I’ve let this space languish in favor of my new gig over at New West, called Missoula Notebook (and if you haven’t read and commented on my latest over there, you must be the only one on the planet), but I’m in the mood to jot a few notes here again and start putting up some more pictures. I’m enjoying the column format at New West, but I’d also like to share some of the day-to-day details of our ongoing adventures here in Missoula/Montana/the West, etc.
The big news, for those who don’t know, is that we settled on our new house last Monday. We are putting off the move until Amy gets back from Venezuela, where her department runs a project similar to the one in Arizona that she manages (she left on Tuesday, the day after our settlement). Everyone wants to know if I’m having to do all the packing, but she got a big head start on it before she left. (She’s trying to make up for last summer, not that I think she has to.)
While she’s been gone, I’ve been trying to remember to bathe and go outside, not so easy when you freelance from home and there is no around to keep you on any sort of schedule. (Even the cat is relatively indifferent whether she gets dinner or not.) I’ve been over to the house a few times and intend a return trip today. We are having the floors redone and I have to get a copy of the house keys for the floor guy, plus I want to stop by and jury rig something so that a continually dripping (running, really) external faucet doesn’t continue soaking the ground right next to the house. (If there’s a cutoff valve, it is far underneath the house in an unfinished and virtually inaccessible crawl space, but at least the movement of the water keeps the pipe from freezing.) I also want to get some photos of the place while it’s still empty and the floors are all beat up, so we can showcase our accomplishments.
Yes, the place needs some work. The roof is a little rough, but is estimated to be good for another two years. A lot of houses around here have these interesting-looking metal roofs and metal siding, a vaguely retro-future industrial look I’m keen on. Amy (no more “A.,” since her anonymity is gone in my Missoula Notebook pieces) worries that it will make the house look like a spaceship, to which I say, “yes, and?” The garage paint job is looking rough, too. I wonder if we can just slap new siding over the old wooden siding? Not sure I’m keen on sanding down a building that probably has lead paint on it.
But the yard is big, the massive tree shades the house nicely, and the former resident left the necklace of elk skulls hanging around the tree’s trunk (not to mention a rig in the garage that looks like it’s for hanging game from the ceiling — if I win a big stuffed animal at the next county fair, maybe I’ll impale it on one of the hooks). And best of all, there is a little park across the street with a playground and a “splash park.”
I can’t wait to spend a few Saturdays there.