Under Pressure

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yeah, I did the vanishing thing again. Sorry about that.
Not surprisingly, when I got sick, everything else fell by the wayside. I haven’t been tracking food regularly, I haven’t been exercising, and I’ve just generally been unhealthy.
That said, I’ve had a lot on my plate.
For one thing, I kept being sick. I never really got rid of the sinus infection; for all I know, I’ve STILL got it. My reflux did indeed come back with a vengeance.
And then, as if I’d decided I wasn’t under enough stress, I got the bright idea of buying a new home.
A homeowner.
If I didn’t know for a fact that I’d given up doing recreational drugs, I’d wonder what I was on when I made that decision.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all bad. But it’s INCREDIBLY stressful. And what I’ve ended up with was miles away from what I intended to get, both literally and figuratively. I’d planned to stay in the town I currently live in; that turned out to be impractical. Anything in my price range was in a neighborhood not considered safe for a single woman to inhabit, or was a short sale (not an option, given that they can take three million years to close and my lease is up in September), or didn’t have what I needed (e.g. a dining room, or a space to make jewelry in, which was supposed to be the whole point of buying my own home, or a place to put a kiln, which was the other reason behind the choice to do it in the first place). So I widened my search to the surrounding towns, which led me to a couple of condo complexes near the town of Clinton.
I was all set to head for this one complex near the highway, which had recently done a facelift with insulated aluminum siding, and has a bunch of available units smack dab in my price range... when I discovered they’d lost their FHA approval because of the cost incurred (and passed on to the tenants) by doing the aluminum siding. That took that place right out of the running.
On to this other complex, which is further away from... everything, really; it’s in the middle of nowhere. Which is less than ideal; I don’t love that I’m going to have to get in the car (or at the very least, hop on a bike, which is problematic because it’s HILLY and I’m out of shape! Lots of bike lanes, though, so that’s good) to go ANYWHERE. I think it’s got a Walk Score of 6. Seriously.
But unlike the place near the highway, there was availability to convert to gas heat; that’s a big deal. I’ve done the electric heat thing, and it is NO FUN, and very expensive. So that’s a bonus. And it’s closer, by a little bit, to the town I’m currently living in; that’s something. And it’s not FAR from Clinton; it’s a 6 minute drive there, and to a highway that’ll get me to lots of other places. So... I’ve resigned myself to living in the middle of nowhere.
The first unit we looked at was a vacant foreclosure. There was no electricity, so it was a bit rough to see anything... other than the dead wasp in the middle of the living room floor, which was an immediate turnoff. So was the obvious water stain and craptastic repair job on the ceiling, where the air conditioner had clearly had condensation issues. It was a first floor unit, and very dark. There was a slider in the den out to a deck/patio thing, and there was another slider in the bedroom, out to a grassy knoll. That sounds idyllic, until you think about the fact that I’m a single woman, living alone, with a glass door in my bedroom that anyone can walk up to and break.
Thank you, no.
The second unit was covered in cat, and massively overfurnished. The half-bath was the cat’s bathroom. I seriously don’t think it was habitable by humans; it’s where the food, water, and litterbox were located, and it didn’t look like people went in there at all. And if they did, they’d have had to cover their eyes to hide from the brown metallic butterfly wallpaper. *shudder* It wasn’t actually a bad unit, if you could see past all of the furnishings, but I would’ve had real trouble living where so many cats had. Much as I love them, I’m really allergic; it would’ve been a problem.
And the third unit... was just right.
Call me Goldilocks.
It has issues, don’t get me wrong. Other than the gas heat conversion and the upgraded, fantastically wonderful Andersen windows and sliders, I don’t think anything has ever been updated in that unit since 1985. Which, OK, is a bit scary... but it also puts me in a fantastic position to make it entirely mine; it’s a blank slate.
The mirrored walls (not closets – THE WHOLE WALL) in both the dining room and bedroom are... OK, they’re horrific. I was planning to use Tempaper to cover the bedroom one, and was doing Etsy searches on wall decals for the dining room, but a friend of mine’s mother insists she knows how to remove them and repair the damage after, so that will happen as soon as possible (if this all comes off and I do, in fact, end up with the place).
