Friday, August 14, 2009

Home Ownership, Week One (still in the apartment)

Well, we've had a busy week. Since we closed on the house on Friday, we've been working furiously to make it livable. Here's a word of advice for anyone who's considering buying a home: Don't purchase your home from a kleptomaniac Romanian janitor. This time last week, the house reeked of body odor, pork sausage, and onions; the walls were mostly harvest gold, while the other rooms AND THE CEILINGS THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE were all done in that drab minty green they used to paint hospital bathrooms with. Ten-gallon buckets of drab green paint filled the garage, and the house was stocked with stolen industrial cleansers, gray industrial toilet paper, industrial paper towels, etc.

So on Sunday we spent 12 hours painting the ceilings, and then Monday we started the walls. We're mostly done but we still have two rooms and some touchups left to do, and we have to clean industrial-drab-green smudges off the doorjambs and light fixtures.

Meanwhile we adopted three beautiful chickens and a lovely coop, which still needs to be primed and painted; the original owners built it and painted it yellow (ugh) but didn't seal it, so the wood is warping and the rain gets in. We have a tarp over it currently. Last night we finished our daytime run (it isn't secure enough for night, but it has an open bottom so they can scratch in the dirt and enjoy the grass while they fertilize the soil), so they'll go into that today... pity they didn't yesterday.

Our beautiful chickens - Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, and Doris Day - were free-ranging as we painted, like they've been doing every day of their lives. We never heard a commotion or anything else. But about 4 pm, we were getting ready to go hear Joel Salatin speak, so Keith went to lock up the chickens... and there was no sign of Bette. Anywhere. No feathers, no blood, no signs of a struggle; Lucy and Doris were fine, it was like Bette just vanished into thin air. No one seems to know what might've happened to her. We scoured the neighborhood but she's just gone. It's possible a predator got her (but in the middle of the day? without leaving a trace?), or maybe she got into the front yard and someone took her in (a few of our neighbors have their own chickens). I don't know, it's a mystery.

So poor Bette, I hope she's all right. Meanwhile, as we were searching for her, Doris laid her very first egg! Lucy laid her first the day before, for the family who raised them. So they're officially layers now, and we have a beautiful, perfect, small beigey-green egg in our fridge! I'm hoping Lucy gives us one today so we can each have one to eat later as a celebration.

And if Bette doesn't come back (I doubt she will), we'll get another young pullet to replace her. I hope it shares her spunky, fearless personality. She was the leader of our flock, so now I'm curious to see whether Doris or Lucy will take over the dominant position.

Today it's all about finishing up the main part of the painting and then cleaning the house. Thoroughly. There are Romanian Janitor Hairs all over the bathroom cabinets, and filth and funk in the closets, and paint splatters all over our beautiful hardwood floors. I definitely want to scrub the place down and get it spic-and-span before we bring over the rest of our stuff over the weekend. The movers are bringing our furniture over on Monday, and then we'll clean the apartment, and we'll officially be moved! Ten days after closing. Whew.

And then I get to start on turning the yard into a garden. Sigh...

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