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.

living space

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

shelf life

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

last hurrah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here goes nothing. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.
2014-07-02 08.55.52
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.

twice nothing is

2014-06-28 09.55.46The red truck came back to me the other day, the folks who bought it changed their mind…after 12 months of waiting to buy the truck as an agricultural vehicle, they changed their mind AFTER i had filled out the back of the title.   This week I already had to spend another 2 hours at the Registry trying to get the NEW truck registered…the dealership had once again messed up the paperwork, and it was also now listed as a NEW registration…causing me to surrender my old plates…so now i don’t have the old plates to put back on the old truck which is sitting in the back of the yard…and i can’t sell it again until i get the replacement title from the Registry ($25) If the knew owners give me shit about having an unregistered vehicle I will just push it into the garage..lots of space in there now that i took everything of mine out.

2014-06-27 14.24.05I’m going through another spate of divesting. I don’t know why it helps…i guess it’s either this or angry cleaning. Took a truck load of crap up to the wildlife sanctuary… I just missed the wolves swimming in the river. I finally got the heavy dresser out of my bedroom and up to them. It was great to store cameras in but now it was empty..and it broke my rules..never own anything you can’t lift. The dresser and the divesting are a knee jerk reaction to taking a peek inside the little red house..the rooms were way bigger in my imagination..i had to calculate the square feet in my apartment to buy a new air conditioner..(yes the money is just FLYING through my fingers..but i couldn’t rationalize keeping the one the cat sanctuary gave me last year, when the woman who keeps the cat sanctuary clean Needs it herself. so i am donating it back) Turns out the house is really not all that much bigger than my apartment. and the bedrooms have those slanted walls i hate. My theory is that even if i DON’T get THAT house, the odds are good any house i will buy will be dinky as all hell, so downsizing even further isn’t a BAD thing overall. Especially since i have so much crap laying around now. I have been downsizing since my mother died..5 years ago – how come i still have SO MUCH CRAP???

2014-06-28 09.33.36 I kept shuffling this box of us navy corning dishes around from storage to storage..i like them individually..at least i did for my last house, but they proved enormous even to store in my present kitchen. They finally went on Craigslist when I realize i don’t want to drag them to another house. over the last 6 months, I bought a few loose pieces of a nice white Bavarian porcelain for whatever new house I move into. It is as light and strong as the corningware I eat off now but it’s a smidgen classier. Funny once the house sold, i didn’t have the urge to even LOOK at anything else to buy for the new house. Now if I have to buy something…like the A/C unit..or the camera, or the new hot plate…it is because i need to use it NOW. It breaks my heart to spend the money, no really it nags me at night…but i can keep thinking like a peasant – i still shop at thrift stores and family dollar but i can’t live like one. I am the one who buys lunch now, and makes the donation, i’m can’t justify being on the receiving end…at least not until I buy a house and then cinderella will transform again into a scullery maid.

2014-06-28 08.15.05-1 As for being depressed about possibly losing the house to a pocket listing..or even an overbid by someone who will knock it down to build something unsightly on the spot…I asked myself ‘what do rich folks do when they want something?’ and i called a lawyer. the fella I spoke to is another Masshole expat living up in Maine turns out he lived one town over from me here, and he’s one town over from the little red house. He didn’t seem to think there would be a mad rush of buyers for that spot near the train tracks and the waste treatment plant in a house wraped in asbestos..but then HE didn’t see the view. In fact when i went to see it, I didn’t see the view either…the damn shrubbery had grown up like topsy all over all the fences. But he said he’d look into it over the weekend and get back to me if he thought sending a letter to the powers that be would help. I don’t expect it will, but i would at least like them to admit they are processing the house for sale, that would be twice as much information as the nothing that i have now.

I know it all may be wasted effort, but that’s really all i can do on that front. So far this week I have worked on 4 different books for publication and processed only 3 orders. Throwing things against the wall is really my main activity.

