lextopia

my thoughts . my memories . my family . my projects . my fears
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Archive for June, 2008

My Hands Are Aging

June 29, 2008 By: admin Category: General, House

Excerpt from an email to V&I:

“Thanks so much for the suggestion of the FHA loan. I did know about it. My realtor told me that it was an option. We ended up not needing to go that route as I found 2 local lenders who were willing to work with me. After some hoop-jumping I settled on one and we are going forward with everything.

Yesterday was the house inspection. I had a wonderful inspector who is also local. He’s been doing this for over 25 years, I think, and is very connected and respected in the community. He is on retainer with a bunch of municipal organizations and prominent citizens, and he also does a ton of contract work out in CA! The cost of my inspection was $400. For one mcmanshion owner in CA, he billed $100,000!!!!

Anyway, he and I had a great time. He chatted away and gave me lots and lots of information. I followed him around and he was very good about explaining things and giving some simple advice. There are a couple of issues with the house that will be worth negotiating with the sellers, but nothing makes it unsafe to move in immediately, which – if all goes well – I’ll do on July 31st. :) The other good thing was that the sellers’ agent was there. She is 65, “looks 50,” and is an educated ex-hippie. We got along super-famously and she was so thrilled that an artist wanted the house. You could see the relief in her eyes. I was right, by the way, the current owners didn’t want to leave. They loved this house and LOVED the workroom. He was a woodworker, but he also did all of the stonework that you see in the listing photos! He did other things too: redid the kitchen – opened up a wall – and installed all of the insulation in all of the out buildings. They put A LOT of money into this house and were ready to stay for a long, long time. They moved because she got an incredible job. The kind you just don’t pass up, especially if you’re an artist. It’s so hard to be a professional artist that when you get a huge opportunity you pretty much have to take it so you don’t starve. I imagine that she is still working hard on her own stuff after hours at home.

The sellers’ realtor and I got along so well that she started telling me about her husband who collects ukuleles! He has 250!!! My eyes must have bugged out because she asked me: “You want to do a film about him, don’t you?” I smiled and nodded. :) Why I mention all of this is because it bears on why I love the house so much. There’s a HUGE amount of love in that house, and it’s something that needs to be maintained or the house will collapse. By the way, my inspector also said that the house is much older than 1900. He says it’s easily 1890s, but is in great shape. “It’s held up for this long,” he said… I’m going to visit the Historical Society on Tuesday to see if they have anything on the street or the house.

The inspector was also very helpful about “designing” certain changes with me while we worked our way around the house. He agreed with everything Connie and I had thought of, so that was reassuring.

Overall, this process is dragging on too long. It’s stressing me out, but I know it’s worth it. I just wish I didn’t have to do it – I wish there wasn’t as much to do, negotiations, etc. I’ll just be really, really happy once Molly and I have our bed upstairs and can just fall down and go to sleep….”

It Ends Today

June 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Going Home, House

I realize how lucky I am. I can afford a HOME. In a recent article, an NY Times reporter made the argument for changing our society away from validation via home ownership, and while I agree with his idealism, I am certainly relieved that I will soon be a home owner. It’s not a status thing. I wouldn’t even know what that looked like. I’ve seen plenty of “fancy-shmancy” houses and the folks living in them are only as happy as their day-to-day existence makes them. Happiness doesn’t have to do with quantity, but quality. The house I”m buying is relatively small for our current standards, but for me it’s perfect. It uses space so well – there isn’t one “dead” area – and will save me buckets of cash in heating and cooling bills. It also has a good amount of space for guests, and gets GREAT light no matter where you’re standing. Lastly, it’s set back on a quiet street, and the “backyard” is a rail-trail the denizens of which I will be happy to watch pass by on foot, blade or bike as I sit on my soon-to-be constructed patio sipping green tea.

I’ve done it the right way. My way. I did research, spoke to people, allowed myself to be terrified for an appropriate amount of time, and have thought-out many benefits to the house’s location and design. In short: I’M READY.

This time next month, girlfriend will be a home-owner. Today is my brother’s 42nd birthday, and so on this auspicious day – a day when he gave 2 people the greatest joy they had (until I arrived) ever felt – I acknowledge the efforts of my mother to raise me as a strong, strong, self-confident, self-actualized woman. She puts all her knowledge into me and I will carry across the threshold of my new home proudly. :)

Now. If all goes well I’ll get keys in a few weeks. When that happens I wanna be ready with RITUALS. The house already has amazing vibes so I don’t want to fuck those up. What I want to do is come into the house and kinda ask it to welcome me, Molly and Caren, and kind of “blend” with it. So if anyone has any suggestions about how to do any of that, I’d be grateful to hear’em!

