Possible Resolutions for 2008

December 28, 2007
  • Borrow a heatgun to remove the ancient linoleum in the upstairs bathroom. This is the same floor that sparked the heated exchange between me and Tony the plumber back in July. He tried to convince me that it wasn’t worth salvaging the original tiled floor, but I insisted that I wanted to try. He said that people use lino for a reason. I see his point, but these same people also carpeted over their southern yellow pine wood floors, so c’mon now.
  • Figure out the lighting in the kitchen. With one large light fixture in the middle of the ceiling, you’re always cooking, chopping, or cleaning dishes in the darkness of your own shadow. Task lighting! Recessed lighting! Under-cabinet lighting! Oh, I’ve got big plans.

These are such specific and concrete resolutions. I need some loftier resolutions about follow-through and completion, practicing acceptance, embracing openness, and seeking inspiration. I’ll get working on these.


The Land of Nog and Fiberglass Insulation

December 24, 2007

I’m up in the northern woods once again. This is no country for simple shovels. Up here, it’s Kubota tractors and Toro riding snowblowers. It’s x-country skiing in deep silent woods with a Border Collie on your heels. It’s eggnog and Irish Whiskey, homemade chili sauce smeared on a cracker, and Elvis singing about Blue Christmas.

But before we came north, Pierre and I spent a few days in his house installing insulation and reclaiming his kitchen after all the plumbing work he’s been doing. He’s basically rebuilding his little 1863 Cape house from the inside out. I’ve learned about how Pex works and helped Pierre strap in bathroom drain pipes (okay, all I did was hand him the screws he needed, but still…) He’s now doing this one-handed, since his left arm is in a sling post-surgery. Nothing slows the man down! Here are a few pics of our “other” house:




Shoveling 101

December 18, 2007

1. Wear coziest boots, but save cozy pants for afterwards.

2. Listen to The Splendid Table podcast so that in the midst of arctic winds you can ponder persimmons, meyer lemons, and raw goat’s milk cheeses.

3. Push snow as much as possible rather than scooping, lifting, or throwing.

4. Tell yourself that people with snowblowers may be better prepared, but there’s a kind of truth and beauty to the simple equation of woman + shovel + snow.

5. Remind yourself to put snowblower at the top of your birthday/xmas lists for the next year. Does Neuton make one?

6. Feel your biceps and lats get toned by the minute. Pay no mind to the odd twinge in your lower back.

7.  Don’t worry about getting down to raw pavement; that’s what snow tires are for.

8.  Greet fellow shovelers and revel in the unspoken camaraderie of manual labor.

9. Sip hot cocoa inside by the tree and admire your hard-won handiwork.

10. Go online and check prices on the cute little Honda snowblower available at Home Depot.

Decorated Tree

December 16, 2007

It’s a snoozy, sleety, post-party Sunday. I’m loving my tree.


First Christmas! New door!

December 16, 2007

The tree was from Vermont and the decorations from the one and only Christmas Tree Shoppe.


The front door is my favorite present from my favorite man:

And the front porch looks much better!  Thanks to John and Sally for the delicious Italian pastry that we enjoyed this snowy Sunday morning.  Now we’re off to shovel again!

door2.jpg breakfast.jpg

Having Enough

December 13, 2007

It’s been a bit of a tough week here at the homestead. Most of it, as you can probably guess, has to do with the three components of home ownership: time, money, energy.

Time has felt tight. It’s finals week, so I’ve been finishing up with grading and the usual end of semester crud. Meanwhile, Rhoda and I are slamming together an abstract (due tomorrow) for our article.

In the money category, there’s the fact that the car needed a new starter. While still reeling from this unexpected expense, lo and behold I discover that the washing machine drum–she ain’t spinning. (Have I mentioned my problem with appliances? In the same way that certain people can’t wear watches, I can’t live with machines. The year I lived with my parents, I broke almost every major appliance they owned: toaster, microwave, oven, and washing machine.)

In terms of energy, I just spent the last hour and a half shoveling my driveway. It’s our first snowfall and it’s gorgeous and fluffy. But why did they make all these old driveway so long? Next year, a snowblower is at the top of my xmas list.

So while a big part of me just wants more of all of three– time, energy, and money–another part of me realizes that it’s not about more of anything. I have enough. I have a roof over my head, electricity, a stocked larder, a friend to write an article with, a stellar snow shovel (thanks to Pierre), a cup of hot tea, and plenty of clean clothes while I sort out the washing machine snafu. It’s all part of this crazy ride of single homeownership.

If I was still renting, I’d be waiting for my landlord to plow the driveway and fretting about digging out my car. Now, as a homeowner, my little car is snug in the garage and I just got a great weight-bearing workout.

Rhoda to the rescue

December 10, 2007

Maybe you’ve had the kind of day where your car is encased in a sheet of ice, you’re running late, you’re schlepping bags of miscellaneous crap, and then your car won’t start. You probably sat there in the fuzzy light of your ice-encrusted car thinking WTF? Or why today? Or why me?

If this is all ringing true for you, then I hope that–like me–you also had a trusty neighbor and friend who happened to be home and happened to be a genuine card-carrying member of AAA. I find it fitting that this friend also sports a head scarf on occasion because she is my very own Rhoda.