Monday, February 27, 2012

What makes a house a home.

I’m alone tonight, in my little cottage. Bella is spending the night with my parents because I have to be at work tomorrow at 7, and because I’m supposed to spend the day driving to a few of the more remote areas of the county. With all that driving, I won't feel like getting up 45 minutes early to drop the dog off before work.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

The yard is fenced. I did that with my dad. He manned a sledgehammer and pounded in the stakes. I bought a staple gun, and a neighbor donated the no-climb wire. We only had about 15 feet to cover, and now Bella has a big back yard all to herself (although possibly shared with a skunk). 

So, yeah. There’s a fence. But there’s also the barking. And I don’t know if she barks only when she knows I’m inside or if she continues after I leave. I don’t know because I haven’t left her yet, but really, how do you find out the answer to that question? People offer advice – about voice-activated recorders, motion sensors and nanny cams. All expensive experiments, when I could just park down the street with the windows open, just like Animal Control does when investigating reports of a nuisance dog.

I’ve received plenty of advice on the Dog Alone in the New House Problem (and I'm definitely not looking for any more). But the solutions I’ve been offered vary and often seem impractical or cruel or… I’m just not there yet.  Solutions like a crate, shock collar, and training -- the ever-elusive training. The dog sits on command, she lies down, she can shake hands, and occasionally she stays. Yes, barking is still a problem. So is jumping. So is helping herself to a snack from the fridge.  We’re working on it. 
* * *
I actually intended this entry to be about something else. Today I moved my books and journals from the office in my parents shed.  It was a giant pain, and I regretted not being more organized on the day I moved the furniture, because then I would have had help with the 50 billion boxes of books instead of moving them today all by myself.

Anyway, they’re mostly unpacked. By which I mean, they are out of my car. Some of them are on the bookshelves. There’s still a lot to sort through, but I’m working on it. The thing is, I thought when I brought over the books, and especially once I unpacked the journals – I thought that would mean I was finally home. I thought it would feel less like I was house-sitting and more like my own place. But when I went to get the books, I left Bella behind for the night.  And as much trouble as she causes, it doesn’t feel like home without her snoring  in the corner. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Cottage

DISCLAIMER: This entry has nothing to do with reading, writing, reference or librarianship... it's just the only place I could think of where I could easily display these pictures. 

We have previously established that I am no longer unemployed. Consequently, I am also no longer living with my parents. I decided, when I moved into this new place, that I would paint the entire house.  It's a very small house, more like a cottage, but still I underestimated the amount of work it would take (I am not finished actually, but I'm as done as I'm going to be for awhile). I also did not anticipate that I would change my mind about the color, repaint half the house, change my mind again, have a complete freak-out breakdown, and then decide I was okay with the new color after all. Fortunately, there was no photographer present for the middle part, so the screaming and crying went undocumented. 

It goes without saying that I couldn't have done this without the help of some very good friends -- as well as my parents, and of course, my cousins who own the house. All photo credits go to my friend Cassie -- who also did more than her share of painting. 

This is the front door, and the alcove which is part of the living room.
This is the color green I thought was going to be Sage, but came out Neon Lime.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but believe me -- the greens are very different.

This is the dining area, and kitchen. And the heater in the floor.
The dining area now.
The Kitchen, before.
The Kitchen, after. I only have 3 spices in that spice rack -- salt, pepper and cumin.
Here we see Bella staring fixedly at the fridge, which she has learned to open.

The bedroom, before. I didn't think the bed would fit...
But it did.

Evidence that I did some work. This part was unpleasant. 

Evidence that I had help. Also, this is the office -- before.
The office after. Those are only a fraction of my books.
The Occupants.

 We are settling in, the dog and I. It's definitely been an adjustment. Bella is not a fan of the heater in the floor, nor the noises it makes. I am not a fan of her opening the fridge for a snack at 3 AM. Living downtown is great though -- and I see more of my friends now that I'm more conveniently located. I have met several of the neighbors, and even helped one catch a rooster which had escaped its pen. That was not an experience I expected to have in this (sort-of) urban setting. 

Anyway, there you go -- my new place. In the picture above, I am sitting on a futon. That's where the guests will stay -- though you may have to share it with Bella.