Homeowner Blues

Its yet another rainy day here in Maine, this summer is shaping up to be a soggy ass mess. Its either humid as hell and I hate humidity or torrential rains, neither are things that put a sista in a good mental space. That said, its one of those days I don’t have much on my mind but didn’t want to not post so today is a ramble or shall I say rant about the joys or shall I saw woes of home-ownership.

I am starting to think my Pops was a smart man, when he proudly declared many years ago that he didn’t want to own a house. He used to tell my Granny, don’t leave us meaning him and my Moms your house because all we will do is sell it. I used to think he was silly, that was until the spousal unit and I decided to become homeowners several years ago.

We actually fell into home-ownership to be honest, it was not a long thought out process. Long story short we were renting a house in our little hamlet and a few weeks after my Moms passed away, the owner told us he was selling the house which meant that we would have to move since most likely the new owner would want to live in the house. Problem was it was the 3rd time in our marriage that we had been displaced because a place we were renting was being sold/got sold and in my highly emotional state I really did not want to be displaced. Actually with the death of my Mom, I felt the pull to plant some roots which probably had a lot to do with the fact that later in the same year I got pregnant with mini-me, I digress though.

Anyway initially  we figured we would buy the house we were renting until we started looking around and realized that the owner was crazy and that for what he was asking we could get a whole lot more house. So, we settled on a 100+ year old Victorian with 10 rooms, the kinda house that back in Chicago would set you back at least a million or more. However anybody with any damn sense here knows better, which is why most of the Victorians are not owned by native Mainers, they know these puppies are money pits. No, its always the transplants from big cities that buy these pits because we lovingly think back to our original cities and how homes like these would allow us to be envy of all our friends. Yet in Maine, no one envies the fool with the big old house.

But it was love at first site, plus the sellers reduced the price substantially since we needed to put a new roof on the house…. yeah, that should have been my sign to flee but what can I say I am a sucker for a large house.

Now when we first got this house, I figured it would be a breeze to take off all the wallpaper and re-do the walls, turns out this is industrial wallpaper and does not come off easily and to hire a professional could easily take a cool 20K. Speaking of, the roof itself turned out to be almost that much..ugh.

First winter in this house we nearly froze despite having the oil tank filled twice a month (note: in many New England homes, houses are heated with oil, yes oil. A big ass truck like a truck that supplies the gas station comes to your house to fill up your tank which is generally 275 gallons. The price of home heating oil is comparable to the price of gas) seems we had an inefficient heating system that decided 6 weeks before mini-me was born the tank started leaking in the middle of summer which resulted in us getting a whole new heating system. Can you say, shit!!

Anyway with each passing year in this house, it turns out that my spousal unit has no inner handy man, he is a lovely man but when it comes to doing shit on this ole house, I pretty much have to point it out to him. It also turns out that even simple shit that you might expect a chick to enjoy like gardening is so out of my frame of reference, hello… I grew up in the city. That despite my best efforts we have that yard, you know the one that always looks jacked. Granted it looks better when I get the halfass yard dude to take care of shit, but half the time he is nowhere to be found and between working and the kids and life it takes time for me to actually get out there and considering that a few weeks ago when I went to trim the hedges I actually cut the cord to the trimmers, its safe to say I won’t be back out there anymore. Instead I sit here waiting for someone to give me an estimate on yard work and hope the price is reasonable.

Now don’t get me wrong, owning a house is not all negative but I do find that many of the perks are greatly exaggerated, yes I can paint my walls purple, but that’s only if I ever get the ugly wallpaper off. Yes, there are financial perks but really the day to day of home-ownership can wear you down, shit last Thanksgiving day the fridge decided that would be a good day to die and guess what when you own, you have to replace the appliances, no landlord to bug.

So while I enjoy having multiple toilets and a house that is large enough to live/work, truth is one day the spousal unit and I might look forward to pulling up and being renters again. Turns out home-ownership is not all its cracked up to be.

Thanks for letting me vent about this ole house and tomorrow I promise something a bit more substantial.

Nobody talks about class, po white folks

I actually was going to skip the blog today since the spousal unit is on vacation this week and its hot as hell here, which is a rarity for Maine. However I was out on my porch this evening and ended up overhearing some neighborhood kids talking and all I could think of was back in the day that phrase about Bey-Bey’s kids.

See, I live in the town center of my little town, unlike many of my associates out here who live on 2-3 acres of land in the country. When we were looking for a house a few years ago, for a half second I wanted a house in the country, in fact I fell in love with a house on 2 acres on a hill. It was a gorgeous house until I saw that the neighbor down yonder had big dogs he let run loose and when I told the spousal unit we could we could just put up a fence, he laughed at a sista. Turns out fencing 2 acres on a hill is not the best idea.. what the hell did I know, I spent most of my time in apartments growing up unless we were at Granny’s house. There was also the fact that the hubster is a lazy man and cutting 2 acres would have killed him. That said we went with the big old house on basically no land on a block with neighbors in walking distance of stuff. KInda like a city.

