Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big Feet and Bigger Boots

So now I try to honor another request, this time it's for a blog about Shane (thanks to Daggett for the title). I always wanted to write him a little song to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies theme. It's been a while since I heard it, so this isn't perfect, but hey, it's my first attempt and I can't help that my job interferes with my work.

"The Irish Hillbilly"
Come and listen to my story about a man named Shane
Goofy Irish kid who graduated from the University of Maine
Made a lot of great friends including yours truly
And left many a-Mainer with quite a story.
[Crazy stories, that is. Legends. Tall tales...]

Well, no piece of equipment is safe with that man
If anyone can beat up a skidsteer, Shane sure can
But usually friends are safe with Mr. Keady,
Still you should keep an eye on your safety.
[Personal, that is. Just ask Marsha's shoulder...]

[Sweet-ass banjo solo]

Some time ago he married Erika in the month of May,
Moved out to Ohio where he still lives today.
If you ever get to meet him, just leave his food alone
And he'll give you his friendship plus a story of your own.
(Instead of "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" I had the line "Look out now, he's in the skidsteer" but I decided to omit it. But I still wanted to share it.)

Okay, who's next?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Little nuts, big trees

You know, I started writing this and realized that the subject could be one heck of a sexual innuendo.

Originally Shane instructed me to talk about the little people, farmers in Vermont...then his next message is "short farmers." Short farmers in Vermont? Well, I think they're all borderline Canadian. I mean that literally. But I'm sure Shane is referring to our good friend, Daggett. Ricky. Dorset Daggett (whoops, not supposed to use that one anymore...) Anyway, a short little poem for a guy who may not be tall, but mighty oaks grow from tiny acorns. Or something like that.

Once upon a time there was a farmer named Ricky.
A great friend, but could be a little tricky.
Parked my car at Witter Farm one day,
Came out to see the wipers facing the wrong way.
As if that was not enough to be a comedic gem,
Slices of bread lay underneath them.
(Best I could do in a ten-minute work break).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Turkey Day come and gone...

Well, I've managed to survive another Thanksgiving in Maine. My mom cooked up another fantastic feast. The twist for this year: we transported it 30 minutes southish (maybe southwestish) to my grandfather's house. It was the first time he'd had Thanksgiving in his own house for about 33 years. My mom and I did dishes old school... we heated water on the stove to wash. I now have a greater appreciation for the running hot water in my apartment (by the way, LOVING the new place).

I also got to spend time with my adorable nephews. By the way, never promise a two-year-old he's going to see Santa at a parade unless you can deliver the goods. You'd think at that age they wouldn't really hold grudges, but they do. All in all, it is a fun age. Especially with the whole toilet training thing. It's almost magical how fast the words "I gotta pee Jammy" - that's right, she's Jammy - can make my mother go from 85 in the passing lane to a dead stop in the breakdown lane.

My nephew has also vaguely learned the concept of "privacy." He'll insist he needs privacy when he uses the bathroom, but right after, he's just as proud as a peacock when he hollers "I peed!" and comes running out, arms up high, pants around his ankles...basically the exact opposite of minimal coverage for a guy. But I remember thinking, I'm pretty sure I've seen or heard drunk guys doing this in their late twenties.

So besides being entertained by my nephew's excellent adventures in bodily functions, I was pretty darn lazy over the course of the weekend. And I was ready to come back the day after I got there. Family will do that to you. At least mine will.

I did have a slightly interesting tripto Maine when I tried to visit Kiera at her parents. I'm beginning to wonder if she meant right instead of left, or the second left instead of the first...but I knew I should have been concerned when she named a road and said,"wait, that was in the other town they lived in." Of course, I probably should have called before she went to her parents, which happens to be in a zone of no cell phone. The whole thing brought back memories of trying to get from her sister's to Pineland for a Katahdin sheep thing. For the blogosphere record, I told her to go north.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Desperately Seeking Apartments

So just to explain further about the whole moving melodrama....

I had been hanging out in Brattleboro, living about a mile from work, which was convenient because, you know, that's a really short commute. If you expected me to say it was convenient so I could walk to work, you clearly don't know me as well as you think you do. Well, that's not true. I would have been able to walk if my 15 year old Buick had crapped out on me.
Although the place was plenty big enough - there was one room that I hardly ever spent any time in it (okay, two if you count the kitchen)- the rent was atrociously high for me. I think it was about 42% of my gross income. So two years of that began to take its toll on my savings. Thus the new apartment search began. This is where it gets interesting.

