Seek and Ye Shall Find. They Say.

No. Sounds lovely but not true.

Yesterday’s migraine.  Oh what a migraine it was!

Today it’s tapering off, in the final phase, in what’s called the postdromal phase.

Yes, research and science have found four migraine stages: (1) predromal phase – early warning signs; (2) aura phase – strange feelings start; (3) attack phase  – migraine underway; (4) postdromal phase – after migraine.

Each phase has distinct and discernible characteristics.

However, I’m not here as a scientist, rather a migraineur.

Yesterday’s was a real doozy. Once I got through my 4-5 p.m. work shift, all I wanted to do was go home.

Shut out the world. Lie down on my bed.

Open all windows to let in the clean refreshing cool air after the monsoon.

Close my eyes. Rest. Breathe in the quiet.

I could have none of it.

Because my neighbor James never turns off the monstrosity that is his swamp cooler. The tally to date: 2-30. That’s wins to losses after he promised to shut off the Noisy Beast when it’s not hot (it’s not) and when he’s away.

Well, he’s away like all the time. And the mother-er still runs.

But back to the migraine.

I need my home. I need my home to be my sanctuary. A place of respite. Safety. Peacefulness. I’ve paid my dues a thousand times over with domestic wars, abuses, upheavals, distresses starting in childhood. Oh the stories I could write about roommates!

I’m 59 now. It’s time for my home to be a good thing not a hell on earth to escape.

James isn’t a bad person. However, he is a bad neighbor. He can do better. We need to talk again.

But how do you talk with someone who’s never home and yet the Montrosity spins and spins and spins, screeching its siren, 24/7?! Every day of the week. Every week of the month. Rain or shine. Cloudy or clear.

Swear to god, it could be snowing and he’d be running it! He’s just … well, a bad neighbor. At this time.

Back to the migraine.

I couldn’t go home for relief for obvious reasons. His metal beast is outside my bedroom window. It’s audible through the walls and with all windows and doors sealed.

Actually it’s on the side with the most windows and doors — also a problem. I’ve been forced to keep them closed for the past month+ even though my nature and desire are to have them open for fresh air and circulation. I told him that.

It’s a mobile-home park so spaces are tight and narrow, sounds audible and amplified.

I am beside myself with frustration and rage toward James for this past month where he’s failed so miserably in doing the right thing. Which is being a good neighbor. The first ingredient: attentiveness.

Yesterday’s bone-crunching migraine really drove home — haha, no pun intended — the message. Just like the 1,000 spikes piercing my skull.

What I needed — a quiet space that would hold me as the migraine passes — was not available. Was taken from me on another’s thoughtlessness. Forgetfulness. Bad neighborliness.

Seek and ye shall find? No. What I sought was healing silence. What I found was a shit swamp cooler that doesn’t shut the fuck up ’cause the neighbor doesn’t shut it off!

So what’d I do? What could I do? I couldn’t go home.

Well, I couldn’t rent a motel room! $ for starters but this weekend is Rodeo Weekend! People from around the country have flooded this little town for the world’s oldest rodeo! It’s the town’s moneymaker of the year. You cannot find a motel room to save your life!

Or grant relief to a migraineur.

So I could do nothing but endure and avoid going home. Kill 5 hours hanging around downtown, walking aimlessly and blindly (the migraine effect) with a jaws of life crushing my little skull.

That walking could last only so long in a small downtown so I switched over to until 10 p.m. closing.

Five hours wasted. Five hours that could’ve and should’ve been spent home in bed. And would’ve been … were James being a good neighbor.

By turning off that motherfucking monstrosity of his swamp cooler. Instead of letting it run ALL THE TIME when it is not needed. 24-7. Every day of the week. Every week of the month and more.

James did not give me my migraine.

However, he gives me reason to hate him as a neighbor.

He gives me reasons to invent stories that’ll end the problem. I won’t share, let’s just say the suspense/crime/mystery genre is my fav for a reason!

He gives me 50 Ways to Disconnect a Cooler. Subversively.

Most of all — most distressing of all — James gives me: Bad Neighborliness.

