Saturday, March 25, 2006

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Boothwyn House Fails Inspection And Painterjayne Is Crushed

The house in Boothwyn turned out badly; the inspector and our builder--KeeKay--went through it carefully with Harry, me, our children, and Mary, our RE adviser. Bad news. We had missed a whole section of the basement that was dirt covered with big plastic sheets and on the upper wall, a big window open to the outside. There were all kinds of drains--new and old--with one not working, inside and outside. We realized the reason the builder had put this ugly raised black driveway was for his trucks so they wouldn't have to walk through the river that would have been our back yard. In addition, there were termites and the roof is sinking in one area. The inspector was somewhat terrible; when KeeKay found problems, he insisted on ignoring them, but he did recognize, I think the very messed up basement.
Our children didn't like the house; Honey especially noticed the cheap materials that were used. She kept saying it looked like a Holiday Inn. Everything had problems and really, everything was cheaply done. It wasn't worth $240,000, not even $200000. We noticed driving around a little more that some of the other houses looked run down too. What an experience! I've been depressed since then, although I'm grateful I somehow didn't have to buy the house. Now I can get out; it really would have been a money pit.
I loved the size of that house and the beautiful fireplaces that actually had problems too. Oh, well.
Tomorrow we'll pack for Boston; Brian is driving and we leave Monday, returning Friday. I hope my depression wears off. I'm trying to buy myself shoes on Ebay as some kind of present. I've been painting, even with my fingers when I don't have time to wash brushes. I love my enthusiasm; I'm kind of astonished but I'm very grateful.
I don't know when last I wrote; we went to New York, got lost as though we were walking in LA and had never been there. But Spam-a-lot was wonderful. The hotel was adorable even though the bed had to be tiny to fit into the room. Avenue Q didn't really appeal to us and we screwed up on the food. The little old French ladies sold their restaurant to folks who couldn't quite cook and Tocqueville sucked even though it was recommended everywhere and was inordinately expensive. Of course, I think LeBecFin sucks too. I don't like truly weird stuff like salmon bellies or lambs testicles.
I don't know what else is in my life now. Probably stuff that is tremendously important and right in front of my nose, but I can't see it at this minute. So it's time to get ready for bed. Good night world.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

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The Naked Story

Harry and I made a bid on the house in Boothwyn/Upper Chichester and the guy who rebuilt and owns the house accepted it. We really love the house because of its large size, the light, semi-rural setting etc. I think we're overpaying but the house is unusual because it's a rancher and very large. Anywhere else, it would cost a fortune. The front and back don't look like anything but hopefully after a while, we'll be able to remedy that (and the screwed up almost half-acre yard.)
We spent the weekend in Manhattan talking about the house between Broadway Shows, getting lost, and eating. We stayed at a Boutique hotel just off Times Square which you might think we could find. But we couldn't until we were totally exhausted and had walked miles across town. It was an adventure though, and memorable. The first night we saw "Spamalot" (for Harry's birthday.) The show was terrific and lots of fun. The next night we had tickets in the balcony for "Avenue Q" which was not really our speed. Harry couldn't hear because we weren't right up on the stage which we didn't realize was where he has to be to hear. "Avenue Q" is a good-time show too, but somehow it just didn't do it for us. We made reservations from home for two restaurants--one was highly recommended by Zagat's Guide and we'd gone to the other one on an anniversary a few years ago. We'd been enchanted by the little old French ladies running the latter restaurant. The food had been wonderful too. Sadly, it had been sold and the food was just mediocre. I guess the ladies would have been about 85 by now. The really fancy restaurant, Tocquiville, was supposed to be one of the best French restaurants. It turned out to be weird, I'd say. The only dish without some awful thing like Sweetbreads or Salmon Belly was the lobster, but nobody can make lobster like Harry. And they didn't. Oh, well. We had a good time talking about the house.
The room at Hotel 41 was tiny, with a double bed. It was very cozy and for New York, reasonably priced, I guess. Harry had on his sleep apnea breathing mask so I had facial air-conditioning for two nights.
Today, when I got home I checked my email and learned all the pages I'd put on Tripod had been deleted by them. Ugh and double ugh! Only God knows what rules I broke. So in addition to cleaning up the basement, packing, and painting (and everything else), I need to fix my website. That feels overwhelming and I'm afraid I won't do it which isn't good. Lots of pages are blank.
Well, I promised myself I'd put pictures of the new house on here, so that's what I'll do now. Oh, it won't let me. Crap. Well, it's nice. It's not allowing me to put any pictures on, so today will be naked. I'm sorry.

Monday, March 13, 2006

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This is the fourth pic I've tried tonight and even though it doesn't exactly fit the theme, it shows warm weather, so this it it.

