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Posts tagged ‘Ruby’

The Narcissism Project: A Year in Review

side mirror

One of many pics of Ruby Dogwonkafonka from the phone purge….

My blog reminded me recently that it was our one-year anniversary. To celebrate, let’s take a moment for reflection on what we have “accomplished”, shall we?

Looking back at my very first post, I find myself laughing that nothing much has changed, except instead of downloading 1200 pictures off my phone this past weekend, it was more like 1700. Most of them were of Ruby. Shocking, I know.

“Write more” was my New Year’s resolution, carried out here, with a desire to average a post a week. And with this being my 57th post, I achieved that. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever seen a resolution through to completion. Completion? What happens now? Was it only a one-year project?

Negatory. I like it too much.

I will say that blogging has made me a total narcissist. Hmm. Or perhaps it revealed how full of myself I was to begin with. I mean really, how impertinent of me to suppose you want to know what I think about anything – or perhaps more accurately, about nothing in particular. And about four seconds after publishing my first post, I became a stats junkie. I stare at the counts, I marvel over the countries, I laugh over the search terms bringing people here.

The countries, yes. WordPress started tracking for us what countries the views come from. It’s kind of fascinating. I have a friend living in the UK and another in Taiwan, so when I get hits from there I chalk it up as likely being them. But Bhutan? I don’t know anyone there, but I’ve had one view from there. Since WordPress started tracking this, I’ve had views from 31 different countries. I’m totally flattered. And mystified. And hopeful I haven’t made that one person in Moldova think that all Americans say “fuck” all the time. Some of us do. But a lot don’t.

Although, that’s another lesson learned through the stats: Apparently you people like f-bombs. Especially when in reference to my family.

I find myself incredibly gratified when a stranger likes or comments or follows. In some ways it’s more satisfying than from my existing friends – and that maybe sounds awful, and I don’t mean for it to. But a stranger doesn’t already have affection for me or familiarity with my sense of humor.  It’s nice to be appreciated. I like to state the obvious, too.  😛

The search terms people used that brought them to Wonkafonkaland….oh man.

  • “purple toaster” (you know you’re jealous of my purple toaster.)
  • “Weird squishy bump on elbow”
  • “rainbow shower head misleading” – clearly they bought a different model, less awesome than mine.

Some of them are horrifying, however, and I can’t even bring myself to share them with you. Suffice it to say, they were probably pretty disappointed when they got here.

I can see who my most frequent commenters are. Thank you, Coopy and Kristin.  😀  And which posts were most commented on.

Y’all like controversy. The most popular post so far was the one about my email interaction with the small-minded aunt of a former employee. But I’m pleased to see a happier post, the one with the oatmeal cake recipe, is a close second. And it’s good to see that why being single is awesome has almost twice as many views as why being single sucks.

Hmm…..this post feels like it’s getting boring…..enough with the “me, me, me”. Thank you for all the nice comments and supportive things you’ve shared with me over the last year. To celebrate, I got the blog and me a little present: our own domain. Woo hoo, wonkafonka.com is in the hizzouse! Yeah, that’s stupid. Pretend I didn’t say that last thing. Fo shizzle.  Let’s distract you with something funny. It’s your favorite: a member of my family and an f-bomb.

I think a lot of Damn You AutoCorrect is probably fake, and this isn’t that anyway. It’s my dad using Siri’s “dictation” feature and it’s flipping hilarious.

Dad - autocorrect

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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A Farewell To Latkes

So, yeah, Happy Hanukah. 🙂

My family came over for brunch on Sunday for our annual Chanukah gathering. Noshing of food, exchanging of gifts, airing of grievances…..wait, scratch that last one, this isn’t Festivus.

Tangent: holy CRAP, there are a lot of websites for Festivus, including one where you can get your own Festivus pole. Are you freakin’ kidding me????

Anyway, back to Hanukkah! I offered to host, and I like to do brunch; it’s the meal I feel most comfortable making special occasiony. I can rock a couple of brunch dishes, yes I can.  And conveniently, traditional Chanuka latkes, a.k.a. potato pancakes, work nicely for brunch.potatoes

All latke recipes are essentially the same: shred some potatoes and onion, stir in some egg and flour, fry them in oil. Fried potato Chanukkah goodness. What’s not to love?

Hmm…..lemme make a list.

Let’s begin with my own stupidity. I always shred too many potatoes. Always.. Nobody could make or eat that many latkes. Seriously, it’s like the potatoes double in quantity in the process of grating.