James, if you’re listening up there:

You’ve been a bad neighbor for more than a month. You’ve done none of what you said you would do: Turn off the cooler when it’s not too hot and when you’re away. You’ve failed and are failing to be a good neighbor.

You can do better. Much better.

I need my home back now.

I need my sanctuary and my space. My solitude and my home as a haven, not a hell.

I need to come home and have it be quiet.

And, as yesterday’s migraine teaches poignantly and powerfully, I need that silence when my head is being ripped apart by a wild animal.

Listen closely James.

The season of inattention and forgetfulness is over. I’ve endured it. I’ve endured it long enough. You’ve had plenty of time and opportunities to do the right thing. You’ve failed.

The inattention. The forgetfulness. The thoughtlessness.

 

It needs to stop. Now.

You need to do what you said you would do. Turn off the cooler when it’s not too hot and when you are away.

You’re being called upon to consider your neighbors. To step up to the plate. To do what you said you would do. In doing so, you grow. You restore harmony.

James, your swamp cooler score today is 2 wins 30 losses. You can do better.  So much better.

Be a good neighbor. Like Nike says, Just Do It.

My migraines and I will be so grateful.

 

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Neighborliness? Nada.

I have a bad neighbor.

A thoughtless, inconsiderate and forgetful neighbor. He forgets to do what he said he would do toward community harmony and peace.

I have a neighbor who disappoints me.

He is not doing what he said he would do in our talk weeks ago. Certain behaviors that need to change to restore peace and harmony and toward goodwill.

It was a good talk, positive, friendly, of goodwill. I returned home optimistic.

The optimism was unwarranted. None of his disturbing actions ceased. Not even at first opportunity on the very day of the conversation.

I have a neighbor who is failing to do what he told the landlord he’d do.

I have a neighbor who pays no attention to his neighbors / community surroundings.

Is he that self-absorbed? Perhaps. He’s 20. It is a generation of  Self-Absorption and Entitlement. In talking with him, I didn’t get that he’s that far gone. However, I don’t know him well or really at all. I don’t need to.

I need only for him to do the right thing. I need him to be a man of his word.

I have a neighbor who is failing to do what is right. I have a neighbor who is failing to be a man of his word.

I have a bad neighbor. A negligent neighbor. A thoughtless, inconsiderate, inattentive and forgetful neighbor.

His name is James. He lives in #8 in the mobile home park. James can do better.

Color therapy isn’t just for humans

It was a ghetto when I moved in.

A tired, dingy, beaten-up and beaten-down mobile home rental circa 1960s.

So I immediately painted every room (with the landlord’s permission, naturally).  And witnessed, by my own hand and efforts, a total transformation.

Visually at any rate. The space still has issues from previous tenants. The ghosts and residues of traumas and bad shit that went down, none of which I care to revisit.

Much progress has been achieved in cleansing the space, stripping the toxic energies from the walls and floors in some 9 months of residency.

There’s one room — the only room — where the negativities are especially thick and heavy. The bedroom. It’s not only traumatized, it is haunted. (I had nightmares every night when I first moved in.

While much improved from then, the room’s psychic damage lingers. The healing’s a slow ongoing process.

Many modalities are applied toward that healing — not the least of which includes:

Yes, color therapy isn’t just for people! It can soothe, heal, invigorate and calm spaces too!

Since the bedroom was/is the darkest (not strictly in terms of natural lighting) and most haunted room, I painted two walls the cheeriest of colors: sunflower yellow. After blue, it’s my favorite color.

The color perked up the room — absolutely!

Maybe like giving a depressed room Prozac!

(I don’t do meds for depression or anything else unless absolutely medically necessary so that comment’s based solely on some reports of improved mood and state of mind due to Prozac.

Perhaps the color perked it up too much!

I’ve experienced considerable restlessness, insomnia, wakefulness when I want to be sleeping and other assorted chronic sleep disorders.

Yellow is a high-vibration color. It is quite stimulating mentally, uplifting, active.

So after umpteen hours studying feng shui (a passion for some time now), compass readings and such, I decided to tone it down. To lose the yellow — rather, most of it — for a softer less-vibrant but earthier softer color to soothe the space.

