Retail Therapy

I’m not sure why buying things cheers me up. I already have more crap than anybody else on the planet–the joke here is, “Don’t ask Aunt Jenny if she has something, ask her where it is”–plus I’m broke. But this week I found cheap stuff (rule: must be under ten bucks) that made me smile. And here’s the thing: according to several different places on the net, smiling relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, makes you more attractive to others, boosts your immune system, and is a natural painkiller. So as long as the stuff that makes me smile is under ten, I figure I’m getting a deal. Do you know what therapy costs?

I found a one-hour hourglass timer at T.J.Maxx for $9.99. I’m using it to kick start the writing every day. “You just have to write until all the sand is in the bottom.”

Beats any digital timer and makes me happy at the same time. There’s something so soothing about all that sand slowly falling . . .

iTunes has forty Drifters songs for $9.99. It’s the All Time Greatest Hits and More (1959 to 1965) by The Drifters.

The Drifters may be my favorite group of all time–they’re always in the top five–because their music makes me insanely happy (“. . . something happens to me that’s some kind of wonderful . . .”) and I can get their songs for a quarter each. Whoa, Nellie, I’m there.

I was searching for pins on eBay (don’t ask, it’s for a project) and I found this one:

Gertrude looks like she doesn’t take any crap from anybody, kind of a German Mona.

She only set me back $9.49 including shipping, fifty cents under my limit. I figure she’ll make me happy every time I look at her. Even if that’s only ten times, that’s less than a buck a smile. DEAL.

And then there’s Standoff, one of my all time favorite TV series which unfortunately only lasted eighteen episodes (morons cancelled it) but all eighteen are available on Hulu Plus along with a ton of other stuff for $7.99 a month.

It’s Ron Livingston and Rosemarie DeWitt (fun fact: they met on the series and got married three years later) as hostage negotiators who are also lovers. One of the smartest things the series did was begin after they’d slept together, three months after, as Matt announces to the world in the first episode (which was dumb and out of character but I went with it anyway). I love the way they layer the relationship with the hostage negotiations–as Emily says, “At the heart of every crisis is a broken relationship”–and I love the smart ass humor and great chemistry. (One of my fave moments is when Emily is trying to explain how things have changed to Matt, and tells him it’s like crossing the border between Portugal and France, everything’s different. Matt says, “You know Portugal and France don’t share a border, right?” And she says, “I know, but what do you think? What are you thinking right now?” And he says, “I’m wondering if I’m going to get into Portugal tonight.”)

Eighteen great episodes, Ron Livingston and something to smile about in every one. Bonus: Hulu Plus means not bringing more actual stuff into this house.

Speaking of having too much stuff, I mentioned to Light that my drawing paper was in the studio. She said, “There’s a studio?” I said, “You know, that big room off the office. The one with the pool table.” She said, “We have a pool table?” Sometimes you don’t have to buy stuff, you just have to dig it out.

Oh, and I also bought a house in New Jersey. It has no poles but it’s also derelict with a mold problem. Or as Gaffney said, “How much did they pay you to take it?” If nothing goes wrong, we close in September and I’m the owner of a lot of mold with attitude. It was more than $9.99, but as I said, no poles.

It may be awhile until I’m back here again, but I am doing better, and I’ll go back through all the comments next week when I’m on the road and we’ll revisit coping strategies. One key thing: I’ve figured out what was wrong with my book–very excited about it, as a matter of fact–so I’m going to go turn over my hourglass and put The Drifters on and maybe get a picture of Ron Livingston for my computer, and then finish a book. Nothing but good times ahead.

For $9.99.

ETA: New house.

177 thoughts on “Retail Therapy

  1. Having just moved way too much stuff into a much smaller house I can relate to the whole, “We have a pool table?” thing. I found things that I had no idea I owned. So now you’re going to get to have that same voyage of discovery. It isn’t just moving to Jersey, it’s an opportunity to rekindle old flames. You know… the ones you bought for under $10 ten years ago.

    So glad you’re feeling better and and you’ve figured out what’s wrong with the story. Nothing but good times ahead indeed. πŸ™‚

    1. In my defense, when Lani moved in, she and her then husband cleaned the living room for me and piled all the stuff in the studio which already had the pool table covered in stuff. So there was a lot of stuff hiding that table. Plus Light never goes back there. But yeah, time to clear out all of that.

    2. So are you moving from Ohio to Jersey or going to have a 2nd home in Jersey? I also grew up in Wapak (you were one year ahead of my cousin Debbie Lee) so am partial to Ohio.

  2. Geez, that Gertrude is pretty scary. If she were a live dog, she’d probably be like that one James Thurber’s mom used to have that took the occasional bite. She’d probably grumble to herself all the time.
    Probably best as a pin.

  3. I just moved the pool table into a corner so I could maybe rent the room for extra cash. I can’t get rid of the pool table. My son wants it some day. Yeah under ten is great therapy. I went to an estate sale this weekend. I went back three times.
    I love the house glass. I need one of those. maybe I would actually get some writing done.
    I went to the SCBWI 40th anniversary conference and Libba Bray’s keynote “sometimes you have to write it wrong, to get it right was hilarious. She could NOT finish the third book in the trilogy. And no one would help her fake her death so she could get out of it. Even her attempt to purchase a Sherpa farm so she could disappear into the wilds of Mexico fell through. It took her almost 2 years to get it right. Wow. Two years. I took a mif grade novel to the conference. Tasha has been in the making a lot mor than two years and it’s still not right. Oh well.

  4. Watch out for that mold. I’m assuming you know the cause and can fix it, absolutely, because it can be hellaciously bad for your health.

    I’m kind of wondering if your down attitude is because you were going to buy a new house – or are in the middle of it – but figured I’d commented enough for any two people on the last thread already.

