Category Archives: home ownership

The gender slot

My wife and I were told that perhaps we need to get another roof on our house by a contractor who had done work on our house in the past. Since he was so busy that he was unlikely angling for the job, we thought his word had some credence. So, we have been investigating roofers. My wife called – she is a teacher and therefore home much of the summer – and got three quotes. She was talking to one of them, and he suggested that we probably just needed repairs and that the roof was structurally sound for another 10 years, so we were considering that option. He added, “If you DO decide to get the roof replaced in the future, HAVE YOUR HUSBAND CALL ME.” Now I had one brief conversation with him before, but the substantive conversations were all with my wife. Fact is, because she owned a house before we did, she almost certainly knows more about roofing than I do.” Must be a generation thing.

My daughter Lydia is allergic to peanuts, as I have indicated before. When Carol is off to college, there will be a couple birthday parties to which Lydia is invited and I’ll be taking her. One mom was a friend of mine before she was friends with Carol, but she e-mailed me: “What would be a good time to call Carol to speak with her more about her peanut allergy?” Now, I replied about all of the idiosyncracies of the allergy (allergens well-labeled on most products, need to avoid products processed in plants that may have had peanuts on the conveyor belt, etc.) Yup, even Lydia’s DAD is up on the particulatrs of Lydia’s allergies; we all deal with it every time we shop for groceries, eat at a restaurant or purchase something from a bakery.


Another Monday meme or three

In all likelihood, from some guy in Buffalo who wants you to Ask Him Anything.

Quiz the First
List your favorite product(s) for each of the following categories. You can also expand on why you like them, how long you’ve used them, etc.

1) Laundry detergent: Tide. That’s what my wife buys. A lot when it’s on sale. When I was single: whatever was cheapest that week.
2) Fabric softener: Febreze, I think.
3) Floor cleaner: Pine-sol or something like it, but most of them time, just sweeping, vacuuming, and Swiffers.
4) Carpet cleaner: Vacuum.
5) Glass cleaner: The store brand.
6) Dish detergent: Dawn, or some other name brand on sale. The sore brands don’t cut it for my wife. She may be right.
7) Bathroom cleaner: Whatever’s on sale.
8) Bath soap: SoftSoap shower gels.
9) Shampoo: Suave.
10) Conditioner: Same.
11) Styling products: None for me.
12) Deodorant: My mother used to sell Avon, and I have a stockpile of whatever their roll-on is.
13) Toothpaste: Crest or Colgate, on sale.
14) Mouthwash: Store brand that looks looks like Scope.
15) Face cleanser: None; use soap.
16) Moisturizer: Nope.
17) Treatment: I don’t even know what “Treatment” is!
18) Lip balm: Rarely.
19) Nail polish: None.
20) Make up: No.

Do you have a dishwasher?

Is your living room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors?
Every room is carpeted except the kitchen and bathrooms.

Do you keep your kitchen knives on the counter or in a drawer?
We have a set in a knife block.

House, apartment, duplex or trailer?

How many bedrooms is it?
The assessment says three (or four). One’s very small. One’s the office.

Gas stove or electric?
Gas. Electric, which I have had in the past, is uncivilized.

Do you have a yard?

What size TV is in the living room?
Nineteen inches. Bought in 1987. No V-chip, no SAP, no stereo. We’ll keep it until it dies.

Are your plates in the same cupboard as your cups?

Is there a coffee maker sitting on your kitchen counter?
No. Neither my wife or I drink coffee much. We DO have a coffeemaker, for guests.

What room is your computer in?
The office, one of the “bedrooms”.

Are there pictures hanging in your living room?

Yes: a bucolic scene. A history of the British empire from 973 to 1973 that lists all of the houses and all the kings and queens in that house.

Are there any themes found in your home?
Yes. the books are in the office. The CDs are in 4 CD holders. Not a theme? I really don’t know what that means.

Do you have any curtains in your home?
We used to. The ones we had originally were custom fitted to those windows. Now we have blinds.

What color is your fridge?
That off-white “appliance” color. The freezer door is off kilter, and sometimes you have to lift it up to make sure it’s closed. This happened when I was in the refrigerator and someone opened the freezer door above me, a visiting sister, I think. I stood up and practically took the door off with my shoulders and back. The fridge is only four or five years old, and was less than one year old when this happened.

Is your house clean?

My house is clean on Saturday. Isn’t always tidy during the week, though.

What room is the most neglected?

Now that my wife has cleaned the office, mostly of her school clutter, I’d say our bedroom.

Are the dishes in your sink/dishwasher clean or dirty?
Generally clean.

How long have you lived in your home?
Since May 2000.

Where did you live before?
In the first floor of the two-family apartment Carol bought in 1992. we were there for a year, and it was way too crowded. More to the point, it was HER house, as much as she tried to make it ours. This was actually good advice my former pastor gave us before we were married; get a place that was “ours”.

Do you have one of those fluffy toilet lid covers on your toilet?
No. Never saw the point of those.

Do you have a scale anywhere in your house?
Yes, under our bed.