A citrus orange. Which, despite its name, looks nothing like an orange peel! Rather, a soft coral with a splash of orange.

citrusdelightpaint

citrus orange paint

P.S. For the past couple weeks, my yellow closets have been “spiffied up” by some 30 paint chips from Home Depot and Scotch tape! I’d stand there, study ’em by daylight, by lamplight, move ’em around like checkers on a board, favoring this shade over that. I didn’t take this switch-eroo lightly! Especially ’cause I really do love sunflower yellow! A part of me is sad to see it go. So as a compromise, I’m leaving a portion of trim and built-in drawers that optimistic yellow.

Having finally selected the paint a couple days ago, this afternoon I began painting. The citrus orange — in reality a light coral by light reflection — is a big change! It’s earthy. Soft. Soothing. It pairs nicely with the soft turquoise on the other two walls.

It even harmonizes with the carpet — as much as any color can harmonize with 1970s Hunter green shag! Ugh. Nuthin’ I can do about that. Except draw the eye away with beautiful colors on the walls!

I’m about 1/3 done with painting. One wall’s still bright sunflower yellow, the other this new coral-orange shade. It’ll be interesting to see how I sleep tonight. IF I sleep tonight!

I absolutely know that colors have a profound impact in any environment. I’m exquisitely sensitive TO my environment AND to colors so this promises to be rather interesting.

Will I come to sleep better? Will my restlessness abate? My insomnia lessen? Will the bedroom become the calm sanctuary I’m seeking to create? Will the ROOM itself shed more of its ghosts and traumas? Become less haunted, further healed?

Questions for today, answers another day.

For now, a nod to a most favorite flower:

sunflower

 

What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

It’s a patch of dirt. Your crunchy undernourished garden-variety dirt kept dry by the Arizona climate. A patch about 4-by-6 feet bordered by concrete and painted white brick at the entrance to my mobile home.

Little is there to catch the eye. A black lamp post that doesn’t work. The gray gas meter. A tall obnoxious shooter of a nearby tree that needs to be stopped before it takes over (the shooter, not the tree).

A thatch of “pretty” white-flower weeds (related to dandelions)? Dead leaves that came to rest here after their rides on the winds. Clusters of hearty grassy weeds that root stubbornly and can be removed only with determined hand of a trowel.

The whole plot’s something of an eyesore.

There’s one thing this sad little space does have. A rosebush. Planted by a previous tenant.

It’s a tall raggedy spindly thing. A horticulturist would take one look and shriek. Grab shears and prune.

Not that I don’t love flowers or gardening. I do. I’m a latent gardener just waiting to come outta the closet and bloom! No pun intended.

During my 8.5 months to date in this mobile home, I sadly admit: Apart from the occasional water, I’ve done nothing to help or serve the rosebush.

In my neglect, I’ve trusted in the heartiness of that single rosebush. And hoped for the best.

It survived the cold dry winter without my care. Thus far it’s surviving springtime’s ascending heat and arid conditions.

Yesterday when I stepped onto the front porch, rather than cringe at the sad sorry state of the neglected plot, I rejoiced at a discovery.

A rose!

Seemingly out of nowhere!

Honestly, I had no idea even of any buds just waiting to burst by invitation of the sun!

“Welcome, beautiful flower!” A humble song and prayer of reverence.

rose1

I stepped in close to see its beauty, to inhale its faint scent.I don’t know rose varieties (no surprise given what you’ve read), only that these are little red roses. Teacup roses, I’ll call them. (For all I know, that might be their official name!)

It was while admiring this bloom that I discovered … more on the bush and more on their way! Buds the size of pecans announcing: Soon. Very soon I too shall answer the sun’s call and burst forth brightly!

Like one little bud, yesterday no larger than an almond tucked tightly and hiding beneath a leaf.

Today is its birthday!

shybudopening

What a difference a day makes!

As as creature of beauty — the lotus — grows from mud, too this lone rosebush from dry neglected soil. A remarkable thing to behold; more remarkable the blooms appearing out of nowhere and with no help or encouragement from me.

