Sunday, June 25, 2006

What Was I Thinking?!

The movers are coming Wednesday morning. To move us.

How can two people with no children accumulate this much crap stuff?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Oh the Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

Congratulations to Katherine Jefferts Schori, newly-elected Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church of the United States.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Progress on the second interior doorway is slightly delayed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pictures from the New House

The petunias, holly bushes, and white jasmine vine (now complete with weeds - it's too hot to do anything outside!)

The oak tea cart and chairs I found for the morning kitchen.

Tomcat is ready to put in an interior door.

Little did I know ...

That the "door" was just the beginning of this project. He took out the whole dang wall!

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Fun Part

Yesterday I got to do some of the fun part about moving to a new house: shopping! There are (I think) 38 windows in the place, and most of them have old mini-blinds caked with dirt and have missing or broken slats. It would be great to be able to replace them all with new window coverings, but alas, we don't have unlimited funds. I checked.

As rooms are painted, the mini-blinds are being removed and thrown away.

So for now, it's just a matter of covering the essential windows for the sake of modesty. Either that, or sell tickets to the neighbors. Tomcat's bathroom windows are covered with shades. My bathroom window is tiny and so far up that it won't matter, except to maybe some voyeuristic pigeon.

That leaves the bedroom and morning kitchen windows which must be covered before we can move in. (Yes, I said "morning kitchen." I love saying "morning kitchen." Because I have one. A morning kitchen.) The morning kitchen is connected to the upstairs bedroom, and its windows need to be covered because, well, what if, in the middle of the night, you wanted to get a drink of water? Without putting on a robe first? Or what if, you got up before dawn (as if) and wanted to start the coffee maker? Not that Episcopalians would make coffee while stark naked, but I'm just sayin as an example.

I went to Loew's and found some precious white cotton cafe curtains with crocheted trim for the morning kitchen. We'll probably put shades on the bedroom windows - easier than trying to find drapes for odd-shaped windows, plus one with an air conditioner in it.

Then I went to an antique mall to look for a small table and two chairs for our morning coffee in our morning kitchen in the mornings. :)

I found an old oak tea cart in one lady's booth, and after scouring the rest of the mall, she and I found two oak chairs that look like they belong with it! This was my first antique mall score, so I was thrilled.

In the evening, Tomcat and I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in our soon-to-be new neighborhood. This was a restaurant that the neighborhood newspaper advised boycotting some months ago, so we never went to it before. The reason for the boycott? The restaurant is part of a chain instead of locally owned and operated. We don't want chain anythings in the 'hood. Let everyone else have their GAP stores and so forth, but we don't want to look like everyone else - not us! Well, mindful of this, the restaurant started spending its marketing budget on local events and charities, so it's okay to eat there now. Since we were un-boycotting them, we got a free dessert, plus a sampling of some of their other dishes.

Then, when we got home last night, Tomcat's early birthday gift from his folks had arrived. It's a digital camera! It was originally for our trip to London on Tomcat's 50th birthday at the end of July, but since we're moving into a new house now, the folks sent the camera early so we can start sending them pics of everything.

As soon as Tomcat and I figure out how to use the camera - surely this weekend, I'll post some pics of all this stuff I've been blathering about. Well, except for the naked parts.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The plumber, the electrician, the baker, and the candlestick maker have all been out to Maxwell House, and work begins this week. If I could keep things in perspective, this would not be so stressful. But, I guess I gotta be me...

It's the blasted heat for one thing. A hundred degrees and no relief in sight. It would be ladylike to say that I "wilt" in weather like this. Sweat, stink, and diaper rash would not be mentioned. So, to be the ladylike Southern gal that I am, let's just say that by the end of the day, after meeting with workmen to get estimates on painting, hauling junk away, repairing hardwood floors that have been soaked with cat pee, I am fucking wilted.

Yesterday I learned two things about the house.

1. The electrical work is original - that is to say, it's a hundred years old. The electrician took pictures of the system with his cell phone to show his supervisor. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing.

2. The pine used for the floors is cut in lengths no longer available. Those huge, tall trees are gone forever. Back then, people cut the lumber to fit into box cars, so the hardwood floors in these old homes have boards as long as the room - anywhere from twelve to thirty feet or more.

It looks like we can move into the house in about two weeks. Carried in on a stretcher if necessary.

Thanks to all for your kindness. It means a lot.

Scruffybutt says arf, y'all.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Plans go awry, and so do I

The people who were supposed to rip out the cat-pee and flea-infested carpet never showed up.

The painter gave me an outrageous estimate to paint two apartments.

The locksmith had a death in the family. I'm sorry that happened, but no one called to tell me that. I called after an hour had passed, and then they sent another locksmith out. But the other locksmith couldn't come until after Noon, by which time I had hoped to be on the way to the grocery store and then home.

