Monday, October 14, 2013

Regarding the Better Homes part

Okay then. So Doug married Barb and sometime after, moved to Connecticut. It was a protracted departure, which meant that he plowed my 0.4 mile driveway most of the times it needed it and was here enough to watch Castle with me. Dick fired me in December which pretty much made the winter another diversion into depression, as if I needed more. That probably affected the writing at the end of my long Sherlock fanfic, Recovery Position, which I think I finished in late December. (I continue to write Sherlock fic.) I had an all-right winter, in the sense that nothing bad happened. In February I decided I really, really needed to move.

I spent weekends from December well into spring being useful at my college friend Hannah's mother's house in Natick, a couple of hours from here, until Hannah's father died and Esther decided I was not a good guest. I had reached the part where I didn't think I was a guest, since I was there three or four nights a week, and if I couldn't move the furniture in my room I wasn't putting up with any of it any more. I knew I was missing important days of the last spring at Gould Pond Road.

In March I went to 221B Con in Atlanta, thanks to my piled-up points from my Southwest Airlines credit card, and I was with a whole bunch of very nice, very nearly all women, Sherlock fans. It was very fine indeed; the most relaxed bunch of people I have been with in a long time. We were among our own tribe. I only cried into my expensive cocktail once. Someone there (and my more local friend Grace) strongly advised me to get back on antidepressants and go back to my therapist; I had lost some weight and did not want to go back on, but I was also tired of feeling bad. I didn't manage to see Christie until July, but that was okay.

I awoke in May in a cold sweat realizing that I DID NOT want to go through another winter here by myself, and finally called back Mike, the real estate agent I'd met at Sarah's party in January and whose calls I'd been avoiding ever since. On July 9th, which I am fairly sure was the 9th anniversary of the closing of my purchase of the house on Gould Pond Road, I signed an agreement for Mike to list the house. Only it needed some work.

By my birthday August 12th, I had moved downstairs into the in-law apartment Doug used to occupy. Doug and Barb and Jenny-my-ex had come to visit and been a huge help packing and moving stuff out of the loft into the living room. I was going through the boxes (many, many boxes, some not opened since the move from Melrose in 2004) and throwing things away and making boxes of books to sell (It was in this stream that my 2 boxes of DVD's got either sold to Newbury Comics or given to the Boston Goodwill, but so it goes. I have replaced the Buffy ones, and the Sherlock ones are lent to Christie my shrink, and I have Firefly and The Middleman on my hard drive. Someday I will see Cocteau' 'Orpheus,' or maybe not.)

Jenny and Doug and Barb came back after I had gone through nearly all the loft boxes and the boxes that had been in the study area since 2010. Which were the ones I hadn't unpacked since 2004.

I have taken up calligraphy at least two more times than I recall. And if there should be a national office supply shortage, I can come to my countrymen's aid. I am not allowed to buy any more notebooks ever.

I ended up throwing away about a cubic yard of wool roving, yarn, and fleece, as there were moths. It was at times yucky. When Jenny, Barb, and Doug came back again they finished packing all the little stuff; Jenny finished packing (AND CLEANING) the kitchen; and Doug did violence to the long grass. As soon as I was moved out of an area it looked much better. This was distressing, but no one lives in furniture stores and they alway look nice, too.

Doug and Barb and Deb Duranceau brought all the home-brewed wine and beer up from the cellar, and over the next couple of weeks I poured the three batches of wine that had not gone as planned over the wool in the compost heap. It was like some strange mournful ritual to Demeter and Dionysos.

The wine that did go mostly all right tastes a bit like the wine in Anansi Boys but is tasty once you get used to it. It makes normal wine taste kind of frivolous. I don't have to buy any more wine (unless I am serving it to someone else) for a very long time.

  The contractors ripped the decks off, one at a time, and rebuilt them, one at a time. The big one in front, designed for a hot-tub, was separating from the house and the area under the defunct hot-tub was rotting. I realized the deck did not need to be 20 feet wide, without the hot tub, so it's a nice twelve feet no, and there's a barren flat area in front of it. The bedroom one has always been annoying to the insurance people, because it did not have rails, as such, and the little deck off the kitchenette was creaky and looked awful once the others were rebuilt. Now it's very solid and has railings and new steps.

The deck off my (now boring-white) bedroom
The builders  are nice people. Jim, the boss, is a bit older than I am and Nate and Jesse are brothers, who grew up playing with Jim's kids. I like all of them, and they are only working on one job at a time (my house). Most fortunately, their boom box is set to geezer rock, so Jim and I have to stand and sing the chorus at one another and play air guitar.  While they work, I put off putting things in storage, sorting out the things in my bedroom and sitting room, and trying to get someone to buy some of my furniture. The Salvation Army doesn't pick up outside of town and Goodwill doesn't pick up at all.

I pleased myself actually doing work when I

New deck off the kitchenette (the in-law semi-separated apartment), with containers full of bulbs and a couple of small pine trees. And the birdfeeder.

realized that rebuilding the front steps (which we all thought would be a snap) would trash the peonies, so I made an emergency flowerbed in the space in front of the main deck and moved most of the peonies and the daylilies there. I have a bunch of bulbs and plants in containers so I can take them with me if I ever actually move. There is still plenty of work to do tidying up the garden areas.
The dumpster, Marten, the driveway-now-lumberyard; torn-off front steps area, new deck. Also new deck off the bedroom, upstairs.

The front steps turned out not to be a snap. The lack of serious foundations under the deck was just as bad under the front steps; we're making them shorter so there won't be a ridiculously hard-to-maintain pie-slice-shaped bit of garden.  

While mostly Nate and Jim make decks outside, mostly Jesse works inside spackling and taping and painting all the walls  and ceilings. I was holding out against this, but the longer Mike the real estate guy and Jim the contractor looked, the more they found needed to be done, and I ended up seeing it too. The ceilings, which are 'textured,' were never properly painted ever, so they were a dirty grey. Now they are brighter.  It was just one thing after another, and now all the rooms are 'renter's white.' I try not to be in that part of the house; it's eerie. It also makes me aware of how much the apartment  needs painting, too, but that is not happening while I live in it.

We are not tearing out the upstairs bathroom, even though I would like to; just replacing the toilet that someone before I bought the house scrubbed with steel wool. The water does stain, I can understand their frustration. It was still a very bad idea and the only time the toilets ever really looked good was in 2004 when I replaced the well pump and they dumped an un-potable level of chlorine into the well. I am hoping they don't find anything more wrong, since we had hoped the contractors would be finished a week or more ago.
The house looking grand with its new decks and outside paint.