(Truth is, certain things seem to do better without my interference or well-intended assistance!)

3flowers

 

Yesterday, this pair looked thusly. Today, well, wait and see.

2rosebuds

What a difference a day makes!

After debating: Do I enjoy them outdoors in their natural state or do I bring their beauty indoors, I opted for the latter.

Two little red roses sharing a stem in the tiniest glass I own. So appreciated. The miracle of survival. They are lovely to the eye and the nose, the room and the blue bistro table where I do my writing.

They bring beauty and perhaps also a small yet important message:

In the harshest and neglected environment and against all odds, you too can bloom at the behest of the Sun.

Enjoy!

rosesinglass

 

Welcome to the Jungle. And the TV.

Thank God my neighbor’s away at the moment!

Plus was away last night.

Sound un-neighborly of me? Perhaps. But you’ll understand momentarily.

The neighbor, a single man in his guesstimated 50s, has some … issues. Don’t we all? His include mental impairments and medications. Not a bad person. A very nice man, the landlord assured, not out to do harm, etc.

Story short, the neighbor watches TV in the evenings and falls asleep {presumably medications play a role}.

The TV is in the front of the mobile home with its back facing two corner windows. Between the windows and the verrry thin walls of the mobile home, the audio is … well, let’s put it this way: available for all passersby and me.

He’s not stupid but he doesn’t realize how loud it is or how the sound carries. Separately, the landlord and I have alerted him to excessive volume. He’s been quite cooperative in reducing the volume.

{Day I moved in, his TV was SOOOOO loud, sounded like a movie theater next door!! Even the Cable One installer agreed: “That’s loud!”}

So the audio level’s now more reasonable. Still very audible, mind you, but not blasting.

Issue is: He falls asleep listening to the TV. So it plays at midnight. At 1 a.m. At 2 a.m. At 3 a.m. At 4 a.m.

How do I know?

Because I’m awake! Either as a night creature.

Or because of the TV. When I don’t WANT to be up!

With the acoustical setup and conditions, it sounds like people standing beneath my bedroom window having a loud conversation.

I’ve been tolerant and patient because I feel for the man. I do. I’m compassionate for his issues.

Once, his TV was so loud at midnight, I HAD to go knock and ask him to turn it down. Of course I really resist knocking on someone’s door at midnight. Of course I woke him from a dead (and presumably medicated) sleep on the couch.

Our conversation was brief. He lowered the volume. Truth told, I’d be surprised if he remembered that conversation at all.

The quietude of the area — nature-y, sorta jungle-y — is REALLY disrupted by the TV at 2, 3, 4 in the morning. It’s like … you’re camping. In a tent, say. And the people at the next site are playing their radio or TV loudly in the middle of the night.

Not fun. Not nice. Not right.

This mobile home park has a quiet hours rule after 10 p.m. (Stated in the lease.)

I’m in a quandry. How can I get through to a nice man with mental impairments? He has a right to watch TV in his home.

On the other hand, the TV into the deep dark hours … it’s too much.

It’s keeping me up. I turn on the fan to create white noise and drown out the audio.

I have to talk to him again. I have to. He asked that if the TV’s a problem that I speak with him rather than go through the landlord. I will honor that request.

But I don’t see HOW this is going to be fixed. He falls asleep with the TV on. Does his TV have a sleep timer? Perhaps. Even if it does, it would require him to activate that daily. Is he up for that? I don’t believe so.

Arrrghhhhhh.

Anyway, I had a VERY bad night a couple nights ago (see prior post). The neighbor’s loud TV at 3 in the morning DID NOT HELP. Not a whit.

Something has to be done. This can’t continue. Especially once spring’s here and he has his windows, including those all around the TV, opened.

Shit.

Okay, I’m done venting for the moment.

 

 

No pain in bidding buh-bye to these panes!

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone …

Can’t help but hear that Jimmy Cliff lyric pulsing in my mind. On this eve of a momentous venture. The replacement of windows in my mobile-home rental!

