Late Sunday night

2014-06-16 00.48.25 Moksha sleepsI’ve been advised to spent 15 minutes a day writing. I think that’s great advice. But there’s too much to write about, and I know my proclivity for lengthy blog posts.

Week 3 of Iron Yard begins today. I have legitimately been uncharacteristically  positive and confidence theses past couple of weeks. I can objectively say that I’ve been doing well in the program. But this weekend, some self-doubt has creeped it. It’s like I had misplaced it in the wrong drawer and couldn’t find it. I am afraid that do have some of legitimate cognitive impairment that makes learning-by-reading so very difficult. I read 10% of a manual but then get stuck, realizing that I just don’t get it. Learning-by-doing is what I need.

Ok, I’m just staring..must sleep…


Storm door!

Of the tens of thousands of dollars in home improvements that I NEED, near the bottom of the list was a storm door for the front. I would survive without one. It was while I was knocking on doors for Obama last month (yeah, I did this; a story I probably will not get around to telling), that I became especially self-conscious about my lack of a storm door. It seems to be a fixture for all bungalows in old Durham neighbors. Not all. But when you have a very old house, it seems to be the norm.

So I got one. The photos do not reflect the final state. I had the guy who had initially installed it a couple of weeks ago come back last week to put some trim to fix up the look. Since my old frankenhouse has all sorts of lines and spaces askew, there were spaces to fill and extra borders to add. I haven’t gotten around to taking after-after pictures. He also repaired that long-standing hole in my porch. The porch could use replacing, but that’s for another day. Before I got the door, I also ripped off the ugly vinyl/aluminum cover (I’m confused as to which it is) around the door-frame. I’ve still got that stuff around the pillars and windows, but this is a start.

The best part of the storm door is having a huge window in the living room, since the windows in my house are small. It’s far more pleasant now to be able to see more of the outside. Almost as important, the pets have a new window. I wish Aremid could’ve seen this.




Bungalow ’12 (8-26) quick thoughts

Broken record.

Listening to music on my stereo at a volume inappropriate for 12:45AM is the only way to drown out the “quad chatter” from the porch two houses down. And I still hear that chatter, those shouts to those getting into their cars, those drunken bellowing cackles, whenever there is a lull. Really, I don’t want to be listening to music right now. I won’t hear the frat noise as much if I retreat to my bedroom, but this is my $*(#*$ house, and I’m not going to change rooms.

This is untenable. And, as I said before, there’s nothing to discuss with them. They’re not breaking any laws (well, they could be, but I don’t give a shit if anyone under 21 is drinking). This is an issue with my low tolerance for unwanted noise and for…(I’ll refrain from name-calling). The only they could do to satisfy me would be to use that house for sleeping and studying. They’re actually living there is the problem. Though we are a block-and-a-half from Duke. Scratch that. My actually living here is the problem.

Bungalow ’12 (8-25) quick thoughts

I won’t tiptoe around this.

Instead of spending the summer refinancing, had I known in advance that I’d be living two houses down from a frat house, I’d have spent the summer trying to figure out how to get out of this house. 15 years after graduating, have spent two of those years living among frat houses (actually, quads, and I’m not including my own in the offending parties), why in the world should I be tolerating it now?

It’s not your parties. It’s you. It’s that you have frat-guy-voices, and you don’t modulate. You don’t need to be blaring music to be piercingly annoying at 10pm or 1am or 2 in the afternoon. You don’t know how not to be obnoxious, and you will be from now until May. It’s not a violation of an ordinance or the terms of your lease just to be yourselves. And I don’t know how to be tolerant of this, nor do I have room on my to-do list to try.

It was bad enough having the house three doors down be a frat’s off-campus base of operations for four of the last five years. They’re still here. And now there’s you.

Why should I invest one dime into this house of mine? I can’t imagine finding it pleasant to live here. This WAS a block that already tended to be a bit too loud and disorderly for my liking, with another family’s kids who are usually out-of-control and bass-thumping cars that use this as through street. But I could tolerate it just enough to re-commit for another couple of years. Now, I’m quite sure I don’t want to be here anymore.

I’ve got 18 other problems I’d rather be writing about.