How many mirrors are in your house?
Two vanity mirrors in the bathroom, one other upstairs, one downstairs. Four.

Look up. What do you see?
A light fixture.

Do you have a garage?
No. We have street parking, with alternate-side parking twice a week, and a city that’ll plow you into your parking space.

Quiz the Second

1. How old will you turn in 2008?
55, double nickel.

2. Do you think you’ll be married by then?
If she’s keep me.

3. What do you look forward to most in the next 3 months?
More sleep.

4. Do you like to say “I told you so?”
No. I prefer people recognizing the rightness of my position without me saying a word.

5. Who was the last person to call you?
My wife.

6. Do you prefer call or text?
I don’t text.

7. Do you have any pets?
A stuffed cat.

8. What were you doing at 1:30 am?
Thinking about tomorrow.

9. What were you doing at 3:00 am?
Writing this.

10. When is the last time you saw your mom?
November, when I went to Charlotte, NC for her 80th birthday.

11. What is your mood?

12. How many houses have you lived in?
I lost count. More than 30.

13. How many city/towns have you lived in?
Binghamton, Kingston, New Paltz, Jamaica (Queens), Schenectady, and Albany, NY. Charlotte, NC.

14. Do you prefer shoes, socks or bare feet?
Slippers. Or sandals.

15. Are you a social person?

16. What was the last thing you ate?
Graham crackers.

17. What’s your favorite color?

18. What are you doing for your next birthday?
Taking the day off.

19. What is your favorite TV show?
It depends on the last thing I saw. There was a great Aliens in America Christmas show. That said, The Office. Or Scrubs.

20. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich?
I don’t like peanut butter. when I was 3 or 4, I ate it a LOT, apparently, and now the smell/taste makes me slightly nauseous. In any case, the daughter is allergic to it, so there’s none in the house. My wife, BTW, LOVES peanut butter. Oh, jelly? Strawberry jam.

21. Do you like coffee?
No. I know this disappoints GayProf greatly, but what can you do?

22. What are you listening to?
The computer.

23. Do you have an iPod?
Yes, but don’t use it much.

24. How do you feel about the last person you kissed?
This is a family blog.

25. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed?
On the left, as you’re reclining on the bed with the headboard at your head.

26. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes, but I play so infrequently always need a cheat card to emind me whether a straight beats a flush or vice versa.

27. What are you thinking about right now?

28. Any plans for this weekend?
Reading, writing.

29. Have you cut your hair this week?
No. A couple weeks ago.

30. Last picture you took?
Probably of the daughter.

31. Are you a tease?
Used to be.

32. Have you ever been in an ambulance?
Once, after a car accident in Endicott, NY when I was 19.

33. Do you prefer an ocean or pool?
To swim in? A pool. To walk beside? An ocean.

34. Do you smile often?
I guess so.

35. What color are your bed sheets?
Without looking, i couldn’
t tell you. Blue? Yellow? White? The red ones?

36. What is your favorite thing to spend money on?

37. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7?
Wedding ring.

38. Have you heard a rumor about yourself this week?
Only the ones I’ve started.

39. Who is the funniest person you know?
Probably one of the racquetball guys.

41. Where do you want to go to college?
SUNY New Paltz (B/A.), UAlbany (M.L.S.)

42. Who was the last person to make you cry?
Probably my daughter.

43. Do you shut off the water while you brush your teeth?

44. Do you wish you were with someone right now?
I’m good.

45. Are you mad about anything?
The “debates” that seem to seek out the salacious rather than inform, and gave more time to the top-tier candidates. NYS arcane election laws, making it harder to vote than elsewhere, spineless Democrats in Congress. And I won’t even get into the administration in DC.

Quiz the third

1. Have you ever had mono?

2. The last place you were (besides now)?

3. The last gift you received?
Music of some sort.

4. How many times a day do you drop your mobile phone?
I’ve never dropped it yet. Forget it, yes.

5. The top three things you spend the most money on?
Well, since so much of it is automatically allocated to things such as the mortgage and paying bills, it’s hard to say. Of the things I actually pay by cash, check or charge: utilities, food, drugspharmaceuticals.

6. Last food you ate?

7. First thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Close up: eyes. From a distance: general contour.

9. The school you attend?
See above: I finished college over fifteen years ago.

10. Your mobile phone provider?

11. Favorite store that’s usually in a mall?
Dick’s Sporting Goods. That said, I tend to avoid the mall like The Plague.

12. Whats the longest job you have ever had?
The current one: since October 19, 1992.

13. What do you smell like?
I don’t know.

14. The biggest lie you’ve ever heard?
I’m sure it has to do with the Iraq war, but there were so many…

15. The last time you cried was because why?

16. In your opinion, do long distance relationships work?
Not for me.

17. Do you drink coffee?

18. What do you wanna say to your most recent ex?
“I did love you, you know.”

19. Do you believe in God?
Yes, and is She pissed!

20. Favorite color(s)?
I’ve changed my mind since above. Tangerine trees and marmalade skies.

21. The last person on your missed calls list on your mobile phone?
I don’t give out my number to my mobile phone I use it to call people. I don’t miss calls.