As written prior, the rental is a fixer-upper. That much was clear — speaking of Jimmy Cliff’s song — when I took occupancy about 2.5 months ago. I’ve completed various repairs and upgrades, including painting the entire interior — on my own time and dime.

The windows. Ah, the windows. This mobile home is circa 1960s. Enough said? Maybe no. Single-pane windows. Crank fin-style windows. You’ve seen ’em. They look like this:

finwindows

I’ve got giant picture windows. Two walls that are almost entirely windows. A third wall of mostly window. A fourth wall of average-sized window. Here’s just one small portion of the picture window. Those horizontal lines on the left, behind the invisible screen, are fins that are (somewhat) raised and lowered by a crank.

oldwindow

Those panes never seal even when cranked tight. Talk about d-r-a-f-t-s! Chiiiiiiiiiiilly drafts!

windowcrank

Then there’s the rotted or disintegrated wood framing. Where once stood wood is foil tape, clearly — there’s that word again! 😉 — a Band-Aid solution to a longstanding problem left unaddressed.

With the cold season upon us, I fully understand the 1,000-plus staples in the walls around all the aluminum frames, flush to the wall, when I moved in. They held plastic sheets against gawd-awful drafty aged single-pane Plexiglass. The ONLY deterrent, short of replacement, to frigid Arizona winters.

Previous tenants didn’t only staplestaplestapleandstaple giant plastic sheets to the walls — leaving me with their staples to remove, tediously, patiently :). They also used strapping tape, duck tape and double-sided tape, included in those temporary winterizing window-film kits — as evidenced by layers upon layers of old adhesive stuck on the aluminum frames.

Which I removed. And lemme tell ya, that was a MONUMENTAL task of scrapingscrapingscraping, containers of Goo Gone and Goof Off solvents designed to remove SUPER GLUE and even then the project required massive elbow grease! My elbow grease!

Anyhow, after a week or two of painstaking scraping of old adhesive off aluminum frames, in preparation for painting, the landlord stopped by. I proudly displayed my workmanship. Later that day, an email arrived. “Stop the scraping! I’m going to replace your windows!”

Too late. I’d just finished!

She assured me that replacing the windows has been on her back burner a long while. Still, I reckon my incredible hard work and commitment to taking excellent are of her property inspired her to get on it now.

I should add that the degraded windows all have cranks that are on e turn away from death. Windows are drafty as hell — an oxymoron. Believe me, my brain was working overtime soon as I moved in when the weather was still toasty warm and sunny! on how I was gonna survive a winter in that icebox.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when the landlord informed me of the plan to replace the aged windows — eight in total! Ecstatic!!!

Naturally I held off an any treatments for the bare windows until the new ones — of different design, shape and style — are installed.

Tomorrow!!

That’s when the project begins. With presumably eight being replaced, it’s a big project with an unknown completion date. In the nick of time too! We just had our first snowfall a few days ago. More coming supposedly Monday. Uh-oh. Early winter and a hard one ahead. My farmer’s almanac bones know.

Then, once they’re in, I can get started on winterizing a place sooooo badly needing it. (Zero insulation on walls, frosty floors … the livin’ ain’t easy.) Those crappy old windows are a HUUUUUUUUUUGE heat loss, true. In fact, I didn’t even bother turning on the heat during the snow and below-freezing temps … until my landlord instructed me to do so. To prevent the pipes from freezing and flooding.

Like watching money flutter out the windows! Literally!

Reportedly the new windows are similar to the two small ones in the bedroom that were redone some time back. Double-pane sliders with sills. That’ll help a lot with retaining heat and reducing drafts!

Which circles us back to the start: “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.”

Well, the rain isn’t gone. On the contrary, thanks allegedly to El Nino.

As for seeing clearly now, I can’t say until I actually see the new windows in place. “They’ll have more screens so you’ll probably lose some of your view,” warned the landlord.

I’ll take that compromise for the greater good: warmth, protection from winter and drafts like mini-gales. But most importantly, I’ll take that compromise for the greater good of health. That’s a very private and historic matter; no details shall be divulged. Suffice it to say that I was prepared to sleep in my car, parked outside the mobile home, for a healthier space.

