Meeting (one of) the Neighbors

Our First Night went pretty well, all things considered.  We weren't able to get the box spring up the stairs (we'll be picking up some plywood at a later date) so our mattress went right on the frame, which helped make our very large room seem even larger.  We sat in bed for a while just marveling.

We took showers, and learned which windows really need curtains ("Hi neighbors!").  We discussed the placement of furniture and potential future additions.  We decided that a ceiling fan is high on our list of "must-have" improvements.  It was all very domestic and good.

After I brushed my teeth I started hearing a strangely rhythmic clinking.  At first I thought we had a leak in the sink, but after about five minutes of me "Shhh!"ing Nathan (because it kept stopping and starting at random) and creeping around from place to place, I finally decided it must be coming from outside... and I could hear music, too, and maybe someone singing...

Suddenly Nathan announced, "He's practicing drumming!  That weird noise- that's the ride cymbal!"

Mystery solved, we talked about whether nor not we should go ask him to keep it down.  "After all," I reasoned, "It's almost eleven o'clock."  I volunteered to be the one to go down (I'm better at getting my way in such a manner that the other party thinks I'm doing them a favor), but as I got dressed we realized the noise had stopped.

"Maybe he only practices until eleven?"

Well with that problem solved I got undressed again, crawled into bed, and promptly fell asleep...

...only to be jerked awake a little after midnight by even louder (and, to be honest, more offensive-to-my-ears: I'm not such a fan of death metal) music, accompanied by correspondingly enthusiastic practice-drum noises.

Once again I pulled pants and shirt on, stumbled downstairs, fumbled my shoes on, and went over to meet our musically-inclined neighbor.  I went out through our front gate and walked over to their fenced-in-patio and said (in my best nonthreatening, adorable female voice),  "Excuse me,"

No break in the drumming.  So I turn up my own volume.

"''Scuse me!"  and a startled head pops up over the fence like a paranoid meerkat.  He's younger than us, and shirtless, and quite possibly... in an altered state of mind.

"Hi," I say, giving my best sleepy-yet-charming smile.  "Could you turn it down a little?"

"Oh!  Oh yeah, sure.  Sorry," and he disappears to do so as I'm offering up my, "We just moved in..." segue.  I trail off, because he is staying disappeared and obviously we are done here.

Possibly my charm is not as charming as it used to be.

But that's alright, because if nothing else, at least one neighbor is quite reasonable.


Carnivores and Their Habit(at)s

Nathan took the day off from work today, and our friend Todd helped him move all the furniture into the new place.  When I got home Nathan looked more or less like this:

(That's where the couch used to be.)

It was exhausting just looking at him, so I took a nice half-hour long break to recover.

Once I was feeling refreshed, we hauled over a few more bins, and did a bit of furniture arranging (and I managed to take a chunk out of the wall, so I guess I can't stop worrying about when I'll do that) and then Nathan grilled us our very first meal at Timaru: a couple of petite sirloins.

Aaaaand then we realized that while we had thought to bring over the plates, we somehow didn't think to grab the silverware.  But if you're going to be eating meat you may as well be a barbarian about it, right?  Right.  So we tore in with our bare fingers and teeth, sitting in the backyard and enjoying the breeze from the west.

It was delicious.

And now?  Now we get to spend our first night in our new home.  Huzzay!


New Neighbors

"Do you think they're nice?"

"I don't think it matters if they're nice, because we're not going to talk to them.  We're not even going to let them see us.  In fact, we ought to leave now."

"Pssh, don't be such a nymph.  They're too busy carrying stuff to notice us.  Nobody said anything about not watching them."

"It's implied."

"Oh it is not.  Anyway you can leave if you want to.  Then there won't be any witnesses."

"Witnesses for what?"

"Doesn't matter- you won't be here."

"Fine.  I'll stay.  But only to keep you out of trouble!"

"...I like the look of that one."

"Which one?"

"The female.  Look at her eyes- she has proper eyes, all slanty like ours."

"So does the male."

"Yeah, but he looks grumpy.  She looks... like she still believes in fairies."

"Don't be ridiculous.  You know the grown ones never believe in fairies."

"That one does.  I can tell."

"You'd better hope she doesn't.  The last thing we need is for her to recognize signs of our presence.  Then we'd have to move again, and I like it here."


Pemberly, Tara, Ashgrove... and Timaru

That is a Smooch of Ownership.

The last two evenings have been spent in a whirlwind of dusting and scrubbing and vacuuming, but now at last our new home is at the super-ultra-clean Starting Point I wanted it to be.  Nathan, game fellow that he is, went along with the madness in spite of his firmly stated opinion that the house was already clean.  (And it was, but not by my inner-German-grandmother standards...)

Which means that now we can start moving stuff in- which we did, actually.  Mostly just a few (of the many) boxes of books, but it's deeply satisfying to see some of our stuff in our house.  Which, as you may have gathered, I have christened "Timaru".  I came across the word in a poem and thought, "Oh what a lovely sound- that would be a perfect name for our new house!"  And then I thought, "Hmm, I'd better make sure it doesn't mean something like 'dung beetle'," so I looked it up and lo-and-behold, it's a city in New Zealand that takes its name from the Māori phrase Te Maru, meaning 'place of shelter'.  Which means that "Timaru" is, in fact, the perfect name for our new house.


