Reflections on a One-Month Anniversary

file0002104791493No, I didn’t make a cake for the occasion. I don’t have an oven at present, so I couldn’t if I wanted to. But it’s been exactly one month since we moved into our new home, and it’s fun to contemplate some of the things we’ve learned and seen in that time.

When I made phone calls to arrange for various utilities, one of the people I spoke with, upon learning we moved here from Ohio, asked if we were experiencing culture shock. I don’t know what she thinks Ohio is like — of course it’s different in different places, so maybe she’s thinking of Cleveland or Cincinnati or some major city. But her question surprised me, because the Cumberland area is much like the region we moved from. The cost of living is about the same, the people are similar in habits and attitude, and the lay of the land is familiar. The primary difference is that the hills are higher, and we see fewer farms here and more rocks. But for the most part, in ways it hardly seems like we moved.

We did move, though, and do have some things to learn. Such as, people around here don’t porch swinguse Craigslist very much. We’ve listed a number of large items that came with the house or that we brought with us (our porch swing, a fireplace screen and tools, a dining room buffet, a vintage RCA cabinet Victrola, and a newish GE wall oven, among other things). We’ve priced them to sell. And nobody’s interested. I know we’re not asking too much, so that can’t be the problem. Do people not think to look on Craigslist when they want to buy something? Do they not trust anything online? I don’t know, but it’s a little frustrating. We’d like to get rid of some of this clutter!

An expensive thing we learned when getting our Maryland driver’s licenses: This state charges double if you have a motorcycle endorsement. They commented that Craig had a motorcycle certification on his Ohio license, and he said, “Yes, I do.” So they carried it over to his Maryland license, which made the fee for his twice what mine was. They told him, “Oh, yes, that’s considered two separate licenses.” Next time he renews, he’ll let that drop, but for now, he’s still legal on a motorcycle. Not that he’s likely to ever drive one again.

This is not Craig, but it shows a miter saw, in case you're not familiar with it. I got this shot from the MorgueFile free photo site.
This is not Craig, but it shows a miter saw, in case you’re not familiar with it. I got this shot from the MorgueFile free photo site.

Another new experience: shopping in pawn shops. Craig needs a miter saw for the kitchen floor project, and, after visiting several pawn shops in two states, he found a really nice DeWalt model, almost new, for about $150 less than it lists for at Lowe’s. Sweet! Maybe people around here use pawn shops instead of Craigslist.

Speaking of pawn shops, let me tell you about our visit to one in Keyser, West Virginia.

You may have a preconceived idea of West Virginia in your mind, but let me tell you, it’s probably not a fair assessment. West Virginia is a beautiful state and is populated with wonderful people. It’s also a short distance from our house, just on the other side of the Potomac River.

If you’ve heard that a lot of West Virginians are illiterate hillbillies, don’t believe it. They’re definitely not illiterate. At least, not in Keyser. I know this because Keyser has a public library. Craig and I walked past it on our way to one of the pawn shops we visited, and the door was hanging open. I don’t mean propped open to let fresh air in, but rather, hanging open because it didn’t close properly.

As we passed by the first time, I noted it was a quaint little storefront — not at all what you’d expect a library to look like. More like a converted old-timey hardware store (which I suspect it was) with books on shelves instead of nuts and bolts in bins. After we left the pawn shop (empty-handed, as it didn’t have the saw Craig wanted), the open door beckoned to me. Or rather, to my bladder. It was morning, and my coffee was yearning to be free. So I told Craig my plan, and he said, “Go ahead, I’ll see you at the car,” and went on through the rain.

Did I mention it was raining? It was a lovely rainy day. Not sure why it was lovely, but the rain added to the ambiance somehow.

Just inside the door (where the cash register probably used to be when there was a store IMG_0420in that location) was the library desk. I asked if there was a public restroom available, and she directed me to the back of the room. “Turn left at the curtain, then up the stairs. It’s at the top of the steps.”

It was indeed. As I walked to the back of the room, I couldn’t help but notice the floor tiles had holes worn in them. When I found the stairs to the left of the curtains (what were those curtains for? They didn’t cover windows, but just seemed to be long pieces of fabric hanging there. Room dividers perhaps?), the steps were gray-painted concrete. I climbed them, holding onto the metal pipe that served as a railing, and found an office at the top of the stairs, with a woman at a computer with her back to the open office door. I was ready to smile and say hello to her, but she never turned or glanced up when I came up the stairs nor later when I went down.

Just beyond her door was another open door, and the room beyond it was dark. I entered the room, found a light switch, and discovered it was the restroom.

The restroom; there were not separate facilities for men and women. Inside the door was a shelf of books. Yes. This library provides you with something to read when you’re on the pot. There was also a flush toilet and a sink with running water, so I was good to go! I shut the door and employed the hook-and-eye latch, then took care of the business I’d come for. On the wall opposite were two signs. One read, “Please close the door when using the bathroom!” No joke. The other sign, below the first, read in four-inch-tall letters, “FLUSH!”

So, y’see? there’s abundant proof that West Virginians aren’t illiterate.

