Tag Archives: neighbors

Keeping Up with the Neighbors

I call this one: Giant Slug with Favorite Shoes and Socks

I feel like I spend half of one weekend day sitting here dealing with random details. I’ve been here all morning trying to get started on writing but then finding something that I need to take care of while I have a chance.

Here’s the latest on the rental house next door: The house seems abandoned Sunday-Wednesday with no cars parked or activity of any kind. Thursday-Saturday is the opposite with numerous cars parked there and coming and going and only a couple of regulars.

A few weeks ago they had a big loud party on a Friday night that lasted until who knows when? The last time I woke up was 1:30a. I thought about going over there except I would have had to find pants and shoes and glasses and it was easier to stay home and complain about it later. The next week we phoned the leasing agent to let her know that there was a lot of activity over there and we weren’t even sure who lived there.

She was surprised since she rented the house to a single woman who said she traveled a lot on business. Leasing agent supposedly phoned to let them know the neighbors expressed concern and there have been no other major get togethers since. Coincidentally the weather cooled at the same time so it’s not as likely to have a big loud group in the backyard. So, at this point, the noise hasn’t been a problem but there are still a lot of different cars parked overnight.

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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #4

Klamath River upriver from Orleans, July 2017

So to clarify, I am updating my progress for week #3. We are starting week #4 today.

My work flow was out of whack due to a my trip to California. But I did the following:

1. I finished the teaser story for the romance series. It’s shorter than expected but a clean draft so shouldn’t be too much work to get it ready for distribution.

2. I worked on polish and fixing on the romance manuscript. I also figured out a fix to some of the things that were bothering me about the ending.

3. I didn’t do the blurb. I can’t help it, I keep avoiding the blurb. I did epic administrivia and worked in the yard during the hottest part of the day. I found all sorts of things to do instead of work on the blurb. I’ve got 2 more weeks.

I am going to abandon the idea of revisions to the spec fic short story that I have been submitting. I only have 2 more weekends to get the manuscript finished so all my attention will be devoted to that.

Same general area. Klamath River upriver from Orleans, March 2017

The rental house next door is empty again. I am assuming it will be rented again. That will make the 9th tenants in 15 years. We’ve been lucky the last couple of times. We’ll see how our luck holds out.

We also had baby raccoons in the yard this morning. It was daylight so I was a little worried about them. We have a big hedge and no one is next door so I hope they found a safe place to hide. They make a cute chittery sound, like Tribbles.

Here’s all my classmates again if you’ve considered donating but haven’t gotten around to it yet:

Christopher
Owen
Eden
Carol
Shane
Maggie
Raj
An
Theresa
Pritpaul
Kira
Tracy
Douglas
Me

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Stunning Development

You may find it hard to believe but I have completely lost track of what I’m doing here.

I thought I had photos of my flowers out front all cropped and ready to post. Instead, I found this one tulip photo.

I wasn’t overwhelmed with my tulips this year. They were okay-pretty. But there have been years where I drove up and thought: my flowers are so amazing. Then I would get out of the car and stand there and admire them.

This year I thought maybe they suffered from too much rain. Does that happen? I also buy the cheapest bulbs. Maybe that’s the problem?

All the flowers out front are long gone. There are still a few tulips in the back and the irises are just coming in. Last year we had crazy hot weather just as the irises came out and that was the end of that.

Should we be so lucky this year.

I think I’ve mentioned that house across the street I refer to as the bro house.

Our cool neighbors moved and a couple of years later we still haven’t figured out what’s going on there. I am not the world’s most outgoing neighbor but I at least wave. No person who lives (stays) there has ever even made eye contact with me.

It is not a large house — I think maybe 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. The basement was unfinished last time I was there. Small yard. I think I have identified two regular residents (bros). One guy has a dog. There are any number of cars coming and going from that house. Different cars parked overnight – most of them black SUVs. Mostly guys but occasionally women.

I don’t think it’s drugs. Nothing about it seems like drugs. I’m wondering if there’s a company where people travel a lot and this is the place to crash when they’re in town? They’ve had a few parties but generally nothing to complain about — just odd situation.

About 6 weeks ago they woke me up at 2:40am on a Friday night (Saturday morning). I assumed it must be a sweetheart quarrel – why else would people be talking outside in the middle of the night? But then the following week, they woke me up at the exact same time. I could hear car doors slam and people drive off. Bob said it must be a party breaking up but why would the party break up at the same time each week?

I came up with the idea that maybe someone has an early shift and they are headed to work. Except why they stand around outside talking before going off to work?

The following week it happened again, same time. But I haven’t heard them since.

It’s a mystery.

This isn’t particularly relevant to where I’m at in my process, but so I can feel like I’m making forward progress I’ll post my latest stat:

The manuscript that ate my brain:

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Don’t Rock the Boat

I’m going to break my rule about embedding Youtube clips because I have a terrible earworm and I want to share it with you:

This song was on the radio alarm clock one morning last week. I remember when it was a hit on the radio. I don’t dislike the song but I don’t want it playing my head all the time.