I long to update the countertops and cabinets, to say nothing of the kitchen appliances. All of this will take time and money, which will be in short supply, but... well, I’ll just have to budget and be patient.
The washer and dryer appeared to me to be the first to come off the line once they stopped making avocado green; these buggers are ancient. And the washer has this weird baskety thing that goes over the agitator, that I have never seen in my life. Very strange. I think, as long as the stove/oven, dishwasher and refrigerator actually WORK, the washer and dryer are going to have to be the first things I replace. Not for nothing, but this is not a Laundromat; I really don’t have an overwhelming desire to wash my clothes where the clothes of countless others have been washed before. Also... darn it, I want a front loader! I want to wash and dry my comforter without going to the Laundromat (although I looked up Laundromats in the area, and there’s one not too far away, which is nice)! I don’t think that’s so much to ask; it’s an Ikea, lightweight comforter, it should be possible.
It has a fireplace. It’s wood-burning, which has its pros and cons. Everyone goes, “Ooh, I love that smell,” but since most of the time, I can’t smell anything... there’s something to be said for a remote-controlled gas fireplace. That said, since most of the time I can’t smell, there’s a fair amount of danger involved in a gas fireplace.
It has the most amazing view.

The picture doesn’t do it justice; it’s gorgeous.
To be honest, that, plus the fantastically wonderful Andersen windows and sliders, pretty much sold the place. The Andersen stuff should work a treat on my heating and cooling bills, and that’s part of it. But mostly, it’s my very vocal inner phobic screaming, “They’re so thick! And solid! And the screens are fantastic! That’ll probably really help in keeping the BUGS out!!!)
Speaking of bugs... big scary mud dauber wasp nest not 6 feet from the front door. So... really really really really hoping we can get the HOA, to whom I’ll be paying $275/mo, to deal with that. *shudder*
It’s 1 bedroom with a den (which will be the beading room), a half-bath (which is where the laundry machines are located. No wall. No closet. Just... toilet and vanity on one side, washing machines on the other. We’ll be employing the Ikea Kvartal room-dividing wall panel system, here, I think. There’s also no storage around or behind the washer, so I’m planning to invest in the Ikea Antonius wall shelving system, as well. I am the Ikea QUEEN! Except I’m thinking of moving away from Ikea in the form of a dresser; I’m in the middle of utterly destroying my second one, and I’m thinking it’s time to invest in something not made of particle board. We’ll see), a full bath that’s alllll mine (it’s in the bedroom. And needs a new shower head. But I do that everywhere I move to...). And the living room is decent-sized, and the den overlooks it so I don’t need to keep the 2nd TV, because I’ll be able to see the TV from there if I want to. The dining room is where the amazing view is located. There’s also a slider in the bedroom, but this one is on the 2nd floor, so it makes me significantly less nervous.
And I have a garage.
Of my very own.
OK, it doesn’t have a connecting door into the unit, which kinda sucks; that makes no sense to me. But it does have an electric door opener, so that’s something at least. And it should, in theory, make it less likely I’ll pile recycling in there before taking it out to the garbage; since I’ll have to go out anyway, I might as well just, y’know, throw it out.
I haven’t, at this time, decided whether the kiln is going in the garage or staying in the den. It’ll depend on a few factors, like just how much space I have, and just how hot the bugger gets on the outside (and how hot it makes the room). By all reports, it should be fine inside unless I’m firing a burnable core, and then I just need to make sure the windows are open. Neither glass fusing nor metal clay require venting. If there was a connecting door, that’d be different, but I don’t like the idea of leaving the kiln totally unattended in the garage while I’m inside.
So! Yes. That’s what I’ve been up to. Stress, and more stress, and feeling like I’ve let a high-powered vacuum loose in my bank account (though the kiln fund stays quietly untouched in a separate bank), and the overwhelming desire to simultaneously get rid of everything I own and don’t need while buying a ton of stuff I also don’t need to update and redecorate. I’ve been doing lots of searches on how to update countertops and cabinets inexpensively, and what goes into doing a glass tile backsplash, or fireplace surround (the current fireplace is... nada. One plain white slab of a mantel, no surround at all. It’s nice to have it, but... we can do better, surely). People are suddenly asking me when I’m going to have a housewarming; MORE STRESS! I don’t usually have people over... EVER, and now I have to throw a PARTY?! It’s clear I’ll be catering, because a) I don’t cook, and b) I can’t grill (it’s a second floor unit; no grills allowed on balconies. Not that I have a grill; it’s just the best way to feed large groups of people). I need large quantities of glassware, and folding seating, and... and... I NEED IKEA!