Bungalow ’12 (8-21) quick thoughts

Good news
It DOES feel like a great burden has been lifted now that, five years after I bought this place under what most would deem harsh (financial) terms, I have completed the nearly-three-month process to refinance my mortgage. (I first went into the credit union to inquire back on June 1). I had contacted Citimortgage a few weeks earlier, but I didn’t like their modus operandi and moved on. I have a significant drop in interest rate coupled with, and this is more important psychologically for me, the elimination of PMI. You need PMI when your value:loan ratio is too high. Somehow some pseudo-appraisal was done that pushed me out of the range that requires PMI. Add that I will have no escrow. I still have to pay the taxes and insurance, but I can take that out of some undetermined bucket, so that when I look at my new monthly mortage payment, I can think HOLY SHIT, this is SO much less than I used to pay. I’ve shocked people for five years when I’ve told them how much my monthly mortgage payments have been for my little broken-down house. Now, if I tell you, you’ll think, “Well that sounds about right.”

Ominously good news (the calm before the storm)?
My good-guy party-neighbors’ get-together tonight was docile. Didn’t notice anything. But tomorrow night will be the moment of truth.

Ominously bad news
New neighbor #2 has station wagon parked aross sidewalk again in attempt to…who knows…force the the handicapped into the street.

Ominously bad news
New neighbor #1, through no fault of her own, has a very bright side porch light. It is definitely giving off more wattage than the last bulb that was there for the last tenant. It significant lightens my bedroom at night, and it makes what is already a frustrating challenge to get to sleep and much harder road. I could be the one to buy some light-resistance curtains, which could help be anyway, and she retains her sense of security. Or I just say to B.S.. “Hey, can you replace the bulk with something not quite as strong. It can sufficiently provide light for the side of the house without interfering with the desired level of light and dark for my house”.

So assuming I have $1000-$2000 coming up to do any house work I want…do I go with necessity or vanity? Quick brainstorm of projects:
– Fix electrical wiring under kitchen that is broken and prevents my lovely new range from October 2011 form functioning. Requires electricity with agility to get into very tight crawl space to do some wire splicing and hook-up. ($1000? $750? More? Less?)
– Fix broken boards on porch; have been eyesore for 1-2 years. Local non-professional guy offered to do the work. I have trouble trusting people to do services so I don’t know if using this guy is a good idea or not. Small job so might be worth risk. ($200-300?)
– Broken back door jams, panels, supports, etc. Unclear if new door itself needs replacement. Some reveling of back room floor. Not sure I trust the local amateur with this more comple job. Assuming no new door needed, looking at around $300.
– New HVAC since AC is ineffective and gas will kill me with CO2. ($5000?)
– Attic insulation – the cellulose kind since better for env and old wiring will cause fire with old insulation ($3000)
– Paint some rooms WELL (without my involvement) ($500)
– Professional landscaping to get things in order once and for all ($1000ish)
…dozens of must-haves and wish-list items…all totaling probably in the $50K range

If I had $50K, it would be exciting to watch this transformed into what it could be. Since I don’t, it’s depressing to spend a little money here and there that will barely make a difference.

Bungalow ’12 quick thoughts

I’m supposed to close on my mortgage refinance later, 5 years after making the unfortunate decision to buy this wreck of a house without the financing to make the massive improvements I had originally planned on. (Those plans were abruptly dashed a week before the original scheduled closing.)

I should not even have moved here in the first place.

The block just went from almost all renters to all renters except for two of us. I had the nicest family two doors down for five years, but they’ve left, and are renting the house to undergraduate frat guys, who, despite their proclamations that they want to be good neighbors, are not going to be good neighbors. Good neighbors do not need to tell you that they’re “having people over” all the time. Good neighbors don’t have beer cans in their front yard every other day. Good neighbors do not try to demonstrate that they’ll be good neighbors by citing their awareness of the Durham noise ordinance.

Even if they were the quietest Duke frat guys there can be (and they’re not, I am certain), I miss the family that lived there.

It is terrible for me to be so close to Duke. This is not the neighborhood I should be in. It’s not good for me. I won’t expound on this here and now.

And tomorrow is one of the most awful days of the year–Duke Freshmen move in on East Campus. Not because of the traffic. I don’t need the reminders of disastrous times from nearly 20 years ago. And they’re everywhere.

QUICK THOUGHTS, I said, and, again, I’m not going to elaborate.

On another note, I don’t think I’ll be giving Coastal Federal Credit Union any new business after tomorrow. This refinancing process has taken nearly three months, almost all due to their mangling of the process.

Anyway, I could have pulled any number of aggravations out of the sack of grievances. There’s mine for tonight.

More about the actual lousy state of the bungalow some other time.

