Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cross country

Dude! I found these amazing pictures from my trip east in, um, I don't know what year. Wait. Let me think. 2005? Something like that. I had a mostly empty rental truck that I slept in and I went by way of Idaho and Yellowstone and South Dakota and it was TOTALLY FUN.

Look what happened in Yellowstone! See that motorcycle ahead of my truck? The buffalo was coming toward us so I hollered at her to get in the truck with me. It was heading straight for her motorcycle (as you can see) when she bolted for the truck.

Buffalo! So big! It was pretty exciting and I was very glad to be in an enormous truck, even though the night before I'd been totally afraid that grizzlies would rip the sides off the truck and come in and eat me. They see plastic grocery store bags through car windows and break in, see. It's a known thing. There are signs that say to hide your grocery bags! Ack! The bears are smarter than your average bears.

What else was fun from those pictures? Oh, I got this nice lady to take pictures of me with the GIANT FLIPPING DINOSAURS that I remembered from when we went on a family road trip when we were very very small.

They were absolutely magical when I was tiny and a completely fantastic experience to come back and see them again. So much fun!

I don't remember much else about that trip except that I stopped at D's place and had to sleep in the truck because the house was too gross. The part from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania is awful and forgettable though. Seriously, there's like two days of hellish driving. Everywhere driving east of Iowa is awful. Don't go!

I keep looking at the map, trying to figure out of I can go by way of Sault Ste. Marie, but it's unfeasible. If I were driving animal-free and without all my stuff and with a passport, I'd totally go by Sault Ste. Marie and across that piece of Canada, just to avoid all the Illinois/Indiana/Ohio hell, though Ohio's not as bad as the other two. Ugh, Illinois and Indiana, though. SO AWFUL.

I also went to Devil's Tower. Wooooooo!

That was a terrific travel day. If a trifle hot.

Oh! The reason I went the northern route, besides that it was more awesome and less well-trodden than 80, was that I went to visit an old student in Coeur d'Alene, which is way north. But October isn't a great time to do that, especially heavily loaded with a trailer.

We might skip the Columbia gorge, though, and go via Burns, the way I drove out here. We'll see. Everything's on fire and the Columbia gorge is always getting shut down for accidents and ice and snow and also pure terror because it's a very busy highway on the edge of a massive precipice over rocks and water.

So weird to study the map (I stuck an ancient Cracker Barrel U.S. map on the wall over the couch--found it in the car) and have every route and road filled with associations and memories and things I'd completely forgotten. How could I forget Devil's Tower?

Anyway this feels very doable. Very very doable. BOY am I packing. I just can't wait to get it all out of the way so I can forget about it. Otherwise all around me is stuff going "Take care of me! Ooh, me first! I have to get done too!"

Yet somehow I'm able to ignore all those dishes in the kitchen. Hmm.

Guess what's in my new house? A DISHWASHER. Temporary house. Winter house. It's going to be awesome, I hope. If I can stop being afraid of the giant ocean right outside the door. It's blue, though, so that should help. What does the ocean do in the winter? I have powerful memories of Lake Michigan freezing into giant rocky spiky craziness when I was little. How frozen does it get? Are there seals?

Always excited for a new experience and new things to learn! Ooh, if I were really smart, I'd decide in advance that it's RESEARCH and then write about the new thing after that. Aha!

I do actually have a wonderful idea for a middle grade novel series about witches set in Maine. Did you know the mascot for the Brewer high school is witches? Yes. The Brewer Witches, it says it on everything. Brewer is just over the river from Bangor. Funny, it's Saxons at the school nearest to me in Salem. Huh.

I think I just made a plan. Woohoo!

Anyway I have a ton of work to do still tonight, post dog walk, so hup hup hup! Not to mention those dishes, oh dear. I really should just use those paper plates I have in weeks like this one. Too much to do! Planning, thinking, packing, and other forms of active worrying! I just watered all the plants! When do I get to go room to room and remove nails and screws and make with the spackle?

I'm finishing up my fourth bag of wintergreen lifesavers. Dear oh dear. Must switch to less damaging crunchy items to chew up as a stress response. Carrots, or celery, or I don't know what. I did eat a lot of carrots last night. Crunch crunch.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Smoke 'em out

In case I had any lingering regrets about relocation, the entire state is on fire and you can't see two blocks at my house. The wind changed direction last night so now it's going west instead of the usual east. Very very smoky. I can taste it on my lips. We are going nowhere today, let me tell you!

