Cider Press Hill

Total life upheaval

Tuesday, 10:16 pm

By Kate




clear night

Katie is actually not dead. Nor is her blog. But life has intervened and things have been happening and things are lively and Katie feels just about dead from all of the lively. Katie sincerely desires a vacation in a tropical setting, swilling pretty rum drinks sporting tiny colorful umbrellas. Being waited on hand and foot would be really fine, too. Inasmuch as this isn’t going to happen any time soon....


I am selling my house. Or, at least, I will attempt to sell my house after I’ve whipped it into shape. I made this decision about a month ago. I lined up a realtor whom I adore. She has been a great coach giving me ideas about what I need to do and what isn’t so terribly important. However, the To Do list vastly outweighs the What’s Not Important list. What I have been doing is filling a dumpster with 18 years worth of STUFF. We all collect stuff. I had a basement filled with stuff. And closets. And cupboards. And drawers. And stuff shoved under sofas and chairs. If you’ve lived anywhere for more than 10 years, you probably know what I mean. When I move, I will downsize slightly. I aim for about 660 square feet of living space. So, I needed to get rid of a lot of stuff. And what I decided from the start...I am not packing and moving anything that I do not LOVE. Consequently, I filled a 20’ x 8’ x 5’ dumpster to the brim in the last three weeks.

And that’s aside from the vast quantity of STUFF reserved for a large yard sale in a couple of weeks.

What amused me most? People coming into my driveway to dumpster dive. People looking for useable items, or, in one woman’s case, items she could sell in her shop. I had to tell people to leave. Lots of nails and broken glass in the dumpster. Not a good idea to have strangers exposing themselves to injury in that manner.

A couple of weekends ago, my lad came home for the big weekend of emptying out the basement. He wondered how I felt about tossing out the bulk of my memories and evidence of a life previously lived. I said it was a little bit difficult, but I am not so invested in this stuff that I need to keep it. He whipped out his mobile phone and said, “Let’s take pictures of this stuff. That way you can always look at it and keep your memories without having to keep the stuff.” And that’s what we did. What a Great Idea!!

Now I am carpet cleaning, spackling walls, and doing all the little repairs that we all put off indefinitely. Well, in real life, “indefinitely” eventually has a terminus. So I’m doing the repairs now and wishing like heck that I’d done them a long time ago. Spackling and repairing and painting and replacing and whatnot. My days are about 14 hours long. From early morning til late in the evening, I’m working my butt off. We do what we have to do.

The thing that kills me...I’m making my house absolutely lovely for someone else. It’s funny, we live in our houses for years and years and fall blind to the most obvious blemishes. When it comes time to sell, we begin looking as though through a stranger’s eyes. All of a sudden our wonderful comfy home looks a bit down in the mouth and tatty.

Today, I did a pint’s worth of spackling. Tomorrow I’ll sand it and start the painting. I hate painting. It heads the list of things I dislike most about homeowning. This is where I desperately wish for a magic wand. Dream on, Kate.

I hope to have the house ready to list with my realtor by next weekend. I’m not entirely sure that’s going to happen, but either next weekend or the weekend after. This is an adventure in an iffy market. My realtor is quite positive. My town has been doing very well with real estate sales this year. But I do need to make my house as irresistible as possible. Keeping fingers crossed.

And wishing to wake up tomorrow in a tropical paradise. Just 24 hours. That’s all I need! Then I’ll paint without a whimper. What are the chances?


Early Evening at the Beach

Tuesday, 3:09 pm

By Kate





Saturday at Hampton Beach, NH, just up the road from where I live. Maybe 7 or 8 miles. This was early evening...around 7:30. Two fishermen with their lines in the water. Tide is way out. Taken with my cell phone.

Looking down the beach. Pretty pink clouds.

Looking up the beach. Some fog beginning to roll in. These expensive houses sit on the raw edge of nothing. I’m sure the owners hope those heavy rocks prevent more beach erosion and don’t end up in their living rooms during some fierce ocean storm.


Stop snowing, already

Wednesday, 6:59 pm

By Kate




light snow

You know you live in New England when....

