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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chaos Out of Order

We're here. Now that we're here I'm pretty sure it's not Rivendell. Elves are strange but they aren't weirdly scary. Back in able times when I worked at the coop, there were several customers we all ran away from. One was called Goggles, because she wore flight goggles when shopping. And reeked of garlic. And asked a thousand questions, then never bought anything. She is the neighbor directly across the hall from me. And was at my door at 8:45 this morning wanting "to meet my new neighbor." I declined to answer the door. This afternoon, in the rain, she sat outside my window while a woman cut her hair. I haven't found the drapes yet.

In fact, I've found dear little. As much careful packing and planning as I did, it was all worthless in the piling of belongings once it got here, and in the unpacking frenzy of enthusiastic friends. This may take months to sort out. There are only 2 closets here, no pantry and no lower cupboards in the kitchen. The bathroom is wonderfully big, and once the pile of unwieldy and non-bathroom things are cleared out of the shower, I may finally be able to use it. If I find any of the shampoo or soap I carefully packed in a special box of essentials that was emptied despite my yelling, "That's just to me! Leave it for me!" The kitchen is a bit of a mess, neither the fan or light work in the exhaust hood. The rusty refrigerator is ancient and turned up to max just keeps things close to cold, though the freezer seems alright. The toilet riser doesn't fit this unusually shaped toilet. I've emailed the office. Nothing can be done til Monday anyway.

Then there was the issue of the computer not working until I realized someone had pulled out and hooked up the old hard drive instead of the new.
And the phone company not showing up til late this afternoon instead of yesterday morning.
I hate this move about as much as this year's election.

Beest seems nonplussed by the whole thing. Certainly her appetite isn't off, she slept by my head as always, and she's slowly exploring the landscape. I wish I had her nonchalance.

Should I ever move again, I'm not going to bother trying to organize anything. Throw the towels in with the tools and soup. Pack the books and underwear together. It's not going to matter in the end.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

So Long, Shire

It's our last night here. Beest is asleep in her carrier because the bed is stripped to the mattress cover and her claws stick in it. She likes the carrier, and good thing cuz she'll be in it for another couple hours tomorrow. She's been here almost as long as I have, and though I've told her we've got a new apartment I don't think she was listening. She's made the most of the empty rooms and rediscovered toys the past 2 nights. Jingle jingle bang thump, all night.

The Shire has meant a lot to me. Having affordable housing was a huge improvement to my life after paying 82% of my income in rent that didn't include any utilities. I fought to get here, and fought to come back here after Irene flooded us out. Though I never got chummy with neighbors or became a porch monkey, it's been a refuge. I wrote a book here, and worked on 2 more. It was quiet enough to keep whatever hours I wanted, most of the time. It's a pretty place. I'm sorry it will be demolished when all's said and done.

These rooms have seen laughter and parties, guests and family, pets and children, holidays, deaths, love, pain, celebrations and mourning. Many late night conversations, tons of food cooked, meetings and projects launched, all happened here. Strangely, it looks smaller with everything gone, and sad. Like it's withdrawing into itself, or the past. Now it'll be cleaned and painted for whoever will be here for the 3 years til the final closing. And they'll make memories, and hopefully remember this place fondly.

I've already heard that the new place is noisier, that the police locks are on the doors for a reason, that the laundry and community rooms have locks and security features because of drug dealers. That's public housing for you, but I lived a decade in Hell's Kitchen during the crack epidemic. It can't be worse than that. I laugh when people call this town BrattleBronx. They have no clue.

So this is the last post from Hobbiton. Farewell to the roses and hyacinths, the daffies and bleeding hearts and tulips in the garden that's no longer mine. Farewell also to the neighbors I've seen, avoided, and waved to for these last 5 and a half years, as we all go separate ways. Bittersweet, yes. But I have to go.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not So Bad Once You're Up!

Well, the movers came to do the bulk of the move today. They're all good hardworking pros, and I'm only a bit jittery now. The essentials for the next 2 days are here and then Friday morning we're out of here lock stock and barrel.

I have to say, Butch and his crew have made this much less stressful than I'd feared it would be. In four hours they packed and moved all but the bedroom and kitchen necessities. Big sigh.

Beest was okay in the carrier today, watching the whirl of activity, perched on my walker. She's kind of freaked at the emptiness of the place, and actually so am I. But we'll be out soon enough.

On Friday, Paul, the Grotkes, Dora and Tina will help with whatever needs doing beyond what the movers do. I'm humbled and grateful to have such good friends- some of whom have been thru every move in the past 10 years with me, including the 2 Irene moves in and out and back again to The Shire.