    I’ve noticed that I get really weird and weirded out before big change, even good big change. Moving coast to coast was no big deal because I’d been priming the pump for 5 years before hand and was more than ready. But buying a new car? My old car decided to leave the radio on all the time and I took it as a sign to dump it and get a new one. I did not like my old car and I lurv my “new” car (now 5.5 yrs old…). But for several days before the tradeoff, even knowing that accidentally leaving the radio on would strand me in a snowbank, my brain told me to keep that old car. “It’s not so bad, you know this car, you don’t want that new car. Just turn around and go home and everything will be fine.” It was an insanely difficult drive to go down and pick up my new car. I’d never freaked out about change like that before in my life. But the second I sat in my new car? All of that went away as if a drain opened and sucked it out completely. I could barely stand to look at my old car. I almost left stuff in the old car that I wanted to transfer because I couldn’t handle the thought of sticking with it a second longer. I’m still baffled at why I had such a visceral reaction to giving up a possession I’d relied on but never loved. But the state of mind I was in made me think of your last post somehow. I’m wondering if the whole Jersey house has ratcheded up the weird factor which piled on the finish the book voice to make you feel wrong. Just something to think about. That said, good luck with the new house. New Projects! New Art! You’ll be genius.

    1. Well, it’s added considerably to my stress. I love the damn thing, but people I know and trust are divided as to whether it’s a brilliant or stupid move. I kind of think it’s both (I wiped out my emergency fund to buy it and I can’t even move into it, plus selling this place is going to be a nightmare), but it feels like the right thing to do. Plus think of all the blog posts I can get out of it. The woman who lived there last was 96 when she left, and I bought the contents of the house with the house. Of course, that includes the mold. Yes, I know, it’s bad. That floor of the house is getting gutted.

      1. YOU…. BOUGHT…. THE….. CONTENTS….?
        The possessions of a 96-year-old. Oh my stars and garters! And here I was thinking, gee, that Gertrude purchase is adorable. What a great buy. And then you casually add, oh I bought a house in New Jersey. With mould. And contents.

        You lookin’ for copy, girl? I think you’ve found it. Gertrude and all.

      2. You may end up finding the most wonderful things in the house left by the previous owner, and could end up with more than what you depleted from your emergency fund by selling some of those things. I couldn’t believe the things we found when we went through all the stuff my dad had bought at yard sales and hid away. Please enjoy those windows – – what a blessing!

      3. It’s a brilliant move. And buying the contents is also brilliant, although, you know, more stuff to put into piles. Still, I am certain there are treasures in there and those treasures are not only going to generate blog posts, but stories. How can that ever be a bad thing?

  5. Feeling bitter because that hour glass was NOT 9.99 at my homegood/tjmaxx. It was 24.99. I wanted it. Badly

    1. I think mine is missing something. Like a holder. It’s just the glass part which is a little unstable. Does that make it better?

      1. I kinda like it freestanding. Maybe I wil just hide the holder somewhere in the store. And I can’t particularly say that a bit of instability changes much in my world so i could roll with that.

      2. A coffee house near me has a bunch of those mounted on wall brackets with gimbals, between windows. I like the idea that you can get your coffee and flip the glass. They also look very nice that way. Yours looks similar to theirs without the bracket.

        If you want to put together some kind of stand or bracket, maybe take it to a good hardware store with good staff (not Home Depot) and see if they can fix you up. Lab glass holders might also work (maybe use a test tube clamp around the center neck).

        1. I have test tube holders. You might want a test tube clamp for that. I have those too. (Chem teacher) Just let me know. I can hook you up with glassware. My students just think it’s for bongs. *sigh* I’m so GLAD school’s about to start.

        2. Edmund Scientific is in New Jersey. We used to hit their closeout sales when we visited the inlaws. Nothing but good times ahead for you, Jenny!

          Edited: ooops, they *were* in New Jersey, evidently they’ve been taken over by somebody else. But their online catalog looks like it would still be fun to browse (although prolly not as fun as picking up all those unidentifiable things in person and speculating on what we’d do with them).

          And hey, still good times ahead; you don’t have to move on a deadline which would be really stressful, but you’ve made progress towards that goal. (I think that’s one of my favorite quotes from your books, the way it ties Sophy and her siblings together long after they’re all grown & gone)

          And finally (my, I’m Chatty Cathy today!) — Congratulations on figuring out the plot snag! Looking forward to the story, whenever it’s ready for public consumption, because I know it will be wonderful and I can then savor it ever after like I do your others.

  6. Retail therapy! (I do this myself, and it can be kind of a dangerous practice, but it sure does help!)

    Good luck with the new house. Show that mold who’s boss!

  7. I was just going to write another comment for your last post when I realized you had a new post up. I was wondering whether your depression had something to do with the fact that you still hadn’t finished your overdue book. As I think it was you who recommended Lawrence Block: I’ve been reading “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit” these days and I find it very helpful for a lot of situations a writer can get into. At the moment, I’m dealing with the question whether my new story has enough conflict or depth, so I take a break whenever the sun is shining and go read a few chapters in my backyard. So I just read what he said about procrastination and that sometimes, you need time to find out what’s wrong with your story. And I thought of you.

    Glad you got that fixed now. I’m not sure whether Block’s book sells for less than 9.99, you probably already have it (maybe on that pool table?) and you might not need it now. But I was set to write this comment, so I did.

    Which part of NJ are you moving to?

    1. Don’t ask, “Do you have Telling Lies for Fun and Profit,” ask, “Where is your copy of “Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.”

      That I realized was that there was no fun in either book I have unfinished. No fun, no story. So I stopped beating my head against the wall and did other things and the girls in the basement managed to send up something I’d never though of before and I thought, “Wait, that could be fun,” and I’m still thinking. If I wasn’t so freaking far behind, I’d be cheerful about that part.

      Northwest NJ. There’s nothing there, really. Except the mold.

      1. Yay, Northwest New Jersey! I recognize the stone wall. Not yours, in particular, but there are similar walls, arches, house fronts where I live. When they dug the foundations around here, they had to do something with all the rocks!