23. How many pillows do you usually sleep with?
One, maybe two if they’re thin.

24. What are you wearing now?
Gray sweatshirt, dark gray sweatpants. I sleep in them.

25. How many pets do you own?
Well, if you count ALL the stuffed animals…

26. What are you doing tomorrow?
Praying for peace.

27. Can you play ping pong?
Yes, but not particularly well.

28. Favorite gender?
Women. The vast majority of my friends have been female since I was about 10.

29. Do you like maps?
I LOVE maps. My grandfather used to give me the maps from his National Geographic, and I probably still have them in a suitcase in the attic, at least some of them.

31. Have you ever attended a themed party?
Yes. A polyester party, after seeing the John Waters film. All the food was marshmallow fluff and the like.

32. Have you ever thrown a party?
I’ve thrown LOTS of parties None recently, though.

33. When did you wake up this morning?
About three a.m.

34. The best thing about winter?
Going to the movies.

35. Last time you were in trouble with the cops?
Well, there was that time in ’72…

38. What are your plans for this weekend?
Catching up on newspapers, taped programming.

39. How many days is it until your birthday?

40. What do you want to be when you “grow up”?
A raconteur.

41. Are you on a laptop?

42. Are you smiling?
No. I’m cold. And tired.

43. Do you miss someone right now?
Sometimes, I miss me.

44. Are you happy?
I’ll be happier next month.

45. Have you ever been in the hospital for an emergency?
Besides the car accident in 1972, there was the time I had an allergic reaction to naprocyn, slept for 24 hours, got dragged to the ER, was dehydrated, and was on an IV for nine hours.

46. Last time you ate chicken?
I eat chicken often. Last night, actually.

47. What jewelry are you wearing?
Besides the ring, nothing.

48. What are you going to do after this survey?
Something else. Get dressed for work.

49. Song you’re listening to?
45 Men in a Telephone Booth.

50. The car you were in last?

52. What color shirt are you wearing?
It’s still light gray. What is it with recurring questions in the same blog-quiz, anyway?

53. How long is your hair?
What hair?

54. What’s on your mind right now?
I need to take off some vacation days.

55. Last show you watched?
ABC News.

56. Last thing you drank?

57. Who was hotter, Ginger or Maryanne?
Mary Ann, who got rooked in the series’ first theme.

No tagging. Anybody crazy enough to do one of these, or all three, is welcome to do so.

My Back Is Killing Me

On Memorial Day, I was carrying Lydia’s not-so-little red wagon down the back step of the house. I stepped down on what should have been the penultimate step and ended up on my back, the wagon on top of me. I discovered that step was lower on the left side by about an inch and a quarter than it was on the right.

You might think 1.25 inches isn’t much, but when you can’t actually SEE the steps, it’s like a chasm. Falling down these stairs, at least in this case, is somewhat like sliding into second base. One starts vertically, and ends up horizontal. The difference is intentionality; I didn’t plan to land on my backside carrying the wagon. (Also, no one in Major League Baseball seems to slide feet first anymore.)

Immediately after the fall, I thought, “I need to sue the landlord.” Then I had that annoying realization: I AM the landlord. When you’ve lived in housing owned by others for the vast majority of your life, home ownership, even after eight years, is still a bit of a foreign concept.

The house I grew up in was owned by my maternal grandmother, which, as I think back on it, may have contributed to the tension between her and my father. My parents didn’t buy their own place until shortly after I went to college.

So, I’ve been a renter most of my life. This means I’ve moved a number of times, some number north of 20, maybe as many as 30; I forget. Given the fact that I didn’t move from the time I was six months old until I went to college, that meant about once a year in my adulthood prior to being a homeowner. Since I stayed some places longer than a year, other places were much shorter. 1977, e.g., I was in Charlotte, NYC and New Paltz. In 1978, I was at three different addresses in Schenectady, four if you count the four days I spent at one location.

But the rate of change has slowed, I spent 4.5 years in one apartment before I got married. One year in the house Carol bought before we met, and now seven years here.

The downside of moving so often are that it’s harder to peg time. “Oh, that happened when I was living on Madison Avenue; must have been ’82 or ’83.” the other downside is that the ability for stuff to clutter up certain rooms is so much easier. But I’ll deal.

Oh, and the back is still sore, as is my left knee, which I seem to have hyperextended. I say “seem” because I haven’t gone to the doctor, yet. I will if it isn’t better soon.
And speaking of stuff, we have an overstuffed chair and a pull-out sofa bed that we’ve been trying to get rid of (i.e., give away if someone would just haul it off) for weeks. The chair’s going on the curb this week, the sofa next. The street entrepreneurs, I hope, will pick them up before they end up in the landfill. I’ve tired of having two stuffed chairs and two sofas in the living room.
Things I like about June: music on PBS. Alison Krauss live and also a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on Wednesday. Later in the month, the Gershwin Award to Paul Simon, with a whole bunch of folks singing Simon songs.