Long-time loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that when I had my last house (not the house I recently rented, but the house I owned before that), I was plagued with delightfully adorable and indescribably destructive raccoons.
Back then, I had a mid-century split level, which means I had 2 rooftops. Each rooftop gave the many raccoons hours and hours of entertainment all summer long, for years. They not only tore hole after hole in my many window screens, but they also tore up roof tiles, creating many leaks that I always had to have patched. Then, my last summer in that house, they finally discovered the spacious luxury of my attic, below one of the holes they tore in the roof. But once they discovered my attic, they could not get back out. The attic was a walk up that you could access directly from my bedroom, so I would frequently be rudely (and somewhat terrifyingly) awakened in the middle of the night by raccoons frolicking around on the other side of the attic door.
I did eventually get them safely out, but they made me, and my cats, nuts. Even while, when the raccoons had babies and could be seen in the early morning hours frolicking in the backyard, and were really, really CUTE, they still made me a nervous wreck. There were so many raccoons in that old neighborhood.
Well, this morning, around 6:30, I was lying half-awake in bed, staring out the open window at the enormous maple tree just outside, and I saw something furry moving around in one of the hollows of the old tree. Even though I didn’t have my glasses on, I knew exactly what it was. I can recognize even a blurry raccoon.
I was so not thrilled by this. I have such big beautiful windows, with brand new screens. And no central AC yet in the house, so for now, the windows have to stay open. But since this is such a rural environment I’m living in now, maybe the raccoons don’t need to entertain themselves by tearing up window screens and roof tiles. And I can only hope that this is a male raccoon, and that I won’t be regaled with utterly adorable yet indescribably destructive little raccoons all summer long. However, I couldn’t help but notice when I moved in, that the house next door to mine had one of those life-like fake owls nailed to their rooftop… We shall see, gang.
Meanwhile, such potentially great news on the writing front, with a couple of different projects. I’m very excited!! I will keep you posted!
Have a frolicking-good Friday, wherever you are, folks. Thanks for visiting! See ya!
Recently, a much younger friend mentioned he was learning the lyrics to the old Marty Robbins classic, El Paso, because he was going to sing it at a local Karaoke bar.
I don’t know if he knows the original Marty Robbins version, or if he knows a more current cover of that song, but, wow, gang. For some reason, that really astounded me. That a guy so young would sing such an old song that was such a huge part of my childhood, and at a Karaoke bar, no less!
I mean, it’s a good thing. But the older you get, the harder it is to process certain things. Like: he’s so young, how can he possibly know that song? Or: I’m so old!!Jeepers, how did that happen?? Things like that…
When he said this, about trying to learn the lyrics to El Paso, I instantly flashed-back to being an 11-year-old girl, sitting at the record player in my bedroom, trying really hard to scribble down all the lyrics to El Paso as the record played. I would have to keep picking up the needle, catch up with the lyrics, then carefully try to drop the needle back down in the right place and then scribble some more, etc., etc. This went on until the entire (really wordy and long song) was fully captured by my scribbles.
I really, really, REALLY loved this song, gang, and I needed to be able to sing along with Marty. Even though I played guitar by the time I was 11 (and violin, and piano), my skills were nowhere near accomplished enough to tackle a song like El Paso. It was thrilling enough for me to simply sing the song . I eventually had the song completely memorized.
Then, of course, when I was older and finally got to meet Don, my birth father, Marty Robbins became part of my intense but brief relationship with Don. Marty Robbins was already dead by this time, but Don (my father) was a big fan of Marty Robbins, and had even known him because Don’s late wife had been lifelong friends with Marty, having grown up with him in Arizona . (Also, some Ohio musicians had played with Marty Robbins on his last record — I believe it was The Allen Brothers. And my Uncle Ralph, Don’s brother, was a professional Country singer down in Nashville and also knew and/or played with the Allen Brothers.)