Truly, I don’t wish to disparage my neighbors to the south, and I wouldn’t mind being a West Virginian myself. In fact, we looked at several houses in that state, and the three that I liked the best were there. But my visit to the public library in Keyser was so cliche, I had to share the experience with you.

I’ve seen several libraries around here, and I donated copies of my books to the one in LaVale. I would have dropped off copies at the others, too, but I didn’t have any with me when I passed them. Incidentally, I went to a book signing at a bookstore yesterday and met four local authors, which was fun. Of course I also spent almost $60 buying books from each, which was less fun, but maybe they’ll do the same for me someday.

DSC07633So how’s the “church shopping” coming, you might ask? I might tell you! But I’ll save that for another post. I’ll just say that the search is ongoing, but I went to a church this morning where I heard the best preaching I’ve heard since FBC in New Philly. The road we traveled to get there looked a lot like the one in the photo here, but when we left the service, I felt warmed and filled.

Speaking of photos, that cake at the beginning of this post makes me hungry. I think I’ll go heat up some leftover bean soup for supper. Catch ya later!



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Honey, I’m Home!

frontOur move is finally accomplished!

It’s been a lot of work, but looking back on it, we had no serious problems, just the usual aggravation.

The truck came to load up our things on Thursday rather than Wednesday as we’d arranged, and delivered the furniture on Saturday (again, delayed). But the important thing is, it got here safe and sound. Moreover, the weather was perfect (unlike our last move, which coincided with a major snowstorm).

The photo above was taken by the listing agent last November when the house first went on the market. It still looks the same, so I didn’t bother to take a new pic. As you can see, we have some work to do in the yard in the way of clearing out overgrown trees and shrubs. But Craig likes having things to do, and this place offers plenty of projects, indoors and out.

As I said, our stuff was delivered on Saturday — and it didn’t arrive until 3:45 pm. And not until after the driver called to tell us he was lost because his GPS quit on him all of a sudden. We had to go looking for him, which was a little weird, but fortunately, though we weren’t sure where he was from his description because we don’t know the area very well yet, we found him quickly. Once he got the truck turned around, he followed us. But when we turned onto our road, he didn’t follow. Argh! So we had to go chasing after him.

Once they finally got here, the movers began unloading about 4 pm and were finished in time for us to get some supper at a nearby Mexican restaurant at about 9:15. (“Us” meaning just Craig and me — we didn’t invite the movers).

Then on Sunday, we went to Reston to deliver our bunk beds to our daughter’s family. It was the shortest trip we’ve ever taken there — but of course, our proximity to their house was the reason we moved here to begin with. We drove there, ate lunch, unloaded the beds and set them up, played with the kids for a while, then went home to get back to our unpacking.

By this evening, we’ve made an encouraging dent in the mess. The bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen are in pretty good shape. But the office, living room and dining room are still utter chaos, as you can see from the following pics.

The office
The office

However, we got our TV and internet service hooked up today, so this evening, Craig and I can sit in the mess and veg out in front of our respective screens. (In Craig’s case, conk out. As I sit here in the kitchen, I hear him snoring in the living room.)

As you can see from the picture of the office, I wasn’t kidding about it being utter chaos. Are you wondering what that little door is at the top of the wall? We’re wondering too. We opened it to take a look, and there’s nothing in it. I’m not sure what the purpose is, but since you need a ladder to use it, I doubt we’ll ever put anything in it.

living room
living room

The living room and dining room are more or less the same room, so you can see furniture from both in this shot. About all we’ve done there yet is set up the TV and clear a little spot on the sofa so Craig can watch it.

We’re going to do a complete kitchen remodel in a couple weeks. In the meantime, though, I’ve gotten the basic stuff unpacked and stowed in the cabinets so I can use the kitchen. Because I’m keeping a lot of kitchen things in their boxes and stashing them in the basement until I get my new cabinets, it was relatively easy to get the kitchen organized.

kitchenI don’t think I told you about the kitchen table. That is to say, I told some of you about it individually, but I don’t believe I blogged about it. So here’s the story: about 75 years ago, my grandmother sawed the lower part of the legs off her drop-leaf dining table in order to use it as an occasional table. (As I understand it, this was a sudden whim, and something that did not please her husband.) The table eventually went from my grandparents’ home to my parents’, and now to ours. The finish was all messed up but it was still good and sturdy.

Because our new house is a little ranch-style place with a small kitchen, there’s not much kitchen tableroom for a table. So we thought it might be fun to replace the legs on that old table, paint it, and use it for our kitchen. We did just that, and here’s the result. With one leaf extended and one dropped, it’s a perfect fit.

As you can see from the MacBook on the table, until the desk in my office is reassembled, I’m using the table as a computer desk. [Deb Gardner: are you out there? Do you see your gift hanging on the wall?]

See that floor? It’s carpet. And I think the carpet’s been there since 1970. Looking at these pictures, you don’t need to wonder why we’re redoing the kitchen right away.

I’m not wild about the kitchen, but I do like the table, and the house, and the neighborhood, and the town. I’m tempted to call our new home state Merryland.

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