Well, as Cyn pointed out in her last post...this is New England and it is supposed to snow. But not this much. I know we have had harsh winters in the past, but I don’t remember so many roofs collapsing in such rapid succession. And I don’t recall having to shovel every couple of days. This is way past tiresome.

As of yesterday morning, I had a little over two feet of snow standing in my yard. As of last night, I had 3+ feet of snow standing in my yard and my picket fences were totally buried. Last night I shoveled a foot of snow out of my driveway and walkways and off my deck. It was light fluffy snow, so not backbreaking work. As of this evening, I have over four feet of snow standing in my yard. My driveway is not shoveled out because there is absolutely no place left for me to shovel it. I seriously don’t know what I am going to do. The mountains of snow on either side of my driveway are so high that I can’t throw the snow over the top of them anymore. Not when the snow is as heavy as it is today. Those mountains of snow are over 10 feet tall and I’m half that height. And I have two and a half feet of snow (thanks in part to the city snow plow driver) to dig out of my driveway. There’s no place for it to go. I am not kidding nor exaggerating in the slightest.

There is more snow forecast for Saturday and again next Tuesday. This constant parade of nor’easters marching up the coast has got to stop.

We’ve had enough. Honest. Please stop snowing. My back is killing me. I don’t want my roof to cave in. I don’t want my deck to collapse. I want it to stop snowing. PLEASE STOP SNOWING!!!

I’ve got to take pictures tomorrow. 


Oh my, time does fly by.....

Saturday, 8:30 pm

By Cyn




No button to say snowy night!

I cannot believe how long it has been since I popped in.  Am home tonight even though it is date night (GASP), which is wicked unusual, but took pity on my husband since I knew he really, really wanted to watch the football games.  So one of his buddies came over, they are in the family room watching and I am sitting in the kitchen playing channel roulette.  Iron Chef competitions--just watched them cook Octopus a zillion different ways, back to the game, then to the hockey game, then back to Iron Chef.  It could be worse!!

SO, was hoping to catch up on Kate’s life and her readers’ lives, but to my surprise I was the last one here.  This is not good!!

What to talk about..........I have to confess I made myself a “few” Nutty Irishman (men?) drinks - or my version of one - tonight so probably anything I even try to comment on will not be terribly coherent. 

I do want to mention the tragedy in Arizona.  Linkmeister - who used to post here often - and who is a friend on FaceBook posted something a while ago to the tune that the Palins, Becks and the rest of the whack jobs in the public eye really need to be careful how they phrase things and what they say.  Not that this kid necessarily took their comments and decided to go and shoot some people, but he might have been a fan.  We may never know.  But if they are in the public eye, then they have a responsibility to watch their mouths.  Just take a look at the phrases Palin uses most often.  What exactly is she saying?  What is she telling people they should do if they do not like the status quo?  And Michele Backman and Sharon Engle. Seems to me they are copying her words themselves.  I realize each of us is responsible for his or her own actions, but there are enough people out there not dealing with a full deck and if they decide these people - Glenn Beck, O’Reilly, Palin, Coulter and others are speaking directly to them, then we are in a world of ****.

And on another note.  Has anyone been following the story about the little boy who was killed at a gun show in Massachusetts a few years ago when he was firing an Uzi??  The trial has just started so it is back in the news again.  I believe the father is suing the organizers of the gun show, the police who were on duty there and everyone else he can think of.  Excuse me?  It is another tragedy and that little boy should be alive and well today.  However, not for one second do I believe ANYONE other than his father is responsible.  He is the adult, he was the boy’s father, he IS the one who thought the kid should be allowed to fire the gun.  I do not care how many adults were there and in charge.  I don’t care that it was supposedly legal.  Dad should never ever have taken the kid there in the first place and certainly should have had enough brains to know this was not something a small boy should have been even THINKING about doing, never mind being allowed to do.  This case should have been thrown out long before this.  Dad cannot place the blame anywhere except where it belongs--on his own shoulders.  We have to begin to accept responsibility for our own actions and stop trying to point fingers at everyone else. And yes, I know this is a direct contradiction to what I wrote in the paragraph ahead.  But there are significant differences between these two terrible events and therefore I am sticking to my story!!

