over, but i had to round up all my leaky smelly kittens into their cage which i was trying to clean.  So I dropped the call on purpose and went over with my traps and such.   REMEMBER WHEN I SAID NO MORE FOSTERS?  well i fucking meant it.    I was kinda surprised to find the kittens weren’t even inaccessible, they were RIGHT in a sunken window.  So i grabbed them up and set up the trap for mama all in 5 minutes, then I had to spend 30 minutes standing around talking about the inadequacies of the town of Methuen…i didn’t start the conversation. When i got back i was looking at a short but undefined amount of time to work, so i tweaked some wordpress stuff until i got the call that mama was in the cage.   I went back and grabbed up all the little unhappy fuzzys, and made a call to the rescue group, they are NOT coming in.  The runny kittens actually came in handy, because i could claim that ‘none shall pass!’  and that did the trick.

Now i am thinking, i need to change my phone number when I move.  It will become problematic when people i have helped or just people who have passed my phone number around keep calling me 80 miles away.

photo (1)Today’s chores: I managed to freecycle away a washer and dryer from the garage, there are still another set out there, but i don’t know if they work.  as soon as the house is listed, I will make a LOT of stuff go away.  I am waiting because those two machines came in via my brother.  For now i am only dumping the stuff I packratted in.    I have 13 of these blue corrugated plastic bins that i loaded on Craigslist.   Something tells me I am going to be using that a lot.   I do prefer to just toss things, so i am hoping that we can bring in a dumpster, the thought of taking many trips to the dump doesn’t thrill me.



host of friends

movingI went over and told my friend Steve last night.  my phone was still disconnected for non payment…its fixed now… so i dldnt call first, and there i am at 9pm on his stoop ringing the bell, shifting my weight to keep the motion sensor light from going out… .9pm no worries,  he was just watching television like the rest of us at that hour.   But it was better that i just showed up anyway… i really only have a couple of old friends left, they are sort of all dying off or drifting away. And the ones I do have should be told face to face, their lives aren’t going to be diminished by my moving, i just think i need to firm up what’s left of the relationship before I add distance to it.   Steve and my other friend Anne have been friends since the early 80s when we all slaved away in retail bookselling.  Over the years we have all worked together repeatedly….when i DID have a going book business they both worked for me, before that when I was underemployed we worked for Anne. We aren’t intimate friends, just firm and long lasting, overall these were the mosts symbiotic and long lasting relationships I have ever had. These are the people I want to tell in person, they asked the right questions that make me make sure that this is the right decision.  Overall I have told everyone I care to tell so far, except for one close friend who is not going to handle it well.  As you can guess none of them read this blog.  When I tell Deb, she’s gonna be freaked, so I am going to wait until there is something solid, like an offer on the house or something.

Maybe I am imagining my importance in their lives, maybe I could have just sent them all post cards….i don’t know, but it makes me feel better to handle it face to face.  Strangely its the people who haven’t known me very well or for very long who say “I will believe it when I see it.”  the people I  have known for 30 plus years all agree this is the right move and are very happy for me.  go figure.

How sad is this that i nearly forgot… on my way TO Steve’s house last night I nearly got creamed by a driver coming down a one way street, on the way back I also nearly got taken out by a driver taking a left turn from the right lane across my path.  It knows I am leaving…..I need to get out of this city before it kills me.



flogging the kitty

kittenface cute huh? well their cute is wearing off… i have 6 left, and nearly all of them still have the runs. They aren’t technically ready for adoption for another 2 weeks, but they won’t be unless i can knock out the smelly kitten thing. oF course these will be my last fosters here. Not that i am expecting to leave soonish…but i need to collapse all the cages and scrub the floor in the living room and get it suitable for showing. without the kittens, and Oreo who passed away a couple of weeks ago, it should be much easier to keep the place clean. I made a deal with the rescue group to take the unaadoptables, but after spending the week considering what i need in a new home, i keep coming back to the fact that i really do need to find homes for a couple of the cats that live with me. Don’t get me wrong, i am ALWAYS looking for homes for them, but my personal rule is that last in, the 1st out and it seems every couple of months someone, including the city dumps a cat on me that needs to be rescued. I have had TWO rescues at the behest of the city in the last week alone, but neither of one came anywhere near coming to my house. The one I pulled out of a hoarders house went to one rescue group and the one i collected from some lady’s garden went to another. My house is now offlimits to any rescues. In the last 10 years i have done a lot of favors for a lot of people. It’s about time that I started collecting on some of these. I have 4 perfectly adoptable cats who aren’t exactly MINE mine, just furry roommates. Without a constant chance of incoming rescues, I think i can spend some extra effort trying to flog these kitties.