Frustrations and Bad Habits

Here is what "closing on the house" meant in my brain:

We show up at the house, we sign papers, we get the keys.  Hooray!

Here is what "closing on the house" actually meant.

We showed up at the title loan company, we signed papers, we... came back to our apartment and do some more packing.  Because the closing paperwork has to be processed.  Which could not happen the same day that we signed because the cut-off time was 1:30, and we didn't finish everything until closer to 2:00

So no house for us until some time Monday.  Which is... somewhat aggravating, to say the least.

In the meantime I've become shamelessly infatuated with MTV's 16 and Pregnant.  I know, I know... I'm not proud.  But seriously- that show is fascinating.  It's such an interesting study of different psyches... not to mention I definitely get to feel smug and superior when I watch it.  So... that's probably not the most healthy thing in the world for my psyche.  Not to mention there are way better things I could be doing with my time.

...like packing...


Homeowner? I Don't Think So.

First of all, this:

Seven Stacks of... Script?
No, we are not having a boisterous bacchanalia; that pile o'packets is the sum total of our books (mostly).  Liquor boxes are small and sturdy, which makes them excellent for transporting our trades (seriously- someone stop me) which means I've been making friends down on Main Street....  And pretending to be deaf to heavily-Russian-accented-voices and their opinions of my bosom and the rights it affords me.  ::cough::

We close on the house tomorrow, and- me being who I am- I spent last night reviewing the 90+ pages of closing documents (and catching errors and questionable entries).  As I slogged through that tome (the trick to deciphering legalese is to avoid distractions- like music- and to go reeeaaaaallly slowly to ensure you don't revert to "this-is-boring-let's-skim-it" habits) I came to a realization:

We are not going to be home-owners.

Everyone keeps using phrases like, 'first-time home-owners' and 'finally own your own place!', but the thing is- we aren't.  We really, really aren't.  We're going to be mortgage-owners.  Long-term-home-buyers might be the most optimistic way of phrasing it.  And I think that's something that too many people either gloss over, or just don't give too much thought to.  But it's right there in the contract- we are expressly forbidden from doing anything that might lower the value of the property.  Do you know who gets to dictate what is and isn't allowed to be done to something?  Yeah, the person who owns it.  Which in this case is the bank.  Sobering, isn't it?

Anyway, back to packing...


Rounding the Homestretch

As we enter into this final stage of our lives as non-home-owners, and I am doing things that involve Grid Paper and Tiny Paper Couches, I find myself looking around at our apartment and sighing.  Not so much because I feel any sort of nostalgia about this dwelling (really it was only ever meant to be a placeholder) but because...  well, it's only a little two-bedroom apartment (under 1000 square feet) and really, we don't have that much stuff- but holy crap we have so much stuff.  And I'm trying to figure out the most logical way to pack it all up.  Again.  The difference being that instead of moving it cross-country I only have to move it cross-town (and not even that, really- it's only like 2.5 miles) which honestly always seems like such a bigger pain in the posterior.  And since this will be my tenth move in as many years (including moves ranging from 3000 miles to 30 yards) I feel more than qualified to make that judgment.

It's the books, mostly.  So many damn (and damnably heavy) books.  And the thing is?  It's not that many books!  I've given up so many over the past years- and yet so many remain.  I comfort myself that having a house means having the luxury of not having to constantly par down on books- but I may be only kidding myself, because really, if I didn't keep a strict hand on how many books share space with us, they would swiftly bury us in an avalanche of paper and ink.

(We all have our vices.)

At any rate, we're on schedule to close in less than a week, and it has been pointed out to me by certain individuals that I haven't actually shared any photos on this blog.  And so I shall take this entry to remedy that glaring oversight:

Front of the house (crying out for a rocking chair or two)

Back of the house/garage (that porch demands parties!)

Living area- front door to the right

Nathan has declared I may use this for my crafting nook...

Looking from the crafting nook towards the kitchen (that's the home inspector there)

Kitchen!  With high cabinets!

Guest bedroom/Nathan's office

Upstairs looking down.  So many things to love in this picture.

Hypothetical kid's room/my office

Master bedroom

Sink in the master bathroom.  It makes me happy.

So there you  have it, Gentle Readers- a brief tour of the house-that-shall-be-ours.  I even have a name picked out for her (a friend of mine rightly pointed out that all the best homes have names) but I won't be revealing it until the keys are in our hot little hands.  In the meantime... back to planning my packing.



The Tragi-Comedic Life of Jenny O (Emphasis on Comedic)

Maybe this ought to be two posts, but since I'd already been working on writing up the First Event when the Second One occurred, you get a(n exceptionally long) Twofer.  I actually have a third one that's been bouncing around in  my head for a few weeks, but it may never actually make it to the page... we'll see...

