A Perfect Vacuum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient

It’s hard to be a nomad when you have to clean house every day. Why so clean? Here’s why —Home for SaleI’ve been downsizing for a long time now, but the last several weeks have put frantic full-time-focus on getting ready to sell. Finally getting a chance to get back to the blogging world is a good sign. I’m hoping my state of transience comes soon.

Staging is the rage for real estate marketing. Now, every morning I get up and set about obliterating all traces of my habitation. I polish the tub, shower, and sinks, sweep the hardwood floors, tidy up my workstation and put away all papers I had out the night before. Did I drink some coffee? Wash that cup! (or hide it in the dishwasher) Then, the very last thing — I vacuum the upstairs carpet. It’s new carpet, just installed June 5.

Here’s the thing — it tracks. I was so focused on getting a good neutral color that I didn’t even think about tracking. Now I see everywhere I’ve been. At first I cursed myself for not spending a bit more time to come up with a firmer weave carpet that wouldn’t show tracks. Then I realized, this could be an advantage.  When someone looks at the house, I can see where they’ve been!  Were they interested enough to look in the closets? Did they check the view out the window? Now I’m vacuum-obsessed.

Footprints in the carpeting

Bigfoot was here…(that’s me)

My staging-advisor asked what I was reading. “Get out an interesting book or two, put them on your nightstand,” she said, “make it look more home-like.” Mind you, this is after we’d de-cluttered like mad and (under duress) I’d sold, donated, or stored away most of the books. But, I’d hidden a secret stash in my car, so I took a quick look and came up with this —

Bedside Table: Vignette with Stanislaw Lem

Can you see the title on the bottom book?

Here it is in close-up —

How’s this for inspiration as I do my morning vacuum and step-erasure?

Wish me luck?

P.S. The top book is Chasing the Nightbird, by friend Krista Russell

 

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Boy Scouts, Gargoyles, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

I wasn’t prepared to find a surprise tucked behind the last row of Bob’s boxes on the shelves in the basement …

Detail: Vintage Boy Scout backpack

Vintage Boy Scout backpack, lesson: “Be Prepared” for anything (especially surprises)

It’s big… did kids really carry these? There’s no knowing now if it was his own backpack or if he just collected it at some point.

Vintage Boy Scout backpack

Vintage Boy Scout backpack – 1950-something?

I’d never thought to wonder whether he’d been a Boy Scout. I don’t remember him talking about it. But, right after the backpack surfaced, I found this.

Astronomy Merit Badge

Get your Astronomy merit badge here…

And the morning after that I found a photo of Grade-School Bob in his scout uniform. Synchronicity strikes. But alas, I’ve already misplaced the scout photo. Since I am temporarily out of proof of that instance of synchronicity, I’ll submit the following instead.  Here’s a photo of Bob’s father that I found the same day. I first met him just before we three took this trip to Paris in the 1980s.

Ted (Bob’s father) with Notre Dame gargoyles — Paris, mid-1980s

Later on my same day of unpacking, this mouse pad showed up (remember mouse pads?).

Mouse Pad - Notre Dame Gargoyle

Do you recognize this face?

Little surprises like this keep me going. And, now there are only a few basement boxes left, then I’m moving on to closets and file cabinets.

Wish me luck on finally finishing?

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Art Museum Eyes, A Jackson Pollock in the Wild? — and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense

A walk in Central Park, and one look out across the little lake and into the trees. The branches were dense, with a tracery of white among the dark.  Something started to look familiar.  Here’s a progression…

Central Park, first sight: Trees across the water

Central Park, first glance: Trees across the water

How do you know you may have been spending too much time in art museums? —  Everything looks like a painting. Zooming in…

Central Park: Trees across the water

Central Park: Trees across the water.

And a little closer, it’s getting more abstract…

Life imitating art?

Life Imitating Art?

One more time, adjusting the color balance a bit.

I’m sure it’s just a case of “art museum eyes” on my part, but here’s the painting I thought those trees were channeling. The dense pattern of branches, dark and light, makes a nice allusion to the meandering surface lines in the painting. Or, is it just my art museum eyes tricking me again?

Pollack at MoMA - One Numbber 31

Pollock at MoMA – One Number 31  (photo from MoMA)

How about it, have you seen life imitating art lately?

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Brussels, Art Nouveau, Musical Instruments Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

I’ve been downsizing travel books this week.  They’re some of the hardest to let go, maybe because I equate releasing a travel book with releasing the possibility of going back to a place I loved touring.  This week I listed Rick Steves’ Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent on Amazon and it sold by the next morning. I love it that someone is going.

In honor of releasing books, I’ll post some photos from our 2015 trip to Belgium. That’s October 2015, in the days of innocence BB, Before Bombing.