Except maybe to Lowe's to get new filters for the air cleaner. But probably not that either.

Today we finalized rental plans for the house! Hurray! The one I'm going to live in over the winter, I mean. It's a short term plan, obviously, since even in Maine winter only lasts so long. It's on the ocean, or almost. I mean, the ocean comes right up to the yard, but it's a bit of a bay. You can see straight out into the Atlantic, though. Terrifying, huh?

I know, who is scared of oceans? I am! I'm scared of everything, doy. That's just the facts. But I'll still pay close attention to tides and go kayaking when the tide is coming in, even if that means stepping in the squishy low tide yuck. Plus the smell might be interesting. And there are lobster fishers right out in the bay all the time.

I love new experiences, which is great paired with total mortal terror of all things known and unknown.

Living in a potentially fatal cloud of smoke with terrible asthma right now is just proof that danger is everywhere, or else proof that you can't fear everything properly because you'll forget some things. I'm still working out the details.

My brother went to scope out the house this morning. There are all kinds of new images and angles that I'm trying to fit together. I need blueprints! I can't make sense of random pictures of rooms with no context, alas. But it looks lovely. And it's not as isolated as I feared, since there are neighbors right there, winter renters like me.

Also I discovered I bought my generator from the landlady's brother, which is flipping awesome, really. I mean, come on! Which means I met her mom, because she works in the office, and half her sisters and cousins who all work there, too.


I'll take it to the husband of that terrible woman I worked with to get it tuned up before winter. And I need a new non-rusty gas cap.

I'm excited to work out logistics and things. I love that. And I'm excited not to be so worried about whether or not I have the place anymore! I did a lot of puzzles in the past couple of days, let me tell you. I sort of conditionally said absolutely yes pending my brother's visit this morning. Which is a state of being that drives me completely bananacakes. Oh and then I called and she was at the store and was going to call me back and then didn't for an hour, which was NOT a good hour because aaaaaaaah! And then I called and she had just forgotten, heh.

Temporary location, yes, but I'll be there until June and can make plans from there.

Anyway I'm back on the stuff purge. It's amazing to imagine: What if I only had stuff I love and use? Both, ideally! It feels just fantastic to let stuff go. I didn't know it would. Well, it didn't before, because I was afraid I could never replace that stuff and then where would I be? Now I feel very different about it. And stuff is just going, going, going. I keep filling up the car and dropping it all off at Value Village. It's awesome.

I have another carload ready to go, come to think of it, but again: not going out in the smokefest.

Talking to lovely therapist this week was mighty enlightening. I think she must be super good at her job! Another reason I'll really miss talking with her. Just things like: my eternal fantasy about an RV with my furniture and the animals and the freedom to go wherever, whenever. How incompatible that is with the worried hoarding of stuff for fear I won't be able to replace it. How those two things cause an inordinate amount of stress because they are fighting with each other. Right?

There's also simple math involved. You don't pay to move stuff you can't use/wear that you're worried you can't afford to replace. Like, that just makes no sense. I'm super susceptible to logic so that argument (my own) really works for me.

Also, about moving all the time: it's how I am. And that's okay. Ha! Isn't that classic therapist talk? I love that. It's true, I'm always vaguely shifty about how often I move, but I do love to move to new places and learn new areas and pick up all that stuff that you can't get just by visiting. I just have to resolve the conflict between 35 boxes of books and the need for speed, heh.

As I'm packing I'm discovering I have a TON less stuff than before. More furniture, though. I'm okay with that. Furniture: good; stuff: annoying and draggy.

Oh! New glasses: also awesome! Very very light. They're single focals or whatever it's called when they're not trifocals or bifocals. They are much easier to wear and less headachy. The reading part of my trifocals was not between my eyes and the book/computer, which meant constant discomfort and annoyance. That's now gone. Hurray!

The stress of the past few days has meant chewing up lots of wintergreen lifesavers as well as doing several puzzles. I think I'm going to give both of those a rest for a good long while. I have work due on Friday for school, also, which is well underway but not done yet.