Sunday was an odd day for me.  In spite of my glorious mood from the night before, I woke up... not wanting to wake up.  And certainly not wanting to get out of bed.  And double certainly not wanting to leave the house for church and to deal with people, of all hideous things.  But I did all of these things, and even comported myself in a manner which I do not believe belied my Mopey Funk- although on the drive home Nathan asked if I was okay, since I was so quiet.  I said that maybe sometimes I was just quiet, and he straight up called me on that BS.

We'd been talking all week about doing a hike Sunday afternoon, and although I dearly wanted to just lay in bed and Be Depressed, two things kept me from that course of action: the first was the memory of Nathan dancing with me the night before.  The second was my determination not to be That Girl anymore.  I've said it before, and I'll likely say it again- depression is like a comfortable old sweater to me.  It's cozy.  It's familiar.  But giving into the fuzzy sweater is just Lazy- and I will not be lazy.  Especially because I knew that hiking would eventually put me in a better mood.  So I changed clothes and we headed out and started our hike and I was quiet but not sulky, and sure enough- eventually we reached a good spot for photography and I lay on my back and stared up through the trees while Nathan worked and I started to Feel Better.  Then we scrambled up a waterfall and I started to feel a lot better.  Happy, even.  See?

Happy Campers.  Er, hikers.

Anyway it was about then that tragedy struck- or maybe I should say I struck.  A branch.  With my naked toe.  And it hurt, but I scolded myself for reacting so strongly, saying, "O you are just being a big baby- it didn't hurt that badly.  You're reacting to the shock, not the pain."  So I stuck my feet in the glacier-cold water and felt better.  Eventually we got out and dried our feet and started the 2.5 hike back, and at first it was a little painful, but then the pain sort of eased and I thought, "See, you're fine."

Oh but then.  Then I turned my foot a little, and put pressure on said injured toe from the side- and I was not fine.  I was not even remotely fine, as the pain exploded through my foot and up into my leg, and my stomach dropped out.  I kept moving (there may, perhaps, have been some obscenities) and soon enough it was fine again.  Walking normally was not at all a problem, and now that I knew that side pressure was, I was very careful about my foot placement.  I only screwed up twice more, and both times swiftly corrected.

We got back to the car and, out of curiosity, I took my shoe and sock off:

An instance wherein purple is NOT my favorite color.

"That may be a broken toe," I said to Nathan (although what I meant was "fractured" since obviously it wasn't broken broken).  I was all for just taping it to the next toe and calling it good, but at my wise mother's insistence I did end up going to the doctor this morning.  Here's what my toe looked like by then:

You can't tell, but the discoloration goes up into the foot...
The doctor was great (I do have something of a fondness for podiatrists- they never talk down to me or make me do pointless tests or try to force pills on me).  I expressed my fear that I was just being a baby and it was nothing more than a bruise, but he took one look at it and said that usually when it looks like that there actually is something wrong with it.  A few x-rays later we had our answer- not fractured, but definitely torn.  Oh so torn.  He commended me for listening to my mother, and then gave me a freaking sweet laser treatment.  With this machine:

It was like Star Trek. With fewer catsuits.
Anyway, he told me to keep doing what I've been doing (mostly elevation and not-doing-the-painful-thing, as it will impede the healing process) and that I was not a baby.  He also said I could do the buddy-tape thing to help stabilize, but after wearing the tape for about five minutes I realized it was hurting, so I've decided to forgo that for the time being.

So that was that adventure.  And now we come to part two,

You may or may not remember, but a while back I submitted some stuff to a magazine.  And they accepted.  Well today I went to the mailbox, and what should I find but a package!  And what was in that package?  Why, two copies of a magazine!

As you might imagine, Elation ensued.  I immediately flipped to the contents page:...

Click to Embiggen

...and immediately burst into laughter.  Why?  Take a closer look:

(My tablet isn't working right now, so forgive the funky touchpad-writing)
Ah well, I thought.  Published is published, right?  And it wouldn't be the first time my name had been published incorrectly (the first time was in college- and they not only credited the wrong artist, they didn't even get the title of my piece correct- or bother to get permission before using it.)  So I flipped to the story....

...and started laughing even harder:

Because seriously, you guys?  This:

Yes, that is the author-photo I submitted.  With my name in the photo.


 But I maintain that I can still call myself a published author, inconsistently spelled name or not.  (Although Nathan definitely had fun saying, "I don't know who you are," and the like...)

I sent them a gentle email to point out the oversights, but really- I'm not upset.  I've worked as an editor, I know how hard it is to catch every little thing (especially because these women also work day jobs), and quite frankly, it makes for a better story this way.

And really, that's all I ask from life- good stories.

EDIT: I got a very sweet response from the editor!  She apologized profusely, and said she'd fix the online version ASAP- before it goes live tomorrow!  (She also promised to get the spelling right for any future submissions I might make...  tee hee!)  See, mistakes happen to the best of us- but if you're willing to take responsibility and make it right, it's really not that big of a deal.  ^_^