Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back on the horse

Okay, Jeff? You happy now??

I know you thought that if you gave me the 3-a-day homework, it would keep me going. But what happened was that I had a few days where there just weren’t 3 good things, no matter how hard I tried to find them. Some days the best I can do are find a couple of things that could have been worse, but that wouldn’t be the happy thoughts make happy people exercise you were getting at. So I skipped. And kept skipping, because the more days I skipped, the easier it got. I’m willing to try blogging again, but this time, no rules. I promise that I’m not sleeping the days away, if that’s what you were worried about. But I think it’s kinda stupid to write just to write. Even though I read a lot of blogs and twitters and such that seem to be doing that. I guess some people really do feel better doing that.

Fast catchup. Since the last time I was on, I finished painting the bathroom and put in a few more things to make it look more spa-ish. Like a seashell windchime someone once gave me for the beach house that I put in a box out here because it didn’t really go with the way we’d done it up, which was very minimalist, the way Gary thought “the best people” did things. I guess he never saw the kinds of over the top almost Victorian things some of the Park Avenue decorators used to deliver. Erich knew a lot of people with old money and floor-through apartments like that. Long story short, the bathroom looks good and the best part of the day for a lot of days is taking a soak at night. I think maybe I want to learn how to make candles.

I started doing Pilates again. Just floor exercises, because I don’t have a reformer. I used to use one at the gym. Since the weather keeps going from nice to freezing every other day, having an indoor thing was good. I’d like to do yoga, which I haven’t done in years, but I’m a little afraid. Yoga makes me think.

And now I’m going through all my sweaters and washing a few of them at a time, by hand. I’ve got a lot of them, I’m embarrassed to say. But that’s good; I won’t need to shop every again, not if I’m honest about “needing.” What takes time, especially when it’s damp, is that I’m drying them on towels, the way Ronnie’s mom taught us when we were kids. Where you put them flat, then fold and roll to gently squeeze the water out, and then put them flat on another dry one for as long as it takes to dry. Ronnie was my best friend growing up, and after my mom lost it, her mom was really there for me. I never really got to thank her the way I should have.

Oh, and btw, Jeff.  So Mr. Obsessive, how come you never noticed my profile still says I live in NYC?  I'm going to fix it now.  :) 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's All Relative, Isn't It?

All I wanted to do today was take a long walk, because the sky was blue, enough of the snow is melted to see pavement and the temperature was above freezing for the first time in over a week. If the temperature was 34˚ in May, I’d be turning back to the house after a block. But it’s March and it felt really good to be able to walk. I walked all the way to the thrift store, but I didn’t go in because I didn’t want to go shopping, not even in a thrift store. I got a cup of coffee at the pizza place. It was pretty burnt but it was hot, which is what I wanted. And I kept walking. I must have walked three miles. It just felt good, to be out in the air and get some sun on my face, and to walk fast, the way I do in the city. That’s something I miss a lot, walking everywhere. It wasn’t even on my list of things I’d miss, but I do.

I have no idea how to make this into 3 good things, Jeff, but this is what I did today that made me feel like me. Then I got home and had to deal with some stuff that didn’t, so I’m not going to write about it, not now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Home Making

The boiling water wasn’t doing the trick with those last pieces of wallpaper. They were holding on for dear life (it was hard not to think of it that way, they were so damned stubborn!).

I ran over to the Home Depot on Old Country Road, to see if I could find a better scraper. A really nice guy there showed me some stuff that you can spread on the walls that helps the paper come loose. This is excellent to know about. And when I got it home, it worked great.

It’s fun walking around a Home Depot. Like a department store, except most of the things on sale I either don’t want or have no idea what you’d do with. Which meant I could walk around for more than an hour and not think much about wanting to spend money. I learned a lot while I was there. I’m especially excited about the reject paint. I had no idea about this, but there’s a whole shelf of paint cans that were custom mixed and didn’t get taken. They didn’t match the swatch they were supposed to? Or some decorator changed her mind? Whatever, the store ends up stuck with them, and they sell them for practically nothing. I found a chalky blue green that is exactly perfect for my new spa bathroom, and I got all I need for only $8! And it was really good paint, too. Okay, then I splurged on a teak mat that I think is supposed to be a doormat but I’m going to put it by the tub. Still, I did really well.

Also, did you know they give classes on how to do things? Some of them are billed as being for women, which is a little condescending, but since I don’t personally know how to wire a lamp or fix the tank in my toilet, I don’t have much of a leg to stand on. Next week is the lamp one, and I am definitely going to go. There’s a ceramic jar that would make a beautiful one. I bought it at a market in Turkey a few years ago and Gary hated it, so I left it here. Funny how Gary always talked about how much he loved what he called my “bohemian” side, but whenever I did something that was a little different from his idea of a banker’s wife, he would practically take my head off. Not that he was half as smart as he thought. Technically my “bohemian” things would have been the things I picked up in Prague. Even I know that, and I – as he never lost a chance to remind me – never finished college.

Oh yeah, my 3.
Finished stripping the bathroom.
Learned about bargain paint.
I held onto that jar.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Too Tired!

Sorry Jeff! My arms feel like rubber bands. I could hardly heat up a can of soup for dinner. I’ll write this fast, and then I’m having a cognac and getting into bed.