Not that I need more stuff. I need less stuff. I need to get rid of a large quantity of stuff. Comics, for starters; chances are I’ll never read them again, so they need to go. A fair number of the books, as well. I have a Kindle and a Nook. The reason I have a Kindle is because I got tired of packing and moving large quantities of books (I got a Nook because Dad decided he didn’t like it). I must’ve donated a good six boxes of books, the last time I moved, and there are still a bunch I thought I needed but don’t. I have a TV to get rid of. I have the hideous rust-colored chair that MUST GO. The jury’s still out on the Urban Outfitters dish chair. On the one hand... it’s cool. It’s comfy. It’s perfectly nice. On the other... it’s so low that once I’m in it, I can barely get out again. Thus far, it’s served mostly as a surface to pile crap on. If I could figure out how to get it up on a platform (which is how I tried it out in the store, and fell utterly in love with it), then I’d be golden. Maybe someday, someone handy will be able to accomplish that for me. Which is, I guess, why I keep schlepping it from apartment to apartment.
I feel odd about this. I feel like I’m buying an apartment. This is something I always said I would not do; it was a townhome or nothing. But... this place felt right. None of the townhomes in the town I live in now, did. They said that when you find the right place, you’d know, and... well, I kinda did. As soon as I entered it, I wanted to push every button (it’s got, like a million little dimmer switches in the living room. There’s one for the ceiling fan, and a ton of others for all the recessed lighting. Which I’ll be replacing with EcoSmart LEDs; hopefully the funky dimmer switches will still work. I do this not just because it’s economically intelligent, but also because they’re a single, sealed unit, and spiders and wasps won’t be able to get into them and make nests I can’t get to on the vaulted ceiling. I is smart. S-M-R-T. They’re bloody expensive to start with, but should do wonders for the electric bill as time goes on), and I was already imagining where I’d put my Christmas tree, and... well, yeah. The same way I felt when I walked into my current unit, to be honest. Which I quite liked, at first; its major problems are that the basement, which I’d planned on using for storage and laundry is full of creepy, huge, Halloween-decoration-sized spiders and floods periodically, the kitchen is too small, and deciding to start a business seriously took up a lot of space in my living room. I’m looking forward to reclaiming a living space without a desk and shelves full of beads in it, and if I’m really lucky, not having a computer desk in my bedroom.
I’m also hoping for a centipede- & millipede-free existence for the first time in 3 years, but that may be a pipe dream.
And that’s... kinda it. Lots of signing of papers, and making jewelry, and a bit of packing up of stuff I’d like to get rid of, like comics, but not as much as there should be. I’m not sure how to get rid of them, which doesn’t help. But also, the day I was packing up comics, a wasp got in to the apartment (I had all the windows closed and I never left the house; HOW DID IT GET IN?!), so I didn’t get as much done as I’d liked that day due to panic and yet more stress.
My reflux is off the charts, my friends.
OK, I’ve got to, y’know, do work. But I thought I’d bring you folks up to speed.
My healthy journey has, of late, fallen by the wayside. I’ve been tracking my food better over the past week or so, but not consistently. If I go home and actually Foreman grill up the chicken I put in the fridge to defrost this morning, today’ll be the first time in weeks that I’ve tracked the whole day. It’s not a lot, but it’s a start. I’d like to even get some Zumba in, if I can.
I’m feeling really overwhelmed, and tired, and my pain level has been pretty high. All of this stress is getting to me, and the way I’ve been eating hasn’t helped (I eat fine during the day, but when I go home and on weekends, I shove my pie-hole full of cheese, and salami, and GF matzohs, and margarine, and Cinnamon Chex, and crackers and hummus, and Baked Lays, and whatever else I can get my hands on). Between the condo stress, and the will-I-lose-my-job stress, and the aack-it’s-summer-and-I’m-petri
fied-of-bugs stress... I’m a disaster. Hopefully I can get a handle on things, soon.
I’ll try not to vanish completely.
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