Buying a House - Reason #2

Someone set the apartment building on fire today!

No kidding. The lovely people living in the apartment across from the laundry room decided that it was a good idea to cook a bunch of food and leave it unattended.

Christoph went downstairs to put in a load of laundry, and the smoke detector was going off and smoke was pouring from beneath the neighbor's door. No one was home, so Christoph called the management, and the fire department came with four trucks and successfully put out the fire. Thank you fire department!

Now the building wreaks of smoke, and we're all a little bit freaked out, but at least everyone is unharmed.

Even so...this is another reason to move into my own home. I just don't trust my neighbors.

Buying a House - Reason #1 / Apt Laundry Sucks

My goal for 2011 is to buy a small house that I can call my own. I've been working towards this goal for quite some time, but now I have a solid timeline for achieving my application in March, contract in April/May, closing by the time that my lease is up at the end of June.

This is a scary step for me, and I need to remind myself often of the reasons that I want to take this big-girl step even though it will add significant responsibility to my life.

Reason #1 - My least favorite domestic chore is laundry. The amount of anxiety that it causes is ridiculous considering that it's a fairly passive activity. Thing is...the laundry room is on the lower level of the apartment building, and, to get there, I have to make my way past an area that's often filled with doggie landmines left by the disabled man in 1B. He's a lonely man, and he has a pug to keep him company. Unfortunately, pugs are notoriously difficult to train, and he doesn't have the mobility or stamina to take on the proper care and feeding of any breed of dog, let alone a hyperactive pug puppy. I'm not a big meanie. I understand his need for companionship, and when I find the messes, I quietly clean them up and go on about my business, but this is not the environment where I want to live.

Once, I get to the laundry room, the chances of actually getting a load into the washing machine are slim. Sometimes, I have to wait all day before I can get access to the washing machine, and if the person ahead of me is like many people in the building, I'll have to wait ages for them to remove their laundry from the dryer when the cycle is complete. I'm not above taking their stuff out and putting it on top of the Dryer when they leave it there for hours, but I hate using that tactic, because laundry is kind of a personal thing. I don't want strangers touching my intimate wear, and I sure as hell don't want to touch someone else's skid-stained underoos. Eww... (and no, I'm not kidding. I've seen it before.)

Add the fact that the laundry room is always filthy and filled with spiders, and I think I've made a pretty clear case for not wanting to do my laundry each week.

What I do want is:
  • My own washer/dryer with energy star ratings.
  • To be able to get up in the morning and do laundry in my underwear or naked!
  • To do laundry on MY timeline, day or night
  • To recycle my gray water instead of dumping it down the drain
I don't think that's too much to ask, and so I'm going to make it happen come hell or high water.

Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

My goodreads review of my first read of 2011.

This is a delightful memoir about the path to urban homesteading and greater sustainability. Jenna Woginrich is both charming and amusing as she tells about her beginning and continued efforts as a hobby farmer.

This is not a how-to book (although it's generously packed full of information and resources) as much as it's an inspirational piece explaining all of the things that can go wrong (and right!) when you're learning how to reconnect with your pioneer roots.

The chapters are broken down by subject matter, and Jenna covers the keeping of chickens, gardening, beekeeping, country cooking, antiquing, making clothing, working house dogs, angora rabbits for shearing, and Appalachian music.

Highly recommended as a beginning piece for people who are interested in pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle.

Books Read in 2010

My annual list of books read throughout the year. Sadly, I didn't have as much time to read this year, but I did consume some truly wonderful books.
  • The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Grow, or Manage a Business - Martha Stewart (This was an odd choice for me, but it was interesting. Martha Stewart is clever and highly driven. Lots of good business advice here.)
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Tethered - Amy MacKinnon
  • The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood (Margaret Atwood could write the phone book, and I'd read it.)
  • Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Eye opening book written by an amazing woman. Everyone should read this book.)
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - Michael Pollan (Another great book. Well written and informative)
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Rough, but worthwhile)
  • The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine - Somaly Mam (Somaly Mam is another amazing woman. Thank you to Celeste for introducing me to her story)
  • The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
  • Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books - Francesca Lia Block (I want to BE Weetzie)
  • Money Shot - Christa Faust