Tag Archives: moving

A change other than the seasons…

I showed up here after I lost my job the first time around.

But that turned out to be only temporary, and I got it back first by half time, and then full – happily telecommuting all the while – and things started moving forward and building up steam and for the last few months I was preparing to uproot my (our) life all over again to return to the city we call home though neither of us was born there, and we’d literally just gotten around to unpacking here…

dead robin*

But then I didn’t get the job, “my” job that I’ve been wedded to for nearly 15 years.

Complaining about the reason why would make me an asshole, and I am not one.

(At least in this circumstance.)

So now I’ve got to start all over again, without tearing at my breast screaming injustice, and wallowing too much in what I’ve loved and lost – it was a divorce, not a death, so I can’t grieve and move on – I have to deal with teary phone calls, people choosing sides regardless of my desire for them not to, colleagues and constituents asking me about things the new “wife” doesn’t know (and won’t for some time), and trying to explain to future employers in guarded language and lies that technically aren’t, why I “left” my last job.

dead grape hyacinths

But there is also a bit of relief – things have been maddeningly up in the air since last November, and many more things were delayed (like the garden) since we thought we were going to have to hurry up and sell the house. But now much of that has turned into anxiety as I scramble to get things back in order for life here while cutting the strings with finality from our old home city and fully completing our move here with all of the administrative annoyances – closing and opening bank accounts, no longer paying taxes in places I no longer live but still worked, changing health plans again (nooooo!!!!), and closing vastly underfunded retirement plans, etc., etc., etc.

It’s almost as if we have moved again, only without the back pain.

garden 16 start

(But our backs are screaming in pain due to rushed garden improvements – some new raised beds, blueberry bushes! a gooseberry bush! rhubarb!, and some decorative landscaping.)

And though I’d been searching for stable work and attempted and failed to go back to school while I was underemployed a few years ago, I thought that things would eventually turn around and I’d have the option of going back at some point in the next few years, but that point came much sooner than expected and with very unexpected results. Now, the job search and/or figuring out the next thing has a greater sense of urgency (though thanks to N we’re not going to starve or loose the house in the meantime) and I have even less desire to pound the pavement and jump back into the morass of shitty politics of my specialty in my field, yet I’m too many years away from other areas in the field so I’m no longer competitive in other specialties I’ve had in the past…

(And it was a happy fluke that I was able to telecommute for nearly four years too – that usually isn’t an option at all in my work – I’ve grown to really enjoy working from home and the thought of a several hours a day commute makes me nearly physically ill.)

dead squirrel*

The taste in my mouth right now is awfully bitter – the widest stretches of the world of art only ever serve the rich and their whims and needless needs, and it is a class in which I will never be comfortable, welcomed, or wish to bow to – so I don’t see much point in continuing a career in temples of poor dead people’s stuff.

I’d like to work in something far more fundamental or necessarily – life and death, food and shelter…

But I don’t particularly enjoy children on a regular basis, I haven’t the stomach for other’s bodily fluids, and waiting tables and construction require stamina and strength that I don’t have much of these days.

So I have no fucking clue which color of parachute I’d prefer now…

dead robin burial

(But I know I’m still coming at this from a place of relative privilege, so all in all, as usual, things could be so much worse.)

*And I’ve no idea how or why this robin ended up tits up in our garden, or this squirrel began melting into the yard (though the troublesome feral cats are likely to blame for him) but N gave them both proper burials underneath a bird-favorite bush that has become the boneyard for small wild things.

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Filed under gardening, home, unemployment

In praise of N…

I’m taking most of the credit for our house fixing-upping, and since I only work work part-time at the moment, I do put in several more hours/days a week on it, but N isn’t just sitting around on his ass either (unless I am too and we’re taking a much needed break).

His work is often stealthy and surprising – like whipping up a work bench while I’m painting a room (and possibly cursing under my breath that he isn’t helping, but then I find out he he was doing something very useful and necessary).  Or taking care of some little annoying paint/patch/trim detail in the morning when he’s up at an ungodly hour and I’m still snoozing.

workbench

He’ll take out toilets and do some minor electrical tinkering – things I either really don’t want to do, or don’t feel comfortable doing.

And take care of all of the floor and ceiling trim cutting – something I’m quite capable of doing, but waste more and bitch about a lot more.

