Just monkeying around

We have a maple in Bibleburg and another in Duke City. Didn't plan it that way; it just happened. This one's in DC.

We have a maple in Bibleburg and another in Duke City. Didn’t plan it that way; it just happened. This one’s in DC.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and call it fall.


Got back from Bibleburg last night after a week of what you call your basic flurry of activity:

• Meetings with our lawn guy, a painter, and a real-estate agent about Chez Dog.

• Relocating from the old home place to a north-side hotel and back again.

• Cleaning the joint three times (once after an Airbnb guest, and twice after me).

• Reglazing one broken lower panel in a self-storing aluminum storm window.

• Washing the other 15 windows and replacing those lower panels removed by asshats who failed to grasp the concept of the self-storing aluminum storm window.

• Replacing the screen doors with the storm doors.

• Chatting up a half-dozen or so friends and neighbors (and catching an escaped dog for one who suffers from reduced mobility).

• Two rides and two runs.

• The watching of a series of astoundingly shitty movies, which reminds me of why we jerked the cable out of the wall all those years ago.

• And finally, exactly zero cycling journalism.

This last caught up with me today, when I had to crank out a column and cartoon at high speed for Bicycle Retailer. But I think the downtime doing other chores helped free the mind after a disturbingly long stretch of creative constipation.

The sight of me with a tool in hand, for anyone who knows my mad home-repair skillz, conjures up the image of the hominid from “2001: A Space Odyssey” flailing around him with a thighbone. Nevertheless I managed to dismantle, clean and restore all those goddamn storm windows with nothing more than a putty knife, a hammer (my favorite tool), a quart of Windex and a great deal of profanity, especially when I was up to my hips in a shrubbery using hammer and knife to liberate an upper window panel from its prison of paint.

But sparkling windows and a fresh coat of weather-be-gone on the decks should help Chez Dog show a little leg when the suckers come strolling by. It’s been a great little house to us, but as an Airbnb rental it’s proven a little tough to manage from six hours away, and it’s time it was a great little house to somebody else.

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16 Responses to “Just monkeying around”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Good to make sure you all get in on the 2 out of 5 year IRS rule for cap gains. I have a good friend that had a home forever, but just missed her window and is so sad.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, our accountant tipped us to that one. Whew. I know from nothing about finance, whether high or low. A renter born and bred. Hell, my folks didn’t buy their first house until the old man was 50.

      I think I’d do just fine with a small RV, a large laptop, an iPhone, a DSLR, and a good steel cyclocross bike (I have four of the five right now).

      The wife and the cats would complain, though. So it looks like I’ll remain a man of property until they wise up.

  2. Libby Says:

    Good luck with the sale. You gave the Airbnb a good run. Are selling The House Back East, too?
    Speaking of cartoons, I have been immersing myself in the work of The New Yorker cartoonists. Right now I’m obsessed with their cover art. I received a framed William Stieg cover as a Christmas gift last year. I’m embarrassed to say that I only knew Stieg as a writer and illustrator of superb children’s books. He was a cartoonist and author for 40 yrs before he wrote children’s books.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Libby. We’re going to hold onto the House Back East™. Judy loves it there, and I see no good reason to upset her, since she’s a longtime neighbor and friend in addition to being a tenant.

      The place pays for itself, even with the occasional bit of fix-’em-up that an old house requires, and it gives us a foothold in the old neighborhood.

      I love The New Yorker cartoons. It, Playboy and The National Lampoon were a ‘toon-rich environment back in the day, and TNY still is. If you didn’t subscribe, it was one of the few reasons to enjoy a visit to the doctor or dentist.

  3. Larry T. Says:

    I’d wondered how long before you tired of the short-term rental scheme. Now we know. No mention of the democraptic debates on CNN? Don’t tell us you didn’t watch them!!! Meanwhile Obama’s going to keep the Afghan meat-grinder going awhile longer? Someone needs to tell me what is going to get fixed there that 14 years and a trillion bucks has so far failed to do? All while a redux is set to play out in Syria. Anyone wanna lay odds on that place turning out pretty much like those other places we wanted to “save” from evil, tyrannical governments – no matter what we do?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Airbnb thing was a mild pain in the ass until our local helpers bailed, and then it became entirely unworkable.

      When we lived in Chez Dog and Airbnb’d The House Back East®, we had more control over the situation and things ran fairly smoothly. And I suppose if Chez Dog were a modern house with all the conveniences it might work from a distance.

      But it was built in 1939, and has its quirks, and since nobody reads anymore, if you’re not around to explain how things work, well, people do stupid shit like deprogram the thermostat while trying to operate the air conditioning that we don’t have, or pull off all the lower panels of the self-storing storms instead of simply sliding them up to expose the screens. Gah.

      I watched approximately two minutes of the debate on the iPad and then said to hell with it, as Anderson Cooper seemed to think he was the one running for president.

      The Afghanistan thing? Arrgh, etc. Charlie Pierce has had more and better stuff to say on that than I have. We’ve both also read Kipling.

      Syria is a gamble, as Kevin Drum notes at MoJo. If Putin wants to expend his time and treasure there, he reasons, we should let him, ’cause it’s going to end badly (see Afghanistan).

      • khal spencer Says:

        That debate at times degenerated into a food fight. Gave me no high level of confidence in anyone. Seems its going to be another “hold yer nose and vote” election. Still, I’d go with a Sanders/Clinton or Clinton/Sanders team, if that is possible. Talk about The Odd Couple.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I keep thinking, “This is the best we can do?” It’s like going to the best restaurant in the world and being served a Swanson’s TV dinner and a glass of Fanta.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Khal, I guess Obama 1 was a rare one where noses were not held while voting? For me Obama 2 was a “holy crap, we can’t let Uncle Mitty take over!” vote but Billary vs Bush or Rubio (who kind of scares me as he makes all the supply-side crap and other Rethug refried ideas sound good in a way) will be a nose-holder for sure. I think Bernie killed any general election chances with his “Democratic Socialist” talk along with suggesting the US become Denmark. That ain’t gonna play well in a general election and the Rethugs can use it to scare a whole lot of knuckle-draggers into the voting booth. I can hear “Caribou Barbie” screaming from here.

      • khal spencer Says:

        You nailed it, Larry.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    If I could pick Chez Dog up, basement and all, and move it here, you would have a sale. Damn that is a homey looking place. But, so is Rancho Pendejo. I guess home is where you hang your bikes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It really is a nice little place, and if we owned it free and clear, I might be inclined to hold onto it. We could ask a neighbor to pop round once a month to flush the toilets, eyeball the thermostat and make sure nobody had set up a meth lab in the basement.

      But we’re still paying a mortgage, and I’m over that. The market seems good at the moment, and so the smart thing to do is sell. I’d like to do something smart for a change.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    The Fanta Se rental has likewise become a monumental pain in the ass.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I think it’s a given. The House Back East™ is something of an exception, in that we’re helping out an old pal and thus get the feel-good bonus, but even it can be a hassle. It’s a contemporary of Chez Dog and has some even older equipment, including an ancient boiler instead of a forced-air furnace.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        If I was building a house from scratch, it would have a boiler/hot water heat system with baseboard radiators. Clean, economical, and even heat with the system taking up a minimum of space and requiring little maintenance.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        This one sure has staying power. I forget the make, but it’s quiet — unlike the rumbling forced-air furnace next door — and the baseboard radiators give off plenty heat, and even a bit of humidity, which is nice in a dry winter.

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