Thursday, July 31, 2008

The truth

I have not been blogging lately, and do you want to know why? I just haven't felt like it. I've got plenty of topics that are wonderfully blogworthy in that they would provide me with the opportunity to possibly be somewhat witty, sarcastic and/or silly. But I just haven't felt like it. I should post photos of the Roman shades my mother made (I helped!) and the lovely new colors of my living room. But I just haven't felt like it. I could also discuss the new perspective on Durham one gets when one moves to a different part of town. Or the frustration of a new homeowner being hounded constantly by purveyors of mortgage protection plans (no, I don't give a shit what happens to my house after I die), security systems and home remodeling services. But, meh, whatever.

I will, however, show you a photo of my lovely solar dryer:

solar dryer

Yeah, you can see my undies if you look closely. Woo.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

News of good from the old 'hood ...

I just saw a post on the Trinity Park e-mail list (yeah, I still subscribe--some days it was the cheapest entertainment around) about the site of the massive proposed condo development that caused such a kerfuffle last year. Apparently the owners of the site have submitted a design package for a 13-unit (which would need no special use permit) luxury condo plan for the site.

The poster, a member of Neighbors For Sustainable Development in Trinity Park, has an initial favorable opinion of the proposal. There will be a public forum on the project Monday, July 21st at 1:30 p.m., when the site plan will be reviewed by the Design District Review Team (DDRT) in Conference Room A, Ground Floor, City Hall.

I wonder if my new 'hood has an e-mail list?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The midnight train is whining low

I hate it when the blogs I read regularly go silent for days on end and provide me with no entertainment or edification. So I apologize to anyone who gives a crap about what I write here. I've been busy trying to turn my new house into a home.

But before I blab on about that: Ever wanted to hear a Brazilified Hank Williams song? You can here. Click on the "downloads" link, give them some of your precious info, and they'll give you three free musics. Including the aformentioned Hank cover.

So anyway, about the house. It needs paint. On the inside; the outside is all bricky. I was going to start in the bathroom because it's heinous. I hate blue and the tulip border drives me crazy. The shell-shaped sink, laminated vanity and geriatric railing next to the toilet don't help at all. Ideally I'd completely remodel the whole thing but I'm not going to spend such bucks right now. Fabric will have to do for now. (Anyone with any experience painting laminate should feel free to share their wisdom with me.)

The kitchen was going to be next, because the anemic yellow cabinets just don't fill me with joy. I think kitchens should be colorful and maybe a little crazy. They're supposed to be happy, creative places, like maybe it would inspire me actually cook something that required more than pre-heating an oven. I have a slightly kooky color scheme in mind inspired by the boomerang countertops.

The night before I was going to go buy some paint for one of these projects I was sitting in my living room and it occurred to me that it really needed to be first in line for some paint. To begin with, the trim is the worst shade of blue ever invented. It looks like it belongs on the walls of a hospital because any color so ugly must have some special redeeming quality like superior germ-fighting powers or resistance to staining by bodily fluids. Also, I have a whole ton of weird crap I want to display in the room, and it would make sense if I paint before I drag it all out of its boxes.

I had a hard time settling on one color for the room, so I chose two ("Jovial Orange" and "Golden Rod"). I got some coordinating fabric to make Roman shades. Not that I know how or anything, but my mother does and she keeps saying she wants to help. So she'll be up this weekend for shade-making merriment. So far the room is slightly painted, but I'm busy with dog stuff as usual, and it all probably won't be finished until next week. I'll post photos at some point.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A dinosaur victrola listening to Buck Owens

I dined out last night with the Durham Mighty Morphin' Ninja Blogger Posse. We tried Taste Of India, which is in the "Big K" shopping center on University Drive (very convenient to my new digs!) I ordered a vegetarian sampler plate that I thing was called something like "Palace Bhojan." My camera was dead, so I got no photo, but Lenore got a photo of hers. It was way more food than I could possibly eat at one meal, but I really enjoyed it. I'd love to go back sometime, so anyone who wants to try the place and needs a dining companion should just let me know ...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hello from Susie Single Homeowner ..

I got internet this morning. Hooray for Time-Warner. Except for the part where I had to wait two hours for the cable guy, it was fast and easy. Hey Verizon, you can suck it, OK? Time-Warner put me through zero hours of tech support hell, and even though I chose their second-cheapest service, it seems fast enough for my recreational intertube surfing needs.

Oh, but bad thing this weekend: the big huge scary storm Friday night knocked out power in my vicinity for about 24 hours. Good thing I didn't have the fridge or freezer fully stocked. Also good thing that I decided to bring the two extra (I know, seems excessive) yard waste bins from my old house (I left one for our buyer). I filled all three bins with the miscellaneous chunks of trees and bushes that littered my lawn on Saturday.

