Grump Central: Weekly Posts Fall 2022
31 December 2022
Yay, I've made it through another year. Yay, I've defied the odds once more. But, in true, classic Grump form, I say: So what? Big deal. (Buckaroo Banzai fans will recognize that quip.) I'm not exactly thrilled that I'm still alive, nor am I thankful. Whom should I thank, and for what? I'll be brutally honest: I'm just going through the motions only because my DNA is hardwired to do so. One of my very closest friends totally gets this; the rest would be crushed by my indifference about my life.
But this is the way it is; this is the way I am. I've been ready to die since I was ten years old, and on more than a few occasions I've wanted to. Yes, in our culture that's a huge red flag, a sign of "illness." But trust me, I've spent enough time on the couch to learn that some things simply cannot be fixed; you just toss the parts in a box and stuff the box in a closet. If I am perceived as broken, so be it; I know I'll never change anyone's mind about it, so I'm not even going to try.
I've already lost a friend because I refuse to get a heart transplant (never mind that it wouldn't be possible even if I'd wanted it). Just as well; if someone can't accept me warts and all, that's on them. I do not exist to meet anyone's expectations, and I'm not going to change simply because someone objects to how I think. If I took that same attitude myself, I'd have far fewer friends—I mean, a couple of them actually like Trump, and believe me, it takes an awful lot of acceptance for me to deal with that.
At any rate, I'm not really looking forward to the new year. That's not to suggest I'm necessarily dreading it... well, except for having to change the copyright line on over 5,000 web pages—what a royal pain in the ass. Oh, and watching 96 condos being built right behind my bedroom, as seen in this week's awesome photo. Oh, and then come to find out, another friend has been diagnosed with the Big C. Before it's even arrived, 2023 is off to a bad start.
But just to pile it on, I've discovered that a box full of hobby stuff was lost during my move. And not just any box, but the single most important one of all, containing quite a few valuable tools as well as a number of models, including some of the finest work I've done in recent years. I don't see me recovering from this: I can't afford to replace all of the tools, and I'd never be able to replicate the lost models. It's so disheartening that I've given up any thoughts of going back to modeling, and that has carved a huge hole in my soul.
24 December 2022
Well, this weekend is the world's most popular holiday. Growing up, it was always an awful time for me, sullied by all manner of family drama. Later, while living with significant others, I went through the motions and did what was expected. But being single once more has freed me from having to pretend that "it's the most wonderful time of the year," when in fact it remains a trigger I'd rather avoid. I just text greetings to a few friends, and that's it. So, if you don't hear from me, don't take it personally.
Despite having lived in the trailer for nearly three months, I still haven't quite accepted it as my home, even after all of the extensive renovations I've made. The sensation I have is more like that of staying in an apartment for a while, expecting at some point to return home—all the while knowing full well I've moved on, and this is home. Obviously I'm still in denial, and I sometimes wonder if that will ever change. But I also wonder if it really matters; as the saying goes, it is what it is.
Meanwhile, we're headed for the deep freeze this holiday weekend. It'll be a good stress test of my new heat pump, although I'm already aware of the trailer's woefully inadequate insulation, particularly in the floors. When the thermostat set to 71° and it drops below freezing outside, the air at the ceiling is close to 73°, it's around 70° at 6 feet, 68° at counter height, and 63° (or lower) at the floor. I'm sure going to miss my little wood stove; so will my kids.
And speaking of... this cold snap has been keeping me up at night—not out of concern for my new place; the new heat pump is rated down to 0°, and I have space heaters just in case. No, I'm worried about the woodland home I left behind. The new owner bought it as a "getaway pad." I carefully explained to him that it was designed and built to be a full-time residence, and that it cannot be winterized. He understood and acknowledged same. From what I've learned, however, he's not been back to the house since closing.