        I’ve lived in several parts of New Jersey, and while I have a special place in my heart for the shore, I think it’s beautiful here in the upper corner. It’s so green and lakey (unfortunately water=mold), and there are still some wide open places, with actual farms! After all, we are The Garden State.

        That was my bit to make you feel better about moving. I like bold decisions!

      2. Yay for NW New Jersey. As I said, I did spend a great year there. And it’s far enough away from Trenton where all the weird people live (I’m looking at you, Stephanie Plum).

        Once you have the place cleaned from the mold, it’s going to be great. Just don’t forget to let the air circulate.

        And I think that’s just what Block meant with the importance of procrastination – let the girls in the basement get to work. Yay for that too.

      3. Yes, but think how much closer you will be to upstate NY and me! (I know that was a huge part of the decision. You said, “Hey–why don’t I move closer to that chocolate-stalking woman?” That was it, wasn’t it?)

        And I don’t have mold (well, much), but if it is any consolation, I have to put on a new roof. So we can be broke together.

        1. Ugh. That reminds me. I have strange things growing in my attic and this winter the nails were all frosty on the inside. Somehow I think it’s wrong. I need to get someone to come look, but jeez, I’m already broke. I know, join the club! πŸ™‚

      4. There is a really fantastic machine you can put in there which will kill the mold (to 0.0001%). It’s not expensive. It does not get rid of the appearance — you’d still have to repaint or refinish anything visible, but the machine isn’t expensive — we’ve used it — and it kills it far below the EPA guidelines. (So no ripping out walls, ceilings to get to the mold.) Let me know if you want specifics and I’ll get you that info. (I think the best, top of the line machine is about $600, and it could save you thousands. Unless you’re making the owners fix that before you take ownership.)

        1. I could use that info. To cap off my Merry Mousecapades (see below), I have a broken pipe under the house. Where there are massive water leaks, molds will follow!

  8. Congratulations on the new old house. I think it sounds wonderful and I’m sure the mold problem will be gone soon. Apparently, it didn’t harm the 96 year old previous owner, unless she was due to have lived to 116 or something. Anyway, if you love the house and it spoke to you and you can picture yourself there five years from now, and ten years from now, I think you make the right decision. The brave decision. Just not the easy decision.

    1. Well, it wiped out any savings I had so that part is very bad. I think my financial manager wept. But it feels right. And it’s a step toward solving one of my three main problems, so PROGRESS. Of course it makes one of them worse . . .

      1. Good luck Jenny! We’ve been having some problems here… but I just keep saying to myself, “nothing but good times ahead.” Keep me sane!

  9. I remember wandering into my nephew’s garage and chatting with him. It was so full of ‘stuff’ that I was there for a good 15 minutes before I realized that under one particularly large pile there was, in fact, an entire automobile. A convertible, granted, but still.

      1. My husband’s desk is in geologic layers. You know Jurassic, Devonian, etc. But he never says a word to me about my enormous fiber stash (fabric, yarn, floss) or bead stash or craft stash. The amazing man calls it my “potential”.

        1. My husband says my fabric stash is multiplying…my paternal grandmother had an entire bedroom full of fabric when she passed…it would have been SO much fun to go through it all! (I don’t have anywhere near that much, but still have too much!)

          1. You know, I wonder if it breeds? I keep finding fat quarters in odd places that I could swear I didn’t buy. And sometimes twos or threes of the same. Twins? Triplets?

  10. I’m guessing the house wasn’t 9.99. πŸ™‚

    Isn’t Mollie your financial manager? Your next books will be such huge successes that the emergency fund will be replenished in no time. Or you’ll move in with your financial manager and help take care of the grandchildren while you write.

    You did not just blow your emergency fund. You invested it. Always look on the bright side.

    Glad you’re feeling better, however you got there. Nothing but good times ahead!

    1. It was almost $9.99. My emergency fund wasn’t that big. Mollie is not my financial manager, she’s my business manager. When it comes to setting up a retirement account and that kind of stuff, she went to a genius named Matt Blank in NYC who said, “i really do not advise that you do this.” Then he said he’d had people cash in retirement accounts for dumber reasons than to move closer to their grandchildren, so he wasn’t a complete wet blanket. As for moving in with Mollie, not in this lifetime. We love each other, but we are very, very different. For instance, she hates this house. I keep telling her it has no poles, but she’s not seeing it.
      OTOH, she does see that it’s an hour from her and an hour from NYC, so that’s good.
      And I agree on the investment part. Tell Mollie, will you?

      1. Dear Molly,

        It is an investment. And mold is a life form like any other. How dare you be anti-mold? Besides, the new-old house will clearly inspire many new and brilliant novels, which will replace the $9.99 emergency fund. Also, it’s an investment.

        Love,
        Witchy

  11. How exciting! You bought it. One thing, my father was in his 90’s when I finally had to move him from his house into assisted living. He had a terrible mold problem as well. I think in his case, it had to do with the crawl space, but also with the fact that he was so immobile, there was very little air circulation and things like clothing were piled up that had been there since my mother had passed (17 years earlier!) So maybe once the initial clean/gut thing is done, you’ll probably be fine.

    Hella retail therapy but in this case, it sounds like it worked! ;o)

    1. This mold happened when the pipes froze and then burst and then leaked and nobody caught it for months. So gutting is the only option.

      1. Okay, I’m gonna go on the assumption then (and yes, I do know what that word means :oP ) that the old lady was long gone when the pipes froze because there would have to be a lot more wrong with her than just her age to not notice she had no running water.

        On a side note, I too have moved to restart my life. And you’re right. It does work. You’ll do great.

        1. Not necessarily. My grandmother had a pipe leak in her basement and didn’t notice for quite awhile because she never went down there. (Though it wasn’t a main line!)

        2. Yep, she was gone. Then her children switched realtors and the new realtor got the water turned off correctly, but by then the mold had gone wild.