Today was a beautiful day; I was out driving this afternoon and then I went shopping for jeans at dinnertime. I still call them dungarees. I went up to the Cottman Street mall which isn't called that. I think I was saying goodbye and also having a good time trying on thirty pairs of jeans and later shoes. Two "big" women's stores are almost next door to each other and they happen to be my favorites too. I was appalled at the size of my hips and how ugly my butt is but I found a pair of jeans. And they had a lot that fit me too. They just looked horrible accentuating my very round hips. That I look awful to me doesn't seem to inhibit my eating though. I can't make the connection where it counts--in my unconscious. I kind of understand I can't eat candy and sweets though; that glucose count of 409 reached me.
I won't miss Cottman Street or the Northeast; I enjoy Center City but this neighborhood reminds me of all the things I don't like about the city: busy streets; no trees; stinky air and lots of people crowded together on one block. I can't do anything in my house or outside my house without my neighbors commenting on it. There really isn't much privacy. But tonight was delightful; it seemed as though the whole city was out tonight celebrating the Spring preview. And I was happy to join them.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

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I have a couple of themes tonight. People who worked hard to hurt me at work. Looking at houses and failing to keep my promise.
To Carl T. Margaret H. Catherine something who did the cars or whatever Gene Ethelyn Laurel S. Rosa, oh, and Gene's secretary whose name I gladly forget. Nah Nah Nah Nah! I'm retired and you're not! And if you are, well, not only am I doing very well, but you didn't succeed in ruining my life--Ha! Ha! Ha!--I paid for my son's private school and his way through college & he won a big scholarship too! I have two great exceptionally smart college-graduate kids. Are yours still drug addicts? Are you still crazy? Are you still scrunching yourself up to fit in? You'll never be comfortable...and I am. You sold your soul...for what!? Aren't you ashamed? Wouldn't you have liked to be free? Ever? Well, go sit in the bathroom and brood.
Next.. Houses. We saw four more yesterday; we loved two of them even though they weren't right for us, and two were just awful. Here's what I wrote to a friend, "After 58 years in the City, I'm looking forward to suburbia. I don't know how long we'll be able to live there but hopefully for the rest of our lives. I love gardening and living with trees and plants. Just looking at my plants is relaxing. The only thing Ifind daunting is the small size of the rooms in ranch houses. I cannot understand how such tiny rooms can equal say, 1200 square feet. My house is 1100 and you could fit theirs in mine and still have room to walk around. I've never been claustrophobic, but in those ranchers, I am." I found a few new houses just being built that sound good, but I suspect they're in a over-55 community which has both good and bad points. The goodest might be the price and the baddest might be the price too. I'm hoping we get to visit them this week. We have no time so I'll probably have to cancel my trip shopping with Theresa because the other days are doctors' appointments and then we're going up to NY for the St. Patty's Day weekend (for Harry's birthday.)
Just an aside..I was reading Cupcake Brown's book whose name I can't remember but as much as I liked it, I don't think I can read it. What she went through is so cruel it's too painful to read. Number one, our foster care system is all fucked up and I believe because she was an African-American child, people, including other African-Americans treated her worse than dirt. This country created a horrible legacy with slavery and on top of that, we don't care at all for children who aren't ours--and sometimes not them either. Even though they're defenseless and trusting, we just can't be bothered. And of course old people, disabled folks, and uninsured people are in the same boat, but the kids can't even grab an oar.
And lastly, how I failed people I loved. Jeanette...She was Brian's old girlfriend who had mental illness and I loved her. I promised her I'd always love her, if not in words, in my heart. And eventually, I had to give her up. I couldn't save her. I didn't know what to do and I was being destroyed. She's gone and I cry every time I think about her. She changed my life and broke my heart. It wasn't her fault; I just didn't have enough to give and I'll always regret it. And I'll always love her.
Sammy. My dog. When he came to me, he was suspicious and angry. He growled when he was hungry. It took years and patience for him to know I loved him and would never let anything hurt him. He would always be with me. He opened his heart and loved me back. Harry tolerated Sammy and helped me with him. Sammy couldn't stop being terrified I'd never return when I walked out the door. He drooled puddles in the vestibule and in the living room. He pooped in the basement and sometimes in the living room too. Sometimes the living room was filled with torn newspapers or other things he'd shredded. Little rugs we bought him to chew when we were out, bones--hundreds of bones. Paxil didn't calm him. Nothing did. When he chewed all the upholstery from my mother's chair, I gave up. He was adopted by people four days after the Golden Retriever Rescue made him available. Sammy was sad and I know, I was sad too. I know Jeanette is a person and Sammy is a dog, but I failed them both. I understand most people would say I couldn't do more, but I wanted to.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

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Jaynee & Harry Go House-Hunting & Avoid Saying Hello To Susan