And he’s a machine when it comes to hacking out massive patches of invasive species – at the last house it was bamboo, this one is Japanese Knotweed (of which we still haven’t quite gained the upper hand).

And please, anyone who is reading – never plant bamboo and Japanese Knotweed!!!!!

And the part I find most crucial on a daily basis is that he’s the cook (again, I am capable of doing so, but I could exist most nights on scrambled eggs and some greens, or pasta-all-the-time) so he keeps it interesting and delicious (I do supply the occasional enormous pot of chili or spontaneous vegetarian concoction).

sagefritters

(sage fritters with an anchovy surprise inside)

But the most kudos go to his willingness and ability to haul my shit.  When we first got together, I was bemoaning the fact that I lived in such a small apartment crowded with too many things, and instead of telling me I should purge, he said I just needed a bigger place… though it was possibly one of the most destructively enabling statements anyone has ever tossed at me, I loved it and it was endearing and actually inspired me to get things in better order to some degree, but after three hurried moves in the last few years, things have gotten out of control again.

Our albatross has been a storage locker 5 1/2 hours away that we thought we’d only have for a few months… It turned out to be two years and a few months.

storage empty

But now it is finally empty and no longer ours!

stored sewing machines

And I found a couple more sewing machines that I thought I had

NtheHulk

And N was a total beast hauling it all out of the locker, into the truck, out of the truck, and into the house.

Don’t be fooled by the ugly 1980s cover on that chair – it has to weigh close to 200 pounds, is nearly large enough for two, and is from c. 1940 when furniture was made to last out of iron and oak.  I’ll be sewing a new cover for it eventually.

truck full

And it is a little shocking to see how much stuff* we lived perfectly fine without for two and some years…

And yes, that’s a box of rocks on the bottom…

I promise those won’t be around when and if there’s another move.

(Or else I’ll hide them better).

*In my/our defense, we had two separate households for a few years and needed double the stuff.

[edited to correct some typos]

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Filed under collecting, home, home decor, sewing, thrifting, Uncategorized

The head on the floor*

I’ve been working on much more of the same around the house – endless patching of uneven walls, sanding said patches, painting walls and ceilings, and sanding, sanding, sanding, floors.

endlessfloors

During a particular viciously monotonous ceiling sanding job in the largest room, I found an entertaining distraction in doodling with the shop vac in the dust on the floor.

headonthefloor

And half of the house still looks infected with a nasty pox or schmeared with calamine lotion.

wallpoxhall

wallpoxbedroom

(The original owners never properly taped and filled the wall seams and screws, among other things…)

We moved the bedroom into a smaller room that I originally thought of using as such, but I feel too maddeningly claustrophobic sleeping in there…

I’m not sure if it is even possible to be claustrophobic in one’s sleep, but I am.

The smaller room will be my studio instead – hopefully the feeling will become cozy once I cram my piles of shit in it.

nofanlightyet

A certain electrician will soon go on my shit-list if he doesn’t come and give us light soon…  And a certain former owner is already on it for wiring things in a unique way – a perfect example of unique is usually good unless it totally isn’t.

(And yes, the knotty pine is still there – I decided to stay on the fence a bit longer – I don’t quite love the shade of yellow that turned out on the walls, though it’s okay enough for now, so I’ll revisit painting the paneling in a couple years when I want to re-paint the room a deeper mustardy color, or something else entirely.)

unpacking

We’ve finally started to unpack, though everything can’t go in its place since there isn’t a place for everything yet…

tomatoORhuskcherry

(Can you tell which is which?)

And I keep doing the dumbshit thing of mistaking yellow cherry tomatoes for husk/ground cherries… a few always get mixed up in the bottom of my bag at the CSA.  A tomato surprise bite in a big bowl of sweetish coconut yogurt, bananas, almonds, and husk cherries is another unwelcome uniqueness…  but a husk cherry surprise in a tomatoey dish might be okay…

 *

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Filed under gardening, home, home decor

Bye bye continued…

So the Blackbird isn’t the only one going away these days…

We finally, successfully bought a house.

secondo-nook

This little hallway sold it for me – I love a good hall and nook.

However, much of the place is not so good, so I’ll be spending the next few months patching and painting and sanding and staining and sealing and tiling and ripping out [not stitches] and installing and digging and hauling and biting at the heels of one or two hired professionals.