I was achy and tired and I needed my blankie. No, seriously - Tomcat bought a warming blanket for my legs - it's the best thing for aches.

I took yesterday off. Just could not deal with another thing having to do with the house. It's not the things; it's me. I don't handle stress very well any more. As my regular readers know, it was only six months ago that I was in the hospital.

Today is my writers' group, so I'm looking forward to that.

I'll be back at it tomorrow. Need to find someone to remove the carpet, get more painting estimates, and oh, about a zillion other things that need to be done before we can move. OMG, move?!

Okay. Baby steps. :)

Well, I'm off.

But only a little.

Love to all.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

What Lies Beneath

You must be wondering, where are my manners? I apologize for not visiting your blogs lately or putting up new posts on mine.

I've been working over at Maxwell House during most of the daytime lately, and when I come home, all I have energy for is a shower before I collapse. It's the heat, the kind of work, and my age - oh, and have I mentioned the arthritis in my hands, hips and knees before? That, too.

We're going to move into Maxwell House in a few weeks. Thank God we're not in a hurry or on a deadline!

The tenants had seven weeks' notice to move out by the end of May. One of the tenants - let's call her "Margie," wasn't quite out by June 1st when I went over there to see the house empty for the first time. This gal had been filling the three wheelie-bins (an English term I've picked up) for weeks with what were apparently sacks and sacks and sacks of used cat litter. When I went over there on the first, I saw that she had left boxes and boxes and boxes labelled "trash" on the front porch. I had to wait another day to see what was inside after she left.

Oh. my. god. I knew that Margie was not a good housekeeper. I had heard that from Max, my ex-husband, who left the house to me when he died. I knew that she apparently didn't clean up after her cats as well as she should because I'd heard that from the realtor who tried to sell the house for a year. I knew that her place was smelly because occasionally I'd get complaints from the other tenants, and then I'd mention it to her, and she'd do something, but the problem would always return.

I also knew that Margie was "weird." The quiet type. Reclusive. She wouldn't always answer the door. Or if she did, she only cracked it enough to talk through. She didn't associate with the other tenants or neighbors. She never answered the phone - I always had to leave her a message. I wasn't really worried about this because I was, after all, trying to sell the place and move to North Carolina. As long as she paid the rent on time ... etc.

What I did not know was that Margie was suffering from a debilitating mental disorder called "hoarding." This was apparent as soon as she left the premises and I went inside.

It took Tomcat and I eight man-hours to literally shovel what she had left inside her apartment, bag it up, and take it out to the curb. People, this was after she had spent weeks filling up the wheelie-bins with trash, and after she had moved the stuff she wanted to take with her. I have to pay the City extra to come pick all this stuff up, but it had to be put on the curb first.

I cannot describe the smell. You wouldn't want me to, anyway. Trust me. In addition to petrified cat shit everywhere, we found maggoty plates of food under the sink. I'm serious.

Today we went over there to set off flea bombs. Fleas! God, of course there were fleas! I hadn't even thought of that. We have two dogs but we haven't had to deal with fleas since that miracle product, Advantage, came out over a decade ago, so I had literally forgotten all about that.

But first, we had to spend two man-hours literally RE-shoveling and RE-bagging the crap on the curb because the street people had pawed through all of it. You would think the smell alone would have warned them away.

I had a cleaning service come out Friday to give me an estimate on cleaning her apartment - including ripping out the carpet. They're coming in the morning at 9:00. I plan to get there around 8:00 to start airing the place out. Otherwise, they simply will not be able to work in there. After it's closed up over night, the cat pee smell is so strong it burns your eyes.

We don't think we'll have to rip out drywall, but it may come to that. I also have painters coming tomorrow to give an estimate on painting her place. I think there is a brand of Kilz that will attack the odor. I sure hope so.

I have no idea what lies beneath the carpet. The other apartments have nice hardwood floors. Fortunately, the carpeted area is confined to only one room and a hall.

I had the plumber out on Friday to fix the kitchen sink in Margie's apartment - the faucet was running - not dripping - running both hot and cold water. No telling how long it had been doing that. There was also a crack in the sewer line under the house. Ugh!

In addition to the plumber, the cleaners, and the painters, I also have a locksmith lined up to rekey everything. And, I hope the City shows up soon before the street people attack again.

Last night I dreamed about Margie. I was trying to get her some help, some therapy. And a nice, new clean place to live. And those poor cats! She had two that we know of (that she admitted to), plus one that lived outside because it refused to come inside!

I've never seen anything like what we encountered in Margie's apartment. I do not know how anyone can live like that. I hope she gets some help, and soon. I hope we do, too - I feel like we've got post-traumatic stress disorder ourselves now! Gah!

Sorry about the rambling. I've been so exhausted lately. This heat and having to be working out in it is definitely not for us writer-types!