One of the things I like about making brunch is I have a slew of recipes where you do all the prep the night before, stick it in the fridge overnight, pop it in the oven in the morning, and it’s fresh and awesome and delicious with little effort the morning of. Latkes do not afford this luxury. Theoretically you can make them in advance and reheat them, but there’s no way they’ll be crispy. (Please tell me if you have successfully accomplished this!) And you can’t do the prep in advance. Once you start shredding those taters, you’d better get to cooking or they’ll turn brown and/or gray and disgusting. Nobody wants gray food.

So it’s almost time for company to arrive, I’d prefer to be tending to final details and on the ready to greet people, but instead I’m in the kitchen getting sweaty and disheveled with a pan full of hot oil (I hate cooking with oil) and a ridiculously large bowl of latke guts. I put one test latke into the pan. It does not hold together. I add more flour to the bowl. I put another test latke into the pan. It’s holding together, but when it’s time to flip it, oil spatters my hand mid-flip and my reflexive jerking away causes the latke to fall into a clump in the pan.

Fuck. That.

I consider that all of my company has arrived, the caramel french toast in the oven is almost ready, and I have yet to make a successful latke.

I look at the bowl of shredded potato. The bowl of shredded potato looks at me.

I dump the entire bowl into the pan to prepare the not-yet-as-widely-celebrated Hanuka hash browns. Next time I’ll try to get them a little crispier. What I will not do next time is bother trying to make latkes.

And I haven’t even mentioned one of the worst parts yet, not directly anyway. Fried. In oil. My house reeks. Days later, my house reeks. It’s almost as bad as cooking bacon. (Bacon, not so much a traditional Channukah food.) And to exacerbate the situation, I don’t have an exhaust fan in my kitchen.

Hence, I believe I am done with my latke adventures. Food should not stress you out, in my opinion. And I’m pretty sure my family can successfully and joyfully celebrate Chanukka without them.

(I confess, I might just be looking for opportunities to work Hanukka into sentences.)

I have come to accept that there are certain foods that I’m not going to master, and that’s ok. Even if they’re really basic things like latkes or cutout sugar cookies (shut up, cookie cutters are tricky). Maybe someday I’ll try again, who knows. But life is too short to get bent out of shape over a potato.

Happy Hannuka! I mean Hannukkah! I mean Chanuqa! (Ok, not that last one.)

Ruby Dogwonkafonka wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

Ruby Dogwonkafonka wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

(I was going to look for some fun pic of the Muppets or something wishing a Happy Hanukah and then I realized I already have something much more fun, courtesy of my friend Mark Lahey from last year’s Great Photoshop Smackdown. It’s time to do that again!) 

Powerless

Northeast Indiana was pummeled by a huge storm Friday afternoon.  We’ve been having a drought (as have you, probably) and I love thunderstorms, so when the sky started darkening I was rooting for a doozy of a storm. Pounding rain, booming thunder, the works.

Note to self, don’t wish for big storms.

Our storm was such a doozy, it even has a name, one I’ve never heard of before, and I watch Storm Stories. It’s called a Derecho. 500 trees were toppled by the wind gusts, creating havoc and taking power lines down with them.

I was very fortunate. Only one small branch fell off my already dead tree. All around my neighborhood, trees and tree bits littered yards and streets. Even now, almost a week later, a downed tree tangled with wires is blocking the entrance to my street, not to mention someone’s house. Tree shrapnel is everywhere.

This tree is blocking the entrance to my street, with a tangle of wires.

When the storm started up, I was at my desk in my office, and the lights started flickering. Uh oh. Flickering, followed by off. Klondike was in town, but not at the house, so Ruby and his two dogs and I sat in the dark and watched the storm through the front door. I wasn’t concerned about the power being out; it’s happened a couple of times before, and is usually back on in a matter of hours. I had no idea about the magnitude of the Derecho. (Cue ominous music.)

I was one of 119,000 people in the region who lost power.  Um, that’s a lot. It suddenly became painfully obvious that the electricity wouldn’t be back on anytime soon. Crap. Oh, and did I mention it’s been in the upper 90s for the last eon? Initial estimates were that power would be restored BY WEDNESDAY. And there was no way of knowing whose power would be restored first. We all felt so….powerless.

I like to think I’m a somewhat capable person, who has my shit mildly together. One of the quickest ways to prove me wrong is to take away my electricity.

Two people. Three dogs. Very difficult to invite that kind of entourage into someone’s home.