          1. We had hot water spraying everywhere in our basement for DAYS before I noticed. I just kept thinking I hadn’t shut the outside faucet off properly and that was the water I heard. OMG, my basement still hasn’t recovered. Of course half of it has dirt floors and it just soaked the water right up. Now I have a swamp. Lovely, huh?

          2. Mold is not an insurmountable problem. Congrats on your purchases, big and small! I too am considering a move and you have inspired me. Maybe I will move, maybe I will cut my hair. Change is definately in the wind.

  12. Sometimes all you can do is imitate an armadillo, you put your shell up, head down and trudge around reminding yourself to “armadillo, armadillo, armadillo” until it either better or over,

  13. Not to be stalker-ish, but I want to go on record as being an excellent helper of sorting, moving, and painting (as in rooms, not portraits). I have helped….5, 6, um, lots of people….with at least 3 cross-country moves, not counting my own self. As I said to them, I work for pizza. (And I’m in Columbus, so not too far!) And sometimes you need someone else to ‘kill your darlings.’ Or take them to Goodwill.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better and I say trust your gut about the house. Those kinds of decisions are good, even when they don’t make sense.

    Also, very excited to hear about the fun stuff for the book(s), both for your sake and purely selfishly.

    πŸ™‚

      1. I’d have to say that if you need help moving, mention it here and you’ll have a crew the size of New Jersey there and ready to help. By there, I mean in both locations. One to help pack and one to prep the new place and we’ll all meet at the new place to help unload. Save you tons in moving costs, maybe. Not certain what pizza for the state of New Jersey would run. πŸ™‚

      2. Curses! Foiled from my stalker-ish-ness! (of your nephew, not you)
        πŸ˜‰

        Glad you have help!

  14. Two words: Garage Sale. Once you clean off that pool table, maybe Sweetness and Light can help you stage a sale. You might net enough money to help with the mold problem. If not, you’ll definitely make enough to buy Gertrude.

    1. One word: Goodwill. Tax deduction and no talking to a bunch of strangers.
      But we are going to set up an Etsy shop, so some of the stuff I’ve made will go there. And Lani is going to make seriously ugly socks. That’s her business plan: seriously ugly socks. I think there’s a future in it.

      1. OT; Have you and Loni considered participating in the “Flock to Sock” contest. I just heard of it this summer. Each team shears a sheep (you have Alistair – I believe shearing sheep is hardwired into a Scot’s DNA), cards the wool, spins it into two ply yarn then knits a pair of socks (patterns are randomly assigned). First team done wins. I don’t know that the socks actually have to be wearable or if you get extra points if they are and are both the same size.

      2. Actually the future is in seriously ugly socks that don’t match, and then sell them in bunches of 3, so you can mix and mix constantly. Go figure.

  15. I hate moving. Dang, all that work. It means weeding out everything from your garden beds to your letter stashes. Trying to figure out if you’ll ever *really* use your grandmother’s potato masher again. Maybe if there was a power outage?

    Tres cool, the hourglass. May you enjoy feathering your new nest.

  16. Congrats on the new house! Old people hate change and never throw anything away, so that could be a lot of the mold problem as someone else said. You het the mold cleaned out and get air circulating and you’ll probably be fine.

  17. On one of those home shows the fix it guy said clorox bleach kills mold. So buy lots of it. : ) Anyway, congratulations on making a decision and following through. Yay you! I know if you love the house now, and it feels right, you will love it even more when your famous creative signature is applied.
    I’ve been working with a broker since I lost my beautiful Nikki dog, and contemplating moving back to L.A. and this time to a condo that I can close up and go travelling and not worry about. Dreams at the moment, but I think I’ll make my decision for sure within a month.
    Oh, and on the $10 thing, my big secret thing to do is to go to the 99cent store with $20 and see how much crap, I mean, good stuff I can buy.

    1. Evidently bleach does not kill mold, but as an asthmatic, I will not be there to see it anyway. Someone is going to come in and gut the ground floor while I am in Ohio thereby removing said mold. And then somebody else is going to spray paint that whole floor white. THEN I’ll go look at it.

      I’m a fan of moving to start a new life. I’ve done it several times and it’s always worked. Go, you.

        1. Bleach does kill mold, BUT you have to get every little bit of it. Miss one spore and it will be back. And if the mold is into the floors and walls, then you really can’t get it without tearing everything up.

          Anyway, Jenny the house looks very cool and I love all those windows. Is it near water? I know how you love the river so I wondered.

      1. From one asthmatic to another–you might consider having the mimosa (silk tree, whatever they’re calling it this year) removed. Those things produce so much pollen that you can’t park under them without ruining the paint on your car, so you can imagine what they do to allergies/asthma. My grandparents had an enormous one and every year it would bloom, drip pollen and we’d all get sick. I can’t imagine having to deal with it right outside the windows of the house. There’d be no place you could get away from it.

        It’s one of those “beautiful but deadly” kind of things.

        1. There are so many trees on that lot that that one is probably only the tip of the iceberg. I’m expecting snakes and poison ivy, too.

      2. oops. I should have read farther down before mentioning the machine. I feel like Rosanne Rosannadanna. “Never mind.”

    2. Depends on the kind of mold. I’d been away from the country house for quite a while. When I went to use the sink, there was this stuff growing in it that looked like hair! EEEK. Long hair, waving at me. I hit it with my Clorox spray and ran away. When I next checked, it was lying on the bottom of the sink, i.e., no longer standing up and waving. I swear, it was all I could do to approach it. There was so much, it looked like a small, long-haired animal curled up there. Shiver! Anyway, kilt it daid.

      And my leaky pipe has been replaced. Yay! No leaks inside the house, so no molds I have to worry about I would guess. Could be wrong, but I hope not.

      Jenny’s idea is the best, let someone else take care of it while you and your respiratory system remain at a safe distance.