Anyway, my first trip out to Nevada to meet Don, he played the Marty Robbins Greatest Hits album on his record player — the same album I had back at home and knew by heart. Me and my birth father (who played guitar and wrote songs, as I did) turned out to be extremely connected through music. He was only 15 years older than I was, so we had a lot of cultural things in common by then. (We met when I was 28 years old.)
My birth father died 10 years later, from a type of cancer that we believe was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange during his many years of active duty as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. My brief relationship with my birth father was intense, amazing, staggering, heartbreaking, and, above all, memorable. And Marty Robbins provided much of the soundtrack for it.
I wrote a highly biographical, and controversial, novella about that first trip out to Nevada to meet Don, titled Ribbon of Darkness (after the above-mentioned Marty Robbins song), that my dear colleague Michael Hemmingson published in his anthology, Short and Sweet: Original Novellas by Erotica’s Hottest Writers. The book is now out of print; it was published 12 years ago. Even Michael Hemmingson is dead now and has been for 4 years. (These are some of the things I mean when I say it’s hard to process getting OLD, practically overnight!! Where does the time go??)
Even considering everything I’ve just written about above, the thing that strikes me most profoundly about the song El Paso, can be found within the lyrics of another great Marty Robbins song from the mid-1970s called, El Paso City.
If you’re not familiar with the song, El Paso City, give it a listen (linked above). In it, Marty gradually reveals that he believes the reason the lyrics to El Paso came to him so quickly, so vividly, and so completely –within the space of a few hours— back in 1959, is because he thinks that the whole story about Feleena and the murder in the cantina actually happened to him in a previous life. He believed he was the one who killed the cowboy and then was hunted down by a posse and killed, as well. How cool is that, gang? That song became his first #1 hit and affected a whole heck of a lot of people.
Now that I’m finally in my new house and all my music is unpacked and back in my life, I came across my Marty Robbins’ Greatest Hits CD the other day and took it along with me in my car. Wow. El Paso sure does hold up well, gang. It still gave me chills, and I still knew every word to the song. I was driving alone, on a pitch-dark highway in the middle of nowhere, listening to it, quietly singing along as I drove, and it suddenly struck me as really amusing that an 11-year-old girl, sitting alone in her room, was so desperate to know every word to such a gun-and-death-ridden song!
And it’s so cool that a guy whose parents might even be younger than me, is learning the lyrics to that song 50 years after it was a hit on the AM radio. Life does indeed go on (and maybe the same lives come back and go on…) We’ll find out.
One of the things that I really love about this town (est. out here in the Hinterlands in 1828), is how they just let the ghosts stick around. It is too cool.
By that, I mean that when buildings around here get old (and I mean really old) they just leave them sit and build something new right next to it. Or — in the case of the Methodist Church — right across the street from it. (The original old Methodist church, made from wood and painted white, is still standing and is too cool, while right across the street from it is the “new” church, made of brick and built many, many years ago.)
However, older still and just up the block from the church… the pool hall, and a couple other buildings, built maybe late 1890s, based on the architecture, are also still standing, looking as if you could maybe just walk right in, but they are absolutely 100% closed and I don’t know for how long they’ve been that way.
There are plenty of houses on this street, where people are still living. The volunteer fire department, the city hall (a store front) and the police department (wedged between the city hall and the diner) are all on this street. There’s an old bar across from these buildings (above) that is also closed, but the sign out front of it makes it seem like you can just walk right in and order a beer.
Yet you cannot! It’s abandoned.
This old farm house (below) is not to be believed. It is right outside the corporate limit, where the speed limit changes from 35 mph to 55 mph and the road becomes a highway with farms on either side for miles. I drive past this old farmhouse a couple of times a day.
I don’t know who took this photo, but the farmhouse is already several years older now, and even more deteriorated, if you can even imagine that. I wish I could get a good picture of it, but it’s on private property. There are new barns right next to it. The farmhouse is set off on a hill, with 2 big trees in front of it, and — and I love this part — someone planted a ton of daffodils in the “front yard” and they are all in bloom right now! It is awesome.
