Top 10 likes/dislikes about my downsized life

Like Mary in The Awful Mess, I have just downsized into a tiny house, although I think I made a better choice than she did (and I also have a nineteen-year-old along). Also, I don’t think any little old ladies have recently dropped dead in this one.

I’ve put my dislikes and likes together to keep things positive.

DISLIKE #10. Still can’t find some of my socks — the ones that match most of my summer pants. They’ve got to be somewhere. Actually, this applies to at least another ten percent of my possessions at this point. I was just terrible at packing (thank God for two friends who showed up to help the last day).

LIKE #10. I finally realized I could throw out the entire bag of panty hose I haven’t worn in over a decade, and plenty of other stuff I can’t find room for. (Of course, it would have been nice to realize that BEFORE packing and moving.)

DISLIKE #9. Troy water tastes faintly chlorinated.

LIKE #9. The water pressure is amazing — so amazing it practically blasts me against the opposite wall of the shower — and the flavor is otherwise fine. This ain’t Florida tap water, thank goodness.

DISLIKE #8. I can’t put away the boxes of stuff stacked in my office closet until I have installed shelves in my office closet.

LIKE #8. I have an office, and someday I will actually be able to walk around in it, or at least edge my way around things in it. This is my fault for bringing Jaime’s big-ass thrift-store-find desk, which has so much drawer space that I actually might not need that office closet at all if I could just stop hoarding office supplies.

DISLIKE #7 & 6. The basin under the kitchen sink was apparently left there to catch the drips from the rotted plumbing. And the reason there was no washing machine was possibly because the washer hook-ups were so rotten they started spewing water the minute the new machine was attached.

LIKE #7 & #6. I have a good and reasonably priced plumber. Which is good, because I just realized the outdoor faucets aren’t working, either. And thankfully the gas dryer left here works fine and has a vent I can clean out without taking the house apart.

DISLIKE #5. There are mysterious iron stakes in the middle of the driveway and backyard with plastic tape on them. There are also lots of bumps and holes. Mowing the lawn is like driving over potholes after a bad winter.

LIKE #5. I suppose it’s good to have a little mystery in one’s life? I had a survey done, so at least I don’t have to worry that those stakes are actually weird property boundaries in the middle of what I thought was my lot.

Popcorn and chartreuseDISLIKE  #4. The living/dining room has Chartreuse green walls (painted on paper-covered paneling) with lacy filigree design elements. The previous owner’s daughter, who lived alone here, was apparently quite girly.

LIKE #4. The filigree is easy enough to remove, and the Chartreuse is growing on me. I don’t plan to keep it, but until I am ready to start painting it’s actually more bearable than I would ever have believed possible.

Those of you who are thinking of coming to dinner someday are wondering why I let this cat sit on my dining room table. But you have to admit she's very decorative.

Those of you who are thinking of coming to dinner someday are wondering why I let this cat sit on my dining room table. But you have to admit she’s very decorative!


DISLIKE #3. Popcorn ceiling in the living room and hallway.

LIKE #3. I’ve got nothing here. It’s even peeling. Maybe I could like that I know a good painter? Or maybe I’ll be brave and try this myself?

DISLIKE #2. No central air.

LIKE #2. This June weather has been blessedly kind, and the bedrooms,at least, can be kept cool with our new window units. The previous owner left a window unit for the whole house, but it really can’t cope. This will be my incentive to get something done. Also, thankfully, there are A LOT fewer mosquitoes here, so I hang around outside more in the cool evening hours.

DISLIKE #1. Slopes. I have them on three sides, and they are steep. I’ve already landed on my ass just trying to get down to the back yard.

LIKE #1. This is the kind of landscape problem that can lead to all sorts of creativity. Maybe a deck … maybe terracing … maybe a burbling stream that also collects rainwater for the garden … who knows?

What were your top likes and dislikes the last time you moved or rehabbed?

Oh yeah … preening author note: The Awful Mess is currently one of five semi-finalists for the general fiction Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Which is kind of cool, though I’m trying to put most of my spare energy towards the next book right now.

Weird lasts (my continued chronicle of a downsizing)

Our house sale officially closes this coming Wednesday, which means the truck gets loaded Tuesday, which means this week I am experiencing the anticipatory wistfulness of moments that I’ll never have in this place again. For example…

The last lobster dinner Thursday night, and the last Pad Thai dinner Saturday night. My (now separated) husband traditionally cooks the lobster in this house, because I’m too much of a wuss. I’m glad he surprised me by taking advantage of the sale this week. (Best separated husband EVER!!!) I am the Pad Thai chef, inspired in this instance by the last half-bag of rice noodles and some chicken breasts I discovered in the chest freezer.

I can’t bring myself to kill lobsters with my own two hands, and I’m not sure how often I’ll bother with Pad Thai for just me and the kid who picks out all the shrimp and veggies, so there was definitely something a bit final-feeling about both meals.

The last spelunking dive into the chest freezer before cleaning it out for the new owners, who are buying it. If only those chicken breasts were the only thing I discovered. Clearly I’ve been making and storing far too much recaito for the last four years (recaito is a Puerto Rican mix of chopped peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro that I lovingly make from my own garden each year). Most of it was either too old or unlabeled, so it had to go into the trash.

No more chest freezers for me. I just don’t need that much food, especially if I’m not going to eat it for years because I can’t find it.

The last trash pick-up/the last dump day. This time of year, going almost a full week without it is a little scary. We have to pay for trash pick-up here, so it wouldn’t be cool to just leave it for the new owners. Fortunately, a neighbor has already volunteered to take some. Still, this means that any further de-cluttering has to be thrift-shop-worthy (and since I volunteer in one I know better than most that a lot of our crap isn’t), or it has to wait until after the move.

In the city, trash pick-up is included in my taxes. Yay.

It's called Furniture Inertia Syndrome.

It’s called Furniture Inertia Syndrome.

The last days sitting on this old sofa that we bought at IKEA when our 19-year-old was a toddler.

It’s comfortable as hell and has stood up better than anything else we’ve ever owned, but I can’t move it, let alone re-upholster it myself (though I did buy some fabric to try it — another uncompleted project). The last dump day was our last chance to get rid of it ourselves, but we had no truck yet.

Nobody wants this sofa bed, not even anyone on freecycle,org. Even the local charity I called said “Nobody wants that sofa bed.” They will discard it for a fee, though. Now I just have to pray that they really show up when they said they will. (They do want one of the beds.)

Since they’re coming at just about the last possible moment, we’ll have to leave room in the truck in case they don’t show. And then we may need to take an axe to the thing just so it’s possible to carry it.

(Note to self: Don’t pack the axe yet. Question for self: Why do you need an axe in the city? Answer to self: Doesn’t matter, because you can’t do anything about it now.)

Oh well. I think I’ll go enjoy some of the last central air conditioning.