No Longer "The New Place"

I spent most of April moving my belongings from one half-double to the other, and I am happy to say that my new place now looks more like a home, and not like the warehouse in the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  April was the month for transporting possessions, and May has been the month for unpacking and arranging.  (I want to take this opportunity to thank the friends and neighbors who ran relays of books, records, and furniture to the new place for me, and who helped me move the more cumbersome items, especially the furniture, into my new home.  You all know who you are.)

I am not posting pictures yet.  (And I am also striking the phrase “the new place” from my vocabulary… this is now home.  As of this moment, 1:54 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time, May 10, 2014.)  Susie will be here for most of the month of June, arriving on the 30th of this month, and I want her to see her new home in all its 3-D glory before I share with readers far and wide.
When I moved in, I saw a frame for a flat-screen TV hanging over the fireplace mantle.  The owner told me it would be cumbersome to take down, and said it was mine.  I have no desire to own a flat-screen; I doubt I watch enough TV to justify that expense.  Plus, the previous tenant on E. Maynard left behind a big JVC TV, which came with me when I moved.  So, rather than horse around trying to take down this frame, I ordered a framed poster of “Blown Away” (although I briefly flirted with the idea of buying a “Dogs Playing Poker” poster), and hung it over the frame.

Steve Steigman’s Blown Away.  Many of us probably saw this as part of Maxell print ads in the ’80s and ’90s.

My enthusiasm aside, leaving Maynard Ave. was heartrending.  No, I don’t want to be paying higher rent to a landlord just to keep the place where I had settled.  But, as I blogged when Susie and I moved here to Weinland Park, there is a sense of community on Maynard.  We learned that less than a month after we moved, when our new neighbors invited us to a backyard showing of El Mariachi one autumn night.  It was Susie who summed it up best: “I’m not used to having neighbors we don’t hate.”

Especially telling was last month’s Festival of Hilaria–all of us on Maynard Ave. being silly together, hosting a parade, and a joyous after-party at Café Bourbon Street.  I put on a jester’s hat and carried the banner at the head of the procession, along with a photographer from the Maynard Avenue Methodist Church and his granddaughter.  Had Susie been there, her initial reaction would have been, “I do not know any of these people!”  I’m sure she would have come around and become one with the festivities within minutes.

Truly heartbreaking to part from neighbors like this (I’m to the left of Henry the Octopus, of The Wiggles fame.  I rest assured, however, that once Maynard Ave., always Maynard Ave.

There does not seem to be the sense of community here on E. Blake.  My landlord told me that the house diagonally across the street used to be the home of three or four metalheads, who often blasted their “music” until the wee hours of the night.  Since my bedroom faces the street, I am glad this is no longer the case.  I am dreading football season, because I anticipate finding my yard scattered with discarded Solo cups and beer cans (there are students on this street).  I had way too much of this in Weinland Park, where the rule seemed to be to blast car speakers loud enough that the bass rattled windows and registered on the Richter scale.

Next weekend is Rock on the Range at Crew Stadium, just on the other side of the railroad tracks from Maynard Ave.  Chris Rock, Slayer, and Guns N’ Roses are the biggest acts this year.  Besides the noise, the biggest inconvenience is that all the cell towers in the vicinity are severely overloaded.  Very few people keep land lines anymore, and many people have mentioned at Block Watch meetings that they worry about being able to access the police or 911 should the need arise.  I think I am far enough away that I won’t be hearing this, or having to deal with all the noise and the drunkenness from the Crewanderthals after a home soccer game.  (A friend of mine has taken me to task for my use of the word Crewanderthal, and testily informed me that they are, at the very least, Crew-Magnons.)

One change from the house on Maynard is that I do not have an “office” anymore.  I am writing this blog entry (and the ones to come) at a desk in my dining room, which is also the mooring place for the trike (which has not been out much this spring).  I’ve hung up the staples for any home work space: a picture of Susie as a toddler, and a drawing of Lev Tolstoy rendered like an Eastern Orthodox ikon.

I think that today’s rain and gray skies are a sign to me that I should be at home and bringing this long neglected blog up to date.  I’ve unpacked enough that I am not constantly having to veer around boxes, clothes baskets, and stacks of books and records.  (Ironically, Susie’s bedroom was the first room that looked organized and settled.  I moved the furniture–bed, dresser, and desk–in the first load, along with boxes of clothes and her belongings (books, journals, posters, jewelry).  She has an L-shaped walk-in closet, with much more space than she had at Maynard, and yet I am sure that I will never see the floor again once she starts to settle into the room.