Friday, April 27, 2007

betty does photos, part 1

This is the view out of the window in the "eating area" of my house. The "eating area" is too small to be called a dining room, having space only for a small table and two chairs. Here you can see the public park, featuring one of the world's largest rose gardens, just beyond the privacy hedges. It's nice to have no vehicular traffic in front of our house. The only "traffic" we see consists of joggers, walkers, dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, a ground hog and even a fox.

This is the view from outside of the house, looking in at the "eating area." The Chihuahua is on top of the table, keeping watch over the "traffic." Take note of the orange trim on the windows which was just applied last week by yours truly.

Here is the Chihuahua perched on his table in the "eating area." He is forever grateful for the views of the rose garden, and he considers himself quite the watchdog.
Below is the newly painted garage, complete with a whirlingbetty color scheme. I can just imagine what my realtor would have to say about that if my house was still on the market. The next installment of "betty does photos" will feature the downtown neighborhood.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday with Whirling Betty

Even the weather has been creepy lately, much like the huge Victorian house I dragged the child through today as part of our Sunday afternoon open house tour. The house had sky-high ceilings throughout, and the most enormous windows I've ever seen, yet the house was dark. I know that Victorians were notoriously dark, as if they were built as eventual haunted houses. Well, this house gave me the creeps; I seemed to be channeling frustrated old spirits who insisted on remaining attached to this house.

So much the better- heaven knows I don't need another Victorian house to obsess over! I thanked my lucky stars as I exited the house emotionless. The Child, on the other hand, danced up and down, squealing, "BUY the house! BUY the house! That secret room on the 2ND floor will be mine! Mama, you could jog around that brick circle in the backyard every morning! You wouldn't have to leave home to do your jogging!" He had just demonstrated how to jog on that circular garden path by running around it as fast as he could several times until he noticed I was gone.

There wasn't much danger of obsession anyway- this house was not in my target neighborhood. It was near downtown, but on the east side, not north, and there were no groceries, shops or art galleries to walk to here. It was affordable because the neighborhood was unsafe.

Our next stop was in my target neighborhood. I never had much interest in condos- the condo fee alone is enough to turn me off- but facing the reality of what I can afford has forced me to give up my standards. This one was a condo- it appeared to be 1/3 of a former mansion. From the outside it was somewhat attractive, featuring a turret and a brick exterior, but there was no yard.

We tentatively entered. Well, actually, I tentatively entered while the child bounced happily over to the realtor and engaged her in lively conversation. That was fine with me, since I preferred to avoid her. I could see immediately that there was no way I could consider this house, or, more accurately, this 1/3 house. It was so narrow! I'd have to lose weight to fit the house! The woodwork was dark, ugly actually, and plain- nothing like the wonderfully ornate woodwork of the haunted house. The walls were white. All white. What on earth could anyone find appealing about this place? I just wanted to get out of there, but the child had engaged the realtor. I stood at the door, waiting to bolt.

The realtor was not about to let me off the hook, so I told her that regrettably, I simply didn't like the condo. Undefeated, she insisted on dragging us down the street to another one, also 1/3 of a house. This one was even worse than the first- just as dull, but with only one floor instead of two, and still no backyard, not even a tiny cement slab. Its only positive feature was its price.

I told the desperate realtor that we had to hurry on to our next house, and as we fled I dishonestly promised to give her a call to see more of her dazzling array of condos. We drove on to the next and last house which was farther from my target area......and we kept on driving....we weren't even on the dartboard anymore. It was too far away! I assessed the surrounding area when we finally got there, then decided not to bother getting out of the car. I want to be able to walk to the grocery store, drugstore, video store, bank, post office, coffee shop, library, etc. I realized that there was no point in looking anywhere but in my target zone. Yet within my target, only the unappealing condos are affordable.

I already knew all of this. But I am a stubborn woman who doesn't quit easily.

Monday, April 02, 2007

what it's like

Things have been weird in bettyland lately. There's been too much work, too little pay, too many responsibilities, too many distractions, too many disappointments.

When I was a child I complained a lot. I learned it (well) from my mother, who held a national title in constant complaining. I never realized that I complained until age 15, when I went away to summer camp. My cabinmates were all too happy to point out my character defect.

I was very bothered by that. I didn't know how to change something I wasn't even aware of. It was the language of my family and had become second nature.

There were obviously people who tolerated it. I was not banished from society- in fact, I seemed to enjoy a fair number of social contacts. Being shy, I was never popular, but I was lucky. In a recent post I described a very cool high school boyfriend who had chosen me based on my appearance.

I can't say exactly when I became convinced that I should try to change and become consciously positive rather than negative, but I think it was fairly recently. You see, my luck ran out once the child came into my life. People do not gravitate toward single mothers, especially the clearly overwhelmed types. Friends became few and far between. Even the friend whom I used to identify as my "emergency contact" abandoned me shortly after the baby was born.

My best guess is that my unwanted solitude forced me to change my habitual way of thinking and speaking. My most recent friend played a definite part- he showed that he could not tolerate any negativity from me. I think I changed, but it didn't save that friendship. A few months ago he took in a female roommate who has more than taken my place in his life. I rarely speak to him now. (But when I do, it's damned positive.)

I do still have someone to talk to. In fact, I have a date with her today. Unfortunately, I'll have to talk fast because I'm only allowed 50 minutes a week with her. And I'd better enjoy it while it lasts, because my insurance will only cover 19 sessions per year.