  18. I hope there will be ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of your new house and the renovations.

    Congrats on your new beginnings. I think it’s wonderful.

  19. *Of course* you bought a mold-ridden house with all its mold-ridden contents. Sounds fun, plus STUFF. And I agree, an investment.

    Do you know what not getting therapy when you really need it *costs*? Although sounds as if you’re past that part. Darn it if you don’t sound cheery.

    Hurry, hurry, I need a fun book to read. Problems of my own to allay.

  20. I put a picture of the house up there. I figure that should immediately make everybody feel better about their own living situations.

    1. Nope, sorry, won’t work. Not unless you tell me that there are no ground wires in the electrical system and the plumbing has more rust than room for water.
      p.s. I love a house with lots of windows. The tree looks like some kind of giant fern, which makes me think you’ve bought in the hitherto-unknown tropical section of NJ.

      1. Well, the fabulous thing about buying a derelict house is that you do everything from scratch. So the plumbing will be redone, the electric will be redone (I think there were four circuit breakers in the box; it is to laugh), the heating and cooling will be redone. It’s like getting a new house only it’s an old one with LOADS of charm. And mold.
        I actually don’t know if there’s rust in the pipes. The plumbings’ been turned off since last September. There’s probably snakes in the pipes.

        1. When I bought my 100+ year old farmhouse, the first thing I had to do was put in a new kitchen. I think I saw the ghost of Laura Ingalls Wilder cooking in the old one. On the wood burners on the stove. And when the electrician pulled a sample wire out of the wall, he just started shaking his head and making a “uh, uh, oh, oh” noise. Which clearly translates to “Man, is this going to cost you!”

          On the bright side, I love the kitchen I have now, so it is worth it. When you get to design it youself, you get to have (most) things the way you want them. Always good. Congrats on your new house! And BIG congrats on finding the fun. Nothing but good times ahead. And possibly some really ugly socks.

        2. I love old houses and fixing them up. Are you having mold abatement in before the gutting? If you don’t the gut could spread the damned spores and even the workers could get sick.

          I envy you. I wish I could afford a house at all! Even more do I want one that’s a project.

  21. Congratulations! A house and ALL of its contents? It’s like your own personal treasure hunt. I’m a little dizzy just thinking about it.

    Best of luck, and I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  22. Some friends of mine made a will and acted as executor for a woman without family and she insisted on leaving them the contents of her house even though they insisted they wanted nothing (they were familiar with the contents of the house). When they inherited, my husband helped them clean it out – mostly to Goodwill. But good thing he was there. They were really dirty – so difficult to identify – but he pointed out that the rugs were antique tribal with almost no wear and were extremely valuable. They tell us they think of him every time someone admires them.

  23. Well………………it already has windows in the front of the house……..at least I think that’s the front of the house. Look at as a blank canvas, just waiting for the Crusie touch.

  24. That is a TERRIFIC house! or a disused elementary school.

    Mid-Century Modern? or Wright? Heck, could even be that Scottish guy, you know, Rennie MacIntosh.

    I love the stone of it all!

    Congratulations. Great choice. Bet there’s blueberry bushes somewhere around.

    1. It’s a 1947 cottage. That’s the back. Mollie would kill me if I put a picture of the front of any place I was going to live on the net.
      OTOH, if I ever sell this place, you all can finally see B.S. Johnson’s masterpiece from the front.
      As for the blueberries, the back yard is kind of . . . vertical. So they’d have to be climbing blueberries. I plan on getting lots of exercise going up and down my back yard.

  25. I’m trying desperately to finish my PhD. If I don’t get it done before the end of the year I may kill myself. The last month I’ve been using the well known practices of avoidance techniques, procrastination therapy, head in the sand methods, and my personal favourite, wear pyjamas on the couch while re-watching seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls therapy… So you won’t be surprised to hear that in the midst of that business, I have decided to buy a house. Of course the bank manager had to hide the laughter when I politely explained that despite not having any money, or , in fact, a job, I really did think I could pay off the massive mortgage I would need… And somehow, while retaining no positivity whatsoever about the PhD, I really am excited about the house. I found just the right one, and the owners have taken it off the market for 6 months, so I have about that much time to sort out the no money no job thing, and it will be mine. All by way of saying, I hear ya, sister – you go for it!!

    1. Well, that’s what I thought. And the bonus is, if the bank takes back this place when I go broke, I still have another place to move into that’s all paid for, including the mold. Of course it only has three bedrooms, two of which are 9’x9′ and one of which is 9’x7′, so if Lani and Alastair and the kids come with, and of course the dogs and the cats, it could be a little tight. But no mortgage! Bright side, everybody.

      1. Oh, that’s a very good, no mortgage! You will have so much fun, good for the soul and the girls in the basement and for us.

  26. Plus: wow, Etsy shop! Any thing akin to Gertrude, I’m there.

    Will you tell us? or do you still harbor the notion it’s exploitive? (not, not, not.)

      1. (-: Exploiting us, or exploiting you? If you say, “You have to buy this stuff to be a True Fan,” that’s really bad. But if you mention it twice a year, that’s a public service to your fans.

        OTOH, “I want to buy me a little piece of Crusie that I can call my own” is a little bit creepy (but, unfortunately, too true. I wouldn’t mind a little talisman to hang over my writing desk. A genuine pen from the Household of Writers, or an Agnes mug — which I believe I *can* find on the internet, and I think I got one for my sister.)

        But OK. As long as we can find the etsy site with a little google, I’m sure one of the fans will announce it when it comes up. I can see why you’d want to keep the blog commercial-free, so to speak.

        1. Mostly it’d be crocheted scarves and shawls. It’s my valium, but they’re mounting up here. I think Lani has six now and Krissie has at least two. After a while, you have to say, “You know, I don’t wear that many shawls.”

          1. Crocheting is my valium as well. I have already outfitted my family (big Indian family), co-workers and even some rather distant acquaintances. We live in a cold area so scarves are useful, but really how many can any one person need. I may try the Etsy thing myself.