It looks like our next door neighbor moved out. I’ve written about the rental house next door a number of times. (e.g. 2013, 2011 and 2009).

My big takeaway is that it’s a pain in the butt to own a rental because I think only one tenant has lasted longer than 2 years.

We’re always nervous when this happens since you never know what you’re going to get. We didn’t get to know these tenants very well but when we saw them they were nice enough and they didn’t do anything terrible like crank death metal at 3am. We’ll see what happens.

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Local News Wrap Up

Hey – check out this craptastic photo from when I saw the U.S. Men’s National Team play Belize in the Gold Cup earlier this week. It was my first time ever seeing them play and I loved it. Can’t wait for World Cup next year.

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The morning after the 4th of July I went into the kitchen to put my tea cup away and I saw a man in our backyard opening the shed door.

I said, “Why is there a guy in our backyard?”

Bob jumped up and said, “I don’t know.”

And we both went running out there. He was wearing Jack Skellington pajamas and looked pretty harmless.

He introduced himself like he knew us and I thought it was pretty obvious he was high. He said he was looking for his mother. She had run off.

Bob hustled him out of the backyard and told him to get lost. I thought maybe we should make sure he got home in one piece.

Bob said he saw him later on the porch of the house where he told us he lived. He did not make eye contact.

We’ve got new renters moving in next door. Long time readers will recall that this is a regular event. We really liked the previous renters. It was a couple and they were stable and friendly (uh, but their dog pooped in our yard) but otherwise they were terrific. They’re having a baby and bought a house.

The house has been empty longer than it was between previous renters and word is that the rental agent took extra time to make sure she got good people. We’ll cross our fingers.

I grew a sugar beet. I found what looked like a pink turnip. I tasted it and it tasted like sugar cane mixed with nuclear waste. I guessed it might be a sugar beet and found a photo online. Maybe the wrong seed slipped in at the seed factory?

If I ever time travel to the 50’s and start a band it’s going to be called The Sugar Beats.

I have no idea where the time goes. I woke up at 6:30 and I’ve been going almost non-stop since then. I still have a ton of chores and my poor yard desperately needs attention. But I’m on my way to a Timbers game. Maybe tomorrow.

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Random Tidbits

I’m not kidding. Today I finished the last piece of Halloween candy in my stash. (Still working on Xmas) and I went to the store and Cadbury Eggs were out. It was a chocolate miracle.
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I remember when I was a girl scout you actually had to go out and sell the cookies. You had to take a little paper form and go door-to-door in your dumb uniform and ask people if they wanted to buy any Girl Scout cookies. People would say no. And if they said yes you would have to collect the money and put in the order and then later deliver the cookies. I never sold any because going door-to-door to sell things is awful and I hated it. Last week I watched co-worker pull up a website and punch in his zipcode and then a list of stores came up with the times that the cookies would be available for sale out front. And he was in a panic whether he’d be able to get there before they sold all the good ones.
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A long time ago I bought some bath sheets that I really liked. They were the perfect size with a nubby texture. I still have some of them although they’re getting frayed and see-through in the middle. A year or so ago I went and bought some new bath sheets and I guess America decided they wanted their bath sheets bigger or may it was just the brand but these things are like drying off with a bedspread. They are too big to be pleasant to use. I have to keep wrangling the ends so they don’t touch the floor. And it hangs all droopy on the rack. And the texture is sorta smooth in a way that would be nice for a bathrobe but worthless for a towel. I feel like I want to throw my towels away and start all over.
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We’ve got new next door neighbors. Again. I saw them moving in and I felt bad because I don’t even know them but I wanted to dislike them. I saw a dog. I worked it out. The house has been a rental for 9 years and these are the 6th tenants. Bob remembers a couple that I don’t so possibly 7th tenants. The third in 14 months. So far they seem to have only two normal sized cars. They go to work at normal times. The dog hasn’t barked or bothered anyone. They haven’t had a whole group of people over that never leave. These may be the neighbors we’ve dreamed of.

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Real People in the Big Trucks

Fall garden and Photographer

I can’t remember how much about then next door neighbor saga I’ve written about here.

The house next door to us turned into a rental maybe ten years ago. I think we’re on our fifth set of renters.

Of the five times, this is now the third time we had a couple of nice people move in, introduce themselves and then the situation changed. Once it was a man and his teenaged son. Once it was a woman and her ill mother and this most recent time it was a newly separated woman and her two small children.

Shortly after we meet the renters there are all sorts of cars all the time. Different people coming and going, moving stuff in and out.

It’s never been a big problem. It’s not like the people are noisy or do the things that terrible neighbors do, but often these extra people aren’t friendly and we live in a neighborhood. You’d like to have an idea who is living in the house next door to you.

It was hard to believe it when it started happening again. And this lastest tenant and her friends have an amazing number of vehicles, many of them huge. I’ve counted at least 5 different sedan type cars that are parked over there regularly. They had an RV for awhile. Then this cargo truck took over the driveway. There’s a regular heavy duty pick-up truck and then just recently another huge utility type truck showed up.