When I moved out, I left the heat on low. But the heat pump there is only rated down to about 20°, and we're headed for a low of 6° tonight, followed by several nights in the teens. I fear water pipes will burst and the place will be flooded; the damage could be significant. But, I simply cannot worry about it; it's no longer my property, no longer my responsibility. Still, I poured my heart and soul into that place; I'm forever connected to it. How could I not be concerned?
17 December 2022
After having hosted three dinner parties in two weeks, my new kitchen has had a pretty thorough shakedown. It's 99% functionally finished, with the dishwasher hookup still pending, and 99% cosmetically complete, lacking only the tile backsplash grout. With so little left to do, there's nothing to keep me from slipping into a very dark place once again, an unfortunate consequence of chronic depression. I've been feeling quite lost, adrift, aimless; it's a sensation with which I'm quite familiar, although on this occasion it's much more intense than I can recall, to the point that I sometimes almost feel disembodied. It doesn't last long, however, as the acute pain in my neck, courtesy of two collapsed discs, always yanks me back into reality.
Meanwhile, the construction behind me has, if nothing else, been mildly entertaining. They spent two days moving a ton of dirt from Point A to Points B and C. Next, they spent three days removing all of the added dirt, as well as a fair amount of existing dirt, from Point B and sending it to Points C, D and E. And now they're on their fourth day removing dirt from Point E and sending it back to Point A. I'm tempted to turn it into a drinking game.
10 December 2022
Today's image is the view from my bedroom window these days. The condo construction project, evidently dormant for the past couple of years, is now kicking into high gear, with window-rattling earthmovers busily relocating dirt in what would appear to a bystander as uncoordinated moves from Point A to Points B and C, then from B to C, and so on. Meanwhile, my mobile home subsite is being updated almost daily, for those few regulars curious about such nonsense.
3 December 2022
With the year almost over, I find it hard to believe what 2022 has wrought, particularly the last few months. Here I am in a new home, after having sworn I'd never move again. Circumstances saw to it that I was wrong. Then again, by all rights I should have died by now—twice, no less—and yet here I am, defying the odds.
I gaze out across the very-nearly-refinished kitchen and wonder, why did I do that? I didn't really need to. Well, I did it because I could. And I enjoyed doing it, particularly since there was nothing to prevent me from finishing. So... now what? Honestly, I've no idea. I've almost depleted my budget, but even if I hadn't, there's nothing more I'd wish to do except build a deck, and since that's prohibited, I'm basically all done.
Now I find myself strangely adrift. I spend the bulk of my time pondering things, as opposed to doing things, and it's disconcerting. I've done some of the writing I've been threatening to do, with little impetus to continue. I've looked at the unruly heap of hobby supplies in the second bedroom closet, and simply sighed. I've glanced over some of my dioramas, and found myself entirely unmoved by them, with zero inclination to lift an X-Acto knife. Perhaps the urge will return in time; still, it's off-putting to be so indifferent.
Today's image is what my sunrises look like... for now, anyway. Pretty soon a three-story condo will completely blot out this view, as well as that of the sunset. By then my bedroom blinds will remain forever closed, as there will be two dozen new residents peering straight down at my home from their balconies, which will be closer than the trailers to either side of me. Welcome to Purgatory.
26 November 2022
Once again I christened my new oven with brownies. Mmmm!
19 November 2022
Now, that's a kitchen! Still plenty left to do, but I'm on track to hit the 90% mark by Thanksgiving. More details at the sub-site.
12 November 2022
Things are getting unexpectedly hectic around here: I'd planted some seeds, and they're all sprouting at once. The mini-split heat pump installation dropped into an opening the contractor had on Monday. Meanwhile, I showed my kitchen to the fellow who'd been hauling away my bulk trash, explaining that the whole lot (appliances, cabinets and countertops) was free to anyone he knew who'd pay for its removal. He found someone within a day (I'd expected it might happen after Thanksgiving). So, I immediately had to start ordering the new kitchen appliances and cabinets. And with Thanksgiving a mere two weeks away, I needed to to plan the renovation very quickly, carefully and efficiently. (Wrinkle: a flooring company wanted $255 to ship $78 worth of spare flooring to me [!!!], so I had to arrange for someone to go pick it up). Needless to say, I'll be in high gear for the next two weeks. At least it'll keep my depression at bay...