the take away

garden1 The irony is that it doesn’t matter if i buy a few extra used dvds or get a few more take out dinners than i really need to buy… even with the money i have in the bank, it is highly doubtful I will be able to buy a house..at least one someplace i want to live. It hadn’t occured to me that the entire market is rigged against the average homebuyer in favor of the investor. I did spent a nice hour sitting in the garden of the house I went to see, the Maine broker and I were chatting away about my projects and what i am looking for in a house. And then some guy swaggered up the driveway to tell us there were already three overbids on a house that had been on the market 4 days. Apparently brokers who get bank owned houses sell them to their investor friends well before they list them on the Multiple Listing Service making them available to the average joe. I am quite disheartened now…i took one last trip to the little red house and stuck my nose in all the windows…it is a bit of a fixer upper now, and a little smaller than it is in my imagination…but if the bank ever hands it off to a broker, it will be a pretty sure thing that it will be sold before it ever gets listed for sale, to someone who may even tear it down and rebuild something ugly and modern on the spot. It is highly doubtful I can outbid an investor who just wants to flip the property and is perfectly happy tearing it down or stripping it out. I can’t spend all my money buying the house, if i have to keep some in reserve to make it basically livable. Like I said…even having the money that i do have will never be enough, it is a feeding frenzy out there with investors scooping up the affordable houses and turning them into unaffordable houses. Not only can i not get a mortgage on a more expensive house, I don’t want one. Right now I could only really buy a mobile home someplace…and the ceilings are never high to hang yourself from the rafters of those things.

This little chapter did tell me one thing…the brokers who told me to be patient are absolutely wrong. Being patient isn’t going to get me anywhere, and I am sick to my ass of living here. I really truly thought i would be able to buy a house when i put this one up for sale. If i had known I may not have sold. Truly I don’t want to die here, i don’t want to be here another day…but i don’t think I have much hope of finding someplace to live that can accomodate my business and my roommates – and if i don’t have those? why bother moving? Sure if it was just me and some personal belongings..i could probably be someone else’s tenant for the rest of my life. But where the fun is that? That’s no life for me… I want a garden, i want to grill a steak, i want to play my movies loud cause i’m going deaf, i don’t want to live in fear that any moment someone else will decided if i have to move. this is all bad, no matter which way i turn.

The only bright side i have is that i can afford Nate to build me more websites. After he finishes bookrepairsupply.com i have him tasked to work on booksofmaine.com and right now i am highly doubtful i will ever be able to move to Maine. I have the website formed inside my head, it is part of my overall plan for increased income, so that’s worth doing. It may take years to make back the cost of having the websites built but if I wasn’t putting my money there, i’d just be pissing it away on used dvds and chinese take away.

acts of desperation

I am sliding back into a depressed state….not a sleep all day under the covers state, more of an ‘i can’t go forward and i can’t go back’ doldrum. I made an appointment to see a house tomorrow..it’s not the house i love, but it’s one i like a little more than i dislike all the rest. It’s got the two halves of my brain fighting again…the one who KNOWS how much I actually make for a living, thinks it’s an awful idea, and the one who wants to get the hell out of dodge, is just desperate to buy a house, any house. It is selling for 121K with 3 bedrooms, unfortunately it’s a little bit of a fixer upper and is assessed at 184k which gives me a tax bill of 3400 a year. I will have to have it scoped out for any solar installation, but the lot is very green. It’s not as small a house and property as i wanted..in fact i think just having the lawn mowed and the driveway plowed could be my undoing. If I was a real person with a real job and income this would be a no brainer..your getting an awesome property for a discount cause it has some fixable problems…but without a paycheck from an outside source, I doubt i can swallow all the costs involved with living in the house. I may have to start growing med cannibis to cover the tax bill.

12 Emerson Avenue I don’t know why I can’t sit patiently and wait for the house i DO want. The stress of thinking that something will happen to the money in the bank preventing me from buying ANY house is constant. That something is probably me.  To cheer myself up, i keep buying used dvds, I don’t know why..my comfort and my company.   Summer being so bad business wise for me, isn’t helping. I made all of $3 yesterday…and i spent god knows what on gas to go to 53 miles to Ikea where they didn’t have any of the shelf I wanted even though the website says they did.  That wasn’t ALL THAT big a waste of money, i spent the day with some friends, so i am not that pissed, just annoyed..but if i HAD a house, i’d just build permanent shelves with wood from home depot. I’m having to make choices I thought i wouldn’t have to.

I don’t know why I am ready to give up on my dream house…I keep wondering is this part of the process? does ANYONE get the house they actually want? Does everyone have to settle? I haven’t had any feeling that they want me gone from this apartment, so i COULD stay here a bit longer, but will i miss out on a perfectly acceptable house because i want one I like a little better? The little red one certainly has more room for solar panels and looks easier to heat. What if i buy this one and it breaks me? and then the little one becomes available? Why the hell can’t anything be easy?Mose

Bookrepairsupply.com is shaping up nicely..but even once it goes online nothing will change until September, So i think we will skip ahead to the booksofmaine.com webpage…the all erasers all the time site is scaring me because it will be a lot of capital investment for not a lot of return yet…i see that as a steady trickle of a site, so until i get some capital coming in, I am very wary of more investment – even though i KNOW that the only way to increase my income is with investment. I wish i could hold an outside 9 to 5 job that i loved..but basically i would just be a minion exchanging hours of my life for relative pennies. I’ve tried that..over and over, i end up making everyone involved miserable. I need to find something i love that pays money and doesn’t suck the life out of me. I like selling shit on the internet..i get up at 5:30, process the orders and put them in the mail and the rest of the day is my own, which loosely translates to work on other chores to make money, and sift cat poop. The house I am looking at has the room for the business and the cats, yet it’s on a dead end with trees…not much room for solar, but i don’t have a nice clear view of the neighbors laundry lines. It’s a little TOO much house, but for someone who works at home it may be just enough to keep me from going mental.

