Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update #3

Well, we got power on Monday afternoon (the truck was there by the time we got back from the library) and so now we have a fridge, although no gas for hot water yet. My job is going very well; the little boy likes me and is easy to work with although he gets distracted easily so I have to think fast between activities. We spend at least 15 minutes every day outside, which is great fun.

My garden is sprouting, in other news! I checked yesterday morning and the chives, spinach, and lettuce have all sent up sprouts and this morning I counted 3 big fat bean sprouts pushing up through the dirt as well. I'm terribly excited by it all, and encouraged by the big, thriving gardens in some of the neighbors' yards. I like our neighborhood, especially how close it is to everything (30 minutes of walking will get you to a dozen bus stops and almost as many pizza places, a shopping center, the library, and a street full of assorted local shops). We walked up to the library today, which was very nice although it's a bit toasty out there!

In worse news, the Jeep remains dead. We now think it's the engine, which means lots of pain (and money) to test/replace. We took both the battery and the alternator to the local Advance to have them tested and neither seems to be the problem. For now the Jeep is immobile, and the bike is wrecked (again) due to an idiot in an SUV... as if I needed more reasons to hate those lumbering pieces of junk. Rick was out yesterday taking a jacket back to his old employer when a woman cut him off at a merge point, tapped the motorcycle and threw him off. He scraped up his arm and leg pretty nicely... he says he didn't hit his head but I'm glad he was wearing the helmet anyway. She then proceeded to ask if he was ok and drove off when he said yes. The insurance won't cover the damage to the bike and since we don't know HER info we can't put a claim through to her insurance either. Thankfully it's not "serious" - the exhaust just needs to be put back on and the frame bent back into place - but it's just one more more thing to deal with when we're very low on resources.

Ah well. I want to end on a positive note! We're healthy, we've got a roof that doesn't leak, we have cheap shopping (Salvation Army Superstore for clothes, Aldi and WalMart for groceries and home goods) nearby, I like my job and the garden's coming along... life is going pretty well, all things considered.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Powerless update #2

Lots to do, lots to do. 4 hours on Thursday and 2 on Friday of weeding, hoeing, raking, hauling 160lbs of humus/manure (which barely covered my beds... sigh!), planting and watering... but the garden is finally in! I'm sore from my thumbs to my calves, but it's going to be worth it when I can make a salad from my own veggies. I planted beans, peas, carrots, lettuce and spinach, and scattered some chives in the back by the shed. Now I'm crossing my fingers and watching for sprouts impatiently.

Even without power we're doing ok. Rick figured out a great way to make tea involving a small oil diffuser (the kind where you set a pan of scented oil on top, with a tealight on the bottom) and a metal cup. With a taller candle the water gets plenty warm for tea or individual cups of coffee! I'll get a picture of it some time, so you can see the genius of it. Considering I always thought the diffusers were pretty useless, I'm glad we have one now.

Not much else to say for now. Back at the library updating, of course. Today is a market day and the street's lined with little stands selling jewelry, arts and crafts, and neat trinkets. My wallet is thankfully empty, or I'd be dragging home more stuff! There's also a 5k walk/run today, which if I had found out about sooner I'd be interested in doing; as it stands I'm so sore from gardening that I don't think I'll bother. There might be another one or two before it gets too cold, so I figure I'll keep exercising and do the next one.

The Jeep broke down on the highway Wednesday night (I think it was Wednesday) so we ended up getting it towed all the way into Pittsburgh and dropped in front of the house... turns out it's probably the alternator, which will be a $160 fix. Much better than our fears of engine replacement, though. Rick will get working on it soon, I'm sure. The Jeep is the only vehicle we have that's high enough to back into our hillside parking spot without scraping on the curb all the way down, so that spot is empty and with 3 vehicles on the street it's awfully crowded. We have to make sure that the garbage truck can get around everything on Tuesday, or the landlord says they'll be lazy and just skip the house.

Plenty to say but there are a lot of people waiting for computers here so I'm going to finish checking e-mail and log off. :) If you want more news, give us a call! My phone has a pretty good battery life and we'll be going out to Rick's aunt's house this weekend most likely so we can charge everything again. Ah, the joys of nearby relatives from whom to mooch!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Quick Library Update

Well, here's a very quick update! I'm on the library computers, which give you a brisk 45 minutes per login session to get things done, so no long rants for Dawn! The good news is that I found the library, and it's a nice walk from the house to here.