The sky looked really blue, so I decided to shovel a real path. A lot melted since yesterday, starting where I walked. There were these little pools of water in my footprints, and the melty part spread out from each of them. That meant what I was shoveling was really slush. It was like spooning my way through an endless slushy. But I made a path wide enough to roll a suitcase all the way to the curb. Not that I’m going anywhere or anyone’s coming here, but that seemed like the right size to make a path. It felt good to get it done, like I was a real householder getting my property in shape. So I guess that’s good thing #1 for today.

For some reason, the sun and working in the cold got me energized. I had the last of my bbq for brunch (don’t make a face! I never got who made the rules about what to eat when). And then I got to work on the bathroom walls. And after working on that for eight hours straight, I got almost all of it off. Which is good thing #2. Just some clingy bits left, that need to be sponged down with boiling water til I can scrape them off. Good thing #3 is that they didn’t paper the ceiling, because I’d never be able to peel that off by myself.

That’s it. I’m off

Monday, March 2, 2009


Well, it's easy to come with my #1 good thing today -- the patch on the roof held! Thank you Ludo, for such a great job, and for doing it so fast. I guess here's where I can make some lemonade, because if things were like they were even a year ago, Ludo would have been too busy to take an emergency, and probably would have charged a lot more, too. Oh, and thanks to Ed, of course, for putting me on to Ludo. So even though we've got snow up to my knees, my head is dry.

I'm not exaggerating about the knees, you know. We have wind out here, and the foot or so that the weatherman...I mean reporting is blowing into banks. I opened the door and tried to walk down my front path and I felt like I was warming up on the Stairmaster. I had to lift my knees halfway to my chin, just to pull my foot out of a footprint. Maybe this is why Scandinavians have to be so tall; a million years ago, all the ones with short genes got stuck in snowdrifts and never made it out alive to reproduce.

#2 for today is The Internet. Seriously. Sometimes I think it saves my life. It's funny how if you just decide to stay inside, you're fine, but the minute you know you're really stuck in the house, you feel completely shut off from the world and want to start banging your head against the walls. When things are good, it's easy to complain about the internet being a time waster, or how it doesn't let you drop off the map. But when you have nothing else to do and you got pushed of the map, it's the best! One thing I always like about the internet is how it really does feel like a world, so even if you're sitting on your butt in a corner, you can feel like you're roaming all over. Today, I went on Google Maps and put in the address of a hotel in Paris where I always stay. Then I put it on the street view and pretended I was walking around. It's amazing how if you focus, it starts to feel like you're really there. I found my favorite branch of Zadig et Voltaire, then I went on their website to look at the spring line, and I pretended I was shopping. I made myself a cup of coffee put it in a cup instead of a mug, went back to the map, and I walked myself over to Deux Magots. It was kind of fun.

So I guess the #3 Good Thing for today is having an imagination. I don't care what my third grade teacher said; it's the best thing anyone can have.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Good Start

Okay, here goes.

#1 – The bathroom wallpaper is peeling. Okay, at first that doesn’t sound like it would be good, but it is. I keep walking around this house and wondering what I could do that would make it feel more like home. Like I belong here. I have to, or I’ll lose my mind. Except for a few things I snuck out before they changed the locks, everything I have is whatever Uncle H was living with. Half of it he got from big box stores in the 80’s, and the rest is whatever the Prestons left behind, which looks like a set from Father Knows Best. If I wasn’t already depressed, this place would get me there fast. But where do I start? It’s not like I can send it all to the dump and wave a magic credit card to start from scratch.

It seemed too big to tackle. Then this morning I noticed about the wallpaper. It’s really horrible wallpaper, white with yellow stripes that are supposed to look like ropes, and red and blue sailboats and anchors stamped all over. Like the bathroom at an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant. I was washing out the tub this morning, because I hate having to wash out the tub after a bath, when I’m all relaxed, and I noticed a big triangle flapping in the far corner. I couldn’t stop myself; I gave it a tug. Six or seven inches came off in my hand. And it was like a light bulb going off. This is where I could start. I can peel off all this paper and put on a fresh coat of paint and see what I can do to make it look calm and serene, like a spa. I’m sure I can find some things at Target or someplace, or figure some kind of craft project.

This is where the “good thing” part really starts to kick in, because just thinking about this reminded me of who I am. I wasn’t born on Park Avenue. I grew up learning how to be creative and make do. I just forgot. I can do this. It won’t be easy, and it may take forever, but I can. So hooray for the bathroom wallpaper and go me!!!

#2 - I sang. I put in a couple of hours on the walls. After a while, the quiet was getting on my nerves. I really needed music, but I had the bathroom pretty steamed up, to get the paper looser, and I didn’t know if it would hurt my ipod – and I have better uses for my money than having to buy a new one. I didn’t really think about it, but I started singing. Then I realized I was in an empty house, and I started singing loud! I can’t remember the last time I wailed like that. Man, it felt great! So I’m going to keep doing it. Hell, maybe some day I’ll even work up the nerve to sing in front of an audience again. Doesn’t matter if I do. But maybe it’s important that I’m singing, just for me.

#3 – I watched those Sunday morning political shows on TV. I’ve never been into politics. It seems so phony, and a lot of times I think its an excuse for doing nothing. But maybe if I’d been watching the news more, I would have seen what was happening with Gary. I’m not saying I could have changed anything with him, but maybe I would have gotten myself out in time. The way I see it, I’m a victim of current events. And isn’t there some saying about knowing your enemy.

Okay, that last one was hard to come up with, but I made it Jeff!