I haven’t published any MAINE books yet… this one about a Moose from 1919 is near to finishing…cept my cover art is terrible. I need to hire someone to do my covers, but i am reticent about doing that since i will never get the money back until i have enough books to do point of sale racks. I wish i was artistic enough to do my own covers, but basically I’m a chimpanze..i can replicate anything I see…i just have no original ideas. I hope I don’t like that house tomorrow. I am probably going to make a mistake and try to buy it, knowing I can’t afford it, but I am desperate to start a new life.

In for a penny, in for a pound

It’s a good thing I Really love my truck. After spending 2 hours at the Registry on what? Wednesday? and finding the paperwork was no good, I spend 3.75 hours at the dealership, and then didn’t get my truck back until last night…i am still not sure what part of rocket science was involved, but apparently adding a bed cap and liner and changing out a faulty tire pressure sensor involves a team of heart transplant surgeons to be flown in from the Mayo clinic. But after jerking me this way and that over and over, the Manager i was finally dealing with felt really bad about it…they put about $25 in gas in the truck and gave me $30 out of petty cash. You know..i really don’t want the cash…i just like complaining about the injustice too much. And alas I still have to revisit the RMV Monday again…oh joy. But I really do like my truck – just not the gas mileage.

I tried to make the trip back from the dealership worth doing and picked up more containers at Walmart… yes i know..we hate them.. < hangs head in shame > but some products are ONLY made for the big corporate evil one…like these from Sterlite..unlike most of their other products, this line of containers has very straight sides. The handles on top are useless if you have more than a few ounces of yarn in the box..perhaps that’s what they are aimed at...but the lids snap on and the bottom corners..which is the important part…are not thin and rounded, they are thicker and squared off…so IF you lightly banged it on the corner, the entire plastic container didn’t crack and become useless. Which is one of the major drawbacks to non industrial grade storage containers… but mostly i like the straight sides, the price is on the low side, but since i need a shit load, it’s just a way to reinvest the $300 i got from selling my beautiful steel shelving.

2014-06-19 09.57.04The shelf is an IKEA Gorm from Freecycle which is a good and a bad thing…the good thing is that i like it, it’s lightweight and it works perfectly for the product storage and isn’t a ridiculous addition to my apartment…the bad thing is….its lightweight and works perfectly for the product storage and isn’t a ridiculous addition to my apartment…i have a penciled in play date with a friend tomorrow to drive the thirsty beast down to the IKEA in Stoughton (53 miles) where i hope to get another couple of these shelves ($29 each) – they were on my wish list for the new house anyway. At least they have good meatballs.

Between the storage and the containers the products, and the packaging, the money is flowing OUT of the bank more than its coming in…and it will be that way until September. The new website is shaping up nicely. But the sales never perk back up until September, so i just have to suck it up. In the meantime I did manage to sell a couple of the National Lampoons I listed and so far one of the Rolling Stones. I started looking at more magazine back issue lots I can pick up and flip. I know this is very low hanging fruit..even if my personal barrel bottom is $5 – there isn’t any profit at all if i count my time and trouble. But I LIKE having orders to process, and my time right now is pretty worthless. I have a couple of new books to edit, but processing orders in the morning and putting them out for collection, keeps one side of my brain happy thinking we are actually DOING something productive. I picked up some older Asimov Mags from a friend, including shipping is about $1 each and I have my nose into Craiglist where there are a couple of collections of woodworking magazines being flogged. Yeah..since the living room is already boxes of crap, what does it matter if there are more boxes? The clear plastic bins already work well for the others, after I catalog them, I seal up the boxes and push them onto the porch..and when i move they don’t have to be unpacked…ever.

