Friday, September 29, 2006

Yard Sale

Can you read this sign?

So this afternoon, a strange van pulls all the way up my very long driveway and a man steps out of his vehicle, spits on my driveway (apparently not realizing I was standing there), and says

"You got any *garble garble*?"

Me (one ear on a phonecall): "I'm sorry?"

Creepy van-guy: "Dee-Vee-Dees, you gonna have any?"

Me: "Yes, we will have DVDs for sale

Creepy van-guy: "How many?"

Me: "I don't know, 10 or 20?"

Creepy van-guy: "How much are they?"

Me: "I don't know, we haven't priced them yet but you are welcome to stop by

Creepy van-guy: "You got any kids' ones?"

Me (mentally pulling Shrek and Monsters, Inc. out of the yard sale pile): "No."

Creepy van-guy: "And you don't know how much?"

Me: "No, but we will know by...tomorrow."

Creepy van-guy: "See, I got six kids and I don't want to come back if they are too high."

Me (thinking, if you have six kids, the youngest one is probably forty): silence

Creepy van-guy: "So what time's it start?"

Me (verbally): "Eight o'clock, see you then!"

Me (mentally): "SATURDAY EIGHT O'CLOCK, in the yard, just like it says on the sign, not noon on Friday at my back door, you creepy ass&@#$!"

P.S. Here is a shout-out to Selina for her fabulous artwork on the sign pictured above and the reverse side pictured below. The story goes that she nearly passed out from the Sharpie fumes!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Favorite things

Laundry on a clothesline.

Our neighbor Dot has an awesome set of clotheslines right on the inside of her property line. This makes it very convenient to share, which she does. When I first started hanging our laundry, Dot didn't use the line much. Now she uses it at least once a week and we often talk while one or the other is putting up or taking down clothes. These impromptu chats with Dot are one of my favorite things and I will miss them dearly when we move.

I was puzzled at first by the fact that my laundry smelled like the salty ocean after drying it on the line. I realized later that the only other time in my life I have used a clothesline was when I lived on the coast of Florida in St. Augustine. Partly, this smell is just an association, but I really do think it smells like the sea! I hope the land-locked air in Idaho smells the same.

I love the slowness of hanging my laundry on the line. I normally loathe doing laundry, but if I know it's dry out and the line is free, I will roam the house in search of dirty laundry. After pulling the wet clothes out of the washing machine, I prop the basket on my hip and the back door creaks when I open it. This signals Tucker that we are going outside. I walk through the grass to the back of the yard in my bare feet.

Tucker watches from the shade of a nearby magnolia tree.

As I hang the clothes, I have to touch each article. This connects me with my things, and makes me grateful for having them. The repetitive quality of this motion is meditative and leads me towards simple thoughts. Being outside is pleasant. The sun feels good. The air is cool. When the breeze whips through the clothes, I can see the invisible wind in relief.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment looking across the yard upon laundry swaying on the line. I have saved money, conserved energy, snuck a brief excursion outside, slowed down, and connected with a past when hanging clothes to dry wasn't optional.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Growing excitement

I have turned the corner and am now getting really excited about moving to Boise. The more I study the area, the more I realize it has to offer us.

Jon and I had tickets to go to Billings in early October but decided we should really visit Boise instead. We were able to switch our destination for about $200. We were going to try to do our lodging on the cheap, but I made reservations for us to stay at the Idaho Heritage Inn in the Warm Springs District near downtown Boise. I'm looking forward to the trip since I spent most of our short honeymoon sick and in bed.

The Warm Springs Historic District, which was begun in the 1890s, is really intriguing because it was one of the first urban neighborhoods to harness geothermic energy from natural hot springs. Today, the Warm Springs Water District heats approximately 200 homes with water that has a supply temperature of about 175 degrees. There are several other geothermal water districts in Boise and other parts of Idaho that operate in the same way. Most of the spent geothermal water is returned to the acquifer.

It will probably be too early to look for a place to live when we visit, but we are planning to explore the area neighborhoods so we have an idea of where we might want to rent.

Here are some other things I have discovered that I am excited about:

the Boise Off-Road Mountain Bike Babes
Boise Co-Op--a natural foods grocery cooperative
Boise Boaters--a forum for local paddlers

More to come!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Things have gotten a little out of control

It is true that the tomatoes have been left to neglect.

One may also be hard pressed to find a cucumber in this mess.

Perhaps the amaranth grain project lost it's allure.

But who wants some raspberries?

And how about those poblano peppers?

Identity for Sale

One of the things yard sale afficionados will warn you about is leaving valuable items or information in your stuff when you sell it. You should check for credit card receipts, cash, or in my case, an uncashed tax refund check from 1994 with my social security number prominently displayed. Identity thieves: don't go looking for it, I've erased it from the photograph.

I found this check while flipping through a Deepak Chopra book that was headed for the yard sale pile. I guess 1994 was not a banner year for my income or my weight. I was a senior in college and my job was waiting tables at a local deli called Bagelville. I never did finish the book.