On this same road, there are quite a number of houses, barns, and even a church, that are in this same deteriorated condition, with new barns, and houses that people live in, right on the same properties. (The old barn with the Mail Pouch Tobacco sign painted on it, that I posted below somewhere, is on this same road. The barn photo was photo-shopped, though. It doesn’t look nearly that good in real life.)
Right down the street from me, just over the railroad tracks, where portions of the original brick sidewalks can be glimpsed here and there as you walk along, is an old hardware store that looks like you can knock it over with a whisper. It looks like it’s from the early 1900s. It’s behind those buildings where the old pool hall is. And people live right next door to it — the hardware store, I mean.
Speaking of the old train tracks, I found this old postcard online. The train depot that used to be here in my town!
I’ll have to follow the train tracks sometime, to get an idea of where this depot was, but I’m thinking it was over by where the Dairy Queen is now, in the “center” of town. For all I know, the “depot” is still there, but being used as something else. The post office, perhaps? That’s along the train tracks…
And I found this photo of my house online, taken at some point when all the trees around had leaves. That hasn’t happened yet this year…
And speaking of my new (very old) house… It has one of those unfinished basements, made of exposed stone and dirt. And it still has its old coal shoot, although it’s nailed closed and now vinyl siding is over the outside of it. However, I noticed just the other day, when i was down in the basement, changing the filter on the furnace, that the coal bin is still mostly there, under the stairs! It’s falling apart, but it’s still there. No one, in all this time, thought about dismantling it and removing it. They just worked around it, instead.
I get the best, most amazing, happy vibes living here, folks. I feel like the guy who first built the house, back in 1901, is probably still around in spirit. I keep wondering, if I got a Ouija board who would I contact? Probably way more spirits than I would know what to do with! So I don’t think I’ll go there…
All righty. On that happy note… Have a great Wednesday out there, gang, wherever you are in the world (physical or spiritual!!) I gotta get crackin’ around here. We’re putting up my new shower curtain rod today! Yay. Okay. Thanks for visiting. See ya!
I have finally settled in enough in the new house to get down to a daily writing schedule. It feels incredible. Not just the “writing again” part, but having ready access to everything I’ve ever written, published and unpublished, throughout the course of my career.
And not just my fiction, but also dream notebooks I kept over the years, where I kept track of my dreams at night, and spiral bound notebooks filled with song lyrics I wrote over 30 years ago (for those new to my blog, I was a singer/songwriter in NYC in the late 1970s into the early 1990s, when I switched to fiction-writing, exclusively).
I mentioned in a previous post, that even though all my “stuff” was in storage for about 2 years, it’s really been closer to 15 years that I not only had ready access to all my stuff, but was in the frame of mind to relate to it all. These many years that I’ve been back in Ohio have not been happy ones for me, and I had often deeply regretted moving back here. I had really come to feel like one of the walking dead, but without the zombie-like features. ha ha.
But, first, the move into the Hinterlands in 2016, into a rental house, followed by a move deeper into the Hinterlands and into a new (really old) house that I bought this past March, has made me finally feel alive again.
I’ve titled this post “Born again, again” because in the space of 12 months (2016-2017), I nearly died 3 times (car accident, lightning, accidental overdose of aspirin). My life was so unhappy during that whole era, that, spiritually, I could have easily chosen to just die and move on to the next plateau. But I didn’t. I constantly fought to stick around. To stick it out. (And long-time readers know that my teen years were filled with awfulness: 2 rapes, constant abuse, drug & alcohol problems, confinement to a mental hospital, arrests, tragic deaths of people I loved. I survived 2 suicide attempts in those years and it was because, again, even though life felt unbearable, I really wanted to stick it out until it could finally get good.)
So now, when I wake up in the morning, in love with life, with my house, with my new tiny town in the middle of lovely nowhere, I truly mean it: I am happy.
Here’s a shot of my kitchen table from a few minutes ago. It feels so great to be able to really spread my work out again. It’s been since the days on E. 12th Street, in NYC (over 30 years ago), that I’ve had a kitchen big enough to have a kitchen table I could really spread out at while I worked:
I was going through an old dream notebook from 1986 this afternoon (I’ve recently started keeping track of my dreams again) and a poem I wrote about James Dean was stuck in there.
