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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

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The Diaspora

It is an oxymoron to say we are settled into our temporary digs, but we are as settled as life amid stacks of boxes can get.

The new house is getting a makeover, which I assure myself daily will be complete by May 1. I thought we might be camping out in the POD for a month, but friends happened to have a vacant, furnished two bedroom condo just around the corner from our new address. Our new best friends (thank you, John & Lindsay!xoxo). Perfectly in line with the domino cascade of luck the universe seems to have set up around this whole transition.

Not that it has been without bumps. The day after we moved, both mine and Patrick's immune systems crashed spectacularly, amplified by the onset of tree pollen season. Coming from Newfoundland, which is mostly rock dotted by lichen and scrubby spruce, I couldn't imagine I would ever curse a tree. But Arkansas is blanketed with them, and they are a menace in the spring. Seriously. This state ranks near the top of the nation for asthma because of it. The EPA needs to write the trees a very strongly worded letter.

So we've been wheezing and coughing and sniffling and popping lortadine, not sure how much of our fatigue is due to pollen having displaced all the oxygen in our bloodstreams, and how much is attributable to having spent two weeks making the contents of a 2200 square feet home fit into a 16 foot storage container.

Small stuff, compared to the sad news that Eureka, our granddaddy cat, went out for cigarettes one night last week and never came back. He did this the last time we moved, and turned up many weeks after we had written him off, but he was quite a bit spryer then. I will put some signs up around the neighborhood, but I think maybe he just took a look around at all the boxes and decided he was too old and too tired for it.

Fanny, in the meantime, has gone to rehab. We had to board her anyway, so I signed her up for in-house obedience training. It was hard to tell the trainer where to begin. Curing her of attacking the kids' friends would be a huge improvement.

That leaves Lucy, our calico cat, who must wonder if all the other animals have been raptured, leaving her to eat her kibbles from a paper coffee filter on a strange floor.

The kids, on the other hand, are having a blast. The condo is like an ultra-futuristic hotel to them, full of modern wonders our old home lacked, like carpeting and a microwave. Also a garbage disposal, which I am quite enamoured of myself. I've never had one, and I've kind of become obsessed with seeing what it likes to eat. I call it, "Baby." I'm hoping there will be room in the kitchen budget for the new house to install one.

Ah, the dratted budget. The last year wrecked our credit so thoroughly, it was a minor miracle we were able to get a mortgage at all. To do so, we had to make a down payment that was much bigger than the usual minimum. Which is probably a good thing in the long run, even if it means we have had to scale way back on our remodelling plans. Still, we are getting the paint and floors done, and the process of hiring that out is pushing my tiny, stunted left brain to its limit.

The first quote I got on the painting was twenty thousand dollars. For a three bedroom, 1800 square-foot house. Now, the U.S. dollar has taken a beating, but we are not yet paying $100 for a loaf of bread, and I am not paying five figures for a paint job. Not if the risen Jackson Pollack himself were to come and do it. The second quote was $10,000. These guys were convincing. They were so nice and so thorough in their measuring and figuring, I was almost sold on it. We would have to eat on a card table and watch tv on the floor, but the paint on our walls would hold up under 100X magnification. Then I came to my senses.

"If we had the time, we'd paint this place ourselves, and we'd be happy with it," I said to Patrick. So we passed on the micro-precision job, and hired a friend. Good enough will be good enough. And my color scheme is so bright, you won't be able to get that close to the wall to detect flaws anyway.

We took the inspiration from here. I went through so many sample pints trying to get just the right colors, the walls look like a patchwork quilt. Our friend was going to start today. I'm half expecting a call from him asking me if I'm really, really sure.

No, but that's never stopped me before.

Lots more to come.

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Blogger Erika said...

I love your inspiration pictures. In your sunny and warm climate they will be fantastic. For me here on the rock - I need colours that are slightly warmer and cozier to get us through the chillier months.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

$20,000 to paint a house???!!??

I'm obviously living in the wrong place.

I painted all the walls in our 2800 square foot up/down duplex. I won't lie and say it was easy, but it definitely was not a job I would pay anyone that kind of money to do. Cripes.

Love your colours. Hope grandaddy cat comes back.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Hello! I just found your blog via link from... oh, hell, somewhere in the intranet ether. I love your writing, and have enjoyed catching up on your musings about a life that strangely parallels my own in several ways. I find it quite fortuitous that I encounter your blog during a time of great excitement and transformation for you and your family. I'm looking forward to catching updates about your transition!

1:13 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Twenty grand?! We just had our 2500 sq. foot house professionally painted- ceilings, trim, and every single wall-- and it was less than HALF that. I'm glad you went a different way.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Hairline Fracture said...

20,000 sounds insane to me, too. I like your color scheme even though I would be too chicken to use it.

2:23 PM  
Blogger jennifer h said...

I'm thinking of giving up my dream of being a paid writer. House painting seems to be the way to go. Geez.

The colors are cheerful, and I imagine you could use some of that these days.

Fingers crossed for Eureka to come back.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Misbehaving said...

$20,000??? Were they going to paint the house with paint laced with gold flakes?

3:59 PM  
Blogger LetterB said...

Kitty rapture killed me. Still chuckling.

8:20 PM  
Blogger ~summer~ said...

Are they painting your house with gold? Contractor boyfriend says no more than $5000 for the inside. And no more than $4000 for the outside. Those are the prices he passes on to home owners from his painting subs for houses your size. And that's in California. More bids. "Make sure they do primer and two coats of paint. And sand between every coat." Good luck!

10:20 PM  
Blogger anndeo said...

I love the inspiration photos. The designer Jamie Drake is known to not be a chromophob. His use of color is fantastic. Good Luck with the remodel.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

We're in the middle of our 13th move in 20 years...boy do I feel your pain! As our 14th move approaches, I'm considering going the way of Eureka! :-)

Wish I was closer - I love to paint!

9:42 AM  
Blogger cce said...

I've actually slowly painted the interior of our house since we moved here two years ago. It's nothing like the instant gratification your seeking but there is some smug self righteousness I gather from affecting the change. I actually scraped and painted one small side of the outside last summer after we got $15,000 bids. The rest of it just peels and fades and rots away waiting for me to get around to buffing and filing and applying some enamel. Ain't this home ownership thing grand?

6:25 PM  

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