Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Midcentury Modern and a Road Trip

I've been in my suburban house for exactly 3 months today.  It's been a rollercoaster ride with a car accident and a new car, frozen pipes, broken boiler and a ton of other stuff that kept my attention in fight or flight mode for most of the last 3 months.  A new person in my life kept my attention in better places as well. 

As daylight hours grow longer, I'm beginning to look around my new place like I'm seeing it for the first time.  Since I'm living in the middle third of the house, I really haven't spent any time in the other 2/3 of the house!  Sunlight falls in new places on the walls. Actual sunlight!  Last week I saw light in a weird place in the basement and I started a bit before realizing that it was the natural stuff, made by the big guy upstairs.

My house is Midcentury Modern, designed by an architect and built in 1962, the middle of a time now known as the Midcentury Modern period, roughly 1950 to 1970.  (I can't find a pic of the house right now) Houses were designed to blur the lines between inside and outside.  Huge walls of windows bring nature into the house, and natural building materials like stone and wood make it seem like the inside is outside.  In the 50 years since my house was built, the original owner enclosed a few outside rooms, and covered up the walls of glass with thick curtains and drywall.  And awful pink paint.

But she left the blueprints behind and I can see how this house was originally full of light and air.  The room you see across the kitchen peninsula used to be open to the outside, a porch, before she made it closed in and dark and weird. Now that the string of winter emergencies seems to be over, I look at this room and imagine opening it up again, with glass walls on all sides and no roof, like it was designed.  I'm dreaming midcentury and salivating over Ebay listings of Eames furniture and atomic lights.

Which is how we come to be making a road trip to New Hampshire this weekend to pick up a $69 bench that I saw on Ebay and couldn't resist. I bid low, but was unopposed.  Apparently other people are too socked in by winter to furniture shop.  It was too easy.

Yeah, I know, I'm not looking for furniture.  But the price was right and I was looking for an excuse to take the new-to-me car out for a long spin and get a change of scenery to boot.  Plus, this bench totally fits in the house.  Here's a picture showing the room I'm using as a bedroom, and the wall of windows.  It's supposed to be a living room.  The air conditioner completely messes up the lines of the room and if I can stand it, it'll be gone, gone, gone after it stops being so bloody cold.  The curtains and blinds mess up the space too and are going away as well, after I prudently wait a bit to make sure it won't be too hot in there in the summer.  The prior owner really loved to cover up the windows.  And the floor?  And the 1980s-era ceiling fan?  I'm still thinking about what to do about those.

Here's another porch and another wall of windows. I haven't figured out what to do with it yet, but in the short term at least, a hammock will be involved.
See?  Can't you tell I'm past the whole winter series of emergencies?  Someone caught in the throes of getting through each frozen day doesn't have time to think about architecture. I'm too busy making dastardly plans and dreaming MidCentury dreams to be glad, but it sure feels good!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Someone's Coming to Visit

Here's the house on Sunday, looking as desolate as it can possibly look.  I'm giving some of my wood to NM, so we went up to snowblow and move wood.  While he and his grown sons were throwing wood about, I did some inside cleaning of mouse poop and other little messes.

Fortuitous timing, because I got an email the next day from the real estate agent.  Someone wants to see the house! First showing in the three months the house has been on the market.  I hope she likes it!

Realistically though, the deep snow completely covers all the nice stuff outside.  The hammock I so artfully placed in November.  The table and chairs on the south side.  The raised beds.  The chicken coop.  All covered.  Since the yards are one of the best things about this house, it's hard to believe that someone will see how wonderful this place really is over the crooked floor or through the loose windows.  We'll see.  Hoping for magic, but not expecting it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I'm a probie!
Was voted in last week after a multi-month process and finally got the turnout gear, and hat for the new department.  I can go on calls now, but can't do interior firefighting until after I pass the 6-month probationary period.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February Snow

My diabolical plan to make the snow stop was to borrow a plow blade for my ATV.  So, here's NM (New Man) trying out the blade last weekend at the top of the driveway.  I had this idea that as soon as I got prepared for this snowy weather, it would stop snowing.  OK .... hear me up there?  It can stop snowing now!

It's coming up on two months with this guy and I'd been holding off on writing about it for fear of jinxing it.  He knows I write a blog, but has never seen it (a good decision, I think).  I've thought (but not too much) about how as soon as (literally 3 weeks after), I moved off the mountain and stopped being so desperate for a partner, one comes along.  I've never been in a relationship like this.  He lets me know during the day that he's thinking of me.  We talk a few times a day.  It's new stuff for me, and pretty cool.  I'll write more when I'm less concerned about jinxing it.

Desmond is still perking along, more or less OK.  He's still interested in food and his surroundings, has learned to get up sometimes when he falls, so I don't have to pick him up as much.  He's not too upset by living in the basement (he can't go up stairs and I can't carry him up and down). So we're in a holding pattern for now, until the next emergency happens.  He's such an easygoing dog!
 Maggie jumps over the piled-up snow, but Desmond's world got smaller when the snow piles got too high for me to dig a path through them.
Top of the driveway looking down to the road and the pond across the street.  I was a little terrified of sliding down the hill, but my new car is heavy and all-wheel drive, so I haven't slipped even once on this hill.
And finally, the mailbox.  It's a little amusing to drive down the street and see people digging out their mailboxes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let Us Go and Make Our Visit

The title is a nod to a poem by T. S. Eliot and describes what we did Sunday.  Visit the house in the hills with a snowblower.  Good thing, because the snow was over three feet deep around the door.  It would have taken hours to move enough snow to get into the house with shovels.  At the end of the driveway, it was solid and frozen.  And deep.  I had a chair leaning up against the woodshed door to hold it shut, that was completely covered with snow.  This house has been here for well over 100 years (some would say it's been 200 years), and even though I've worried about it this winter from my house down in the city, every time I come here and step inside, I see how solid it is.  It could easily stand another hundred years.  It's got a nice, new, metal roof!

The other house has only been on this planet for 49 years and it's youth is showing. Things break.  Things don't work.  But it's close to work and to life in the city and I like it very much. At least the 1/3 of it that I'm living in.

Here's a picture of the parking lot at work yesterday, showing Mount Snow growing daily.  Much of the problem this time of year is where to put the snow, since it's not melting between snowstorms.  Huge piles around driveways and stop signs make it difficult to see when cars are coming.  Snowblowers reveal archeological layers of white snow, then grey snow, then more white, etc, etc.  One can count the snow layers and tie them to particular storms.  "That one is the Christmas Eve storm," and "the one above it is the storm a week later", etc, etc.

It's interesting, but I feel a major case of winter blahs coming on.  The temperature has only turned the corner for warmer within the last week.  Thankfully, the extra minute or two of light each day mean that I can turn the light off at home while I am gone during the day.  It will be light when I get home from work. That counts for something.