P.S. I’ve slept in my Subbie many times; after a coupla days, it’s not real fun or comfy.

From Jimmy Cliff to Bob Dylan: The times, they are a changin’. Windows too. Whooooo-hooooo!!!!

C’est fait!

Finished! Done!

The painting of my entire domestic interior!

Well, not completely. Still a few small projects and touchups to do but nothing on the scale of full-on full-fledged painting requiring stepladder, drop cloth, steady hand with a trim brush and etc.

How rewarding!

And what a relief!

Anyone who’s painted all walls in a home know that the real work’s in the prep and the cleanup.

Also quite a lot of chaos is involved. Furniture out of place. Skirting around paint cans and trays and rollers, oh my!

Enhancing stress is the wait time. The time, that is, waiting for brushes and rollers to dry. Rather than buy a buncha roller covers and brushes for the five — yes, five! — colors, I worked with few supplies repeatedly, to keep costs down.

P.S. Wow does the cost of paint add up fast! And the square-footage coverage stated on the can? It’s generous. You WILL need more than is stated!

Anywho. Fortunately, I live in Arizona where it’s dry and the sun in its last vestiges of an Indian summer, hastening daily drying of supplies. More or less. A few times I resumed painting with a roller or brush, only to discover it was still wet around the edges. Ooops. A wet roller does not good painting make!

Point is, the drying turnaround time extended the process. And stress.

But it’s all behind me now! Furniture is back in its place. The floors are clean. Paint supplies are no longer strewn all over.

Best of all perhaps is the hideous curtain rods are off the walls!

By hideous, I mean … well, see prior post. They were mounted crookedly. Hanging by a thread. And in one case, attached to a wall not by rod brackets but BICYCLE WALL MOUNTS! Really. I’ve got the photos! I’ve got the evidence!

Nary is this the end to the mobile home beautification & repairs. Not by a long shot! All windows in the front room are going to be replaced around month’s end — according to the landlord.

Have heard not a peep so won’t believe it until I see it.

That’ll be a massive project since two walls in particular are virtually all-windows! And since it’s not rare to have our first snowfall around Halloween, well, we’ll see how it goes. Massive gaping holes in inclement weather might be in my future. 🙂

Then there’s still window treatments on now-naked windows to figure out. Just all depends on whether the landlord comes through or disappoints. We’ll see.

For now, the completion of the painting is a shining moment. Future tenants may or may not like the colors but one thing they CANNOT say is: “That tenant did a CRAPPY paint job!”

You can feeeeel the love and the caring in the painting! Every detail tended to with meticulousness. Full coverage on every wall AND ceiling!

Now there’s a challenge! Painting highly-textured ceilings! I’ve got pix. Another time.

There is no sloppiness here. No half-assed job. Even toward the end when I’d hit my wall and just wanted the painting to be over, I maintained my focus. Plowed forward. Did not sacrifice quality and details for fatigue.

And isn’t that the mark of a true crafter?

I am pleased with the results. (P.S. I’m not easily pleased — or impressed!)

This place is rid of its Ghetto Grunge / Grunge Ghetto.

The place looks beautiful. Stunningly so when compared to 1-1/2 months ago when I moved in!

It looks and, importantly, feels so much better. Soooo. Much. Better.

Rare that I give myself a round of applause for anything but this … this huge undertaking in home improvement … deserves one.

I painted the whole place entirely on my own. No help from anyone.

The crafting, including attention to detail, is spot-on. Even the lines of differing paint colors on ceilings and walls and between walls are very well done.

I’m satisfied with the quality of work and gratified. And I know the space is as well. It’s been a long time since it got mindful attention and care.

I’m sorry to say that neglect of homes (esp. rentals) is commonplace. On my watch, neglect ain’t gonna happen!

On the contrary, I’m a home healer. I go in and fix everything that bad tenants or tenants behaving badly brought into and left in a space. I should rent myself out! Because I’m very good at what I do — listening to spaces and helping heal what ails them through no fault of their own!!

(Like I’ve said a million times and will say a million times more: People. They ruin everything.)

Nothing more save this:

Job well done.

{and a well-earned pat on the back}