Sunday, March 16, 2008

You guys, I totally forgot I have a blog.

Huh. Have I really not clicked "Publish" on anything since last Tuesday? I could have sworn I did a Friday Five... You mean that didn't somehow make its way from my head to the Blogger screen on its own? No? Must work on that. If we can publish straight from phone to blog (well, "we" being people with fancier phones than mine, obviously), then surely the brain-to-blog interface is right around the corner. Of course, if that happens, Wordpress will get it first, giving Noelle one more reason to yell at those of us still on Blogger to migrate already for her convenience.*

All right then. How was your weekend? Good? Good. In Minnesota, it's been a balmy 40-some degrees for the past few days, which means people are traipsing about in shorts and flip-flops because apparently the thing to do when it's finally warm enough not to see your breath outside is to dress insensibly enough as to ensure you're still as cold as you've been for the past five months. I will never understand this. Yes, it's nice to brave the great outdoors beyond my front door with my coat carelessly left unbuttoned, but I'm still wearing a coat, dammit. It's 45 degrees outside; that's just good sense. My skin is not ready for direct exposure to the elements. One must work up to such things.

I actually didn't spend much time outside breathing non-recirculated air this weekend, despite WhiskeyMarie's compelling order to do so. No, instead I went the opposite route and spent nearly all daylight hours in my cold, dark basement, like the common mole person I generally strive not to be. I am making slow but certain progress on this basement semi-finishing project, by the way. At this rate, I'll be ready to watch a movie in a comfortable, naturally air-conditioned room by mid-August, which is, incidentally, the only time this basement room I'm working on will likely be livable at all. (Note to self: Must buy a space heater if I intend to be down there for any length of time at any other time of year. This I've learned so far.)

This weekend I tackled the least fun part of the basement beautification and organization project: clearing away all the detritus that Ralph's family left behind and that I've been lazy enough to ignore up to now. Can we just take a moment to acknowledge one more of the many, many differences between owning and renting? When you rent, you can leave all manner of shit and rubbish behind, but the cleanup will come out of your security deposit, thereby ensuring the next renter starts off with a clean slate. There is no deposit when selling a house, but if there were, Ralph's children would have been billed a balance after that deposit was depleted. Here is but a brief list of the things I cleared out of my basement today--things currently piled in and near my alley-side garbage bin, ready to press the limits of the City of Minneapolis's rather generous solid waste & recycling rules (not to mention my own environmental conscience):

  • One wire shelf and metal handle for a fridge I do not own.

  • One metal furnace filter (from the days, apparently, when we had time to clean and reuse furnace filters, rather than buy paper-based, disposable ones manufactured by 3M).

  • One envelope of keys that I am sure I will regret throwing away within weeks from now, when I finally discover some locked secret compartment within my home that's somehow gone unrecognized for the past four and a half years.

  • Four rolling furniture feet from a piece of furniture I have never seen.

  • One box of assorted wires, tubes, and pipe fittings.

  • One dingy white wicker hamper, minus the lid.

  • One Montgomery Ward exercise bike, most likely circa before I was born.

  • Six vinyl tiles of assorted patterns, none of which are currently installed within my home.

  • Three screens that are not needed for any window within my house. (Update! The screens are gone! Is there a screen fairy trolling up and down my alleyway? Is there a Golden Goat for building materials that I should know about?)

  • One (leaking) tub of Dutch Boy "Texture Paint," which I think serves as the answer to my long-held question of how the hell they created that weird "sponge-painted with a garden slug" effect on the walls of my living room and bedrooms.

  • Two sets of first-generation radio earphones (complete with what I'm hoping is simply aged and yellowing plastic, as opposed to ancient earwax).

  • One whatever the hell this is, which I finally unscrewed and removed from the worktable beside my furnace. (Does anyone know what this machine is used for? And also, do you need one?)

  • One disassembled end table/magazine rack (in pieces, it's hard to tell just what it used to be).

  • One chipped and rusted metal bowl, half-filled with a clay-colored powder of unknown origin.

  • 24 paint cans ranging from empty to nearly full. (In all fairness, approximately half of these were mine. But that doesn't forgive the half that weren't.)

None of this should surprise me, of course. The first thing I did when I moved in was scrub the inside of the refrigerator so I felt safe putting food inside. The next day, my friend Lisa and I scraped all surfaces of the kitchen to rid them of the sticky, greasy, yellow goo in which everything was coated. "I keep expecting to find a whole pork chop," I remember Lisa saying. I agreed, but was extremely relieved we never found it.

Time flies when you're not having fun, and after all those hours in my basement, I feel I've been cheated out of my weekend somehow. In even better news, there's a winter storm warning for tomorrow into Tuesday. Apparently, neglecting to acknowledge the onset of spring dooms you to another several days of winter. Actually, snow this week is just about right. When that whole March Madness thing doesn't interfere with my friends' ability to attend my birthday festivities, a late-winter blizzard does the trick in its place. Payback is a bitch, I tell you. I had no idea ignoring the onset of spring weather meant more winter in its place. That damn groundhog has nothing to do with it; it's hermitude in the face of sunshine that really determines how much more winter we have. Fellow Minnesotans, if my productivity really is to blame for the snow we're shoveling tomorrow, I do apologize. But if I tell you it's my birthday week, you have to forgive me, don't you?