Tomorrow Harry and I are meeting Mary, our friend who's an experienced real estate agent, at one of the two houses I like (from the photos and descriptions.) I'm taking my new camera so I can remember each house; we're visiting four. These are the houses that are closest to Abington; the rest so far are in Norristown and King of Prussia. Whitpain would be a nice compromise; we'll see tomorrow. Also, the Whitpain house is just beyond our money limit; we could swing it, but do we make an offer for less? I hope so.
My house is still a mess. I finally cleaned the upstairs bathroom this evening but it's really not finished. There are still little holes in the walls and things like that. Like no shelves so almost nothing can go back. This room and my studio are still packed. KeeKay is going to start working on the basement powder room tomorrow, not up here. There's no screen door in the back, the one we bought didn't fit. The tiles for the bathroom have to go back too; they're actually horrible. We're not going to do the bathroom floor. It will have to be old while the rest is new.
This is an adventure; today I was out with Jerry for lunch and I asked him to drive further up 611 so I could see the shopping in case I move around there. It looks okay; there was a Clemens and a Target. And Willow Grove is pretty close. It can't be less than around here and it isn't, plus I noticed restaurants too. There's so little in this neighborhood anymore and we can still come here if we choose.
Jerry and I stopped first at Bed and Bath for bathroom stuff. Who's there but Susan S. with whom I used to work. Of course she didn't say hello and I ducked behind a display so I wouldn't be face to face with her. She used to come into my cubicle whenever she had something to discuss--her own adventures and complaints about life at the job or her mother--but then she would barely talk to me for months. I saw her mother the other day too, when I took my mother in law to the doctor. Her mom had been the administrator's secretary and a more nasty woman I've never seen. She was horrible, miserable, mean. It's no wonder her daughter runs hot and cold. There's more to the story, but I don't feel like telling it now.
I know I had something important to say but I forget it. Ah, about eating, wanting to be fat so guys wouldn't look at me...? I can't remember; it'll hold. And I want to get to reading in bed. I love that.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

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Getting Ready for the House Search (of this century for me)

It looks as though we'll be buying a house in either Whitpain or Roslyn; both are in the western part of Abington, a suburb of Philly. I wanted Glenside but there aren't any ranch houses for sale there. I'm not happy with either of these neighborhoods; they're too far out into the 'burbs. They've each got about a quarter of an acre which will look nice, but what can I do with it? Do I have to buy another dog? Should I borrow one because the place will be so big I won't have to worry about stepping in the shit? Or maybe I should put in a walking path because I'll feel as though I live in a park. Maybe this isn't a good idea. These two houses look nice though from the pictures and descriptions. Of course, the first house looked and sounded great too and it was almost a hovel.
But I can see the writing on the wall; the ranch house is coming and we're going. I know I'll enjoy being on one floor and having what I hope is at least close to my perfect house. Not my perfect location--we'll still be far from shopping, and I'm afraid it will be too conservative. One house even had a flag pole. Do they make cat flags that big? The idea of a flag pole, to me, reeks of a closed mind and, in W's world, fascism. All this sounds like cold feet to me.
I loved one weird house in Norristown; it's wild with an odd shape and lots of interior space. But it's too far. One nice one was in Jeffersonville which I think is just what it sounds like. Jipip.
I guess I'll be leaving one backward community for another one, except that this one will be packed with "Special Beans." Or at least folks who are sure they're right. I pray they won't be "To the right."
I just took a break and looked up where these two addresses really are. The Roslyn address isn't far from Abington after all. It's a hike to Jenkintown where we shop at Whole Foods, but it's close, I think to regular stores and not far from Glenside either. That house has an attic too, plus I could always dot the quarter acre with little storage houses for all the junk we collect and extra paintings. There! I found a use for all that land. Storage! And hopefully, I'll never have to clean it out. That will be for my kids I hope (after I kick the bucket.)
How will I get into Center City though? It'll feel like I'm traveling to another country. At least I'll be out of here though. It's odd; our little area is fine, but when you venture a few blocks north, east, or south it's getting poor. Summerdale is looking way better but drugs are now a problem there. Near Castor Avenue, the area is run down. The stores I liked have mostly moved or closed. I can't eat that much Brazilian or Korean food. The "American" food kind of sucks around here. Well, there are two places we go for dinner; one is Italian and the other seafood, and they're good. One is cheap and the other runs into money. The better ones are either in Jenkintown or elsewhere. Like Center City.
I'm rambling so I guess it's time to cut off. Tomorrow is my internist's appointment. I wonder what he'll say about my blood sugar having been 409.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