It was typed on my old IBM typewriter. It had some pencil marks, where I had edited it. And there was still tape on the corners of the paper, where I had taped it to my bedroom wall (I often did that with poems back then that I wanted to look at , study, and then revise). I had completely forgotten having ever written a poem about James Dean, although I did really used to adore him.
For readers too young to know who James Dean was, he was a movie star in the 1950s, who died really young. He was from a small town in Indiana, and went to NYC to study acting. He appeared in early TV shows, some stage work, but then went out to L.A. and became famous almost overnight. He only made 3 movies before he died tragically in a car accident in northern California. And his third movie, Giant, wasn’t even released until after he died. He was buried back home in Indiana, close to his family. His casket was shipped back home on a train. He was a guy who always wanted to be really, really famous, and I often thought that if he hadn’t died so young, on the precipice of real fame, he would not have become a Hollywood Legend. Meaning, that spiritually, dying young and tragically was part of the whole “legendary fame” package, which I believe that on some level, he subscribed to hook, line & sinker.
Here’s a still of James Dean in his final movie, Giant (a terrific movie about racism, btw, that you must see if you haven’t already), followed by my newly re-discovered poem!
JAMES DEAN'S PLAN
I went to L.A. to die,
not in one grand leap, mind you, but in frames.
I knew I could muster
make the necessary toss of
a cigarette butt
and the careless flash of a
Then I'd arc my life
up the Northern Coast
in a dashing trajectory of vision;
my tragic partner
in a slow-motion splatter
then resume a more somber
with my pine box shipped east, marked
but my ticket stamped
Things are just moving along swimmingly, as they say!
I’m basically done with the inside of the new house, for now. Except for the upstairs bathroom, which is a decorator’s nightmare. It looks as if a 10-year-old was given free-rein in expressing his or her devotion to Mickey Mouse, literally.
But other than the upstairs bathroom, which needs a re-do from top to bottom, I’m happy with the inside of the house and will turn my focus to the outside, as soon as the weather gets nice and stays nice (i.e., we’re still getting occasional days of snow!).
I just bought this for my family room:
It is called a: “Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown”.
However, I call it, simply, my new chair. I love my new chair!!! It is the final thing I’m buying, for now. But this means people can come visit and not have to sit side-by-side on the sofa, or sit at the kitchen table. (It’s exciting, isn’t it? Imagine — coming to visit me! You would be sitting in that luxurious Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown!!!! Yay!! And the conversation alone would no doubt be intoxicating!)
Another cool thing that’s going on out here in my humble abode in the Hinterlands is that a robin is building her nest in the enormous old maple tree outside my bedroom window. Most of the windows in this house are really long — 65 inches long, in fact. And that’s just the window itself, it doesn’t count the window casing, window sill, etc. Anyway, I can lay in my bed and easily watch her build her nest. (It still amazes me, just how good they are at building nests.)
The other cool thing is that we have a new logline for the Cleveland’s Burning TV Pilot. It goes like this:
[Short version]: Two African American brothers, raised in the church, choose different paths in pursuit of racial and social equality in 1960’s Cleveland.
[Slightly longer version]: Two African American brothers, raised in the church, choose different paths in pursuit of racial and social equality in 1960’s Cleveland: one, the nonviolent philosophies of Dr. King, and the younger, the ideology of the more radical Black Power movement.
And speaking of the church…in the evening on Easter Sunday, two really delightful young Mormon missionaries came by — 2 young women, which surprised me because Mormon women never used to travel and do mission work without men. They were so sweet and it was Easter, so of course I invited them in. We sat at the kitchen table and discussed their gospel of Jesus Christ for over an hour. Frankly, it was fascinating. And I enjoyed every minute of their conversation. It was a really nice way to spend an otherwise uneventful Easter (which is usually a very important holiday for me).