On Sunday, I mowed the lawn. I had to borrow a friend's mower because the one I had before was an old electric and it wouldn't have been up to the task of .59 acres. My friend's mower is a self-propelled walk-behind, and even though it helped a bit, I still did not really enjoy myself. People tell me I need a riding mower, but they're all so gigantic that I don't think they'd fit through either gate between the front and back, and they definitely wouldn't fit through the basement door, so I'd then have to build a shed just for the mower to live in. Then I'd have to worry all the time that some crackhead was going to break into my shed and steal my big gigantic mower. Maybe I'll just hire TROSA lawn care from now on. (Did I mention that TROSA moved me? They did an awesome job. I wholeheartedly recommend them if you're planning a move.)

But damn, my new house is awesome. I'm having a hard time getting stuff done because I just want to sit out in my big, beautiful back yard and ponder how cool the place is.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Man I was mean but I'm changing my scene

Yes, I'm moved in. No, I'm not unpacked and settled. Yes, I need a beer.

I'm really grumpy because I don't have internet yet. I made the wrong choice: I figured it would just be easiest at first to get the Verizon service transferred from my previous house to this one and just plug in my existing modem and wi-fi transmitter. No waiting around for a cable guy, methinks. But no, stupid me, it couldn't possibly be that easy. First off, I didn't actually get the phone service when they said I did. Dude called me Monday morning to say he was hooking it up. So then I went to use it Tuesday, after I had finally found my telephone, and it didn't work. I called Verizon and they said they showed it as being good to go. The woman told me to go test it at the box outside (which involved stringing together two extension cords and running them out a basement window so I could plug in the cordless set outside). It really, truly didn't work, so I called them back and they finally sent out a guy who found that there was some problem between the pole and my house. Couldn't the first guy have checked that when he did my install? No, maybe too much work ...

So then Verizon tells me my DSL is also GTG. I hauled out the gear and its associated spaghetti of wires and hooked it all up, but no go. The modem power light came on, but not the other two that indicate it's actually getting data. Here I descended into tech support hell, talking to two different women who I'm guessing could have been in China from their accents. (I had to call twice because the first time I accidentally cut myself off whilst playing with phone wires D'oh!) Each dutifully followed her script to take me step-by-step through the whole troubleshooting process. In these situations, you cannot deviate from the script or they get very confused. It takes for-freaking-ever.

So at one point the second tech-helper-person wanted me to unplug my phone--the one on which I was talking to her. She had to call me back on my cell phone, which brings me to yet another problem: I seem to live in a nearly wireless-free zone. Inside the house, I'm lucky to get a signal at all, and out in the yard I can maybe get two bars. I may have to give up on the crack phone and go with another wireless plan if this persists. Dammitalltohell.

So anyway, back to tech support torture room. After two hours on the phone, the last half hour of which was on my cell phone and involved me walking around my back yard to maintain a signal while the techie repeatedly put me on hold for five minutes at a time while she "checked on something," I cracked. About the fifth time she came back on the line to apologize and tell me she had to put me back on hold, I told her I would rather just cancel my Verizon DSL than stay on the phone any longer, and that I really had to go to work soon. So she said she was pretty sure the problem was that my modem wasn't compatible with my phone line, and that she would transfer me directly so some guy about getting me a new modem. So after another five minutes on hold, I get a guy named Chris, who starts to tell me what they will have to charge me for the modem and them bam, the cell signal drops out and I lose the call.

Fucking fuck, says I. (No, actually what I said was a lot fucking worse than that). Fuck Verizon. I figured at this rate, there's no way in hell I was going to get my DSL working before Monday, what with tomorrow being that big patriotic holiday and all, and if I was going to wait that long I may as well just get a cable guy to come out. So I canceled with Verizon and called Time Warner, and after another eternity on the phone with a very nice sales rep I have an appointment for Monday morning between 8 am and noon. Please, please, please let the guy really show up. Please.

So anyway, I guess I'll be semi-incommunicado all weekend unless I want to schlep my gear to a coffeehouse with free wi-fi, something I've never actually done before because I've never seen the point of going somewhere else for internet when I have it at home. And my coffee is free.

Oh yeah, and one more adventure: last night I actually locked myself and my two little dogs out on the screen porch. That's when it struck me how dark it is at night in my new neighborhood and how far apart the houses are compared to Trinity Park. And also how I don't know a single one of my neighbors (except the dog next door who comes up to the fence looking for attention and gets pointedly ignored by Pinky and Lucy). After a few minutes of wandering around looking for a house where it appeared someone might be home, all the while listening to Pinky's yelps echo through the neighborhood, I decided to test my security. It took a great deal of determination and a lot of noise, but I was able to break into my own house. I'm not going to say how, because I don't want you trying it, but I had to have someone come repair the damage I did this morning. I'll be stopping by True Value Hardware this evening to buy a few necessary security fortifications, as well as a lockbox so I never have to break into my own house again.