My dad lives in a magical house that never loses power (please don’t let me jinx him) even in the wake of a Derecho or the crippling ice storm of 2008, even when neighbors all around him have no power. It’s kind of amazing. And it’s my haven in times of need. Fortunately, he has a spare fridge, too. We spent a good chunk of time there over the weekend, running home to check on the dogs and to sweat. Oops, I mean sleep.

I took cold showers, followed immediately by breaking into a sweat from the simple act of getting dressed.

I went to get ice to put in the dogs’ water bowls, forgetting that my freezer was empty.

Every. Single. Time that I walked into the bathroom I flipped the light switch. Stunningly, it never worked. After about the third time, I started doing a little song & dance that looked a wee bit like me stomping my feet and shaking my fists, and sounded kind of like me screaming, “The goddamn light switch doesn’t DO anythinggggg!!!!!!!!!”

Neighbors across the alley and next door got generators. The noise was astonishing. It sounded like there was a running lawn mower in my house.

By Sunday evening I was hot and crabby and hot and whiny and hot and tired of not being able to live comfortably in my own home. I was at the end of my rope, and entering the work week as someone who works from home presented a whole new kind of mess. Klondike and his dogs went home, and I set up camp at Hotel Dad.

Through some wonderful fortune, a text from a neighbor late Monday afternoon informed me that my porch lights were ON! I was giddy with electricity. And felt so, so sorry for those who didn’t win the power-up lottery. Even as I write this (Wednesday night), I still have friends in the dark, with no a/c, and it was 100 degrees today. I can’t imagine how frustrated (and hot) they must feel.

It’s amazing, the things we take for granted, and how uncomfortable it is when our daily routines are turned upside down and modern conveniences are suddenly unplugged. But equally amazing were the kindness and generosity of those who were in a position to help. As I mention on a regular basis, I am a Facebook junkie. And while running down my iPhone battery keeping tabs on Facebookland, I saw invitation after invitation from people who had power: beds, freezer space, laundry. It was truly moving, and felt very genuine.

And now that it’s over (for me), I can appreciate the silver linings:

  • My refrigerator is GLEAMING. Before loading it back up, I scrubbed the hell out of it.
  • My basement freezer was defrosted for the first time in two+ years. And I finally threw away those leftover buns from the cookout in 2010.
  • I bonded with my friend and neighbor, Claire, who I really only knew through Facebook. She and her husband Ben kept me in the loop about the power situation after I fled to Hotel Dad. They were the ones who let me know when I could return home to a powered-up homestead. (Thanks, pals!)

That’s it, no more silver linings. Be real, those four days sucked. 😉

Of course, I recognize how easy my everyday life usually is, especially now that I can have perspective in the comfort of my air conditioned home. (I’m obsessed with a/c, aren’t I?) I’m so thankful that I had options, and for my family, friends and neighbors who checked in on me and made sure I wasn’t in need. While I prefer not to have to choose, I will take that kind of love and friendship over power any day. At the end of the day, even if the day was hot and I was crabby, I’m very, very lucky.

Klondike by a tree in my dad’s ‘hood.

The base of that same tree.

Miss Ruby, reveling in the cooler temps at Hotel Dad

 

Oh sweet Jesus….a completely unexpected, bizarro thunderstorm popped up at the end of the day today and wreaked more havoc. More trees down, people without power again. I now have “loaner mayo” in my fridge from a friend who had JUST finished restocking from the first power outage, and she’s without again. I feel for you people, truly. Holler if you need something.

Barky Anniversary!

See that lovely girl over there in my picture?  ——->

The furry one? That’s Ruby.

She is the funniest little dog, overflowing with personality. And today is our anniversary. Two years ago, my friend Sue sent me yet another doggie personal ad. I had told her I might be ready to start looking for my next canine companion, and she had been relentlessly sending me doggie porn, but nothing had sparked my interest until I saw Ruby Tuesday. She was fluffy (one of my requirements) and totally smiling for the camera. I decided I should go take a look, so I rounded up my dad for a second opinion, and we headed off to the shelter.

She was sitting quietly in her kennel, watching, waiting. I asked if I could meet her, and she was a total doll. Smaller than I thought I was looking for, but cute as shit and super friendly. She had been abandoned at the shelter so they didn’t know much about her, but she appeared to have been well cared for. I was smitten.

“I want her.”

At the shelter

The nice people at the shelter explained that the people who had been there right before me wanted her, too. They have this kind of odd system where they make you call and leave a message the next morning to say if you really want to adopt. The people had to call by 10am if they wanted her. I could do the same thing, and be second in line. Great. I went home and tried not to get my hopes up. The next morning, I called and left a message indicating that I was still interested.