I hope you have a terrific weekend planned, wherever you are in the world! I plan on spending it visualizing all the exciting people who will be coming to visit me in the Hinterlands and sitting in my brand new Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown!
I think I am finally, finally, FINALLY present and accounted for. Alive again in my own life. Home at last. I slept for 9 and a half hours last night — uninterrupted except for the very nearby passing of a railroad train (see photo somewhere below that shows just how close the train tracks are to my new house). I never sleep for more than about 7 hours, so getting so much uninterrupted sleep was kind of shocking to me, but in a good way.
And I had these really great, vivid, active dreams about — guess what? — moving into a new house that had tons of windows! I can’t remember the last time (or if ever) I had a dream that was not only happy but that also reflected the actual life I was currently living. How do you process that? Dreaming happy, then waking up happy, then remembering I had a happy dream, and then realizing, oh, that’s just like my life right now! Like, did I die and I haven’t yet figured out that I died? I guess time will tell!
Oh, and by the way, “happy” Good Friday to one and all. (Speaking of dying and continuing to consciously live on while dead…)
Anyway, it’s been a bit of a week. Before I went into contract on this house that I ended up buying, some other people were under contract to buy the house but their mortgage was declined. However, before their mortgage was declined, they set about making improvements to the house — wiring and plumbing. But when the mortgage was declined, they dropped everything and simply walked away, leaving things half-done.
When I had the house inspected, the inspector told me some wiring upgrades had been made but that I would need an electrician to come in and add a new line. Well, I’m actually intelligent, and I also have a killer vocabulary, which adds to the overall aura of my presumed intelligence, but to be brutally honest, most of the time I wander around in a partial dream-state, thinking about everything under the sun except for what’s right in front of me, and the things people are saying directly to me go mostly unregistered in my brain, even while I nod my head and say, “sure, okay.”
So, imagine my surprise when it became suddenly clear that my kitchen was a wiring nightmare and a serious fire hazard. Things were turning off & on by themselves; outlets were melting. And then, wafting up into my conscious awareness comes: Ah, so this is what he meant by get an electrician in here.
Hence, the electricians came for many hours. It wasn’t too terribly expensive, and they fixed everything and I was content, and then the following morning, a bright orange emergency tag appeared on my kitchen door that said that my water meter was going in reverse and needed fixing as soon as possible. (“Did anyone come in here and do some plumbing, ma’am? They put this line on backwards!”)
Ah, well, that was fixed, too. And speaking of the railroad train (above)…
I wonder if I’m ever going to get tired of the excitement of the train rushing by? It goes by about once a day, and a few nights a week. (And by “night” I mean 3 o’clock in the morning.) First, it’s the “ding ding ding ding” of the gates lowering while the red lights start flashing; then the train whistle starts screaming in the distance and I can feel the rushing rumble coming my way. This is when the cats scurry and hide, whereas I rush to one of my many windows in anticipation of that monster train coming into view and then hurtling past.
Awesome, in an otherwise serene and quiet town.
Oh, but here’s another thing I love. The guy next door (married with very young children) has a rock band and they occasionally practice out in his garage. It’s down at the end of the backyard, out on the alley, next to where my horse & buggy barn is. The sound is not deafening, but I can certainly hear it. Some sort of death-metal type tempo. And while death-metal wouldn’t be listed up there as a favorite musical genre of mine, as someone who was a professional musician/singer/songwriter for a really long time, the sound of that band practicing in the garage always brings a smile to my face. While everything imaginable in my own personal life has changed, in other outer, outside world ways, nothing changes. And that is comforting.
So. I had a conference call with Sandra yesterday and now we must get back on track. Rehearsals for the staged reading (in NYC) of the one-woman musical The Guide to being Fabulous begin on April 14th in Rhinebeck, NY. The staged reading is for production funds for mounting the show Off-Broadway at (if I may say so myself) a really prestigious Off-Broadway venue in midtown. So it is very exciting, folks.
