Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A river runs under it

The camera batteries are dead, unfortunately. However with the rain currently falling here in Milo, we have a tributary of something running around, and under, our trailer. It is coming down off the River road, through the trailer park (if I can dignify it with that name) and down all the many gravel pathways.

It is pouring under the oil tank at the back of the trailer and under the trailer and down the driveway -- more when the rain is harder and less when it abates but it runs in gushes making mini rapids and brown streams, washing away the driveway and Gods only know what else.

K went out and tried to divert it away from the foundation with minimal success. He came in soaked to the skin, thanking the Gods that the rain was, at least, NOT cold. It is in the high 40s. It is his birthday as well and despite pain in his neck from some sort of strain and muscles that will undoubtedly report their displeasure tomorrow, he is in decent spirits.

We are cooking burgers (on the stove, not the grill due to weather, of course) and tomorrow I will take him out for a belated birthday supper in Bangor as we dovetail a visit to my new client, Martin Brown with shopping and other errands.

Would that it were OUR land we were dealing with...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No news on the Realtor front, but...

I am in the process of painting two copies of this new design for a bloodhound breeder out west. Also painting a couple of traditional designs for orders that had been on hold for the move, so the paint studio is up and at least limping along. Had to give up painting this evening, pending more -- or at least different -- illumination once the sun went down.

While painting this, several other designs have been percolating in the back of my mind. I have friends here with goats and chickens... a gardener friend who also has chickens and ducks... somewhere now is lurking a line of "barn blessings" that will feature a custom assortment of relevant critters and a symbolic plant, I think. The designs will have to be a bit different as these creatures will need different blessings than the working bloodhounds for which this sign was made to bless them with strength and protection.

On other fronts, though there has been no movement on the house and land front, I was surprised yesterday by a phone call from a job referral at the Bangor Career Center, to which I had faxed a resume. The job, for technical support and administrative coordinator seemed to have my name written all over it -- other than wanting the employee to book reservations for his guide business, the tasks could have been straight off the playbook from my former job in NC, even to the title "administrative coordinator."

The company owner called with great interest, and scheduled an appointment with me for late this afternoon, even though he said he had filled the position for which I applied. I had sent him my "administrative" resume rather than my "design/tech" one but when we sat down to talk, it seemed that what he was really looking for, and apparently had yet to find, was a competent, reliable and affordable webmaster. The longer we talked, the more uncomfortable he seemed to get... my sense of this was that it was caused by having filled his jobs and yet knowing that he needed my skills... so I pulled out the single Vision business card I had on me (having just had them reprinted with my Maine contact info) and introduced myself wearing my other hat.

Our meeting went on for 2 hours, discussion, talk of $$, feeling each other out and eventually ending up at the computer in his office, looking at, dissecting and trouble shooting his sites. So it appears that I went looking for a job and instead found a client. He is going to put together his thoughts on changes for the first of his three sites that needs work and we meet again on Tues afternoon.

I have got to stop talking to The Powers That Be in my offhand manner.. it seems that is when they most often listen and those are the things they respond to... Last week after sending off my last big NC project for the National Park Service, I sent out the thought "Ok, now I need the Maine version of the Waterfowl Museum," meaning not that I needed to find a museum but that I needed to find a gatekeeper in the local community... someone with whom I would work and in working with them, would get the "in" and referrals like those from which I built my business in NC.

If my sense is right (and if often is) and he has made the sort of connections that someone successfully in business here for the last 25 yrs would have made, I have found him.

Now, all I need is LAND and A HOME! (you, up there... do you hear me??)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

House Hunting and Hex Painting

We are in big househunting mode... have looked at a couple and given them a pass.. one a major fixer-upper on a lot in a nearby town... one a lot that used to have a mobile home on it, still with pad and well and septic, a little more land and that's it.

Right now we have two in our consideration pile, hoping that one of the owners will be willing to carry it...

This first image, is a 2 BR house on 3 acres that just came on the market here in the town of Milo.

The second image, a log cabin on one acre in an unincorporated area, is also one we are looking into. it has some serious damage to the logs on one side... Neither has woods, unfortunately.

and we do not know if either owner will be interested in carrying a contract. I feel better about the white one, even though it is in town (not in the "civilized, close neighbors" sense, but in the Maine sense of being in a township.) "Town" in Maine is a legal term; most of the state is carved up into them... "township" areas... you will be driving along in what -- for all intents and purposes looks like the total boonies and you will see a town limit sign.. either a fancy designed one, or on the less major roads, a vertical white post with a town name written along its length. You may got for several miles before you encounter homes close enough to see each other and -- unless you look sharp -- may never notice the (likely volunteer) fire dept or the town office building. There might be a mom-and-pop general store which might or might not sell gas, also house the post office, but likely sells groceries, a bit of hardware and maybe soft drinks and beer... IF you get there before 5 pm. You will never see a 7-11 or franchised convenience store; they are not allowed. Towns have higher taxes and some sort of organization, building permit system, inspectors that may or may not care... depending on who is in office, and the general attitude of the town. It varies from one town to another.

