Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Homestead

Wow, so, holy crap. The south is crazy.

My life has been insane.

The end.

I kid!

I'll give up some of the details, starting with a bit of advice: Don't ever live in someone's living room. Especially your boyfriend's dad and stepmom's living room.

Really. Just don't. And their garage? Probably not a lot better than the living room.

Yeah. It was horrible.

But now we have a house! It's junky and drafty and in a teeny tiny little town (Aynor, S.C., population: 640) and it has stinky cupboards and a garage that looks like a barn and I absolutely love it.

But it's tons of work. We got a good deal, but when we moved in, there was dirt everywhere. Gross dirt. Other people's dirt. A thick orange syrup covering the bottom of the fridge with hunks of mac and cheese in it. Cat food scattered under the sink, covered in mold. A freezer full of mildew. And cockroaches -- or, excuse me, palmetto bugs -- everywhere, dead. Upturned, legs in the air -- they left rusty spots on the floor when you scraped them off the hardwoods or the bathtub. Dead lizards in the windowsills.

But that? The scum everywhere? The smell of cat urine in the laundry room? Not the worst of it. The worst was the NASCAR room.

Oh yeah. You got that right. It was painted glossy black, and someone had applied a checkerboard wallpaper strip all the way around the room, plus wallpaper strips of the NASCAR logo placed randomly about the room.

Still. Despite the scum, the cockroaches, the NASCAR logos, we could see the house's charm. An acre. A porch. Two rows of 50-year old muscadine grapes. Enough rooms for all of our crap.

So now, we've been here for two weeks, and everything's different. Before, we were actually fighting from time to time -- something we'd never really done before. Not bad fighting, but fighting. It's amazing what a home does for you. We're both in such better head spaces. The other day, Roomie was singing a song in the kitchen. The words? "I'm so happy ... I'm so happy ..." ... and this is coming from someone who's taking calculus.

We've worked our asses off, and there's more work to do. But here's ye olde photodump:

I heard once that Oregon is one of the least-churched states in the U.S. Well, folks, I now officially live in the Bible belt. And church is allllll up in my face, considering what I now do (if you missed out on that: I work for a company whose clients are all churches). Plus, there's a church on every street. I drive an hour to work every day, and I haven't counted the number of churches I pass on my way to work, but suffice to say it's a lot. A lot a lot. There are two big ones in my tiny town, plus I see signs all the time for churches that meet in smaller places, houses, community centers, malls. If I were a photographer, I'd start a photo project on the churches. I love the quaint chapels with the manicured cemeteries, and I love the gospel barns (photo to come of that one). They're just so damn cute.

This sign sits at the end of a vacant lot across the street from our hardware store, which is right next to the tire center. We also have a tiny BBQ joint I haven't gotten to try because it's only open during lunch hours, and "sometimes on Thursday and Friday nights," according to a sign in the window. My new doctor says it's been around forever and it's owned by a "nice black family" and it's "real good." I can't wait to try it and guest blog about it on Donuts 4 Dinner.

Hipstermatic shot of the front door and the 1980s crappy stained glass.

We painted out living room smurf blue to cover up the painfully cheery peachy color. I like it.

We also bought edible lettuce plants, a good plan since we can't install a huge garden like we had originally hoped, on account of the fact that there's a chance our landlord doesn't own our house and we may have to move out. But that's another story.

Yard! Ball! Cilantro!

When you live in a tourist destination, you think the tourist crap is stupid. Fortunately, my girlfriends realized I'd have a different opinion once I left. Yay Bend! Now, where is my University of Oregon gear?

The former NASCAR room. It's now Kermit green. We also have an elephant gray room. Don't diss the mistint aisle at WalMart.

Ain't she sweet? We just need some rockers. Maybe a swing.