I didn’t do much towards the project today…. I have a lot of unfinished projects that I would like to put to bed before start something so major. I know that the sicpress publications will do ever so much better out in the Pioneer Valley more than in the Merrimack Valley, so I need to clear the decks to make room. Though a few of the titles I have been working on will go over regardless of locale. I spent the day adding the indexing to this cookbook, it may not sell well, but i am very pleased with the cover. I got a little stressed designing the cover, until I went back to My pal the long dead Homer Winslow.  I have just as much digital crap to put to bed as I do crap in the real world.

Now that i have made this decision, I really can’t wait until it gets a wiggle on.  I am sick of my life, and not just the kitten poop coating it.   I really loathe and despise august no one buys anything.   Tonight I had to decide on cat food or phone bill,  I chose the cat food…i really don’t have anyone I need to talk to this weekend.   Maybe someone will buy something before long.




Valley Girl

Pioneer_Valley_ma_highlight-e1304557444245 So far the only thing I am 80% sure of,  unless something better comes along…“unless something better comes along” – i need that on a t-shirt – the only decision I have made that i am comfortable with, is ending up in the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts,unless something better comes along. I have my eye on the Greenfield/Deerfield area, which is horizontal across the state from me 1.5hrs straight down Route 2.

Unlike the Merrimack Valley, this one is known for still having actual bookstores. download Pioneer Valley Bookstore Pamphlet  Not to mention a large number of institutions of higher education I could never afford. I probably-may not-don’t exactly, THINK –  I will end up owning a bookstore of serious size……but I can’t resist the bookseller nature I was born with, so even if i end up with a non-commercial duplex someplace, i  could probably end up planting one of those FREE Library houses in my front lawn. LittleFreeLibrary061112

At least I have a targeted search area to look for a new nest. Since the weekend I have spent many deep dark hours examining the area through the lenses of Zillow  and Google Maps Street Level – I find a house listing then virtually tour  up and down the neighborhood.


Most streets are ridiculously familiar, it reminds me  that the architechural  geography in America changes subtly, not dramatically. Any of these streets from a town 100+ miles away, could easily be any of the towns near to me.

The only differences I can see, are the lack of street trash and graffiti,  and the increasingly larger tracts of farmland. In the MV, there are more hills breaking up the landscape, unless you get some elevation you can’t see very far, and even then you can only see until the next hillock. I live on a hill in a valley, and that valley has still another valley contained  in it. I was never content with the idea of moving someplace that suffered from excessive amounts of flatness. Even the pictures of Iowa and vast farms of Wisconsin make me slightly queasy, seasick even.

zillow copy The area inside the circle about 4 towns/townships etc. but is the confluence of that i liked. three rivers and as many major highways – all come crashing together. This place has a rich history that I can exploit with my local interest publishing venture. I still believe that the plan is sound, though I have found little enthusaism for it in this Valley, perhaps there will be more interest in another Valley.

At least I know what I am looking for…what I am looking at… Turns out I have dusted off a lot of the little grey cells in the back of my brain…My mother married a real estate salesan the second time around.. not exactly a Glen Gary Glen Ross player,  but a nice functional alky,  but since my teen years, I would read the Multiple Listing Publication cover to cover whenever I could get my hands on it. Who KNEW this information would sit percolating in the back of my head waiting to become useful, now.


