Tag Archives: #MarilynJayeLewis

Whew!

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!

Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!

This old barn is just down the road a piece, but it’s been enhanced here by photoshop. The Mail Pouch logo is really, really faded now.

I’m Unpacked!

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 survive without 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!

 

Happy St. Paddy’s Day from the Hinterlands!

Yes! I am all moved in! Only need another 6 months to complete the unpacking…

I’m exhausted, gang, but I couldn’t be happier with my new (extremely old) house! And I am so excited that I decided not to have the garage/barn/shed thingy torn down (see post below somewhere that has photos). My guy-friend came out on Wednesday to take measurements for the new roof and it was the first time I actually went inside the old building and it was indeed a barn at one point. In fact, it was built (in 1910) as a horse-drawn buggy barn. One half of the “garage” was the horse’s stall, and the other side, which we plan on turning into a gardening shed, was where the buggy was stored. Right down the middle, is a wall with one of those half-doors in it for feeding the horse.

Like this, only 108 years older…

It is SO COOL! And it was so well constructed. The roof needs replacing because an enormous maple tree fell on it, but the actual building sustained no damage at all.  It is just too cool. I can’t wait until it’s fixed up. I will regale you with photos!

The village is great. It is TINY. The church (according to google maps) is 417 feet away from my new house –yes, I can easily see it. Yes, it’s that close. The church has been active for 200 years! And they still ring their church bells on Sunday mornings. (I’m guessing they will also ring on Christmas Day!)

Between the train going by, and the church bells ringing, and the birds, the trees, the rolling hills on the far horizon, and the BAZILLION stars at night, I simply could not be happier.

Unfortunately, I still have a ton of unpacking to do, so I can’t tarry here on the blog. But I do want to mention that not only is it St. Paddy’s Day today, but also the birthday of my many cats!! The three parents are 7, and the “kittens” are 6 years young today.

Happy birthday to my many cats!!

They all survived the traumatic move. I am so glad that part is over, gang. It’s horrible, trying to relocate a colony of semi-feral cats. I could not have accomplished it without my good & patient (and very much scratched and gouged) friend, Diane. But it’s done and now we can stay put for a really long time. (And, as I predicted, the cats LOVE the 22 windows in this old house!!)

Okay. Gotta scoot. Thanks for visiting, folks. Have a really fun (and safe — for instance, don’t drink & drive because I can NOT afford to post your bail!!) St. Paddy’s Day, wherever you are. See ya!

The Thrill of it All!

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.)

The thrill of packing!

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…

6 of the 8 critters who travel with me!

…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…)

All righty!

Have a wonder-filled Friday, wherever you are, gang! And have a terrific weekend. Thanks for visiting! See ya.

 

 

The Birds have Returned!

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?

Okay.

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…

That said, though, I am currently addicted to the old Phil Harris – Alice Faye Radio Program from the late 1940s-early 1950s (on youtube). It is so funny. I love Phil Harris. And The Detectorists, a BBC TV series written by/starring Mackenzie Crook, that is so charming, sweet, funny, wry, delightful.

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.

All righty!

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!!)

Aaaaarrrgh!!!!

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!

Okay, thanks for visiting, folks! See ya!

 

 

At last, living the dream!

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.

Front of shed
Side of shed

 

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!