I can hear you saying…why not  buy books? cause i have been in this area 52 years…there are no books to buy that have any resale value..not in the real world anyway.  My best shot is to troll the internet for books i think i can resell. But that’s a higher investment, you have to take higher risks and usually pick a specialty. Trust me if there were books worth buying here, i’d be out yardsailing on a Saturday instead of cross cataloging erasers. (another reason to move)

So the backissues aren’t a high profit investment, but then again nothing i do is.  It’s just MORE. and More is part of my overall plan. The more venues I have working for me, the more money I will have coming in. A little here and a little there, and if one thing dies down, like the repair items in summer, hopefully something else will take its place.  Yesterday I loaded all the new products on to ebay and today I will hit up etsy and bonanza.  I don’t make a large markup on anything I sell, so having to pay a tithe everytime I sell something is a bad marketing strategy. The subversive side is that hopefully I can attract them to the website to buy MORE than the one thing.  At least that’s the game plan right now.

I am seriously behind in the photography and videos… I need to actually stop talking about switching the rooms around and do it.  The new shelves from Ikea should help me make that happen. Once i break down the office, the supplies will have someplace to live and i can set up a permanent work table…the bedroom has a folding door i can lock and is bigger, so it will all be good.   At least that’s the plan.  I really have to stop venting about the space problem and deal with it.  Hence more shelves, more boxes.

knock wood

I’m trying to remain very calm right now…i wish i had reached the point where i was finding this sort of thing funny. Remember when they closed on the house and i signed all those papers…and then i had to wait 3 days to get paid? Well they were supposed to pay the gas bill…and they were supposed to pay my june rent out of all that…it took 3 weeks for the gas bill to get paid…and apparently they didnt’ pay my June rent at all. So I got an eviction notice this morning for non payment of rent. Which of course meant I had to make a bunch of phone calls to figure out that it was of course MY FAULT because I believed what i was actually being told. Why is everything always MY FUCKING FAULT? So eventually the gas bill got paid… it would have gotten paid on the 1st day, if they had just LET ME BLOODY HANDLE IT….and I had it put back in my name and back dated to the 1st of June because i am a kinder gentler person than my money grubbing sister in law…And Since the three idiot lawyers couldn’t handle it, I just mailed my June rent with my July rent. I haven’t had to actually use a paper check in a very long time, so lets hope the Postal Service doesn’t fuck up their end of the process. They also tried the letter from the constable/late notice trick on the poor girl on the top floor, who had PAID her rent using my brother’s physical dropbox inside the house before the house changed hands. I just ripped the box off the wall to get her check back to her.

Meanwhile I did a bad thing…..while i was stressing about spending money frivolously on food and products, I peaked at my bank account and realized i actually hadn’t spent as much as I had imagined…so what did i do? i bought another stack of used dvds…(i know…it’s like i am replacing the ones i sold off when i was very very poor) and drove 30 miles, to take a friend out for a big chinese dinner. Yeah, but idea of living on the edge right? I am trying NOT to feel guilty everytime i order a shipment of product…even my friends are telling me to relax. I must be very relaxed, i’m sleeping a lot more soundly. That’s supposed to be a good thing right?

The gas mileage on the truck is still a bother. I am trying to keep my errands clustered just as i have always done with the beater truck, but some days get eaten up just trying to get errands done. Today I need to go insure and register the new truck AND go to the laundromat, etc.. but i know that will just eat my afternoon. i got spoiled living the life of an agoraphobe – having everything delivered and never going anywhere I got used to spending very little on gas…and well…spending very little. I need to mentally get back to that stage – So yesterday, I stocked up on catfood and some of the groceries that i would normally need to go out for. If i can get the errands down to a couple of times a week, the ‘beast with the big tank’, will be muzzled. it sounds extreme…but for example…i was ordering all the cabling for the new camera and tv and disc player, and the chargers to be able to connect things to the truck etc.. and the cost was mounting up…but to find the correct cable to connect the videocamera to the computer…i ended up driving to three different stores in two towns…by then i WISH i had just ordered that one online as well. as spend thrift as it sounds, choosing to have stuff delivered overing going out and hunting it down, will certainly be cheaper for me anyway. And when i feel guilt I can rewap it and send it back..like i did with the polarizer filter attachment for the camera. It is really for location shooting but since i am spending the summer sitting at my desk, I don’t really have to worry about glare do it?

This was my latest attempt at a how to video. the new camera has excellent image quality, though it didn’t come with the remote…another thing i had to reorder online..but my editing is wonky. I had forgotten how to film and narrate at the same time. Usually my house is too loud to narrate, there’s always someone scratching at a door, I ended up locking the dog in the bedroom – or walking across the desk. The kid working on the website is going great guns…i need to get my shit together and get more images to him and i know i won’t get more videos done… i still don’t have a workspace and all my tools are packed. One of the myraid of reasons i want to move is to have a permanent workspace again. In order to get a little more space, I am giving up my dresser from the bedroom and may be sending my reading chair out to get reskinned. This will give me more room for more cat free shelves for the products. and hopefully a little more room to leave the video lighting set up. knock wood.

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