We're moved in with all our stuff (some of which I feel like we should have jettisoned, after having dragged it all into vehicles, out of vehicles, and up and down the stairs. Ugh! We're sorting things out at the house. The electrical inspector will be here this afternoon to check the wiring and then hopefully will get his backside over to the power company ASAP so we can have power - they said we'd get it turned on the day after they got the OK from him. He would've been here yesterday but the landlord didn't call until we had left for Indiana for our last bunch of stuff, and left the doors locked behind us. Oops! We also have to get a gas meter put in on our side of the house as it's nonexistent but we're not as worried about the gas as we are about just having LIGHTS. The furnace and the water heater are gas but I can deal with cold showers for a few days...

I have work, too! The office here has need of more people (yay!) and with my schedule being totally open (at least until I go looking for a library job), I was immediately dropped into a position 15 hours a week in the evenings. I'm thrilled since 15 hours will pay the rent, if not much else, and I'll have more soon - once school starts, since I'm one of the only TSS's without college classes, I'll have daytime work as well. :)

Overall, doing well. Going to try to get some garden work done this afternoon, since I have beans, peas, lettuce and spinach to try to get in and growing before the frost hits, and the "garden" is covered in weeds and is very sandy. If we're lucky we'll get a decent crop out of the tiny chunk of backyard that isn't covered in deck! I'm excited to do anything at all in actual earth instead of pots, although I brought a few pots anyway, since I figure if I can keep the cats off them I might be able to get a late-season tomato started outside and bring it in for the winter, or something. I even have a new hoe to play with, now that I have more than 2sq ft of space to dig in! :D

So there's the update - no power or heat yet, but we have water and I have work (actually, I have orientation at the office in an hour, so I should sign off and walk home!). Will update again in a few days when we have some idea what we're doing with our internet, since the house is only wired for phone right now (no cable?! Oh no!) and we're going to discuss the cost/work with the landlord of wiring the place for cable, at least in the living room/first floor, so we can dive back under the heavy hands of Comcast and its high-speed connections instead of struggling with dial-up. What can we say, we're spoiled!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Moving on...

This upcoming week will be our last in town. We're moving to the Big City, to (hopefully) get better jobs, expand our cultural horizons and avoid the rent hikes that cut painfully into our budget the last 2 years. We're paying less for more space at the new duplex, but it still feels weird letting go of this little cramped apartment. We've been here 3 years, and this will be my first time living in a town with a population of more than 15,000 - Pittsburgh's population is somewhere over 300,000. Naturally, I'm a little apprehensive.

I'm not worried about violence - our current home is statistically less violent than Pittsburgh, but it only has 1/3 the property crimes, and for a town this size, that's a LOT of vandalized cars and broken-in doors, not to mention the issues we have had during popular holidays and especially around Homecoming. I'm more worried about getting lost, both physically and metaphorically. I've been frantically looking up the locations of needed services (doctor, stores, bus stops, my new office) and then double and triple-checking them on the map, looking at distances and running through Google Streetview until I feel less nervous about walking to the library or the mall, but Google Maps doesn't work well as an inner compass. Pittsburgh is farther from most of my friends (who I already don't see much) and I don't have any real hobbies to get me out of the house to meet new people. In an unsurprising spiral effect, not meeting new people will keep me at home even more. I am an introvert at heart, but even introverts need company sometimes and it's nice to have more than one shoulder to lean on.

Since we're changing our address I feel the need to make other changes, too - start a garden in our tiny new yard, start working out again, pick up a new hobby (I was looking at dance classes), change careers, maybe work on grad school applications one more time. Unfortunately, I feel stuck. I'm still too worried about my bank balance, my job, and my health (I need to see a dentist desperately but we just can't afford it, and I should probably check in with a specialist about my 3-month-long sinus infection). All the stress isn't doing anything for my ability to concentrate, let alone stick to another long-term commitment like exercise or grad school. And I know part of me is saying that all I need to achieve my higher goals is just start working on them and believe they'll happen, but another part is screaming at me that I'm being impatient and starting things too soon and that I should sit back and let life figure out where it's going with me, instead of the other way 'round.

For now I'm content to sit back and let life move us along to a new place... we'll see where it goes from there.