I will only be needed for tweeks and minor re-writes, so I won’t have to attend most of the rehearsals, so I have to buckle down and use this time for finishing the stage adaptation of my Helen LaFrance script, Tell My Bones (also for Sandra). It’s good to feel that urgency; it gives me focus. And that is what this move to this new house was all about: A place to get really settled; to call home; to sit in peaceful solitude and write (with the occasional train and rock band spiking my consciousness!)
All right. Enjoy Good Friday, wherever you are, gang. Remember, Good Friday is a reminder that all of life is re-born, it never dies, we’re all sacred, eternal, joyful beings, created as we are creating. What could be better than that? Okay!
Yay! For the first time in about 2 years, I have access to all my books, my movies, my music, my clothes, my dishes, my art. You name it! It if belongs to me, I can now see it again.
In my many years of being in limbo (loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that for the past 6 years or so, I was planning on moving back to New York. So, even while my possessions were only in storage for about 2 years, my whole life has been in limbo for longer than that). Anyway.
I noticed while I was living in that rented house, without access to 95% of my stuff, that I was in fact able to survivewithout 95% of my stuff… I contemplated renting a dumpster and throwing it all away, sight unseen. Lightening the load of my life, my past, what have you. If I could survive without it, did I really need it?
Yet, now that I’m in this really wonderful old house with its wonderful old barn out back, in this indescribably tiny village that has been here for over 200 years and which most people have never ever heard of; and now that all my stuff is unpacked, I realized how much I now enjoy having my identity back! OMG! I’m so glad I didn’t throw it away. All my books. My records and CDs, my collection of movies. Photos , mementos. All these things I love have now been sort of returned to my identity. And I feel like I’ve returned to myself. Like I’m finally really home since leaving New York.
When I moved from New York City, and also when I was planning on moving back there, I did indeed throw away a lot of stuff and gave a ton of stuff to various charities. I didn’t just simply hang on to everything. And the outcome of that is that what I did save over the years were things that I didn’t want to part with, regardless of the lack of storage space in some of the places where I’ve lived. So it really was an “OMG” moment (or many moments,) as I was unpacking box after box after box of things I hadn’t seen in such a long time. So many things that I really loved, that added to who I became throughout my (seemingly endless) long, long life.
I’m also exhausted. But starting Monday, I must get back into my daily writing routine. (Which, I’m hoping, might actually feel good! We shall see!) As loyal readers know, I am way behind schedule in completing a ton of projects. But now all I have left is the rest of my life to just sort of create in. (And while I’m perfectly happy to live here alone, I am also hoping that people will come visit so that I can entertain again. My dining room is so pretty. It feels straight out of 1918 or something like that…)
Also, the cats have adjusted beautifully to their new home. They really seem frisky and happy and totally cool with their new surroundings.
In honor of having all my music back in my life, I bought a really cool Crosley entertainment thingy. It plays records, CDs, cassettes, has an AM/FM radio, and a bluetooth adapter.
It looks like this. It’s too freakin’ pretty!
It’s on a stand that looks like this:
Put them both together, and it is just like living in yesteryear. All righty!
So, have a happy Saturday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!
Now, refresh my memory, gang; is there anything on earth more exhilarating than packing up to move to a new house??? (Please. Don’t say “bungee jumping”. Let’s keep this in the realm of things I’m actually likely to do.)
Even though I hate packing, this time is not quite as mind-bogglingly tedious as other times since I never really unpacked from the last move, a year and a half ago. I only need to pack dishes, clothes, sheets & towels, some books, and the medicine cabinet stuff.
However. Lest we forget…
…I live with 8 semi-feral cats who basically refuse to be touched and/or get into their cages, regardless of the imperativeness of the circumstances! [Note to readers: Do not use “imperativeness” while conversing at dinner parties or at other socially crucial events because it is not really a word and you will likely be laughed at and humiliated! — Ed.]
Anyway, all is actually going pretty smoothly with the moving arrangements, except for the stress of knowing I have to move these 8 little creatures. I brought the 8 cages out of storage and set them around the living room, to help them at least get used to the sight of them, and a couple of the cats are so scared of the cages that they won’t come out from under the recliner… The last move was truly traumatizing for all of us.