And I waited.

I thought I should hear within an hour or so if I was going to get her. An hour passed and my spirits started to sink. Of course the other people wanted her – why wouldn’t they?

When my phone rang a little after 11, I figured they were calling to let me know Ruby Tuesday had been adopted. Instead, they told me that the family ahead of me was planning on adopting both a dog and a cat, but when they found out someone else wanted Ru, they decided just to adopt the cat so I could have the sweet doggie. I almost started crying. We were meant to be.

“You can pick her up at 4.”

What ha?? That day? Going to see her was a total whim. I wasn’t prepared for a dog – no leash, collar, food, treats, bowls, toys! But no sweat, I had five hours.

I think we were both a little anxious when we made the drive home that afternoon. You never know what you’re getting into with a new dog. Hell, I didn’t even know conclusively if she was housebroken (she was). I let her sniff around the yard a little, then took her inside to give her the grand tour. She wasted no time making herself at home, immediately jumping on my bed with an expression on her face that said, “So obviously this is where I sleep. Would you like to join me?”

We spent the next several days settling into our new life together. I was concerned. I’d had a really special bond with Sylvia, my prior dog, and Ruby was so different from her; I wasn’t sure I was going to fall head over heels.

Silly self.

I am powerless to resist the fur babies.

Seriously. I am the cutest.

In no time at all she had me wrapped around her little paw. I can’t imagine not having my funny, snuggly, happy Ruby girl. There will be more Ruby stories another day. For today, happy anniversary, sweet baby dog. And to the neighbors….sorry about the sometimes excessive barking.  🙂

“Goddammit!”

    

 

How you know you’ve found a good one

  • He brings you your favorite (and not locally available) cheese when he comes to visit. And he only got a glimpse of it once, for maybe 5 seconds, but he got the right one. And then he starts calling it Magic Cheese.
  • He tells one of your girlfriends that you’re the funniest person he knows.
  • He never complains about your dog being on the bed.
  • He drops in on one of your friends at work so they can meet. Wait. That sounds creepy. But it totally wasn’t, at all. She was the perfect person to do that to, and they both wanted to meet the other.
  • He makes your bed when you’re not looking, even though you never bother to make it yourself.
  • He loves your dog. And perhaps even more important, your dog loves him, and goes belly-up at his feet for a tummy rub.
  • He acknowledges that men are idiots. But doesn’t use it as an excuse for bad behavior.
  • He is interested in spending time with your friends and family.
  • His actions back up his words and vice versa.
  • He rubs your feet without being asked. A lot.
  • He thinks it’s funny when you crack jokes at inappropriate times…..like during sex.
  • He is a thoughtful gift giver. I don’t mean this in a materialistic sense. I mean he pays attention to what is meaningful and of interest to you and finds things that are special, will be appreciated, etc. Like Muppets DVDs.
  • He doesn’t hesitate to drop a well timed “Fuck you!” when you’ve been relentlessly flinging insults at his (poorly chosen) alma mater.
  • He lets you know easily and often that you are awesome.

Hold, please……

Omigod, I miss you! I have been too used up to get thoughts out of my fingertips in a coherent fashion and I need to rectify that. In the interim, I’m going to recycle, with apologies to those who have read this previously. Here’s a story that absolutely would have been on the blog had it existed when it happened. It’s an email I sent last summer at 3:27 a.m. to a select group of friends and family, then posted on Facebook later in the day. The subject line was “So much for sleeping…”

———————————————

Oh. My. God.

So much for sleeping.

I woke up….not quite an hour ago. I heard a noise in my window, like a bug bouncing off the screen, but enough to wake me up. It seemed odd, and Ruby was awake, so I petted her for a few minutes, then settled in to go back to sleep. For some reason, my eyes were open, and I saw the BAT fly through. The bat that had been trying to get out the window, apparently.

Oh. My. God.

I behaved like any normal person would. I pulled up all the covers and wondered if it was possible to ignore it until it went away.

It was not.

I could tell it was flying around in the room outside mine. Every few minutes, it would fly into my room and I would react like a sane person in control of the situation. I yelled and flailed and pulled the covers over my head. I also freaked the hell out of my dog. All bark, indeed.