The downside is that at the end of my block is an apartment complex that is subsidized housing, which makes for an interesting block, old Victorians, a few regular houses and 1 apartment complex (back in Chicago we might call this a gentrifying area) all my neighbors in the houses for the most part are pleasant, peaceful folks, but the folks in the apartment..well, I am sure they might be nice but they tend to be loud and the kids who live there work my last nerves.

In Maine, kids will play on anyone’s yard with no regard for the fact their Momma and Daddy don’t own it, thankfully the little hellions down the street have learned over the years to stay off my grass. It took me going out asking them what they were doing a few times before the realized, stay off the Black woman’s grass. Last thing I need is some kid getting hurt on my property.

However in listening to these kids, they swear and cuss like they are grown and I figure most of the time their Mommas must tell leave and don’t come back till dark, these kids are like 10 at best. Every other month the cops are over at the complex, who knows why?

Now I write all this to say that in my 6 years in Maine, I have noticed a strange observation that poor folks are the same no matter where they are, regardless of color. Yet when most folks think of Maine, they think the Bush family and Kennebunkport or maybe ole Stephen King yet in 6 years I have seen folks that remind me a lot of parts of the south-side or even the west-side of Chicago. I wanna know how come that stuff is never shared in the general media, the town next to me is a working class type of town with a fair amount of liquor stores in certain areas and rumor has it certain restaurants even accept foodstamp so I have been told. Shit that town even has a lot of churches, eerily reminscent of my old stomping grounds back in Chi-town. All they are missing is a place that sells gyros and rib tips sandwiched in between the church, the liquor store and the currency exchange.

Nope, poor folks share a lot of similarities regardless of race and Bey-Bey’s bad ass kids can even be white.

A Tale of Two Beaches.. Pt 2 Holiday Weekend

Another 4th of July has come and gone, I have now been to the beach two times in the past 2 days, so I thought I would share some tales from the beach with you.

Yesterday the fam and I decided to go to the local resort beach town, just south of my little coastal hamlet. The town in question bills itself as a family friendly kinda place though for many years it was the kinda joint that after dark, well the rather seedy white folks like to come out and start acting buckwild. By midnights folks would be out in the street busting bottles over each other’s heads and thankfully none of the hooligans were people of color. (living in Maine, I have learned white folks is plenty fucked up, it just doesn’t get covered in the news like folks of color fucking up)

That said, times have changed and now folks from all over New England like to come and in the past few years I have noticed the influx of Blacks and Latinos from Boston who like to come up north and get their Maine vacation on. So that makes this one of my favorite places to go for the people watching since in Maine, I don’t get to see too many Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Whites chilling in the same place.

Its like riding the el back in Chicago, I love my peeps but some of us well we come to the beach all wrong, this is a special shout-out to the brotha wearing timberland boots, shorts and a Boston Celtics jersey.. maybe I am getting old but since when the hell do boots go with shorts at the beach? I don’t know, maybe he wanted to be prepared for ass-kicking at the beach? Also how come in Maine when I see a brotha, he is often paired with a tired looking white woman who always tries to give a sista the stank eye.. girl, you can keep that snaggle tooth looking cat. And for the middle age woman with the big ass belly, the bikini was not for you and I am almost middle age so I can say that. Yeah, I am being pissy but hey blogging gets it out of my system.

That said, today’s beach visit was the beach town near me that rarely ever has any folks of color there, its one of these towns where families been coming for the past 40 years to vacation. As I remarked to the spousal unit, I suspect the reason folks come to this town is because its nostalgic. I had a few people looking at me like why the hell is a black woman on the beach? Same reason as you, I like the sun. Yeah, I may be a cocoa complected sista, but the feel of sun and sand is amazing, time on the beach centers me. 

 After a sista spent time playing on the beach with mini- me, we were hungry. Now I could have went home and made lunch but I am off today. So we headed to the 1 damn place to eat in this town, seriously.. its an old fashioned soda fountain place that serves food, shop  looks like something out of a 1940’s movie set. Its so damn quaint its unbelievable, that said of course we walk up into the spot and get the look. In my quest to be more peaceful, I refrained from giving my look back, instead I pondered why is it that white folks seem to love old shit? Seriously, I know so many white folks who seem to pine for a simpler time and yet I rarely meet any Black folks who discuss the merits of homemaking in say 1808? Could be cuz that shit would have been less than pleasant for our Black asses, if ya know what I mean.

That said, as I wrap up the holiday weekend, good times was had by all, and no one was receiving end of my size 9 up they ass. May Sunday be a good day as well.