* What was that you were saying about tone the other day, Noelle? You know I love you, right? I hope that sentence didn't sound like I don't.



steve said...

That's a bench grinder. You'll probably never need it.

shelleycoughlin said...

It's the same in Boston. Everywhere, people wearing skirts and flip flops. That's why I laugh when the sun sets and it drops to 30 again and all the dopey girls walk around clutching their bare legs and arms.

Good job with the cleaning! You were more productive than I, as I thought five loads of laundry was pretty good for a weekend.

3carnations said...

Your birthday week? Aha! I can spend the next 4½ months saying "Since you're a year older than me..." Happy birthday (whichever day it may fall)!

lizgwiz said...

The house I lived in previous to my current one had a garage full of crap much like that in your basement, it sounds. And I WAS only renting. But it was kind of a weird, "no security deposit 'cause I only rent to friends" deal, and I just put up with it.

I won't rub it in that it's been in the high 70s here quite often the last few days. I'll mention it, but I won't rub it in. Hee.

Mickey said...

Happy birthday week! Way to be productive.

Anonymous said...

I love March Madness! In fact, I just spent 30 minutes discussing the selections with my work friend. But do you know what I don't love? Snow in March!

Also, I am very impressed Steve knew what that contraption was. I was going to tell you that I thought it was a pencil sharpner connected to a pizza cutter.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, as soon as it gets warm you'll be wasting all your weekends doing chores outside. Lovely, lovely homeownership!

Also, I totally get that your tone is one of frustration that you haven't switched over to Wordpress yet, nothing against me personally. No worries!

Akkire said...

how do i get me one of them homes? i want one.

congrats to you for owning a home and being ballsy enough to fix it up yourself! You go Lady!

Aaron said...

Birthday week?? All right? Are you going to tell me when the actual day is so you can have your very own Funky Carter birthday post? Please do, because it's a win-win: you get a post, I get a free topic for the day.

Don't feel bad about the weekend; at least you were productive. I spent most of the weekend kinda-ill. And I'm in the same boat as you and NPW: Laughing at all the jackasses running around in shorts and t-shirts because it's like, forty.

Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer in the Week of Birthday - so Happy Birthday Week to you!

On the day that we closed on our house, we did a final walk-through right before heading to the lawyer's office - and am I ever glad that we did! The collection of crap in the attic (that we were assured would be taken care of) was still there - including a twin size mattress, full size box spring, some type of child's ride-on toy horse, and one of those giant Fischer Price plastic house things that kids put in the yard.

At the closing, our lawyer advised us to do some law-type thing where we held back some amount of money and did not pay unless the stuff was out of there. I don't understand the specifics, but the stuff was gone the following morning! If it hadn't been, I can guarantee that we would have been living with a Fischer Price house in our attic, and joking about the elf/gnome/wee fairy creature living up there.

Whiskeymarie said...

I did spend a fair amount of time outside, but like you I couldn't resist the urge to clean & organize.

But, to my credit I cleaned & organized my 3-season porch, which was almost like being outside. Sort of.

And I love the "junk fairies" that claim crap that people leave on the boulevard/in the alley. My husband has an uncle that jokes that when he dies, we should just set him in the alley for someone to come along & claim. Not a bad idea, maybe...

Stefanie said...

Steve--Hey, thanks. If anyone asks if you did anything useful today, you can say Yes!

NPW--I did five loads of laundry too. AND my quilting class homework! I was super domestic this weekend, obviously.

3Cs--I seem to recall you said that same thing (or something similar) last year, didn't you? Those 4 1/2 months mean a lot to you! ;-)

Liz--Oh... 70s? I remember those... fondly, like my childhood (and it seems almost as long ago).

Mickey--Thanks (and thanks).

R--Ha. OK, so Steve's explanation was more correct, but yours was more amusing.

Noelle--Lovely home ownership indeed. I was just thinking yesterday about how much I enjoy that brief period in the fall and the spring when I don't have to either shovel or mow. And then it started snowing. Dammit.

Erikka--You want a house with 50 years of someone else's junk in it? Hmmm. Perhaps when you look at a house, and you see a lot of junk, you can write it into the purchase agreement?

Cookie--I am a believer in the birthday week, too. If only everyone around me agreed... :-)

WM--I just can't believe someone took the screens and left the exercise bike! OK, yes I can.

Stefanie said...

How the hell did I forget Aaron in that comments-to-comments comment?? Aaron, I know I replied to you via email, but I still feel terribly remiss. I hope this does not affect the quality or tone of my birthday post. Also, I hope you are feeling better.

steve said...

Hey, I'm happy to help out from afar. ;)

I should also have added that the left side of your bench grinder is useful for removing paint from metal objects or wood and paint from wood objects, and the right side is handy for sharpening knives or grinding excess metal from metal objects.

That said, if you don't know how to use a bench grinder, they can be quite good at turning an ordinary object into a rocket-like projectile. I remember messing around with my dad's bench grinder when I was a kid, and clocking myself in the noggin with a flying Matchbox car. Funtimes!

3carnations said...

Wow...Did I already say that? I'm embarrassed. Apparently I only have a year's worth of original comments. :)

L Sass said...

Furnaces have FILTERS?!?!?

Wow, there is a lot I don't know about living in a non-apartment.