Friday, January 19, 2007



This picturesque little snow-covered homestead is, in fact, my new home. The weather at the start of the week was horrifically cold, but the natives acknowledged as much, so I'm not too shocked, and that is how you get such beautiful blue skies. And it was wonderful today -- cold and crisp but not bone-chilling.

The house is about 4 miles from the office and quiet, though cars sometimes pass by. If the road weren't at all busy, I'd have to worry about being snowed in, but it has just enough traffic to be a priority and it gets cleared quickly and well. I've got a neighbor across the road, though you have to look sharply to see his house, even with no leaves on the trees, and another in back, but at quite a distance. I don't know they're around unless I want to.

The house has three bedrooms upstairs, and a large livingroom, generous kitchen and closet of a bathroom downstairs. My friend Terry, who I discovered quite by serendipity was living here, figures it's a century or more old. I'm quite sure he's right.

Terry is someone I've known for nearly 40 years. We met in the 1968-69 academic year, when I was a sophomore and he was working construction and playing music in the various coffeehouses on and off-campus. We even lived together briefly in the fall of 1970, but then I dropped out of school and moved to Colorado.

I ran into him again when I was moving back east in 1987 -- I stopped off at my old college as we drove through Indiana and ran into Terry, who happened to be visiting from Maine. It was quite a surprise reunion. We then saw each other on purpose in 1989 twice, again at a musicians' reunion in Indiana in 1994 and at a second reunion concert there in 2005. At that last meeting, he told me he was living in some little town in Maine -- a different town than in the 80s -- but it didn't mean anything to me at the time.

When I got this job, they sent me a few copies of the paper so I could get a handle on it, and I saw a letter to the editor Terry had written. Turns out he lives about 10 miles from here. This meant I had someone to run me around and help me find a place to live, and also to help unpack the truck. (A task shared by me, Terry, my son Gabe and my new boss, David.)

The job is good. In fact, it's a lot of fun and the people at the paper are all good folks who like working with each other. The work is more time-critical than at my last job, in the sense that, while there isn't more of it, there are people specifically waiting for various tasks to be completed, so I can't necessarily put off one thing while I work on something else, which I could back when I was a one-man band and the final deadline was all that mattered.

The trade-off is that I'm not working without a net anymore -- there are people to help troubleshoot the work as it's being done, and to pick up some of the pieces when I'm starting to flail. I like that.

I'm still living out of boxes, and without TV or Internet at home -- posting this from the office -- but I'm busy enough that it isn't too big a deal. I plan to do some unpacking this weekend, explore the area a little and then go over to Terry's to watch some football on Sunday.

Life is good here on the farm.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Howdy, neighbour!

Ayuh, we got the deep freeze at the beginning of the week too and I'm guessing that while it looks like the worst of the blizzard today hugged the NB border and missed you, you'll still be feeling grateful that your country road is a snowing priority.

Good luck and have fun!

Mark Jackson said...

All this fluff about floor plans and roads and snow and nary a mention of the most important thing: will you have a broadband Internet hookup?

"The weather at the start of the week was horrifically cold. . .and that is how you get such beautiful blue skies." Not quite - the lack of cloud cover that permits those beautiful blue skies means little greenhouse effect, so the temperature plunges at night.

Good luck - I can tell you're having fun already.

Brian Fies said...

You do realize that, to a West Coast suburban boy, your new home looks like a Norman Rockwell idyll ("Rockwelldyllic?"). The people in the L.L. Bean catalog whose simple yet sophisticated country lives I envy live in houses like that. The only thing I see wrong with this photo is you clicked the shutter too late to capture the horse-drawn sleigh that's obviously gliding along just off-frame. And you have a freakin' barn. All right, maybe it's just a garage that looks like a barn, I really can't tell from the photo, but if you could put a horse and a tool bench in it that's sufficient barnage to impress me.

Congratulations on the move. May your crack staff of reserved but dryly witty Northeasterners treat you with all the respect you deserve. Take that any way you want.

Mike said...

Brian sez: " maybe it's just a garage that looks like a barn"

Nah, it's a bahn, aw right. Good un.

Sherwood said...

What a beautiful place, Mike. I'd be envious, but I don't see a single redwood anywhere in the picture.

I'd ask how much the place went for, but a) that would be crass, and b) I don't want to depress myself.

Best wishes to you and, especially, to your staff!

nancy13g said...

Mike, I think I lived for a few years in a very similar style house in Massachusetts. Does yours have those creaky old wooden stairs leading down to a dirt-floor basement? Ours had an ancient coal furnace that had been converted to oil -- when that thing was working, you heard it all over the house.

My house must at one time have been on farmland similar to yours, but by the time we moved into it, it was next to a restaurant and across the street from a gas station. You've definitely got the better deal as far as those magic words: "location, location, location".

Best of luck in your new life.

nancy g from RACS