Category: General

The Murder House (Part 1 of 1)

LISTEN to this post — or simply read on . . .

It starts with a murder.

The house is small. It’s designated as a “ranch,” because it’s a single story, and built in 1965 . . . but devoid of any kind of stylish pitched ceilings, large windows looking onto a landscaped backyard, or other hallmarks of the genre.

A perfect “before” shot of one of the bedrooms.

Thick cream-colored shag carpet fills a fairly standard-sized living room furnished with mismatched grandma-style pieces. Past a forgotten front door and down a dark, narrow hallway are three small bedrooms with other variously colored shag carpeting (mustard, green, and mustard again). Horizontal windows set high up on the walls create privacy . . . from the deer that nibble on the bushes below them? Or to hide the crime that has happened behind them. The remaining rooms — a cramped kitchen and a narrow, extraneous sitting room that I don’t understand, and through which I’ve entered to check the place out — sport gray industrial carpet.

Yes, the kitchen is carpeted. It’s all these carpets, I assume, that are giving the house its mildewy fragrance, prompting me to breathe through my mouth as I continue my walk-through. I hate mildew.

Oh, and there’s a bathroom, also off the slim hallway, and entered through a door that smacks into the toilet when you open it. A fiberglass shower made for the elderly (handrails, built-in seat) covers over the small window that mysteriously appears only on the outside of the house. Across from the bathroom is a door to the basement.

We will not talk about the basement. It’s too obvious. Nor do we need to consider the big-windowed “breakfast nook,” added in the 1980s, and clad floor-to-ceiling in knotty pine even though there’s not a stick of knotty pine or other “country” decor anywhere else in the place. We will not talk of it, because the murder of this house started before that, in small measures: Dull-colored photos of family members with awkward adolescent haircuts that are only out-awkwarded by their placement on the walls — way above eye level and/or with no relation to the space or furniture below them. A small, framed piece of Chinoiserie (or maybe it’s Mexican?) hung crookedly between the fireplace and the kitchen. A mail slot outside on the back wall of the house that conducts letters to the floor of a (carpeted) closet inside.

“Isn’t this great?” the seller’s agent asks us. “You don’t have to go outside.”

Read More…

Earth Day is OVER.

Not forever. Just this year.

But I didn’t finish reading the UN Climate Report. Or I HAVEN’T finished reading it. I don’t think it’s my genre. I need a few quirky characters, or a mystery of some sort to solve. Maybe some period costumes. A few laughs. Anything.

But I won’t give up.

I also didn’t make it to any climate rallies. My landlords keep insisting on a rent check every month, and when freelancers don’t work, no esta moolah. So how did I celebrate Earth Day? I got outside. After work. And played pickleball. In my CLIMATE hat.

Catskill Mountains not pictured. But that HAT, right?

Then went to a LOCAL pub for LOCAL beers. Heard some bluegrass. That’s organic, itn’t it?

More later . . . on the Climate Carnival, my book, and an IN-PERSON Citizen Deb performance that’s in the works! (Subscribe below for updates . . . )


An Environerd’s Xmas Wish List

My mom keeps asking me what I want for Christmas this year. As she does.

Aren’t they pretty??
Pre-owned, no less!

So I told her I’d love some cross-country skis. Not that she would know what to buy—or that I would know how to use them. Or that we’ll ever have enough snow here to actually ski on again, given the changing climate. But I live in the country now, and desire to be more sporty.

I then did a LOT of searching on Facebook Marketplace, and found a gorgeous, barely (if at all) used pair of cross-country skis — and boots — which I bought myself for a song.

Then I thought maybe I could ask my mom for snow shoes, which, just like cross-country skiing, I have experienced all of twice, ending up either covered in snow, or drenched in sweat, or both. But I then found snow shoes on FBM as well — and bought them. Fancy ones, metallic red, with a little bar you can flip up under the heel when you’re shoeing up a steep hill. ‘Cause there’s nothing asthmatics do with more finesse than trudge up snowy inclines in dry, sub-freezing air.

Also pre-owned . . . and candy-cane colored!

So now what do I tell my mom I want?

Wireless earbuds sound nice, although they feel kind of . . . extra. I mean, at least the sporting goods were purchased second-hand. I do like supporting a circular economy . . .

Read More…