After a while, I decided I had to get DOWNSTAIRS. I have no idea why. It just seemed like a good idea to regroup, because I was sweating (shocking, I know) and shaking like a leaf and could not think. (I also couldn’t remember if light would attract or repel a bat, and I wanted to look it up on the internet, and I couldn’t do that from my bed, apparently, because I only had my phone and iPad available. Oh wait….) And in my head, for some reason, the bat would stay upstairs until I figured out how to deal with it.

I decided I needed protective gear. At this point, I had on just a tank top. Not having on pants was a great concern to me. My yoga pants were on the floor next to the bed, but I couldn’t reach them without getting OUT of the bed; apparently being IN the bed was some kind of safe zone (although no one told this to the bat, who flew in from time to time). I entertained the idea of pulling the king-size down comforter off the bed for said protective gear. Because that would allow me to run easily, right? OMG. Fortunately I remembered I had a small throw at the foot of the bed. Protective gear. I grabbed my phone, put the “protective gear” over my head, yelled at Ruby to go downstairs (she did) and ran. We immediately ran into the back yard.

Upon reentering the house and determining the downstairs still to be bat-free, Ruby camped out on the couch and I hid in the bathroom for a while. I left the light on in the bathroom, and went out to the living room to join the dog and see what was going on on Facebook. (I turned on the light in the living room at some point.)

For those playing along at home, the answer is ATTRACT. Light will ATTRACT a bat. (Which doesn’t make sense, because they’re fucking NOCTURNAL and come out when it’s dark.) I know this, because he decided to join us in the living room, the sneaky bastard. So not fair to invade my safe zone. I flailed and yelled. Hoping none of my neighbors heard the crazy yelling tonight. OMG. He flew away for a while. Lather, rinse, repeat. He came back at least twice. And I’m pretty sure he got bigger every time.

Then it occurred to me, perhaps if the light attracted him, and the lamp is next to the door, I could have the door open and he could just show himself out. With my protective gear on, I opened the front door and the screen door. Then I moved back to Ruby, who had retreated to the far end of the couch.

Nothing happened.

No bat.

Grr.

Moths, though, felt free to come IN.

Closed the front door, went back to checking Facebook. Cute pics, Becca.

Notice the bat has reentered the living room. In amongst my normal screaming and flailing (now holding my iPad as a weapon, because I have shed my protective gear due to excessive sweating and the fact that wearing a blanket over my head now seems ridiculous) I try to explain the plan to the bat.

He retreats.

Open the door.

Retreat to couch with Ruby.

Bat enters the room, and thankfully, EXITS THE HOUSE.

Slam door.

Sit on couch.

Shake.

A lot.

Curse all of you for being asleep.

Decide out of the goodness of my heart NOT to wake any of you (Dad), and to send you my long story instead.

Pretty sure I’m bat-free again, because during the entire time it’s taken me to type this, no one else has entered the room. Am I going to go upstairs and check? No. Am I going to sit upright on the couch and watch a movie (with the lights on) and hope I doze off? Sources say yes.

My crazy, mixed up verb tenses should indicate just how rattled I am. Gah.

Anyone wanna come over and drink?

———————————————

Postscript: I did, in fact, put on my pants before fleeing the house. Also, as I was writing this, a loud thunk on the front porch made me jump out of my skin just when I was finally settling down. Newspaper’s here. Gah.

A love letter to my house

My house and I just celebrated two years together. The traditional and modern gifts for the 2nd anniversary are cotton and china, respectively, but we decided not to get each other anything. Instead I thought I’d write it a little blog post to tell it how much I love it. Him. Her. I’m not really sure. I think my house might be gender-neutral. Nope. I think maybe she’s female, now that I’m thinking about her. We’re close like sisters or best friends or an aunt/niece relationship. (OMG. I’m really weird, aren’t I? But I digress.)  Ok, we’ll call her “her”. We also call her “Wendy’s Fun House” on occasion.

Until moving into Wendy’s Fun House at age 38, I had never lived alone. Childhood, college, roommates, boyfriend/fiancé/husband. When my husband and I split, I moved in with my dad until I could get my feet under me. (For which I am eternally grateful.) My dad rocks and the first year or so (yes, I said “year”) was great. We generally get along really well, and he didn’t go all parental on me – no “When are you going to be home” or “Isn’t it a little late to be going out” or “That is what you’re eating for dinner?” And he made sure we always had grapes, because grapes are my one essential food.

Then the walls started closing in on me. I was still waiting for money from my divorce settlement that I needed for a down payment (not his fault). Dad & I had moved our office into his house, so the two of us were together 24/7. I was having chronic back pain due to the most uncomfortable little bed in the entire world. (No offense, Dad.) I was seriously starting to wig out.