Psycho is being the worst passive aggressive self he can be. Examples: if I'm in my bedroom and I cough, he coughs too, from the front porch. This morning my alarm went off, which means my phone played music, so he went out onto his driveway near my window and played music. See how obnoxious? And I'm not doing anything wrong, hello. Just existing. He's being as in my face and annoying as possible without leaving his property.

Now I realize I should have put on bagpipe music, but get this: real bagpipes started playing in the park right then! YAY!!! I love that so much. And with drums this time! And then a live band started playing about a half block up the park. I'm just tickled.

Bagpipes are excellent deterrents for weasels and possums and passive aggressive assholes nearby.

I'm somewhat comforted by the fact that this horrible person has to spend 100% of his time with himself, the worst possible punishment anyone could confer upon him. And thrilled that a self-professed "likes to poke the bear" person will be living next door soon. Awesome.

I shut the windows any time they are standing right outside them yammering at the top of their lungs.

Anyway that was the delay in saying YES to the new place: fear of nearby neighbors, especially cranky ones, but they're apparently nice young professionals who move a lot like me. My people! I hope!

I hope it's not too salty and damp and fishy and lobster-smelling. I hope it's bright and windy and blue and there's horizontal snow such that I have to shovel the windows. (Maybe brush the windows.) I hope we love it, love it, love it. I hope it's so quiet I wonder what that noise is and it's my heartbeat. I hope we're super comfortable and productive and cozy. I hope we see seals in the bay.

The live band has started up again, so I'm just also going to hope for QUIET on a profound level, though presumably ocean noise is excellent for covering other sounds.

Right! Back to writing despite smoke, irritating neighbor, live music nearby, parties in the park outside my window, including a half keg of beer that I don't think they're supposed to have, and one million things I need to be doing. It's so good I *have* to write right now, so I'll actually sit still.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How does one pack one's therapist?

I do not think she's coming with, alas. Though I already told her she has to come along. It'll be fun! No?

Well, that sucks, but I'm sure I can find another awesome one because I found an awesome one once, therefore they exist. QED.

Oh! I'm going to Maine. I thought and thought and thought. I made spreadsheets full of math. I sorted stuff and bagged stuff and piled stuff up to give away. I packed roughly a third of the books. I packed all the fragile things like wineglasses. I went through all those fezzes of stored stuff and got rid of 85% of it. I know!!!

The math said I could go at the end of August if I got rid of practically everything and shipped the books. I could take a wee little truck and tow the car. Then it also said I could go at the end of September if I take all my stuff, like furniture and whatnot, and don't ship the books. Plus gas should be much cheaper in October (AAA says so, go look at their site) and it'll be cooler and I won't have to pack like a crazy person AND the winter rentals of summer homes open up in October. So!

October it is. The 2nd? The 4th? That Friday, whichever it is.

Then I gave my house to someone at the dog park. No, what happened was: we'd been talking about moving, and I knew she was interested, so I invited them to come over and look at my disastrously messy packing explosion of a house. And they loved it. So I told my lovely landlady, and she got in touch with them, and I think it's going to work out great.

I know, I didn't need to do that at all, but it just kind of happened and I'm excited that I was able to help out when they've been so nice to me.

Of course I got my heart broken because while they were here, she said something about how she spends all her time with the dog park people, and they go out three or four times a week and drive up to Portland together and all this stuff. And I was like...I thought we were sort of friends. Like, you're over at my house. And now I find out they really, really, REALLY don't think of me as a friend at all. And so I cried all evening because I'm an isolated loner person against my will and rejection sucks. And now I don't go to the dog park anymore. Yay!

I miss the dogs. But I'm going for long walks with my dog again instead, which he and I both love. I sort of have shin splints from going zero to sixty in one day, but eh, I can ice them, it'll pass.

Right now I'm baking brownies and listening to the pig of a housesitter next door who is out on the front porch letting out gigantic belches and smoking and stuff like that. Figures they'd get someone hateful to sub for their hatefulness while they're away. Yuck, those people are awful.

Anyway right now I'm waiting to hear back from some summer home winter rentals and my brother contacted his realtor (his realtor!) for me and put her on the job. And so we'll be going back and forth I guess. He owns three houses with his wife so presumably he's pretty much her best customer. I would guess.

