WOW is it great here (as you can tell from the above photo). The sun is shining, clouds are moving, breeze is blowing, leaves are falling and it’s Sunday afternoon. I have so much spare time today that I can write this entry. Will this blog ever become “regular”? I need something for irregularity.
The birthday/housewarming party was great. I suppose since I only had a dozen seats, it would have been funny if everyone showed up, but everyone who was invited but couldn’t come is still invited, anytime. I have friends, and my life has improved - a wonderful present.
It’s been quite a week. Got sick, got well, met Bob Fass, one of my idols – hope he watches my show and responds – also gave him an album. (See Wiki if his name does not ring a bell!) Thanks to my old friend Barbara Bernstein-Perrucci for the introduction from afar (FLA).
Saw some good movies at the festival, missed a lot of them…couldn’t be as involved this year. Usually I volunteer for the panel that selects films and also I volunteer at the Festival itself (Vermont International Film Festival), which gets better every year. But as I was saying, I was busy moving for two or three months. I missed most of the Summer. Not a good thing up here, but I was blessed to be able to move into a nice place in town from a deteriorating situation (and capped it with the first party in years).
To sum up:
I had a swinging funky cheap top-floor apartment (rented condo with the landlord 100 miles away - his only Unit) next to a ravine in the rear corner of a former Army base: Fort Ethan Allen. I was surrounded by gigantic trees, on a hill overlooking a beaver dam and marsh, a forest with wildlife, the sound of leaves blowing, frogs croaking at night, etc. It was almost impossible to see the trailer park on the other side of the ravine, and right on the bus-line to town. (I thought the bus was going to take out my mailbox more than once. About 40 passed on a typical day, counting both directions.) But - very impressive location, and a nice old house from 1900, with modest but lovely woodwork. Even a stained-glass window on the landing! (The stairs were inside the door, which was way at the bottom.) It’s true nothing was level, and there were no 90 degree angles, but I loved it.
Eight years passed. My cat got sick and died. People finally bought the empty place downstairs. They had it for a few years, painted the whole house blue instead of the faded yellow it had been, moved to the state of Washington, and let a real estate agent sell it. Finally bought by a young couple who were actually surprised to find out someone lived upstairs. (?) My presence irked them (hearing my music and movies). Their irkness in turn irked me. Oh well.
A few years ago, we started getting storms with violent winds. A gigantic 100-year-old Maple fell from the edge of the forest onto our lawn, knocking over five other trees to join it in the front yard. They covered half the lawn, so it looked a lot worse for a while. In back, a gigantic tree that had been leaning more and more towards my house through the years slowly fell in the back yard (it took a week, honestly) and finally went down at 1:30 one morning, narrowly missing the house (thank you!), but taking out a few other trees. That too took a while to cut up and remove. (Somebody was doing somebody a favor, or something.)
My second neighbor next door had been a friend: a reporter for the biggest local paper – we saw each other almost daily. But finally he got into an adversarial relationship with his landlady (for good reason) and found somewhere else which was nicer. He has now moved back to Ann Arbor, Michigan in preparation for a six-month tour of India.
Next, his landlady rented that apartment to a young man with a lot of “friends”. The first night that he slept at his girlfriend’s house, two men came with a U-Haul and removed all his valuable stuff (giant TV, computers, etc.). He had no idea who could have done it – though it was pretty obvious it was someone who knew he’d be gone (one of his “friends”). He didn’t learn from this. He got even more “friends”, and the driveway filled with cars every night of the week. They parked on a diagonal. The place was surrounded by empty parking lots (especially on weekends) but they all parked in the driveway (used for the four apartments in the two houses here). They argued in the driveway. The new neighbor had to be told when he was blasting music at 3:00 AM: he didn’t notice the time or the volume, because he was drunk. He then got 3 DUIs.
I forced my own hand when I made up my mind to have a CO Detector. I mean – it was an old house, with mice in the walls. I had plenty to complain about. Accidents could happen; it was a wooden house, and not "up to Code". I asked the Town to inspect the place. (I had written to the landlord asking what to do, and he had responded by not responding – for a year, then another, and another.) So I forced his hand, and thereby my own. He fixed the electricity problems and got a CO Detector. Then, he started raising the rent - the same year I started running out of money.
[Long story short.]
I applied for subsidized housing, and qualified. I awaited the possibility of moving to a place I could afford. I started throwing things away. News finally came a year later, and I was offered a very nice apartment in town. It’s perfect, in a locked building where one never hears one’s neighbors - a renovated turn of the century factory building solidly made of beams and bricks. The people are nice, the place is great, and I believe in good luck.
It's a sort of dream come true. What can I say - come on over! Also - never give up.