Finally, finally the day came that all the pieces in my life fell into place and I was ready to start house hunting. My realtor Rena is also my aunt (and my good friend), so she understood the desperation of the situation, and promptly rounded up a batch of homes all in my target area on the south side. I had no idea what was on the market that I would be able to afford, and all my wish list items were negotiable; all I needed was four walls and a roof.  The very first house we looked at was a craftsman-style bungalow that was vacant and had been on the market for months. As we walked through it, I asked Rena to pretend like it was normal should I burst into tears. The relief I felt knowing there was just one affordable house that wasn’t a total crapsack overwhelmed me. There was nothing showy about her, and it’s not the most fashionable neighborhood, but it had all the minimum requirements and was in a solid block.

We looked at a bajillion other houses. Or maybe 10. Some that were very lovely. But at the end of the day we went back to look at the first one again, because I couldn’t get her out of my head.  Being vacant made it convenient to see. Minimum requirements? What was I thinking! She had the whole wish list: porch, wood-burning fireplace, a/c, fenced yard, garage (two stalls!), good space for my home office. Wood floors. Built ins. And the previous owners had nicely updated her: newer roof and furnace, rewired, updated kitchen, most windows replaced. A lot of the other houses I looked at were lovely, but none had all the things she had to offer, and most were significantly more expensive given their more desirable addresses. And after a few more visits, some negotiations, and a long closing process where I gave up both my ovaries because I don’t have a first-born to give to the bank (I kid), she was mine.

Home Sweet Home

 I was nervous. Maybe I had made a knee-jerk reaction and rushed into a decision in my panic to get out of my dad’s place. Maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew with a 91-year-old house. Maybe my neighborhood wasn’t safe. Maybe there was something wrong with the house – it had been for sale for so long – why didn’t anyone want it? Maybe I would hate living alone. Maybe weird noises would scare me. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

I moved in at the end of January 2010. Everything in the house was beige. Everything. Figuring it was easier to paint empty rooms, I enlisted the help of a tremendous friend and we painted the shit out of things prior to the move date. Yellow & purple kitchen. Soft green bedroom. Bluish gray living and dining room. Bye-bye beige (mostly). A whirlwind of moving and unpacking ensued. And suddenly, there I was, truly alone, my first night in my new house. I curled up in a little ball in bed whispering to myself, “This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.” I was so happy to have my gigantic, comfortable bed back. I woke up sideways across it. Smiling.

All those maybes – none of them came to fruition. I have loved living alone,

Our yard

especially with the addition of sweet Ruby Tuesday early that first summer. I have never been scared being alone in the house or startled by weird noises, not once (this does not include the bat episode – shut up). I have discovered I’ve slept with my doors unlocked, come home to find I left the back door open, and awoken to find I neglected to close my garage overnight. (Jesus. I sound like an idiot. I’m really a safety girl, I promise. Don’t tell my mom.) None of those user errors resulted in anything bad or scary. I adore my historic neighborhood. And the house. Oh, the house. I love her so much. The longer I’m here, the more I realize there was nothing knee-jerk in my decision to buy her. I don’t know why she was on the market for so long, but I can only surmise it was because she was waiting for me. We were meant to be together. She has all the charm and character I love in older homes, and yet somehow she has large closets. She has all my favorites growing in her lovely landscaping. She has a variety of hooks and pegs on the front porch for my growing collection of wind chimes and sparkly dangly things. She has something like 24 windows. (By comparison, the first house my ex-husband and I lived in out in Aboite had 7.)  My bedroom is light and airy and feels like a safe, comfortable haven. My office is cozy and bright, especially now that it features sparkly purple paint on the walls. And every night for the first month, I said, out loud, “Good night, house. I love you.”  I feel like we have an unspoken vow to take care of each other.

I know plenty of people think my ‘hood is sketchy. There is a liquor store two blocks away that is heavily armed due to frequent robberies. Two blocks and a world away. Members from the association welcome committee brought me homemade cookies. The first spring day that I was out on my porch, numerous neighbors came over to introduce themselves. Jim & Phyllis next door share vegetables from their garden. Jim shovels my sidewalk and sneaks my dog treats. I didn’t move into a sketchy neighborhood, I moved into the 1950s. And I love it. Much like I still tell the house on occasion how much I love her, I revel in the neighborhood almost every time I drive home from somewhere. I cannot imagine being happier anywhere than I am right now.

Happy anniversary, house. I love you so much. Here’s to many more years together.