But we’ve still got 10 days! 10 days of positive thinking! 10 days of affirmations! 10 days of creatively visualizing 8 semi-feral cats happily arriving at their new home! And I’m off now to make sacrificial offerings to the Goddess of Semi-Feral Cats, in the event She can intervene on our humble behalf! (It doesn’t hurt to approach it from every conceivable angle…)
Have a wonder-filled Friday, wherever you are, gang! And have a terrific weekend. Thanks for visiting! See ya.
Yes! As the song says, “It might as well be spring!”
It began over the weekend, when I noticed that tons of robins had arrived in all the yards. And, in the air, a bit of chirping. And then, this morning, with the bedroom window open at around 6am, the full-on, merry serenade of bird songs!
The cats, naturally, were crowded around the open window, transfixed by the singing. The temperature had reached 77 here yesterday, so, between the lovely weather and the birds once more singing at dawn, the cats have been completely bamboozled into thinking it’s spring!
But au contraire… The temperatures are set to plummet back down to the February range later today. But it always feels so good to get that early reminder of how the world feels in spring, doesn’t it, gang?
First of all, a belated thank you to those of you who have been signing up for my non-appearing newsletter. Once I finally move, unpack, and get settled into an actual life again, the newsletter will resume! Probably only quarterly, for now. I’ve got too many backlogged writing projects for there too be much news to report for awhile.
You know, I have these grand dreams of “life after the move,” wherein I will immediately return to my normal writing schedule, as well as do things like get up-to-date on all the various work-related weekly podcasts I subscribe to — mostly writing, publishing, and stagecraft podcasts, but a few thrown in that I simply enjoy listening to. For example, The 1600 Sessions, by the White House Historical Association. Or LeVar Burton Reads. Or the Joel Osteen weekly sermon. Or Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast (really super funny but not for the faint of heart.)
Honestly, how on earth do we find time to keep up with everything anymore? There is just way too much stuff vying for our attention. I realize that everybody already knows this, but sometimes it is simply staggering to consider just how much we are trying to take in — and this is one of the reasons that I am truly excited about my upcoming move deeper into the Hinterlands.
The little village I’m moving to has: a police station, a fire station, a post office, a diner, a gas station, 2 churches, a Family Dollar, a Dairy Queen, a mini storage, a couple of beauty salons, and that’s it. Seriously. Nothing else but a handful of people and a whole bunch of stuff that God created — i.e., trees, birds, flowers, animals, seemingly endless hills and rolling fields, and sky and stars. (And one road leading in and out of town that is named after the High School football team from the early 1900s! The High School itself has long since been torn down.)
The only real distraction is going to be the darned Internet, folks, so I’m hoping to use it productively because I have a ton of writing projects piling up. Mostly re-writes of projects in various stages of development for stage and TV, but there are a couple of books I also want to write just for my own enjoyment…
And when I’m not zoning out on those 2 things and a nice bottle of French red, I’m up to my eyeballs with packing, and still doing a TON of paperwork re: the mortgage and the upcoming move. I really, really, really need the future to become the present, gang, as quickly as possible, so if you have any pull in that area, I would appreciate your helping me out! It is so many months already that I’ve been dealing with this move.
And that said, I need to get cracking around here because I have to drive deep into the Hinterlands here soon to inspect the repairs that were done to the new house and make sure we are ready for closing (which is supposed to be next week, however, the lender informed me yesterday that if she doesn’t get the title survey by, like, today, the chances we are closing next week are “slim to none.” Ay caramba!!! Don’t tell me that!! The truck & movers are already scheduled!!)
Anyway, gang. The stress continues. But the end is in sight. I hope you have a relatively stress-free Wednesday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re doing. I leave you with this awesome stress-breaker! Give it a listen if you’ve never heard it before! It will get you bopping!
Yes, well. My new house doesn’t look exactly like this, but I’m sure that, in essence, it will feel the same! I’m so excited.