Oh, I almost forgot. One of my two new grad school neighbors inexplicably feels it’s ok to only pull her car halfway into her driveway, thus blocking the sidewalk. I will not walk my dog around her Subaru via the street everyday. I’m sure anyone with baby stroller or a wheelchair won’t appreciate her obnoxious parking habits either.

No one should ever go to sleep angry.

No, I am not someone who needs to complain about something just for the sake of it. I am one of those people who needs to vent, or else I’ll completely shut down. Why am I being defensive? There’s a lot of shit going on that I cannot deal with all at once, and yet, it is always there all at once. Having douchey neighbors is something I’d prefer not to be adding to my list. Yes, I just used the very uncreative adjective douchey.

Painted kitchen

Bungalow blogging catch-up. Not using complete sentences to try to bang out a post. Painted my kitchen last weekend. Big deal because I’ve only finished painting a room once in five years ago. (I painted the living room before I moved in back in December 2006; the bathroom has been half-painted for a few years.)

So I got the new range (for which I need a wiring fix for it to be fully functional). I cleared out a bunch of the shelving/portable furniture I had added to make up for the tiny galley kitchen’s lack of counters and cabinets. The paint and clearing of space has refreshed what had been a depressing symbol of the futility of my efforts with this house (which in itself is a symbol of all sorts of other futility.)

A brief history of my kitchen below. I had to go digging to find a picture of the kitchen pre-move-in. I remember now how pics from that time were on a flashcard or SD card that had been corrupted, and the recovery process had been tedious and only half-effective. But I digress…

Bungalow pre-move-in December 2006
December 2006 – uncorrupted

Kitchen 2011.02.18 1
February 2011 – clutter, and more clutter

Kitchen after painting
October 2011 – painted and (mostly) decluttered though you can’t really tell from all the dishes that need to be put away

Kitchen after painted 02

Kitchen after painted + new range

Kitchen after painted 3

Geez, it takes a good half-hour to create a blog post when the photos aren’t all up on Flickr already and the photos are on two different cameras.

Range: Ehhh… Typical Toastie Problem

Range came.
Range had no power.
Installers blamed my electrical circuits.
Flipped breakers several times, no change.
Later, out of curiosity, I tried the burners.
Burners work.
The clock and control don’t work. The oven doesn’t work.
What gives?
Home Depot passed me to GE.
GE understand the problem and was going to send someone out.
But instead of being put on hold, I was returned to the queue.
The new queue rep had no knowledge of my issue. Different computer system starting all over.
A new unit will be sent out Tuesday, even though there’s a decent chance my appliance outlet isn’t fully juiced to 240V.
I need a multimeter. Hoping to procure one from M & E.
Installers supposed to check this themselves first, but the didn’t, and they asked for the 5 out of 5 rating when I get the survey tomorrow.

Bummed by the half-working range, which looks quite nice.

Used the power of my prednisone to start painting tonight. No primer. No blue tape. Just a huge itch to start the project I had planned start 4+ years ago. Orange kitchen. It does not look as cool as I recall. But, so what? I’m so sick of having a white kichen. I am not spending forever on this project. I will repaint if the results are truly horrific. I don’t think they wiil be.

All the non-lockd down fixtures in the kichen–pantry rack, small nook table, el cheapo bookcase, smaller wire shelvin (ideal for microwave)…out in the hallway, awaiting their fate in Kichen 2.0

The long-term view involves a dishwasher and completely new shelves that migt make the most of my challenging galley kitchen. THe current view just needs to be shaked up. Pics to come.


I bought a range. I was just thinking, I should buy a range. Went to Click. Click. Done. No returns.

Well, it didn’t exactly go down like that. I’ve wanted a new range ever since I moved in here, since the crusty, old one has been, well, crusty and old. It doesn’t self-clean. I myself don’t clean. The heating elements keep breaking, miraculously healing themselves, but then taking forever to get going, nonetheless. I suppose the crusty, old range is a metaphor, and, thus, it needs to go.

Yeah, but you don’t cook.

Point taken.

I also bought a bike, and I don’t exercise.

And, over the summer (Things I Did On My Summer Vacation #?), I bought a NOOK, and I don’t read.

And, maybe, someday, I’ll do more than just aspire to read more, exercise more, and cook more.

As for the range, I did go a little overboard. Do I really need five burners? Well, hell, yeah, if I’m going to throw that big party and cook for 20 people like I’m always talking about doing.

When have you been talking about doing that?

Well, never.