tobermory's Diaryland Diary

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I'm a homo....ner!

Woo Hoo! We finally closed on our house! It’s been a three-year battle, but finally the house and the Uncle Joe Stain* are all ours. Of course now the mortgage payments start so I can kiss my carefree, rentfree irresponsible spending habits goodbye and say hello to Mr. Budget and Mr. Property Taxes. Don’t worry though about me becoming a miserly unfun person with nothing to write about - we’ve been stockpiling money throughout the whole three years to go towards finishing the construction so it’s not like I’ll have to become the Little Matchgirl to make ends meet.

*I’m not quite sure if I’ve mentioned the Uncle Joe Stain here. The previous owner of the house, my husband’s Great Uncle Joe, died in the house about ten years ago. Uncle Joe was a bit of a crazy old hermit – the kind of guy you see wandering up and down the alley picking up junk** and bringing it home. Joe didn’t really keep in contact too much with the rest of the family so it wasn’t odd that nobody had heard from him back in the summer of ’95, but a concerned neighbor who hadn’t seen him in the alley in a few days called my in-laws. They called the police who broke in the house for a ‘wellness-check’ and found Joe dead on the floor of what is now my bedroom. Now when a short, rotund elderly man expires in the middle of a heat wave in July in an un-air-conditioned house and no-one notices for, oh, maybe 4 or 5 days they tend to (gross-out alert) start to liquefy. If the floor they liquefy into hasn’t ever been polyurethaned they might say, ‘leave a stain’. Despite refinishing the floors and coating them with polyurethane the stain persists – there was a lot of Uncle Joe to soak into the floor. You might think that this would bother me, but I have chosen to, for the most part, ignore the stain and put a small prayer rug from IKEA over the spot so I don’t have to dwell on it. What I can’t see doesn’t gross me out. I will say that this is not a factoid that we’ll be mentioning to future renters when we move to the upstairs part of the house and rent out the first floor. While I am able to turn a blind eye others might not be so willing.

** When I say ‘junk’ I mean junk. Not cool stuff or retro stuff or antiques or even usable stuff – just garbagey junk. And might I add that Uncle Joe was quite the hoarder of junk. Steve didn’t show me the ‘before’ pictures of the house in fear that I would refuse to live there just on principal – the pictures that show a dirty house with an interior filled with what turned out to be six 40-yard dumpsters worth of crap and non-working small appliances. Steve said that he could have started The Museum of The History of the Vacuum Cleaner. If the Health Department had gotten wind of the conditions I’m sure the whole house would have been shut down on the grounds that it was a biohazard.

We spent last weekend up in Wisconsin at the Little Sugar River Farm and it was heavenly. We usually go up for the week following Labor Day so it was a nice change to see the farm in the winter. There was a fresh snowfall and pristine unblemished whiteness spread out on all of the 20+ acres around the house. I brought a tote full of books of which I managed to finish two – The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (she wrote The Secret Life of Bees), and The Last Girls by Lee Smith. Both books were very ‘eh’ so I left them on the bookshelf at the farm. I should have started Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke because it’s such a brick of a book that I’m now having trouble getting into it – reading two chapters every night before I drift off to sleep isn’t enough to really help me remember the cast of characters and the timeline of events. When I’ve tackled other long books – The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova or The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I’ve done it when I have had a block of time where I can devote whole days curled up on a chair just to read. But no – I wasted good time at the farm in front of a crackling wood stove on an oversized couch reading two crappy books. At least the surroundings were nice.

1:53 p.m. - 2005-12-14

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