I really wanted to post every day this month–that meme seemed like it could be a good exercise. Alas, I’m still moving in, and it’s just too much to think about posting. Plus, J’s computer died on her, so now we’re sharing a laptop, which is no small feat considering I’m working eight hours a day online and she has a good deal of course content online.

We do seem to be getting settled to some degree, although every other day we have a conversation about how little time we plan to spend here. The latest issue is that while our wonderful neighbor who lives on the other side of the duplex is a really fabulous guy, he’s also a serious pot-head. He grows it in the yard (no biggie–it is California after all), but he also smokes it from midday on into the evening. I know this because from midday on into the evening, our house smells like stinky, skunky pot smoke. J and I joke when we go into the bathroom that we’re on our way to get stoned. It’s about 5% funny and about 95% another reason we can’t live here. I can’t imagine having friends with kids come over only to have the house reek of fresh bong rips. Yes, we’re in California, and a very progressive town at that, but it’s different when there are kids involved.

There are other issues too. That rat we found? There have been more recent droppings. We have notified the landlord, but it turns out she doesn’t care. Yes, legally she’s supposed to care, but she doesn’t–even though we’re both moms with kids. Nice, eh? We’re going to hire someone to clean the garage from top to bottom and then patch any cracks, holes, other entry points with that spray foam and/or steel wool. We have already planted mint all over the place, which is supposed to deter them. Right now though, J and I dread entering the garage. Our laundry is out there, and we still cloth diaper, so it’s a place we really need to visit daily, but it’s not a place either of us want to be, and considering we have a 19-month-old who shadows us everywhere, we REALLY don’t want to go out there. We’ve got to make it managable for now, and what we really should do is call an exterminator and take the fee out of our rent. Legally, I’m pretty sure we can. In fact, legally, we can get out of our lease for this.

And then there’s the yard. It’s big and has those great apple trees (which are all in bloom and utterly beautiful), but it’s also overrun with moles and gophers, not to mention just before we moved in, the landlord had much of the landscaping cut back to stumps or small spikes that now stick out of the ground. We’re missing a fence on the side of our yard that connects with someone’s driveway as well. So it’s really a nightmare taking BG out there. He inevitably trips over the sticks protruding from the ground or runs for the unfenced area. It’s sad, really. These dreams we had of gardening while BG ran free are squashed. You may be wondering, Why did they move into a place without a fenced yard? What nitwits! We honestly didn’t know because there was so much foliage covering what we thought was a fence. Once she had it cut back, it was all fairly stark and scary. We never would have moved here had we known this.

The sad thing is, we’re not paying for a dump. The rent we pay here would get us a large three or four bedroom house where we once lived. In fact, there are plenty of places at this price point here that are totally respectable homes with fenced yards, no rodents, and maybe even current electrical wiring (yet another scary component of this house). We hit some bad luck, and this landlord–who is a lesbian mom for crying out loud!–has turned out to be cheap and very hands off.

So here’s where we stand:

  • We have unpacked about as much as we’re going to. There are many things still in boxes in the scary, scary garage, things like trade books, pictures, stemware, serving dishes, even clothes. We are afraid that some of these things will not survive the garage, but we also know we’ll be seeing these items again soon.
  • Our dreams of gardening outside of containers may be shot (there’s no way we’re investing what it would take to gopher/mole-proof and build raised beds), but we’re going to plant some peas and beans and tomatoes in containers on our deck. Plus, our stony nice neighbor guy is planting a gigantic veggie garden (he’s got half a dozen raised beds on his side) and he’s invited us to eat from it whenever we want.
  • We have used some lattice that was lying around to create a makeshift fence and will plant some quick-growing vine to create a foliage fence for some privacy. (Originally we though we would build a fence, but not now.)
  • We want to move as soon as we can, and we fully intend to use the habitability issues, specifically the vermin, as  means to get out of our lease.
  • It sucks to be thinking about moving again before the dust has even settled from this move, but we’ve got to be comfortable where we live, and this house turns out to be not the right place for us. It’s not a shack–it’s not a bad place at all, or wouldn’t be if we were stoners who weren’t vermin-phobic.
  • Our town, this place we’ve been longing to move to for so long, is awesome. We love it. It’s everything we want. When we are more on our feet, we plan to buy a house here. We have fabulous parks and fabulous fellow townfolk, and we are very, very happy to be here.
  • We also have an awesome neighborhood. A couple of lesbians stopped J when she was checking our mail. They live two houses down the road, and let her know they plan to give us a proper welcome in the coming week or so. We can’t wait.
  • The two cats who stuck around are adapting nicely. We have moved their litterbox outside, and since we moved, neither of us has needed to clean the box because they are happy to go outside.
  • We still miss our little Zoe, and BG regularly talks about her, meows like her, does his special little call for her. Our neighbor said he saw her last week, but it’s now been two weeks since we saw her, and we know she’s not coming home.

So, yeah. We’re still a mess, but a little more sane and proactive and less shell-shocked and pissed off. Somehow, we just know that as we get settled in our community, the right place is going to come up, and we’ll be moving again when it’s right. The thought of moving right now does make me want to throw up a little, but we’ve both come to the conclusion that this place was just meant to get us here.

And with that, I’m going to stop complaining about this house here. I guess I just had one more bout of negative Nelly to get out of me. Thanks for enduring this. Here are a few photos to reward you for your patience–and if you’re creative in the design department, please take a look at the last photo and lend us some help:

The view from the french doors in our bedroom. Nothing to complain about here. Its beautiful.-

One of our cats enjoying some morning hunting from her perch on a cool stump.

Apple blossoms. This place is known for a certain variety of apple, and the whole town is a bit like one gigantic orchard. Many properties have mini orchards on them.

And its still wine country too. This is one of two vineyards on our mile-long road. The other is across the street from us.

The seven-foot mirror in our living room. It is permanently affixed to the wall. It is hideous. Unless you’re at least six-feet tall, you can’t see anything in it. What would you do with this thing?




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8 responses to “coping

  1. I’m glad to see you’re thinking that the purpose of your current place was just to get you out of your last one and to the better town. So now it’s like you’re halfway there at least. Toddler steps 😉 I think the formatting of the last picture messed up- it’s not showing up for me. But it sounds….interesting. Maybe you could turn it into a huge mosaic or cover it with a tapestry.

  2. Now that I can see it, large mosaic, or cover it with those funky glass tiles you can buy in sheets (like

  3. K

    Ugh. We had to use the habitability issue to get out of a lease. It was not fun. You might consider a bit of tough love. Anything you consider her responsibility that you have to pay for (a fence, etc…) submit a bill and short the rent that amount. Might wake her up. I hate that you’re dealing with this so soon after moving as well, and the pothead next door (unless he has a medicinal license) could be reported to the authorities.

    I hope things settle and you can find a way to enjoy your space, even if only for a short while.

  4. First off, yikes, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with such icky issues at this place. That’s a cryin’ shame. . . it seemed like such a good home, at first. Hopefully, the rats will go away, and you can get the yard and fencing under control.

    The mirror. Could you glue cork board onto it and make a sort of bulletin board or photo collage?

  5. so sorry that the house hasn’t turned out like you wanted it to. vent away!

  6. Next in line

    This sounds so tiring and stressful. I hope you find some peace there or get out as soon as you possibly can so that you can settle into a new home.

  7. poppycat

    Damn! What a tough spot to be in and so sad that this place turned out to have so many issues. I was really excited for you to start living your dream but it seems like you are on your way, although not quite there yet. You’re so close though! I hope you find a perfect solution very soon. I know this is not what you hoped for but I think you will find that special home very soon.

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