Unorganized areas have fewer "amenties" and legal issues, and lower taxes but depending on what you want to do, you may not be able to as the STATE covers such things as commercial kitchen inspection and they don't at present have the $$ to send folks out to inspect, or so I understand from friends. But on the other hand, they don't look down your neck when you build either, which suits me just fine..

We had to run to Bangor today in search of a couple of 12" embroidery hoops, as my supply was down to one and I have orders in hand for 3 of that size. We must be getting the hang of this as we were able to look at the house on Liford (on the way in) and swung north east of the city to Howland, where we did a drive by on one that got rejected out of hand, down I95 to the airport mall (check out the progress of a BigLots type store that we heard was coming... not here yet... ) then back to the Bangor Mall area to check on progress of K's Rx at WalMart (they had not been able to make contact with the clinic in NC yet.. ), stopped at JoAnns Fabric and crafts for the hoops and to check out the store that I had not visited yet. I had previously check out an other crafts store which I knew had the hoops, but Jo Anns came first and I had an excuse to go in.. I will go to the other store for arts and craft stuff, I think and Jo Anns for fabrics when I start sewing again, but I did get the hoops. Then we ate lunch (as neither of us had taken breakfast) at Tim Hortons and were home before 2 pm! We must be getting somewhere in sync with the flow here, as this is the second Bangor run that has not taken all day, and the first that included K!

After coming home I ordered more 12" hoops from my wholesale outfit (cross fingers that Brown can find us in this terribly badly signed -- even for Maine -- trailer park! Also ordered some floating wicks and other stuff to consider for my "perpetual" symbolic hearth flame. I am hoping to be able to keep an oil lamp burning instead of the candles I have not been able to find, and we were unsuccessful in finding floating oil wicks in town either. I am hoping to find something that I can refill before it goes out and while the flame is still burning. We will see.

Now it is not quite time for supper, I have two hex sign frames filled ready to start, two more to stretch muslin in and allow to dry and time to start them.

One thing I am noticing, which seems quite a change even from other northern places I have lived, is that it feels to me much later in the year -- based on the length of the day -- than what the ground outside says. The sun rises just before 6 and doesn't set until 7:15 and the sky is light until 8:30 or later... but the trees have yet to begin budding and while I am reading reports of crocus and such, I have yet to see the first sprout of green with my own two eyes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I need a home!

Spring thaw has come to our corner of Maine, and even -- so I hear -- to some of the northern and eastern areas where friends garden. I am not sure about whether it is time to plant or not, but most of the "yard" such as it is, is free of ice and snow, leaving many doggie droppings to be picked up. We cleaned up some of the construction debris that was laying there yesterday. The west and south sides of the trailer are clearing quickly but the north side -- where the main entrance is and where the leanto that protected the entry steps from ice and snow had collapsed is becoming every more of a danger zone, as sharp piece of wood and other materials emerge from the still-frozen ice and ground.

At least we did get the external light fixture replaced. WHAT a project... nothing in this tin box is even up to snuff for old tin boxes, everything is cobbled together from the worst of materials and refuses to be made right, even in the least. K's frustration level overflows quite often -- understandably so -- but in then end he manages to engineer something that works. In this case, thank the Gods for silicon seal!

We have got settled enough to begin a serious land/housing hunt. I put an ad in Uncle Henrys
for a week (free) and we got one nibble... have yet to follow up on it. But I have also checked out several properties that others had posted for sale as well as writing down phone numbers from signs seen along the way and posted in stores we frequent. Friends referred us to a Realtor that did good work for them, too... we will see. In our budget other Realtors have pretty much washed their hands of us, suggesting we contact each listing agent of property in out budget (not enough commission for them to want to split). the Henrys ad was also a Realtor suggestion...

I have high hope that we will have something by my birthday. I have the feeling that housing will come before job, but I am beginning to get motivated on that account as well. I have applied for several positions (both in and out of my field) and plan a trip to Bangor today to visit the unemployment office and check with one of the temp agencies. I do not want to be working full time, yet, though as I need daylight hours to check property and jobs in Bangor area are a good commute, allowing not much daylight to do stuff.

I guess this sickness that caught both of us by surprise hit me worse than I thought; I know K is still very much under the weather and I still cough and sneeze more than I would like. Mold issues in this trailer may be contributing, though... when we had friends over last weekend, one of them mentioned that she noted her reaction to the substance.

I continue to get orders for hex signs and need to get busy painting today, now that I have the paint here, a table made to work on and such. It really bothers me that I have gotten thrown for such a loop with this move. Scares me a little, in fact. This is NOT typical for me and I am not sure what is up.

I do know that we are both feeling the need to put down roots and it is not just a spring thing.