Sometimes, nothing is impossible.

Rain

June 23, 2008 By: admin Category: House

It’s been raining and promises to continue through the week. I never feel like working when it’s so cozy-making outside. Especially crashing here at my brother’s house – the house of many couches and nestle places.

I spent the last few days hanging out with my friend Maninder. She was working when I left L.A. and was kind enough to fly all the way the hell out here to see me before our lives change. We’re both going through momentous “stuff” and so it seemed like a good idea to unplug for a couple of days and try to reconnect. It was a good idea. I finally got proper sleep, started running again, am eating well again, and getting refocused on the work ahead.

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We visited my favorite cute fishing village towns: Rockport & Gloucester. We also spent a lot of time in Salem.We were both interested in re-familiarizing ourselves with colonial architecture, but also found ourselves intrigued by all the witch trial stuff. That stuff never ceases to fascinate. Maninder got me an interesting book: “The Devil In The Shape of a Woman.” It’s breakdown of the social construction that existed at the time and tries to explain how that climate fueled the melodramatic madness that resulted in the executions of 19 people. It’s funny… we’re not different from those times much at all. We’re still hysterically vilifying people and killing them because they’re different.

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Today is mortgage day! I chase down a lender to see if I can get a good rate and lock this whole house deal up. My original lender pulled the rug out from under at the very last second, requiring that I put more money down because they say the house is in a declining market. When I did some research and showed them that they were wrong, they stuck to their guns and admitted that the extra % down was their policy, and not something they’d come up with using LOGIC.

That took the wind outta my sails in a way I can’t even describe. I spent all of Friday crying and moping. It was awful. This isn’t my “dream house,” I don’t think that kind of thing is real, but it is a house I LOVE and one that will serve Molly, me and so many others so well. So, the beat goes on… Obviously, I’ll update you when I know more… but how cool would it be to get this all done on my 41st birthday…? Just sayin’…

Maninder and I talked a lot about life and love, what makes it all work. For me, things have always been very simple: I love, I treat them well, I am loved, I feel good. I do what I can to contribute positively to society. This only comes from self-love, as I’ve said here often. This house thing has been a beautiful test for me. It’s forced me to ask what it is that I truly need as well as what I want. Desires are secondary unless they have direct relevance to needs, and that’s the work I’ve been doing during this whole house thing. I’ve been looking over the house trying to see how I’ll live in it – what kind of furniture do I need and what kind do I want? You’ll find the answers come fairly quickly when your space is limited and when you’re clear about what you’re doing in this life, what your goals are. My goals are to contribute to the community I live in, and to open an independent full video production company. The house I’m looking at, an it’s detached outbuildings, will serve those ends well. The house itself is small, but incredibly well laid-out. All the spaces have a purpose.

Anyway, I’ll go on and on WITH PICTURES once everything is finalized.

“Monkey Wants My Burger”

June 20, 2008 By: admin Category: House, Video

Clearly, going through house horrors leaves me with the need for this… cracks me up… :)

On The Verge

June 19, 2008 By: admin Category: House

The offer went in around Noon today. Now we wait… :)

The Offer

June 19, 2008 By: admin Category: House

Today I go in and make the offer. I am to fill out a bunch of paperwork and then my realtor sends it all to the current owners, who I think live in CA. Isn’t that funny…???

Anyway, after the offer goes in, we wait. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait, but because it’s nerve-wracking I think I’ll go spend some time on the Vineyard this weekend. See what Dad and Sarah have done with the place. :) It’s very nice to be able to think this way – to be able to just “pop down” to the Vineyard. NICE. Also, my good pal Maninder is here and she provides a lot of much-needed reconnection. Doing all this house stuff on my own is cool, but also scary at certain points, and I never know when those moments will happen, so it’s good to have a friend here.

Alright, people, fingers crossed!!!! :)

House Hunting 2: DECIDED

June 17, 2008 By: admin Category: House

So, me being – you know – me, I’ve already settled on a house. This is not Impulsive Alexia, this is Can Recognize A Good Thing Alexia. This is the way things have gone for me throughout my life. I’m not a dilly-dallier. For me the grass is usually just fine on any side if it’s just grass. Things don’t have be any more than what they are as you see them.