I met someone through a friend. I will call this person......CB. Yes, CB stands for something, but I am a better person now than I was a month ago, so I'm not going to elaborate. Use your imagination. Anyway, CB happened to hang out with myself and a group of mutual friends. CB was having a tougher time financially than I was, so the idea of sharing living space seemed like a wonderfully practical idea. Ha!

First, I dragged my feet on sharing living space with this person because CB had decided to hook up with a friend/crush of mine. I know I can be ignorantly optimistic sometimes, but even I knew that that sort of living situation would be a bit uncomfortable if I did not come to terms with the CB/RHS situation. But I did, and some other things happened in my life that allowed me to believe that the roommate situation would work out for the best.

So I made sure CB was aware that I did want to share living quarters. Now the tables were turned. CB dragged her feet, but finally a place was found. A three bedroom place with one other person, a complete stranger (found out later that this person had a record, and had driven her vehicle into two cars in the breakdown lane last winter, sending three people to the hospital). Total rent would be $1500. It had a dishwasher AND washer and dryer, and was not much further from work. In fact, it almost justified driving to work, but still close enough that a walk would be doable, because when you drive a car that is in the teens, you live for the moment. You know, the moment it dies and you end up walking.

Everything seemed great until the day we met the landlord. Landlord was cool, third roomie seemed cool, even the lease agreement seemed cool until Landlord said "one of you will have to sign for all three people." Big red flag popped up. Then, third roomie says to Landlord, "I'm thinking of moving to be closer to my parents." Whoa, whoa, whoa...this can't be good. Now, this may not seem that major, but this all went down literally four days before I needed to vacate my current premises (never give notice until you have an apartment...just to state the obvious).

At this point in the timeline, instead of packing, I decided it would be a great weekend to drive to Maine. While in Maine, I was informed that CB made the decision to not take the current place, which was fine with me. Next, CB located an affordable little apartment a few miles out of town with an "interesting" setup. Apparently one of us would sleep on an enclosed porch until it became too cold at night, and then would move into the living room for the winter. I think when one is faced with the thought of living out of one's car, any living situation involving a roof and four walls sounds spectacular. So we took the apartment.

To make a long story not as long as it could be, CB quit her job the week we signed the year lease. I found out a week later. Two weeks after we moved, I took a vacation to Maine (moving is hard work!). I was warmly greeted by my return to my new domicile with a note that informed me CB had taken her hamster, Dumbass, and gone home, which was about 250 miles away. "I don't know when I'm coming back. Hope you had a good vacation." Well, it was great until I read that. I immediately thought it was going to be a long 11 and a half months before the end of the lease.

Eventually CB did come back. And stayed for about two months. I was informed that the job search was not going well, and so she returned to her old stomping grounds, but only after she scared the bejeepers out of our 82-year-old landlord. I've been very fortunate to have my awesome family and great friends to help me through the entire ordeal. Now, if she just forwarded her mail and returned the other key to the P.O. box, we'd be cool. But I think I may end up having to switch out to my own mailbox before too long, because I don't want to have to worry about her coming in contact with my potentially important documents.

Well, that's basically the moving drama. Once I knew I had to leave place 2, I began my apartment search in earnest and found a great little place. As they say, it all comes out in the wash. Of course, I could spend an entire entry on the actual moving out of place 1, but that would just be painful. Some things are better left unwritten.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Movin' on the west side

Okay, I've decided to give this a shot. Shane thinks it will give new insight into the world of Strout, so brace yourselves.

My mom - the infamous Momma Strout - came out to help me move (I'm now in my third place this year). The move went spectacularly well, especially compared to the last move. Mom thinks I have too much stuff - and this after I reduced my possessions by a third after settling into place 2. Needless to say, all this moving has me seriously considering minimalism. And if anything is going to help with that endeavor, apartment 3 will do it. It's about 20' by 20'. Plus a screened-in landing that is maybe 8' x 12'. It's second floor, but that's good because cell phones do not work at all on the first floor. They don't work that great on the second floor either, but at least I could put in a call to the po-po or ambulance if need be.

Cell phone reception, or lack thereof, does not irritate me nearly so much as radio and television reception. I miss Maine, the ten radio stations and at least two network channels you could get just about anywhere. There are four radio stations here, and you get nothing but varying shades of snow on the telly unless you have cable or dish. Is it too much to ask for good, FREE TV reception in southern Vermont? Once we accomplish that, then we can focus on the details. Like peace in the Middle East.

Perhaps this didn't give too much insight, but it'll have to do for now. I've definitely got a ton of material on moving and mentally unstable roommates.