The new place has a roll-in shower and is bigger than this old Hobbit hole of mine along the Brandywine. Paul ran over and made a sketch of the floorplan and measured things like doorways and the bathroom. There should be no trouble with my wheelchair. I may have room for a table and chairs, we'll see. There's no back door like here, but the same number of windows, and the kitchen windows look out on a backyard of hedges and trees. It'll be pretty in the snow. I think this will be alright after all. Huge sigh.

Just as well, cuz the new neighbors that took the Old Bitty Who Died's apartment are awful. And I'm getting out before all the confusion of the 50-some odd moves that have to happen here in the next 3 months.

I'll write a recommendation for Butch's Moving so those after me aren't so apprehensive. We're all in good hands, and even though it's scary, sad, and a huge upheaval to move, at least knowing the people doing the hard work are pros helps ease the anxiety.

Thank you all for listening to my freak outs, low points and fears. I love my blog family.

On to Rivendell and new adventures!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Another BMW Post

That's bitch-moan-whine for the unfamiliar.

It's been 10 days of Hell.

Today's big news: The new place will be finished, painted and ready on Friday. So I'm moving next week. Butch, the mover, will be here at an unknown time on Friday to start packing me. I know nothing about the new place except its address and that it's HA. As ever, I'm a mushroom. Kept in the dark, covered with shit.

The Medicaid evaluator came to determine if I can get more home help last Tuesday. He put me thru shit and asked demeaning questions, and today I learned he denied me anything more. It's been 5 weeks since I could get in my tub to shower. I can't stand alone at all, much less on one leg. My right hand doesn't grip well and it's numb. But that doesn't qualify for help? This I was told by another Medicaid guy, when I called to change my address. I don't know why he denied me, haven't gotten the letter. Another fight to face. Right now I got nothing to fight with.

Billy got me a new wheelchair, which is fantastic. I'll be able to use it in the new place. This place is too small for a wheelchair, and right now I'm sitting on the walker pushing myself with my feet to get from room to room. We've had a go-round today with the people who sold him the wrong cushion and speak almost no English, so he just ordered from another place and it should be here Friday.

No important online sites would let me change my address the easy way today, either. So the PO will get a card and 8 days' notice to forward my mail. I'll deal with SS and the rest by phone tomorrow. There's just so much I can take. Comcast and the phone company will be a nightmare, I expect.

The new neighbors finally finished moving into Gerry's apartment yesterday. They're an older couple, and seem ok except for their constantly yapping dog. If I could wave a magic wand and be out of here right this minute, it'd be good. Or fall into a coma until this is over.

And yesterday was MaryEllen's birthday. God, I miss her.
I hate this year.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Way We Were

October 1st. It's a rainy, slow day in beautiful West Brattleboro. A good day for old movies. Once upon a time I loved Barbra Steisand, but hadn't seen or heard anything she did for years. So I watched "The Way We Were" while going about my business this morning. Sweet, sad, romantic. Made me think of old times, of "Love's Young Dream", college days, that one love you never get over.

At one point in the movie, Hubble and his friend list their "Bests". Best drink, best party, best year, like that. Right after that scene...

Fragiles being packed in advance of whatever hired hands will pack the rest. The knickknacks off the bookshelves, then the framed art and photos. In the half-packed boxes that were never unpacked since the Irene flood I come across the family pix my Mom had on her mantel. A triptych frame, snapshot sized, golden metal frame. On the left is my late brother Tommy and his wife Ruthie, in fishing gear, holding their trouts with big smiles. In the middle is my brother Billy and his late wife Mac kissing in front of my Mom's Christmas tree. On the right is my late husband Ian and me, hugging in front of that same tree. Though we're still missing 2 siblings (I'll always count Seth as my little brother) and their partners from the full set, it's a good representation. It was 1989. We were all healthy and pretty damn happy. It was The Best Year in our family.

Before those pix we'd all gone through some real Hells. None of us had even spoken to Tommy in several years but he came back into the fold in '89, with a wife and baby to boot. Billy had been retired from the police department on disability and started college in '88. Ian had gone through rehab and was making strides in his acting career. I was getting started in the politics of NYC while working at the circus that was The Magickal Childe after so much upheaval. We're all young, cocky, strong, smiling in 1989.

It was before all the hardships that came with 1991 and for the 20 years after, at the end of which my Mom, stepfather, Ian, 3 of my brothers, and my sis-in-law Mac would be gone.

I'm really grateful for photography today. Makes it much easier to reach back and remember how happy you've been, and that life isn't always hard. In fact, given the chance, it really is the laughter you remember.