I won’t go in to the rehab to tiresome lengths (or maybe I will someplace else, because I regret not better documenting our last home transformation) but the place needs some serious color and character and will take the place of most of my fiber work in the near future – but then again, we also need curtains and re-upholstery and rugs and something to disguise a nasty basement drop-ceiling…

[packing my sh*t and moving it takes up several circles of hell]

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Filed under home, home decor

Meet (some of) my sewing machines…

I learned to sew (or rather I learned how to use a sewing machine) on my mother’s 1960s era Singer.  I made some shapeless elastic waist skirts, “Jams” style shorts, and a few odds and ends in my youth.  During college, I borrowed the machine to make hats to sell at raves.  You heard me, raves – and the real kind back in the day, illegal and last minute and fun as a bucket of monkeys.  I loved her machine – it was metal and solid and felt like well, a machine in the masculine sense.  A few years later I acquired my first vintage machine at my favorite thrift store for something like $6.99.

machines1I’ve had it for nearly 20 years and it is the machine I use most often, however I just had to put it on a time-out due to a tension issue that springs up after an unpredictable amount of time (sometimes after 3 days of use, sometimes after year or so) and it seems to always fix itself as long as I don’t use it for a month or so.

machines1-det

A partial repair tag still clings to the handle – perhaps this tension issue gave the previous owner troubles as well…  After finding this machine, I was on the lookout for more.  Why?  I think I figured it would be nice to have the same one to use for parts if need be, I wanted one with zigzag and other stitch functions, and I just really fell in love with solid things made of metal that could last lifetimes – yes, the plural form.  I hate everything about the objects of our disposable society these days, but then again, obsolete, near-obsolete, and old timey things weigh a ton and are a pain in the ass to move.  But after a few years, I had amassed a collection of around 15 sewing machines, not to mention several typewriters and boxes of cameras and film equipment.  I didn’t move much then and used much of the equipment as furniture in my cramped apartment, but eventually most of it had to go.  Since I used the sewing machines on a fairly regular basis, I kept a half dozen of them or so.

machines4This is the back-up machine for when the pink Atlas is being temperamental.  It too came from a thrift store and I gasped when I opened the box – I’d never seen one that looked so like an automobile of the same era and I loved the deep green.  It sews strongly and steadily but the needle needs to be coaxed into the fabric in just the right way each time that I tend to get a little impatient with it.  Its best use is for sewing long seams or quilting.

machines2

This is the prettiest and the oldest of my current machines and it works just fine.  The bobbin is a little fiddly to work with so I don’t like to change it as often.  When I had more space (and when I will hopefully have more space again) I’d leave it set up with thread in the opposite color of what I was using in the other machine if I needed to hop on it for something else.  I believe this was originally a treadle machine and motorized later, so I have intentions of trying to turn this back into a manual machine, but I’d rather find a treadle machine for a reasonable price (and I could fit in my car or have delivered) instead.  It is also in a re-purposed Morse case that is annoyingly without a lid, so at the very least, I need a new lid/container for it.

machines3

machines3-det

My brother found this lovely Singer for me, but it’s probably been a decade ago…  I have it nearby because I intend to try to find a couple of missing parts for it, but haven’t done much searching around for them yet.  Ironically, it also came with the manual and a few extra tools, so someone was meticulous about keeping it all together only up to a certain point.  This one is also a more compact “portable” model, so it would be convenient to get it up and running as soon as possible.  I’m also slightly afraid to plug in anything old, so the first time I like to be prepared in case of an inferno.

And then I have perhaps two more?  I’m a little nervous that I can’t find them at the moment, but I believe that they could be in storage along with the other third of our stuff.  Hopefully I didn’t get rid of them in the frustration of the move.  One of them is another Atlas similar to my old stand-by that I found left in the trash on the curb in my old neighborhood.  Its cord was cut, perhaps indicating that the motor was blown or that it needs to be re-wired so I can use it for parts, or get it up and running again.  I believe the other machine is another Singer with a bad motor?

The machines I had but sold years ago included a couple of really old ones that had been motorized but weren’t very functional, I believe yet another Atlas, a less attractive 70s machine, and a blue White that I still can’t understand to this day why I got rid of it – it had a zigzag stitch, WTF?  But I think I thought I’d find another…

Some days I’m a little envious of others with the fancy-schmancy machines that will practically stitch up a cup of coffee or an offspring  but mostly I love my hunky metal beasts and will continue to do so…

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Filed under sewing, thrifting