          2. I recommend kitty blankets for your local Humane Society. I took some to the Humane Society near me and I think they are going to sell them in their gift shop. Donated knitted blankets are also used for the kitties waiting to be adopted. It’s great – I get to buy cool yarn, do something fun and know that the end result will do some good.

      2. I’m with Micki.

        The reason why I unfollow authors on twitter is because they tweet NOTHING but book reviews and publicity and retweets of people saying they read the new book. That’s overkill.

        But a crocheted boa from you? Oh yeah, I’d pay for that.

  27. Sooooo glad to hear you’re feeling better. You had us worried. As for the house, do yourself a huge favor and go through -everything- and clean/paint before moving. Trying to move your stuff into someone elses stuff will make more chaos for you to live in and you can kiss your sanity goodbye. Trust me on this.

    1. Way ahead of you on that one. I’m planning on moving next spring, but not counting on it. In the meantime, as soon as I can get a certificate of occupancy, I have a nice house on a lake to stay in when I go to visit my grandkids.

  28. Congratulations on the house, the therapy (I did a little of that myself this past weekend while escaping the cats), and figuring out the books! I’m with Mollie on the attractiveness of the house, but if you love it then it’s good that you bought it. I was working hard for 2 whole weeks without a break. Well, I’ve broken. Not an impressive track record, huh? More to do but it will just have to be late.

    Will Lani and family stay in your place in Ohio? You mentioned you’re going to try and sell it, though.

    1. Lani and the fam are staying here while I bounce between two houses for awhile. Then we’ll put the house up for sale next year, but it’ll take years to sell. So basically, we’ll have three places: Krissie’s place in Vermont (Squalor Holler), B.S.Johnson’s masterpiece (Squalor on the River), and The House That My Retirement Fund Bought (Squalor on the Lake). Think of it as a farflung compound.

  29. Ooh, looking at Gertrude again and realized, she reminds me a lot of my grandmother, Gertrude who owned a schnauzer. I know the pin is of a scottie but they can be similar. Gert was a tough lady too.

  30. And I will now add, re the Contents, that I was watch Antiques Road Show tonight, and the guy had some piece of Stickley furniture which he acquired when he bought a cottage and contents, and IT’S WORTH TRIPLE THE VALUE OF THE COTTAGE!

    So glad, by the way, to hear those words again: Nothing but good times ahead.

  31. Well, I’m glad to hear that things are looking up! Congrats on the house purchase and the new Ideas. The stonework in the foreground of the photo of the house is intriguing – do you have a fair amount of land? It certainly doesn’t look like Levitt Town or anything.

    I am still moving, after a full month – my new place is still a disaster, my old place is not yet clean and empty. I have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. Must work on that. Good luck with yours!

    1. There’s a little over half an acre, but again, much of it is vertical. I like it. It’s got a Wuthering Heights vibe.

  32. I LOVE this new house plan! With contents! Ooooh that would be a dream come true for me! Go Jenny!!! πŸ˜€

    (No poles, what a bonus.)

  33. you know you’re Matilda Goodnight, right? Congrats on being such a go-getter – it’s inspiring! Also, I like the house – it has character and love.

    Btw, none of my business but you’re selling the Ohio house? Where are Lani and the fam moving?

    P.S. I think you’re an awesome lady and can do no wrong. Quit worrying.

  34. β€œβ€¦moments of lunacy can occasionally lead to positive results.” Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas This is one of my new favorite quotes. I just know you’re going to be happy in the new house. I love the look of it BTW. I’ve always been attracted to New Jersey. I’m going there one day.
    Retail therapy doesn’t do it for me unless it’s books. Then…
    I’m so glad that the book is coming together for you. That must be such a relief. And, yay! A new Crusie is being born as we speak. I recommend bacon, chocolate and lots of good wine for the labor pains.

  35. Thinking of all the stuff you have is making my brain itch inside. I’ve moved countries every 1-2 years for the last 7 years (Scotland -> Japan -> Scotland -> Japan-> China). Every time before I buy anything, I think, will I pack it or chuck it when I leave? So I practically have an allergy to accumulating more stuff. (Terrific for my bank balance…) My mind is boggling trying to imagine having so much stuff you lose track!

  36. Your house sounds awesome. Mold is fixable. You’re an hour from family and on a lake. This was definitely a right move.

    If anyone claims you lost your mind remind them you have me to say the St Anthony prayer

    Mollie, it’s an investment.

  37. A house on a lake? You’ve found paradise, mold or no mold! We just bought a second home–a lake cottage and when we’re there, life is simple and heavenly. I’m having a sign made for the door that says, “Nothin’ but good times ahead…”!

  38. Retail therapy: beads, in a good bead shop. They’re ridiculously inexpensive, and if you’re making earrings, you’re usually just buying pairs. So you can buy all kinds of most excellent, beautiful, well-filling “stuff” for very little money, that doesn’t take up very much room.

    I’m glad you’re emerging from your funk. I’ve been in deep, dark, gloomy funks and they’re no fun. (Well, duh, but there are unpleasant things in life that aren’t as bleah as a bad funk, so…)

    1. Somebody (too lazy to go look) posted that on the other thread and I went and looked and laughed my ass off. I want a giant chicken.

      1. That was me, hoping it would cheer you up. Which it obviously did. I’m still not over the picture of that chicken on the doorstep.

        And the post about the bananas actually inspired me to use it in my w.i.p.

  39. Though I’m a NE Jersey girl myself, the NW corner is gorgeous. We’ll have you saying cawfee in no time. Well, not really, as none of us in the northern realms actually say cawfee, but it sounded good when I wrote it.