I could always call up old landlord out that way and see if he has anything. But the mold remediation guy called him "a notorious slumlord" so you can see why I might not do that. Just this weekend, cleaning out files, I found the "there's no mold" letter from some expert. Did you ever see pictures of that basement? It was draped in sopping wet insulation falling down from the ceiling, all of it black with mold and at least four other types of fungi that I could see. Not a good plan, that guy.

I'm on tenterhooks because I'm officially giving this place away and don't have a new one yet. Even though worst case scenario I can camp out at my brother's lawyer house. (Now I'll know if he's reading this because I'll hear the "UM!!!" all the way over here.)

Anyway I'm pretty excited about the move. You know I love a road trip, truck or no truck, and I've been on the fence here since he chopped down my yard a year ago. Sheesh. I'll get to see my bunnies again! Little niece and nephew! And go places and do stuff.

I'm glad I have August and September because OH MAN full time school is taking a whole lot of time. Plus full time work, with a full slate. There are a lot of fulls there. My schedule: full! I'm nearly done with this writing packet coming due this Friday. I am totally going out for cake afterward, too. Well, first I'm going to get my eyes checked and get new glasses. THEN I'm going out for cake. And possibly dinner at the same place. It's not fancy or anything. It's a cake shop that also serves about ten different meals and soup. I always get the mac and cheese.

Monday I'm getting my new teeth! Yay! They will be my own! Because I have already paid for them! So expensive. I will not be forgetting these anywhere, I tell you what. I'm leery of the whole thing because ack, gag, something in my mouth all the time. I hope they turn invisible fast.

The brownies are taking forever because I used my blue glass pan.

You know, I've been in camp sites that have more space between them than me at my dining room table and the substitute jackass on the porch next door. Seriously, people.

Packing! Yes. After the school work is turned in. I already had to take that puzzle apart and put it away because there's just no way I can do both. How about that, huh?

I have to get the giant stack of fezzes out of the shed and clean them off and consider my strategy. I actually love this part so much, nice therapist lady suggested that that's why I move so often. Because I'm utterly bored stiff and enjoy the planning and thinking and organizing and getting everything together. It's true, I do love that.

You wouldn't even believe everything I've done since I decided on Friday that I was going.

Well, it would take too long to list it. It looks exhausting even on paper. Pixels. And guess what, my joints hurt so much that I was in agony and could barely move and then after talking to therapist lady about my broken hearted loss of people I had thought were sort of friends, I went for that first three mile walk. And lo! Joints did not hurt anymore! Today we went two miles and they're still feeling great.

The cat food is in moats because of ants. Ugh, ants! Hate 'em. Did you ever do this? Put water in a bowl and put another bowl inside it, so the ants can't get to it. Yep. He keeps drinking all the water, though. Silly kitty.

You know what I can't find? My little white box of brads. Where did it go? I looked a lot of places today but it didn't turn up. Huh. I feel like I just saw it somewhere, too.

Brads seem to infiltrate every possible place. How do they do that? I found them in the bathroom drawers, in the office supplies (logical at least), in my little credenza jobbie, in the thing where I keep handkerchiefs, in the drawer in the kitchen, and at least three other places. Brads are the bunnies of the office supply world.

Or maybe they are just the brad diaspora, moving out in every direction to colonize all areas of the house, leaving their white box behind. Do you think?

My brownies are STILL not done. I should have used the metal pan. The glass one takes forever and ever.

I'm pretty seriously psyched about the work I got done for school. I whacked something into shape that's been needing it for eons. I'm already thinking about which to do next. I mean, I'd better be, since it's due in like three weeks. Or is it four? Soon!

Value Village is going to get a boatload of stuff whenever I get my act together to haul it down there. I already have too much to fit in the car. I had to stop culling because there was no more space in the back room. Dude! Plus CAFA or whatever, who get the yarn and fabric to make things to help take care of dogs and cats.

It's amazing how cool it is. Ahhhhh. I'm going to sleep well tonight. Speaking of which, I need to fix the dang bed and get those three boxes out from under it (holding up the center bar, which has useless feet that keep falling off) and give them away. Cull and pare, sort and shed. It feels great, truly.