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Our House

Today Harry and I went to see our first house on our search for a new home. Probably it was good that our first try was terrible; the house was in poor shape; it would have had to be gutted and rebuilt. Most everything had been jerry-built by somebody handy but not quite handy enough and with bad taste to boot. They had painted ceramic tiles around the gas fireplace black and used the rest of the paint to do half the ceramic tiles in one bathroom leaving the rest green. The kitchen was divided in two but the rooms went on and on. The best part of the house were the family pictures. Everything in the house looked worn and slapdash. I wouldn't want to leave our house which we've kept up to go to a house that was a mess.
We're just finishing totally remodeling the upstairs bathroom with gorgeous brand-new white tile, new vanity etc. And the basement powder room is next. We remodeled our kitchen a while ago and it still has that good look. A new faucet is coming because the one there now never worked quite right. Our hardwood floors are beautiful. We didn't want to put a runner on the steps because they're so pretty. We won't show our house until it's been painted and perfect all over. I planted trees in the front and in my garden out back. I love that garden. We have lovely neighbors too; I hate to leave them. The school across the street is scheduled to be knocked down in two years so the house will rise in value.
We're really in the middle of renovating; we had to wait until we finished paying for Brian's education. And now we're done. I've always wanted a house with no steps. Harry needs an office because he takes care of his mom's and my care and the whole family's records. And I can have a studio on the first floor too. Perhaps we can have a bathroom in the master bedroom so I don't have to worry about the kittens following me back into the bedroom in the middle of the night. (We were going to put a powder room in our bedroom--it could be easily done--but we won't if we're going to move.) We're getting too old to deal with the steps. Sometimes I have to drag myself up them and other times I'm okay but my knees just hurt badly.
I hope whoever the new people are who buy our house are as happy as we've been here. This is a house with good vibrations and lots of love.

Friday, March 03, 2006

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Ready For A Kiss 2006
Today was Friday; I went to Home Depot this morning with Harry and KeeKay (who's fixing our house.) It wasn't as long or exhausting as last time. I chose a tile flooring and once that's done, the bathroom will be finished. And then on to the powder room in the basement which should look terrific when it's done. I have so much to do on my own to get this house ready to be shown/sold.. I spend inordinate amounts of time on here looking at houses in Glenside and every other suburb around Philly. But I've been painting even when I have small amounts of time. I'm still fooling around with two abstracts but I'm happy doing it. Now I have a digital camera and I need to take photos of the two I finished. I like them all really; I'm glad I keep loving some of my paintings. Others eventually I see as failed, or just paintings I don't like. I can't destroy them though; invariably somebody says they loved that painting and I could have at least given them the piece. That way everybody's happy. I did that with the Swimmers. I could not get that the way I "saw" it and I couldn't stand the painting. Now that KeeKay took down the painting covering the opening to a closet over the stairway, I'm stuck with that one too. Ugh. It's one of a couple of old abstracts. I don't like either, but I do very much like the one on the wall in front of me. And it's old too.
I hope I get to go out to my brother's in Port Orford next year or so; I have a bunch of watercolor/pastels from there--my favorite of which is facing me (above the Little Man)--and I'm not happy with it after all. It turned out to have been the only one I liked. And now I don't. I have a lot of stuff in 16 x 20" frames and some extra frames too, and I'm not working in that size anymore. Plus I have at least fifteen framed pieces--oh, probably twenty-five--that are framed and not worth the frames, or at least not now, to me. (Sigh)
I'm still depressed. Why? I eat too much and I'm kinda lost. I don't have my footing as far as "being"; not yet. I saw my "Realism Therapist" Wednesday and she showed me a sensible way to look at unfriendly people. I haven't completely internalized that yet; maybe because I'm still being influenced by my habit of fading into the wallpaper in response to my mercurial mom and her family. Mercurial is a good description with a heavy dose of shoulds, and expected ESP of her needs and desires. (I'm too old for this. I'll probably be 78 and still complaining about my mom (who I loved, by the way.) But I remember seeing a woman my age in therapy when I was about twenty and I know what I thought.) I think I'm a very lucky woman to be getting therapy (from two good therapists) in this mean-spirited time (despite being more than middle-aged.)
The majority of people can't get therapy because either their insurance won't pay or pay too little and/or they're afraid of being seen as "crazy". I know some people take therapy as a sign of weakness too. Also, how many good therapists are there? From my and my friends' experiences, the number is limited. And when people finally take the plunge and don't benefit, they assume they can't be helped or that's all that's available. Looking inside and interacting with other people from that standpoint is food for the soul--in other words it feels real and exciting. And being open, honest and vulnerable is all I know how to be.
Meanwhile, either I'll go look for chin hairs then go read in bed or go do the free tarot and see whether it says anything about selling this house or buying a new one. A psychic friend of mine said yesterday we'd be out of here by June. I think that's true, but I am concerned about selling this one. (And going through all my stuff.) Ah, life.