  • Packed two large boxes of vintage photo equiment for donating to Film Photography Project, I will probably have another box or two to ship them. Don’t get me wrong, I am keeping my Canon Ae-1 outfit but i shoot nothing else film right now, so all the rest of the equipment can go away.
  • Sorted cardboard in the workroom for  – everything that isn’t necessary to set up shop elsewhere can get tossed. All those odd shaped recycled boxes can get tossed. ONLY regular shaped boxes need apply. TETRIS is essential experience for packing and moving. The regular and uniformly shaped boxes make filling and packing a 24 foot box truck piece of cake. yeah i know it was early thing to do, since all that stuff is essentially debris, but i need to start sorting things with a shovel, so can literally SEE what’s there and what isn’t.

i can be poor anywhere

So the database has finally been restored…it still takes a while to load and locks up on me, so i am back where i was last thursday.
But fuck it. it gets fixed or doesn’t. While it was down the sink hole, i got think about life without it. Not that i am married to it, hell sometimes i go weeks without feeding it.
but it both like Spaudling Gray’s MONSTER IN A BOX and Wonderboys‘ never ending manuscript that blows away in the wind…if you haven’t seen either, why are you reading this? Six years of my life-3880 blog posts gone with a few keystrokes, gone poof…who cares? why would it matter? could be reconstituted if need be, it’s just products for sale, Erasergirl neé Bibliophilebullpen is the inside of my head turned out. a few years ago when i ran out of bookish material to write about, i said eff-it, i will just write about what i am interested in. Everyone else is covering the bookish stuff, so I will just write for me. It especially helps when i have other NON CREATIVE stuff to get accomplished and I want to just scream. But regardless, it’s back. I can deal. No harm done.

But a LOT of things happened over the last few days…most of them just inside my head. But it’s a big fucking deal. Last week my brother was mean to one of the tenants…in the same insane landlord attitude shit he usually reserves for me. But he did it to an innocent person who was in tears…that’s just not right, he really shouldn’t be a landlord. And the second mortgage needs renewing. Put a pin in that.

postcardLast couple of weeks i have had to pull the pin on being a Bitch about the City, the Mayor and the City Counsel and hence the DPW’s complete lack of interest in the rail trail. After I spanked them all at the last city counsel meeting, the DPW showed up on the trail to start working on the drainage and the surface all good…but WHY do i have to fight to get these people interested in a project they should have been behind for the last 4 years? Combine that with the fact that the collective IQ of the elected government is less than a moderately retarded spider monkey.

I suck at algebra but I CAN do basic math…and i came to the conclusion that I DON’T HAVE TO DIE HERE. I can be poor anywhere. I’m 52 fucking years old, if i don’t move now, i will die here. And I don’t want to. After coming to that conclusion I started poking around on the internet for a new place to live. It didn’t take too long, I am not all THAT adventurous…change is good, but i still expect to drag along some four footed roommates, not to mention, books, dvds, boats and bikes etc.. so I am not going to backpack to India. I figure I will start small, a couple of booksellers recommended PIONEER VALLEY in Massachusetts. 87 miles/1.5 hours away. Not too far, very blue state, lots of bookstores, yet still massachusetts; I had always wanted to move to maine, but their Governor is being a dickhead. Who knows, perhaps i will move again?

I spent the weekend just whispering the idea of moving, i researched the area and kinda tentatively picked a town and spent a LOT of time on Zillow and Google street view getting to know the place. My PLAN is to take my percentage of the sale of the property…which is commercial and the market is good right now…. and buy a duplex outright. No one is going to give me a loan anyway. and with a duplex I can put that rent towards the taxes and upkeep, so i can keep my frugal penniless lifestyle if i absolutely have to. Shockingly…not having a decent job frees me up to move anywhere i want, at least this place has all the things I like. I can free myself to be happy someplace else.

Monday, I did the rescue clinic and arranged for sanctuary placement for the four unadoptable cats in my care. And Tuesday I met with a local lawyer whom i casually know because he and i share the same loathing for the city government. He knows he doesn’t get paid until the house sells and he’s down with that. He’s actually employed JUST to communicate to my brother who still thinks I am not very bright. Yeah, just keep singing that song butt head.

So that’s the plan. after all the divesting, I finally have the go ahead to toss out everything else if i want.

Regarding the big picture, i have decided to try an experiment…you know how i can’t keep doing any one thing for too long before i get bored and start something else…yeah i know there’s a clinical name for that…

I am going to try to document the entire process. I stuck a virtual pin in the map and picked a city I have never been to, as far as I know, though I may have passed through it. I am going to sell up and move there, JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS! Who knows, i could hate it, I could like it, i could get killed on the highway just going there. Lets see what happens. It can’t be worse than what i have now, right?

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