What else?  Holidays are over, seems as if they never arrived.  Our tree is still up and lighted and beautiful.  Last year our first one died two days before Christmas and I had to run around and find another perfect one (and did!!)--this year it is an incredibly healthy tree and looks and smells as wonderful today as it did when it was brought into the house around the 14th of December.  Go figure!!

And now it is time for another NI--a little decaf coffee, some Bailey’s, some Frangelica, topped off with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Anyone want to join me?  So, so smooth................



Keep the Light on by Pauline Clarke

Sunday, 8:13 am

By Cyn




I have an incredibly talented writer/author friend who writes the most amazing stories.  I had to post this one as it brought so many memories rushing back--of me as a teenager and how my Mom would flip that porch light on the second my boyfriend’s car (with me in it) would pull in the driveway at night and how I always left a light on for my kids (and husband) when they were out at night!  Memories, usually a good thing--even when they bring you to tears as this one did.  I hope you can access and enjoy.  Keep the Light On


Bad owner

Wednesday, 5:09 pm

By Kate




partly cloudy

I live in a residential neighborhood filled with children, couples with no children, single women, and retirees. We’re a real mixed demographic and it’s quite lovely in most regards. What drives me crazy, however, is the tendency for everyone to believe with their whole wonderful hearts that their dogs are perfect and obedient and cute and, therefore, do not need to abide by the leash law when they let the dogs out the front door to relieve themselves...usually in someone else’s yard. Of course. That’s just dog logic.

Perfect and obedient are not always the case, though cute often is. In fact, perfect and obedient rarely occurr. I no longer take my dog walking on her leash up the street because she has been attacked twice and scared witless by big old friendly dogs rushing up to her. We don’t deal well with rushing dogs. Especially the ones with jaws snapping and hackles raised. Fortunately, MacKenzie hasn’t been harmed with more than a couple of scratches. Unless you count the trauma, of course. She is terrified to walk up the street. Because she is very little and the other neighborhood dogs are very big.

This evening, I was in the process of dragging my trash barrel to the curb when the dog across the street...a black lab...came charging across the street with his hackles raised, his tail straight out, his ears flat back, showing his teeth and snarling. He wasn’t joking around. He meant it. And he came right for me. We did quite a fancy dance out by the street. He chased me in circles with his jaws snapping, while I turned circles, keeping my trash barrel between him and me. His owner shrieked at him and called him and scolded him and finally grabbed him. She did not say a word to me. I think I said something like, “I guess he doesn’t like me.” Yeah, understatement there.

I returned to the house shaking like a leaf. No apology, no nothing. Just...nothing. I don’t think an apology would have made me feel all that much better, but it would have been good to have some sort of acknowledgment that her dog had done a bad dangerous thing and she has absolutely no control over him. You know, it’s only a matter of time before one of the kids in the neighborhood gets mauled. I don’t know what set the dog off, if anything did in particular. It’s the third time in a month that he’s chased people that I’m aware of. Once was my friend across the street who got out of her car in my driveway. The other time happened a day or two before the lad left for New York. He was crossing the street after carrying some heavy stuff for another neighbor. The dog chased him home and scared both of us. Again, while his owner stood helplessly by yelling at him as he totally ignored her. There is something not quite right with that dog, not the least of it being an overly permissive owner.

What would you do in this situation? I don’t know. I would like the dog restrained at all times.  A leash. It’s the law anyway. A fenced in yard. You know, a few of us with dogs went to the expense of picket fencing our yards in. In my case, as much to protect my dogs as to keep my dogs from wandering. Terry’s middle name was Wander and MacKenzie is basically terrified of anything that moves and apparently looks like easy pickings to larger dogs. Why is it that other people think they and their dogs are so special, even when events suggest otherwise? Why, why, why? I don’t need a leg full of stitches, thank you. Nor do any of the neighborhood small fry need facial reconstruction. This is nuts. Irresponsible even. And stupid. Let’s not forget stupid, either. I’m upset.


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