    We had a pipe leak this winter, dripping down the wall behind the paint. I was mopping water up from my kitchen floor for months and that was with 5 bowls/buckets in place. Landlord insisted it was snow run off from the roof. Three months later, plumber came in, ripped off headboards and low and behold, 2 old pipes were rubbing up against each other and created a hole. Which, now that I reread that sentence, sounds really pervy. Landlord was supposed to do the refub on the wall as soon as Spring hit but no joy yet. Am convinced mold is breeding behind the bubbled paint.

    Anyways, congrats on the house! Welcome to New Jersey! You’re gonna love it. Maybe. πŸ˜‰

  40. So happy you’re feeling better!!!!

    The new house looks & sounds fabulous–a lake and a stone fireplace in the back–despite the mold. Looks charmingly farflung–more charming with no mortgage. A new house for a new life!! And great things ahead. :-))

    Greatly anticipating the promised posts about the house!

  41. Congrats on your Move to New Jersey..New York will see you more often..I live in VT..And Hope one day you Grace us with your presence..My Bookstore”NorthShire Bookstore” Manchester Ctr,VT.Would be Thrilled to Have you…We Read and read ,and read hang out at “The Spiral Press Cafe” Connected to our Bookstore.,drink Coffee, Chat and Buy Books.”Local First”….and Hike and Ski.,shop and Our Restaurants are all Wonderful…But we Have Great Outlets..as well…Very Pretty Town….No I am not with The Chamber, lol,But its a Great Place to Live and Visit….October is Especially Beautiful…Any Hotel Needs..Just Email me….Your Fan , Susan…

    1. Hey Susan, I’m in Vermont too! The rest of the world doesn’t know what they’re missing! I’m north of you in South Royalton. An hour, what? Maybe two hours away? I’ll head into the NorthShire Bookstore next time I’m down that way!

  42. Congratulations! I was happy to see this post, but thought I’d commented already. Anyway, you do sound more cheerful, and think the house puzzle will work out just fine. It looks really cool from the back. πŸ™‚

  43. Also, not sure if this was mentioned before but Standoff is available on regular Hulu, as well, so you don’t need to sign up.

  44. How did I miss that TV series? Now I’m going to have to watch it.

    Congratulations (I think) on becoming a homeowner in New Jersey. I lived there for about two years, and it was an experience. It was so freaking expensive there, the first house the realtor showed us had – I kid you not – a dirt floor in the pantry off the kitchen. And, no, this wasn’t a historic residence. I think the realtor was trying to make a point about the price range we were looking at.

  45. I’m so glad you are excited and reinvigorated and that you have rediscovered your stories. That’s a lot in a short time, especially considering the house.

    What’s the furniture and other furnishings like? Anything interesting? What is/are the time period(s) of the furniture? Are you going to paint any of it or leave it as is? Is it all one level, for the doggies, or two? It has no elevator shaft, mores the pity. It sounds large enough to wander and live in, but small enough to be efficient in. I’m very, very happy for you.

  46. Why does it make me sad to think that you won’t be in Ohio by the river? This is especially ironic as New Jersey is much closer to ME! A new place is exciting though, don’t you think?

    Okay, I’ll go back and read the comments now.

    1. Well, I’ll be in NJ by the lake part time and Ohio by the river the rest for quite awhile. And they’re both Squalor.

  47. A cure!

    Food for the Thoughtless by Michael Procopio blog explains it all for us. In the post Die Vampire Die, dear Michael reveals he (you, me, many more) are visited this summer by Vampire No. 3, the Vampire of Despair. He advocates preparation of Chicken with 42 Cloves of Garlic as curative. The garlic-peeling technique is cathartic. And vampire banishing.

    I am so fortunate as to have eaten the succulent dish several times, but never prepared this specially.

    Miam miam.

  48. Sounds like a wonderful recipe… except I am afeared that ’twill banish not only vampires but also boyfriends. Thus the Vampire of Despair would be replaced by the Lamia of Spending Saturday Night Washing Your Hair Alone.

  49. That’s where reality shows like Wife Swap make their fundamental error. They shouldn’t have exchanged two wives, they should’ve exchanged a wife and a spinster (or a husband and a bachelor).

  50. I’d trade, but then they’d have a hard time getting me to go back… Nice drama for a reality show. Me refusing to get back in the car to go home while three burly guys try to wrestle me down. Hmm, this is sounding pretty good.

  51. Are they cute burly guys? Is there mud or lime jello involved in the wrestling? Little details like these are important πŸ™‚

  52. (-: Good to hear things are running a little better, and I love how you set up the punchline: I bought a house, Dear Reader. Makes me smile!

    I was going to say, I really love the funky subway-tiling styling on the house, but a closer look tells me that we are viewing the house through a fence. Is it even possible to tile a house? I really like the look . . . .

    I am sure it’s going to be wonderful, and no poles is a truly great thing.

    1. It’s plain old clapboard and plain old chain link. The clapboard stays, the chain link goes once I can afford to replace it with something less institutional.
      It does have that old mental institution vibe, doesn’t it?

      1. You could also just grow vines on the chain link fence. Cheaper than ripping out and replacing. Unless you’re getting something that goes with the rock work, which would be costly, yet gorgeous. Either way, new adventures. Exciting.

    1. OMG, those moorish-influenced tiles? I just LOVE those . . . esp. the blue ones. They have a lot of tiled entryways in Malaysia, too, but I don’t remember whole houses being tiled. Probably because tiles fall off.

  53. response to Jenny’s post miles up about the hour galss missing something and her query “does that make it better?”
    Jenny – Unstable is ALWAYS better!
    Humour Har.

  54. It sounds like this is going to be a great move for you! I wish my son’s grandparents lived closer, so I think it’s pretty awesome that you’re doing this for them (I should take the time to scroll back and double check that, but I’ve already used up most of my son’s nap time and I want to write something here instead of always just reading).