It seemed to be escalating with no end in sight and I was wondering what next. A tour bus? A bulldozer? A jumbo jet? Bob thought we should complain to the rental agent, who is also a neighbor. I thought we should talk to the neighbor but I’m always afraid that’s going to make it worse.

We’ve become acquainted with the neighbor on the other side of the rental house and we’ve commiserated back and forth. She told us she complained and now all the trucks are gone except for pick-up truck. Yay. Hopefully there won’t be some new crazy development.

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This Is How I Do It

This is an ancient device I found when I moved computer cart for home improvement. I used it back in the olden days when I had a computer and telephone that had to be plugged into the wall.

I don’t have any knack for home improvement. I can see how a lot of it is just getting some practice but I hate doing it so much I don’t want to invest any more time into it than I have to. I was having a tough time wrapping my mind around how awful the windowsill looked after the first coat. I went online and looked up: Tips so your paint job doesn’t look like total crap.

I suspect it had something to do with drinking a couple of glasses of wine and then slapping on the paint as quickly as humanly possible. I didn’t find any tips that covered that precise set of facts.

In addition to the windowsill I had this small area on the wall where the paint looked wrinkled. I thought I could just sand it a little and then dab a little paint on it and it would look good as new. I sanded and it looked weird so I sanded more and then paint started peeling off in big strips. Obviously, that was the point when I opened the bottle of wine.

Then I got that patching stuff out and my putty knife and frosted the wall with it. There was more sanding but by the time I got the paint on it, it looked okay. I did a couple more coats on the windowsill and it looked less terrible.

By Monday the project was finished and I cleaned up the dust and put everything away. It doesn’t look too bad as long as you’re on the other side of the room and don’t put your glasses on.

Once I get the windowshade back on it, it will be good enough and at least it’s crossed off my “to do” list.

Here’s the basil from the seeds in my cracker box that I wrote about here.

The house next door to us turned into a rental about 8 years ago. The first tenants I barely ever saw. The next set were the ones with all the surly twenty-somethings coming and going and a mean barky dog and possible pathological lying. I can’t find the post to link to it. Ever since I had to move my blog I can never find anything.

Then we had the woman who just moved out.

A sign went up last week and a couple of days later was already gone. All I know so far is a Subaru with California plates and a loud child in the backyard.

This is everything I harvested today.

There has been no more sign of the mouse or mice and the traps remain empty. Good? Has he moved on? Gotten sneakier? Ran off to find his friends and bring them back? I thought maybe we could borrow the cat next door if it shows up again. Since he leaves his cat turds around the yard, he should at least do some work for me.

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My Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Name: Grumpy

Front yard today. Flowers are coming.

I know it’s only Saturday but I’m not loving this weekend. I’m not going to go into all the details.

This morning I was at my writing desk bright and early and then proceeded to beat my head against the keyboard in a non-productive fashion for quite some time.

I thought some exercise would help and went for a walk with Bob and later did some yoga. Then I ate a Cadbury Egg which was delightful except I’m not used to that much sugar at one time so I got kinda jumpy.

I returned to the writing desk for an equally unproductive afternoon session. Then I figured if sitting at my desk was going to be such a huge waste of time, I should do something else.

Downtown Portland: Broadway and Taylor

I went and worked in the front yard. I never did my usual autumn clean-up so there was all sorts of dead stuff that needed to be clipped and yanked. I found a major snail breeding and recreation center which I had to destroy. I also picked up a half ton of cat and dog shit.

Seriously, I would reconsider my “no pets” position if I could get a pet that would crap in other people’s yards. The dog crap was imbedded in the hydrangea. Does it make sense that a big dog would come in to the yard and squat on a plant right next to the back door? But it doesn’t make sense that a neighbor would pick up its dog crap and then dump it in the middle of a plant in my yard, either. I don’t know what’s going on back there.

I got some work done and, at last, felt some small measure of progress. Digging always makes me feel better.

Oh, so the latest issue of Asimov’s is out and my story isn’t in there. As I’ve said from the beginning, I don’t know when it’s coming out. I though I was being all cool and laid back and like, “Whenever.” But now I’m getting nervous like I’ve been punked.

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All The Stars Aligned


Yesterday I left the office a half hour early since other than inhaling a bowl of soup, I skipped lunch. All the stars aligned with the buses thing and I was home at 5pm.

Since it was so pretty out I changed clothes and went for the regular route neighborhood walk. I saw our favorite neighborhood cat, Tiger, for the first time in a couple years. He was unusually aloof and wouldn’t say hello. Our favorite big house has been cleared out and a “For Rent” sign is out front. We’ve been waving the elder folk living there for years, watching them get a little more stooped and move a little more slowly. I want to phone the number on the sign, because I’m sure it’s one of their kids or grandkids, and tell them how sad I am to see that their time at the house is over. Then the playground at Franklin Park was all dug up. The slide was tilted over in the sand.

Winter’s coming.

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