On the first morning there, we walked up to the Musical Instruments Museum.

Brussels Belgium

Brussels, looking up the hill toward MIM, the Musical Instruments Museum…

Brussels Belgium, up the hill toward MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

It’s the one with a tower and a turret, on the left.

Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau splendor: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments MuseumNow that we’re here, we can go atop —

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Here’s a view out from behind those Art Nouveau curves…

This Art Nouveau building was originally the “Old England” shops. It was designed by Paul Saintenoy, built in 1899.

View from atop: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

The view from atop MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

There’s a restaurant up top. Sam had the crème brûlée, and I became a person who takes pictures of our food.Crème brûlée at MIM, Brussels Musical Instruments Museum

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

More on MIM: gorgeous elevator and stairwell

Art Nouveau: Brussels Belgium, MIM, Musical Instruments Museum

Sam checks out the bagpipes… I’m still gaga over the architectural details.

Brussels Belgium, night view

What goes up must go back down the hill. This is a popular view… I love taking pictures of people taking pictures, especially when I can see their phone screens glowing…

Here’s the picture we all took from atop the steps —

Brussels Belgium tourist view

… and now it’s noon on a Wednesday, time for the next photo challenge. Why am I always late with the Weekly Photo Challenge?

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Water Pipe Problems, Remodeling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Wish

I wish the water knew its place. That would be in lakes, streams, oceans, aquifers, reservoirs, water towers … and in the pipes on the way to our houses.  Hot and cold running water in the home is a wonderful 1st World benefit. I appreciate it every day — especially the hot — but when the water comes out somewhere besides the faucet, it’s no fun.

My latest problem started small, just a damp spot in the driveway… but a few days later it looked like this:Water pipe leak in the driveway Meanwhile, inside, attempts at putting my living room back together took a turn — this little desk decided to come apart on the way down the stairs. Sam’s back went out with it.

Collapsed desk

Meanwhile, here’s a view of the offending pipe – first in the ground…

Driveway dig - looking for the water pipe

Where’s the water pipe line? All the other utilities marked their lines, but with the water, apparently no one knows for sure.

And here’s the damaged piece. It’s hard to believe that little pinhole put out so much water…

Copper water pipe with pinhole What? You can’t see the pinhole? Here’s a closer look —

Water pipe with pinhole leak

Now Sam’s back is healing, and the water pipe and the desk are both repaired. My house-related wish for this coming week is progress. No more collapsing, no more one step forward, two steps back.

Beware the Ides of March today – and no matter how thankful we are to have them — beware the water pipes.

I know there are more important things than houses to wish for — and I have those wishes too.  What do you wish for today?

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Remodeling, Donations, Chaos, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

The painters are here – this one’s just a shadow shrouded behind a drape of plastic to keep out the dust. Things can get a little spooky looking when the light is just right…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenHere we are in daylight…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenAs you can see (off to the left) everything is piled up everywhere.

Here’s the kitchen last week when it was enshrouded too.  It’s pretty much cleaned up now, and a new fridge delivered too.

Kitchen under wraps - shrouded in plastic The old fridge, now donated, is currently for sale at the Fur Kids Thrift Store. It was working just fine, but updated for cosmetic purposes (hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a little updating for cosmetic purposes myself). Here it is taking its leave.

Old fridge loaded to Fur Kids truck

Out of the shadowy house and into the light — the old fridge gets loaded to the Fur Kids truck.  It’s too bad we can see one foot of the guy doing the loading — otherwise, it almost looks like it’s rolling itself out, leaning forward into a new life.

I’m delighted to have found the Fur Kids thrift store nearby. That makes two stores in this area that benefit animal rescue, Fur Kids and Rescued Too. They’re my new favorite places to take donations.

Fur Kids truck

I love the waving-kitty logo…

What’s your favorite place for donations?

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Packing Up, Living Without Books, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

I didn’t realize how lonely I’d be without books. Here’s my living room, with the once-messy shelves of books all packed away to keep or stacked to donate (except the Amazon-sale ones stashed away upstairs). I had to pack up for remodeling, so to keep from packing twice, the keepers will stay boxed up until time comes to move.

Living Room with empty book shelves and no paintings

Living room all packed up, with no books & no paintings

My “library” room — Sam calls it the MCM room since it’s more Mid-Century than the rest of the house — is bookless now too. Here it is in a state of packing up…

Packing up the books

What to keep and what to go?…

And here are some of the keeper boxes … what will I do while they are inaccessible?

Books to keep, all packed up

Some books to keep, ready to be packed away until I can move.

I’m accustomed to walking in any time and pulling out something to reference. It’s time to say ‘bye books, see you later. Just for now, I’ll have to cope with the solitude of booklessness (and be even more thankful for the Public Library).

Have you ever been bookless?

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