    In any case, I wanted to say – and this might seem weird, so sorry, but – I hate that you’re leaving Ohio! Completely selfish of me, but I like living in the same state. Makes me feel all neighborly-ish and special : )

    Also – it’s a great idea – the etsy store – for the things you make, I mean. You would be giving fans a chance to buy something that you’ve made – you’re an artist with many skills and talents – it’s nice to have an outlet. And… I’ve got to admit, you sound like a collector of an eclectic assortment of fabulousness… so, no fear of exploitation here, in any case.

  55. Jenny- I just wanted to drop by and say that I started and finished MTT today and I wuv you more. What you can do with the written word is truly special. And, yes, it took me this long even though Mollie sent it to me last year. I was saving it for …well… I’m not sure what.

    In other news I have a new doggie. Not saying more as he’s a year old and his first people couldn’t keep him as their other dog was too aggressive once this one grew out of puppy stage (she was being a literal and figurative bitch!). I want to be sure that he can stay and let us be his people. Any tips on making sure he feels like this is home? Once he’s secure I’ll post a pic somewhere. And tell you more about him.

    1. Yay on liking MTT and YAY on the new puppy. Basically, cuddle him and he’ll feel at home. Dogs love you just because so you have to go out of your way to make them not want to stay. Once he knows he’s there for good, he’ll be stealing your pillow in no time.

    2. Julie – like I said. I was so eager for this to work out, so was holding my cards close. It happened within a couple hours yesterday – Thursday – from the calling his previous people to getting him to us.

      Jenny, thank you. I needed to remember that they love unconditionally.

  56. Sure Thing…I’ve adopted 2 dogs and a cat. My little guy was abused, terribly and you couldn’t touch him around his front right shoulder without a growl and nip. Now 3 years later, he’s a terrific little guy. It just takes time and lots of love. I’m sure once he realizes he’s safe and loved, he will know and love his new people…you and yours. Good luck with him. My little Buster just began to cuddle in bed with me.

  57. In regards to the new house, Jenny…congratulations! I’m glad Micki mentioned the fence…I didn’t realize I was looking through a fence! It was scary to think someone bought a freaky house like that, but now that I’m looking through a fence, its much nicer. I love all the windows. Being closer to family is always best. When I bought very own condo in a wonderful 55+ establishment, I bought a block and a half from my parents. I love it.

  58. The idea about the hour glass is and excellent idea! I have had a lot of trouble writing lately and so I started a blog to try to get me going again. But I may need to get myseilf an hour glass as well. Every little bit helps, right?

    PS. This is the first time I’ve posted a comment on your blog. I love reading your writing and look forward to reading more. : )

  59. Jenny, I wanted to say, before I forgot again, YAY on figuring out your book. I agree that fun is a necessary component in a Crusie book. I know you had wanted to Try Something Different, but I think it’s important that authors know the value of their particular voice to readers. So yes, fun, please.

    And thank you so much for writing Bet Me. I have read and enjoyed it before, but I just recently finished listening to the audio which was great fun and a great re-introduction to the book. Were you really unsure about selling that one? Hard to believe.

    1. The original of that one was turned down by everybody in NYC. Then I completely rewrote it for SMP. I don’t think there’s 5,000 words from the original book in it. But I still get turned down. SMP turned down You Again for good reason, but this time, I think I’ve got it.

  60. I’ll match your mold and lay down my infestation of field mice. I’m out in the country, so, fields = field mice. I had everything weedwacked a couple months ago, then some landscapers in to rototill and grade and terrace behind the house, the combination greatly disturbing field mouse habitat. All would have been well except for the fact that this year I have no house kitty to “discourage” the mice from coming in the house.

    They’re brazen! I had the back sliders open to the deck and the front door open to the porch and was carrying containers and saucers from back to front to plant herbs and such in pots on the front porch. I was heading on my way back, when a mouse was heading in. Seeing me, he eeped, did a little jump and did not scurry back out but raced on in, running right between my feet to disappear into the living room.

    Then I discovered that I had left the slider open from my mother’s bedroom and totally forgotten it. I was reminded when a mouse squeezed under her bedroom door and into the hall when I was on my way up the stairs. Likewise, mouse did not retreat, but eeped and booked it for the front bedroom. I can’t believe I could have forgotten that door was open, for months! So, here I am with lord only knows how many field mice in residence and not enough humane critter traps in the world to get them all out. And keep them out.

    I mean, if they just run right past you on their way in, they ain’t going to be easy to discourage. Time to hit the animal shelter, methinks, and fetch a couple of sprightly feline companions to act as mouse deterrents. I had forgotten how bad the mice issue was up here when there was no resident cat, but now I remember the frequent “visitors” when I used to stay with my grandmother as a kid. But what a way to relearn that lesson!

    Get that mold fixed before you go near that place, Jenny. With your asthma, you’re even more at risk than the average person.

  61. Why do some comments not have Reply buttons?
    Kate George said:
    “We had hot water spraying everywhere in our basement for DAYS before I noticed. I just kept thinking I hadn’t shut the outside faucet off properly and that was the water I heard.”

    Thank you! That was me. First I thought it was maybe the ice maker threshing around, then a faucet on in the back forty someplace — for some reason, the water from the well goes first to the house before it splits into house outside faucets, so you hear every drop of water from every hose and sprinkler in the house.
    Some of those babies are a good long walk away AND set on timers so they come on periodically. I wasn’t too eager to go checking around until I saw the puddle next to the house. Urgh. At least I have company in my lackadaisicality, -ness???

    1. After a few levels of nesting, the blog stops letting people add another level of nesting to protect itself. We broke it once, you know. It’s cautious now.

  62. I’m very happy for you and your new hourglass. But please do not start collecting hourglasses, because I have enough competition for the cool ones on eBay already. That said, did you know you can get freestanding ones like your with different sand colors?:
    bright pink
    purple (and octagonal)

    I know, I know, they’re the last thing you need.

  63. The Gertrude pin makes me think of the bluebird picture that was on the cover of National Geographic many years ago. Full face, feathers ruffled, this little guy don’t thake nuthin’ from nobody. It was popular enough, NG sold framed prints for awhile

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