Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blogging in the real world

Hello from a few weeks off-blog.

A lot has happened in the three weeks since my last post. Blogging is a challenge in discretion, not my strongest suit. Yes, I have a new job, as associate editor at a magazine. I am in my fourth week there. I love it. It's a lot of fun. I thought my days of magazine work were long gone; I couldn't imagine being happy at a magazine after LIFE. I have a button on my bulletin board in my new cubicle that says, "I've turned my life around and now I'm right back where I started." Ain't it the truth! In more ways than one.

The hours are nine to five; I have a cube with a window; I get paid to read and write and send email and talk on the phone; my job entails two of my most favorite subjects: children and journalism. The people could not be nicer and more friendly, and they are all very professional. I work right in the middle of the thriving city of Northampton, the county seat. But I am not going to blog in any greater detail than that about my job. There's lots of great stuff -- everyone has great work stories, right? -- but if you want to know details, email me your questions.

The other news that's really great is that we have found a house! also in Northampton. Dave has posted some pictures - that's their stuff, not ours. We hope to close May 31.

The house is a snug 1971 contemporary/split level/something right near Laurel Park, an old religious community, just off routes 5 and 10 heading north to Hatfield. The property backs onto a wetlands conservation area called Fitzgerald Lake, with lots of trails. Lovely. Dave and I took a peaceful walk there when we first moved here.

The house feels very well constructed, with lots of rooms, a cathedral ceiling, and a brand-new kitchen and Japanese soaking tub. There's quite a few rooms -- lots of room for visitors! -- and a fireplace, a wood stove and a pellet stove. We like it a lot. We're having it inspected next Wednesday and we'll keep you posted as to our progress. The street is full of retired Smith proffs and everyone seems really nice; it's a very tight block as the development is 35 years old and appears to be mostly original-owner occupied.

And yes, I'm ambivalent. I'm scared there are too many trees and the plot is too thickly wooded. I told our broker we were having reservations and he did his usual line about how that's what the inspector is for, to reassure you etc., etc., how we can still walk away without losing anything more than $500 for the inspections. I finally said, I'm afraid there's no place in the yard for me to put up a laundry line. He laughed a long, long time.

I really want to hang my laundry outside for as much of the year as possible. One of my longtime Brooklyn dreams was lots of closet space, a bigger bathroom, room to store our stuff, not hearing loud parties and buses and car alarms and sirens -- and a line to hang laundry. Dave wanted berries, and vegetables, and when we've been looking at farms he's been thinking fruit trees. This place has some of that but not all. How much do I want to compromise today? I'm not sure. I do know it would be fabulous to be settled early in the summer. We've been transient for too long.

We saw the place at an open house on Sunday, bid on it Sunday night, and accepted their counter-offer last night. I go to work and try not to be distracted too much by all that's going on in my brain or the occasional calls. Dave stays home and telephones lawyers and real estate brokers and parents and inspectors, arranging everything. He also handles the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills. At least, that's how it's happening today.

Our brains are on overload again. I go to sleep pretty quickly but then I wake up a little after five, with the early sun, the extremely loud birds just chattering wildly, and the first cars on their morning commute down route 9. Closing the window means it's stuffy but a bit quieter on the car front. Dave doesn't sleep much at all at night lately. But this too shall pass.

We really think we're going to like living on the west side of the river. A lot happens in and around Northampton. If this works my commute will be about a 10 minute drive and a 20 minute bike ride. Lily's will be about 15 minutes the other direction. Now I just need to find a place to hang my sheets. Oh, and a hammock and a tire swing. And maybe a space trolley....