For Sale: Deepak Chopra's Finding Your Perfect Weight, a bargain at only $83.91.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hot Snooze

Tucker's favorite perch is in the unused (thankfully!) fireplace.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Have a seat. Top off your coffee or your wine, because you might be here a while. I am listening to Patti Griffith, by the way.

I have been in hiding. I have been struggling with what to say, so, I have stayed silent. As you all now know, Jon has been accepted into Boise State University for the spring term of 2007, beginning in January. This is the beginning of everything I have wanted and the too-near end to what I have now. Life gives you what you want when you need it, right? I’m struggling now with the idea that we are leaving Raleigh, our meeting place, our courting place, our marrying place, our home.

I came to Raleigh in 1998 from Gainesville, Florida. I was running away. I had one friend with me and I was running from a broken heart, a broken spirit, and a self identity that had been deconstructed. The years following were spent reinventing or discovering, evolving, and often alone. Raleigh was a depot, a stopping point, but not the destination. I didn’t put down roots or form lasting relationships because I knew I was leaving. I ultimately realized that I could only be where I was, so after multiple attempts to leave, I settled in and bought a home. I recovered and reinvented. Ironically, it was then that I lost that one friend who came here with me.

I met Jon in a campground in Almond, North Carolina, five hours west of Raleigh in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were both camping there for a whitewater kayaking clinic and met over a campfire. We both lived in Raleigh, etcetera. I was in the process of selling my first home and buying another. This neglected, 1950s brick home with good bones was to be my opus. I poured my savings and my energy into reading, studying, designing and planning for the long haul. I would be here indefinitely evolved into we would be here indefinitely together. Jon weighed in with his efforts and we continued to construct our lives out of these walls. We married this year.

Why is it that when you finally get comfortable with being in one place, you are provided the opportunity to be in another that you have longed for? I have already expressed here my sentiments for the west, and Jon’s birthplace Montana in particular. Earlier this year, we started the process of buying the Albrecht homestead, aka ‘the ranch’ (what makes a ranch versus a farm is a topic for another discussion). We started planning how to get ourselves to Montana and when. I desperately wanted it to happen but never dreamed we would leave so quickly.

Both dissatisfied with our jobs, we explored options. I will spare you all of the details except to say that originally I was to quit my job and go to nursing school. With only a few years left on his GI Bill, we realized that it made the most sense to take advantage of tax free income and tuition. Jon’s last day at MCI/Verizon Business was this August when he started college full-time. We further analyzed the options and discovered with mixed emotions that the fastest way to a nursing degree was to look outside of North Carolina. I applied for telecommuter status at work. Among several options was that we would live at the ranch and Jon would commute to a school across the Montana border into Wyoming. My telecommuter request was granted with the caveat that I had to be a near a corporate site. We looked at our options in the northwest and Rocky Mountain region. Proximity and the potential for moving to Montana after graduation sealed our decision—we settled on Boise, Idaho.

For the past eight years, I was first forced and then chose to do everything on my own. Now I don’t have to, which is mostly a blessing, but I’m torn. As my loved ones will attest (and much to their frustration), it takes me a long time to commit to any one thing, but when I do it is absolute. I have now poured my heart into this place, into my extended family here, and in particular this house. It is my personal space and it reeks of me at every turn. For folks like me, your home is like wearing all of your insides out. I thought I would be here forever. I look out of the kitchen into the backyard and I see my personal landscape.

Sigh. At the same time, I crave the idea of creating something unique—unique in that it is shared only between me and my husband. Our common life together, carving out our space in this world with our shared values and ideals of a life sustained--by the land, by the seasons, and by the family we have and the family we will create.

My heart is so heavy as I parse through my things and my history, looking for stuff to sell in the yard sale. Each object carries a memory, and the biggest loss will be relinquishing this house. Letting it go to someone who may not understand or appreciate the effort, energy, and emotion that we have invested. For sale or for rent. I am deeply saddened by the knowledge that we very likely will not be returning, but trying to be enthusiastic and optimistic about the opportunities ahead, the actualization of everything I thought I ever wanted. Just give me some more time to sort it out. I only know that we are heading out together and that Patti Griffith will be a part of my soundtrack.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What is Labor Day?

It is Labor Day weekend. Does that mean we should work hard or take a break from work and relax? For us it means work, work, work, and have tons of fun. This morning we were up early to take in a nice bicycle ride. We rode with the Selma Cyclepaths. The route was 42 miles and we blazed through it at 18mph. This was Kate's longest ride, and her fastest. I'm so proud of her I can't find the words to explain it. Way to go Kate!

After a small lunch at the house, Kate did some yard work while I mowed the front yard. After the grass clipping I started working on my weekend project. The project has been a pain in my butt for a long time now. Just how do you do the exterior finish on a window that is in a painfully off-square hole? I have been thinking about it for months. Today I jumped right on it and finished it in just under 4 hours. It wasn't easy or is done, though. The finished product is below.

Tomorrow we'll be up early again to ride a "metric century" in Cary, NC. A metric century is 100 kilometers or 62 miles. How fast we can do it? Maybe we'll have the master bathroom wired by Monday so we can start hanging sheetrock next weekend. It might be a little ambitious, but we'll see.