My only regret, when I make my offer tomorrow, is that Mom won’t be with me at the closing. Not having her to share this moment with is harder than I thought. I felt incredibly lonely today, once I realized I decided to make the offer. Connie, my realtor, has been great. Very informative, very helpful. After doing a walkthru with Michael in the morning, she and I went to the Town Hall and dug up a few documents about the house so we’d be armed with every piece of info. about what’s happened to it. But leaving the Town Hall, I missed Mom. I immediately had the urge to call her. As I always do when this instinct hits me, I reached quickly for my phone, but then remembered I had no one to call.

I’ll ask Dad to be at the closing if he can make it. It’s important to me that a parent be there. It’s not a hand-holding thing, it’s a witness thing. Friends and lovers can forget moments, family doesn’t. Especially parents. Dad won’t forget that moment, and having him there will feel like the loose ends are finally closed on this chapter of my life. This feels like the end of the first half of my life. I did school, relationships, career, car. Now it’s time for house. :)

Dad told me that if Mom were alive at this moment she would have tried to make sure I had enough money to close the deal and still have some left over to live. :) She would have worried. I also know, from our deep bond, that she would have allowed herself to feel excited as if it was she doing it. She lived through my experiences a lot, and I took that as a compliment – if a bit of a sad compliment. Mom was too scared too much of the time, but then sometimes not at all. She was a contradiction, and I miss her. Mostly, she was the most supportive person I have ever known — my very best, best friend — and it would have been good to have her with me today.

House Hunting, Day 1

June 16, 2008 By: admin Category: House

Today I embark on my first official house-hunting trip. Three houses for sure, probably more. The three I like best will be seen today and I’m very excited. I have Sarah Susanka’s invaluable book “The Not So Big House” tucked under my arm, and am ready for bear!

It’s been a long, hard slog getting to this moment. I couldn’t actually imagine being back in rural MA. While still in CA I tried and tried to remember what it felt like, but the comfort level I feel being back HOME couldn’t be imagined. I haven’t slept this well in a long, long time.

Anyway, I’m going to take lots of pictures and will upload as I go, so stay tuned! And for all of those hwo helped me get here — which is all of you — thank you. :)

I. Am. So. Zonked.

June 07, 2008 By: admin Category: Going Home, House

I barely made it over the Rockies. The trailer is too fucking heavy. If I had time and energy I’d unpack the whole goddamned thing, ship the books & CD boxes, and repack. I almost trashed my transmission the day I went over the mountains on my way to Evergreen. Thankfully, the cat boarding place let me keep car + trailer at their place the entire time I’ve been in CO This is great because it meant I didn’t have to try to get up Vince & Irene’s hill. The rig would not have survived that, I know.

So, now I’m leaving tomorrow and am stressed as hell about the car. At least I’m “on the Eastern slope of the Rockies,” as Vince puts it, so it’s all downhill and flat from here. Give me flat any day of the week and twice on Sunday with this fuckin’ trailer on my ass…

Next steps are: one night at the Super 8 in Topeka, then three in Chicago where I’ll film and see family and friends, then Erie, PA for a night, and then… home. :) Chicago’s going to be a good stop. Like this one in CO was. I always love crashing with Irene and Vince. They are both so chill and their house is… just paradise. It’s so peaceful I’ve taken to calling it Lhasa.

Today Vince and I went over all the houses on my listings and found out some amazing things. Or well, I found out some amazing things. From Vince. 😉 It’s astonishing the amount of stuff you can avoid knowing when you’re buying a house. This is not stuff you want to be not-knowing, this is stuff that’ll help. I feel very much up to the task of choosing the right house, it’s just a bit lonely doing it all alone. One the one hand the whole “it’s only me, financially” thing is empowering, on the other hand, it’s lonely. I wanted to share my first house with someone. Really share it. Molly will design everything, but at the end of the day, if everything goes to shit, it goes to shit on me, and that’s isolating. Safety/numbers, and all that.

Ah well… we all have our crosses to bear. I just feel lucky I can buy a house at all. I’m one of the few.

Sleep. Now. G’nite. :)

Free Range Chickens by SNL ;)

June 06, 2008 By: admin Category: Humane Food, sustainability, Video

I’m not a bad person for doing this, but the video below is C.L.A.S.S.I.C. Seriously…god bless America. :)

FYI, I found this from my good pals at AOL’s Green Daily blog. These folks are doing The Work and if you have any questions about greenity, go there first. I’m also repackaging my Sustainability Series vids for them, and am filming some new material that will end up here, so check it out!!!!