Oh, and today's image is a teeny bit of drama from a few days ago. While sitting at my computer, I heard a loud crash, and looked outside to see a front-end loader had fallen off of the carrier brought in to take it away. It wasn't a good day for somebody.
5 November 2022
It's a really good thing I decided to upgrade to a tankless water heater (or possibly not, depending on one's perspective). Despite assurances to the contrary from the former owner, the existing tank was not only woefully inadequate, but also a senior citizen in the water heater world. Worse, after removing it, I made a most unpleasant discovery: underneath the tank were the remains of untold generations of mice, including dozens of half-eaten acorns, large amounts of waste, and... a recently deceased resident. It all made for a gruesome and gross cleanup project, followed by the replacement of a chewed, rotted sub-floor.
But it didn't stop there... the process of uncovering the water heater nightmare also revealed other plumbing problems, such as two leaks in the main water supply line, as well as a multitude of electrical issues. I've been making daily Amazon orders to get the parts I've needed, and relying heavily on their next-day delivery promise. Needless to say it's not been a great week, although I did finish the bookcase.
29 October 2022
If I zoom in and carefully crop photos of my surroundings, things can look quite nice. So, I've been applying the same approach to my mental perception of my new life as well, and it does help make it more tolerable, at least a bit anyway. This "tunnel vision" does have its drawbacks, of course, as just the act of doing it draws attention to itself. But I have no options; it is what it is. The only things I can change are the surfaces of my immediate environment, which is what I've been doing since I got here.
I'm also feeling uneasily conventional: I have a sofa, and a dining room set, and many of the other trappings of an "ordinary" person. Strangely, it's a sensation I've not had since I was in my 30s, and it's an odd, curious feeling, to put it simply. Neither good nor bad, it's just there, like the sound of the garbage truck doings its rounds on Friday mornings, and other stuff I must get used to for the remainder of my days.
Curiously, some things remain the same, like my grocery delivery service, and truck drivers having trouble finding me because Google Maps sends them to the wrong side of the development. I've already gotten several calls: "I can't find you." I tell them, "Just turn around, stay on the road, and it will circle around past me." "Oh, there you are." Yup, there I be.
22 October 2022
I confess to having slipped into a seriously depressed state. Try as I might to create a new life from my new circumstances, I'm failing at every turn. All this place does is remind me of what I've lost, what I've given up, what I've traded for a dozen or so more months of so-called life. This isn't life for me; this is excruciatingly slow death. I'm wishing I'd died amongst the trees. What I'd give to be with them just a little while longer. It's why one of the first things I did to my new home was install an enormous (22-foot) woodland mural. Alas, no one makes one big enough for me, because I'd cover every square inch of wall with it. At least I've finally closed on the house—nearly a month after the originally planned date—so that's behind me now. But I still hear Bobby scratching at the door. That may take a while to go away.
15 October 2022
I'm attempting to return to some sense of a normal life, although the feeling yet eludes me. I've also noticed that, after his initial burst of curiosity about his new home, Zack appears to be slipping into a somewhat depressed state, and I cannot deny that it mirrors my own mood. Still, I press on with making this place "my own," as more than a few friends have advised. And so I've been updating the End of the Line sub-site with my progress, such as it is. Of note: I've still not closed on my house. The buyer has been beset by no end of bureaucracy from the county over some fine points regarding the driveway; they're essentially putting the entire burden of their incompetence on him. Which means, technically, I still own both properties. But hopefully not for long; I really need to get this all behind me ASAP.
8 October 2022
I have arrived on the other side. It was a long, grueling process that is detailed in a new sub-site, End of the Line.
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