Sunday, January 07, 2007

Squinting into the Sunrise

I used to inundate this blog with a lot of profound, philosophical, adjective-strewn introspection. Lately it seems to have devolved into more of an innocuous news portal or a photoblog- which I don't approve of, since I have the gallery, which also misses my attention- and while that's fun and amusing, it's probably not what kept people coming here in the first place. So I am resolving- simply because it's convenient and timely, not because it's a new year- to more frequently blog those thoughtful essays and gentle rants that amused you all before 2006.

And while I'm setting goals, there's something else on my mind. Somewhere amongst the days of 2007, some of you will be called upon to- get this- help me move. It won't take much, just a few trips of somebody's pickup for the big stuff. The small stuff I can move by myself in giant Cadillac-sized trunkloads, and a lot of it's going to the thrift store anyway. But sometime this year- hopefully soon- I will be either buying a home (this is the more likely scenario) or renting somewhere else (I dread the thought). Four years will be more than I can stand of this place.

Sometimes I wake to the sound of thunder and realize that the girl who lives on the top floor- a girl with the energy of a ten-year-old and thighs each the girth of an ancient Sequoia- is thundering up and down the wooden staircase above my head. Sometimes I wake to find cigarette smoke scorching my sinuses and have to get out of bed and stop up the kitchen sink. And then there's the plumbing.

At midnight on December 23rd I got frustrated with the slowly draining kitchen sink- yes, I frequently do my dishes in the middle of the night- and took the gooseneck off to find it filled with gravel.

It still wouldn't drain, so I disconnected further lengths of cheap pipe and found this:

I certainly didn't put it there. I dubbed it "the Fraggle" and threw it out into the snowy yard. Then I scraped the pipe out with the wire coat hanger I use to get into my truck when I lock the keys inside.

The green stuff is Space Invader foam I tried to seal the apartment with to prevent the cigarette smoke from coming in, but I can't very well squirt it down the sink drain, can I?

I've saved the landlady a lot of money on professional plumbing and was rewarded with the warm, fuzzy feeling I get after a successful bout of problem solving, but there comes a time when the problems I solve need to be my own and not someone else's. I want my own home now.

Later that night- or at 3:30 the morning of the 24th, whichever way you want to look at it- I had to go upstairs to ask a neighbor's guests to stop going in and out of the front door of the house, which is right above the head of my bed. They were stomping the snow off their boots and slamming the door, and I can only ignore a certain amount of this. I wound up staying there for an hour, holding a beer I didn't want and getting to know Jeremy's intoxicated pals, a motley group of local twenty-somethings for whom a night at the Legal Tender bar is the height of social interaction. A girl with a Harley Davidson bandana on her head repeatedly inquired if wanted a smoke. I finally stuffed the pack between the cushions of the couch when she wasn't looking. You can't offer what you don't have.

For all my complaining, I've actually enjoyed living here. It's warm and comforting and secluded, and when Dean's not smoking and the living room carpet isn't damp, it smells good. It's dark enough that I can sleep until noon, but I've managed to keep a few plants alive, huddled around the brightest window and out of reach of Kitty the Self-Destructive Feline Herbivore. The greatest feature of this apartment, though, is the price tag. It's going to be hard to go from $225.00 a month, including utilities, to $800 a month not including utilities. But our priorities change, don't they? And I'm willing to sacrifice some things financially- cable T.V., for instance- instead of sacrificing my health to Dean's secondhand smoke.

Enough of this, though. My heels have finally healed- I hiked them into bloody pulp snowshoeing over Christmas vacation- and I'm going out again today in a different pair of boots that might decrease the damage. I have a whole year to house-hunt, and plenty of time to blog about it.

In any case, these are my goals, along with a few others that may merit mention at some point. I hope to make your visits here more frequently rewarding, and I hope the new year holds as much promise for you as it does for me.


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