what’s new, pussycat?
Hi. It’s me. Been busy. Just wanted to poke my head in the back door and share what we’ve been doing. In a word, LOTS.
We’ve been talking with family and friends who have the know-how. My dad has a barn full of stuff: 2 toilets, a bathtub, a sink (I’ll take those, thank you), a barn-sized pile of lumber that is solid redwood, including barn flooring (thank you, we’ll take that, too). My teen/YA daughters have boyfriends who need extra bucks and can swing a hammer. And we have a Boy (that’s free labor right there).
In short, we think it’s gonna be OK, and even though we’re buying a trash-heap, it isn’t toxic, there’s good water, it’s in a great location, and we’ll own it outright. If Mr Husband lost his job, we would be homeless by the end of the month when we couldn’t pay the rent. Once we own this property, as scary as it is, we could at least camp there. It would be something of our own. And it will be an excellent retirement plan for us — to own our own place, whether or not we have income. As long as the taxes are paid, we’ll be fine. That gives us HUGE peace of mind, despite the hard work ahead.
We’re already planning how to reuse and rescue materials. I’m gonna get paint from Freecycle as well as light fixtures, switch plates, outlets, etc. People always have this stuff sitting around in their garages. I plan to haul as much of it as we can get and make use of it. I’ve been checking out books from the library and compiling a “look book” of ideas and plans, like using a table topped with a marble slab as a baking station/counter in the kitchen. I’m willing to take a bet I can put that together for free/cheap, based on Freeycle and salvage. I’m a lifelong baker and a baking table like that would be heavenly!
I could go on but suffice it to say that it will mean changes in the short run — we will likely move out of our big house and into an apartment til The Boy finished high school so we can save on rent and put the extra toward renovations. But all worth it! Fingers crossed…
Don’t hate me but I’ve also been working on the Challenges set forth in January. Here are my updates on those:
1) Fat Ass Challenge. I’ve lost 1 pound. Purely accidental. I don’t know how. I haven’t tried very hard, but I haven’t had soda in almost 2 months so that might have helped. I did just start doing yoga in the mornings this week and am AMAZED at how much better I feel when I do it. And that’s free, btw — class is held in my bedroom before coffee. Later in the year, I imagine my hammer-swinging arm will get ripped.
2) Garden Produce/Tracking: In March I had almost $100 in eggs and produce (herbs, oranges) from our little farm (large suburban yard). The number of eggs has increased as the weather has improved and I am trading a lot of eggs — for citrus, ocean-caught fish (Pacific wild salmon steaks!), worm castings, coupons, etc. I’m sharing eggs now with people who have apricot and plum trees for later in the year trades. I found a kitchen scale in my late great-aunt’s kitchen and now it’s mine, and helping to track produce numbers.
That’s all for me for now — I’m reading all comments, just don’t always have the bandwidth to respond. Hope everyone had a wonderful Passover, a blessed Ostara, a holy Easter, a lovely spring and also Happy Earth Day today. And many more…
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.