Yes, the darn bank appraisal finally came back the other day and the house passed with flying colors! The only negative thing the report pointed out was that the house “fronts to railroad tracks which is considered adverse due to traffic &/or noise”. [See post below somewhere, wherein I discovered the startling and quite sobering sound of the train barreling into my soon-to-be new living room during the home inspection. – Ed.] [Also, I should point out that it is an old coal train, with few cars, that passes by in under a minute. It’s not some long, drawn-out, train with a zillion cars that takes 20 minutes to pass. – Ed. again]
Yes, the house I’ve been laboring over, for over 2 months already, is finally going to be mine! It is a really old house (1901), in the tiniest town you can imagine (well, population around 1300, so you can probably imagine towns tinier than that, but still…). I am going to be, pretty much, extremely far away from everything, however, I’m seriously up for the new adventure.
When I say “laboring over,” this is what I mean: I saw the house listed on Realtor.com and, even though it was in a town I had no real interest in, it was in my price range so I decided to investigate. The house had been on the market for nearly 500 days, and had been in & out of contract twice. My realtor said, “I don’t think you want to see that house; I took a client through it when it first went on the market and it was a disaster.”
Oh well, all right. Onward.
But I just kept coming back to it, and I asked my realtor, “Can’t we at least go see it? The photos online don’t look that bad.”
Realtor: “They aren’t going to post photos of the really bad things.”
Oh well, all right. But… “Can’t we at least go see it?”
Then, because it was the holiday season, it was like pulling teeth to get the seller’s realtor to respond and then to arrange for us to go in and see it. And, true, the outside grounds need a lot of work. Some siding & gutters needed fixing, the picket fence surrounding the backyard is rotting in huge sections, and an old tree had fallen on the roof of the shed/garage/barn-thing out back. But inside the house — wow. Big rooms. Sunny. All new plumbing, new wiring, 22 brand new windows with screens, a totally dry old basement for storage, new furnace, new water heater, new counter tops, new sinks & toilets, great closets with plenty of storage there, too; a big kitchen with lots of cupboards, and new carpeting throughout most of the house.
My guy-friend, who had come out to see the house with me, took me aside and said, “This is a sweet little house; you ought to buy it.” And I said, “I know. I’m planning on it.” And then it took 6 more weeks to finally get the A-Okay from the lender, but I did. And now I couldn’t be happier.
So, be on guard, gang; trust your gut. If you keep getting the feeling that something is better than everyone’s saying it is, follow up on your hunches because you could be right and everyone else might all be misinformed.
By the way, here are 2 photos of the shed/garage/barn-thing that appeared to be in horrible shape.
Everyone said it was going to have to be torn down. I took these photos to send to a wood-salvage company that was going to come out and tear it down. But as I got closer to the building (I can’t go inside because it’s locked up tight and the roof is severely damaged), I realized that it was a really COOL old building. The windows were filthy but I could still see inside and it looked awesome in there. Really well constructed. Built in 1910, it was obviously more of work space than a garage. And it probably did start out being a barn back in 1910.
My guy-friend went out to the house recently to check on the rotting fence and he texted me and said, “We should just fix the roof on that old garage. It will be easy to do. It’s really cool inside there, and would make a really great work space/gardening shed.”
I immediately got very excited and halted the plans to deconstruct the old shed.
So now I am buying a really cool, completely updated, old house from 1901 that nobody wanted and keeping the old shed that everyone said had to be torn down. Of course, my guy-friend has a lot to do with this. If he hadn’t built his own house from scratch, out in the middle of nowhere, I wouldn’t feel quite so uplifted about the challenges connected to This Old House and living alone in that seriously remote old town…
All righty!! Well, have a great Saturday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, gang. We’re supposed to get more snow today. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I leave you with this! Another Rudy Vallee ditty– this one from 1934 — that I’ve been playing nonstop in my car!
Gotta love those old melodies, folks. They really stick with you! Okay. Thanks for visiting! See ya!