Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Ten Cent Tour

This is by far the most Zen-like room in the entire apartment, or what passes for my livingroom. The rickety lawn chair is courtesy of my landlord and the only other decoration is a baseball on the mantle. It's actually a converted bedroom since it has a very small closet. Want to know how to convert a bedroom into a living room? Simply remove the door!

As you can probably tell, virtually every fixture in this bathroom is brand new, with the notable exception of the cast iron claw foot bath tub. The jerry-rigged shower is always an adventure. To get the shower temperature just right it helps to have the skill of a NASA engineer.

The kitchen also has all new appliances, including an apartment-sized fridge and stove. I was squatting in the corner where the kitchen table and chairs ought to be. Some day, some day...

The bedroom with the now-famous air mattress. Against the wall is the gossip chair I'd just bought last Thursday. On the built-in table on the right is the hard copy of American Zen.

It ain't much but it's mine, it's affordable, it's clean and I'm never cold. I just opened my own account with the local power company and will do the same for my NStar gas. As with a novel, it's a slow process requiring a gradual accretion.


At April 4, 2009 at 11:55 AM, Anonymous Kootenay said...

Way to go JP, that's way nicer than I expected, not flop-house at all. It shouldn't take you too long to fill it with yourself. Are you allowed to have a cat?

At April 4, 2009 at 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, no wonder she kicked your ass out. PUT DOWN THAT TOILET SEAT!!!

At April 4, 2009 at 5:03 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

Wow, your bathroom is HUGE. I had an entire apartment in Brooklyn that was that big. I lived there for two years.

See, that's why 'Friends' could not possibly be set in New York City. There are simply no apartments that are that big (that rent for less than $20,000/month).

I am so glad to hear you are still living.

At April 4, 2009 at 5:32 PM, Anonymous Lisa G said...

The place is really nice! But I'm with anonymous - put that seat down! hahahaha! Right now, it looks rather spartan, but soon you'll have so much stuff, you'll wonder where it all came from! I like the kitty poster on the wall too. Keep up the great writing and know that we're all pulling for ya!

At April 4, 2009 at 7:18 PM, Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

Be glad you don't live in Australia -- here, when you move into a new place, you have to bring your own refrigerator! No shit -- everyone supplies their own fridge (plus washer and dryer, if there's room.) People actually factor in where to live based on whether their existing appliances will fit into the nook that's provided. Why the Aussie landlords haven't figured out how to make tenants provide their own ovens/hot water heaters/bathtubs, I don't know, but they're probably working on it. Another way in which America is the land of luxury and excess compared to the rest of the world.

On the plus side, when you put down your rental property deposit here, it doesn't go into the landlord's pocket. (Where it never comes out of, because those skinflint bastards always find a way to rip you off for it when you move out.) There's a government bond holding board that keeps the money and refunds it to you -- with interest! -- when you move out, unless the landlord can make a good case that you've skipped payments or damaged the place. Score one for Oz.

At April 4, 2009 at 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JP...Do you have any idea what a place like that would run you in Manhattan? would be considered a "large apartment". Looks like paradise to me!

At April 4, 2009 at 8:22 PM, Blogger duncan said...

Re: toilet seat: If a man lives alone or in an exclusively male occupied home, leaving the seat up is not only acceptable, its the only common sense way to be. If there are female guest expected then (and only then) would I put it down...cause I'm just that kind of gallant gentlemen. ;)

Glad to see you back on your feet JP!

At April 5, 2009 at 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JP, Your place is nicer than many so just figure out how you can afford DSL and you'll be all set. Once you get used to sleeping alone, you'll never look back.

+1 to what Duncan said.

At April 5, 2009 at 9:58 AM, Blogger Firestarter5 said...

The apartment I lived in for 10 years, when the people above me ran their dishwasher, the dirty water would back up into my sink. It was a treasure. When I moved in the rent was in the mid $600 range. When I moved out they were asking for $1000/month....a rent increase every year.

At April 5, 2009 at 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These days so many of my friends are saying that they would like to shed things, stuff and bad memories. You're off to a good start!

I'd put in a small carpet and keep things low for a while. Asian style. It's a good exercise to spend some time sitting on the floor and start stretching your body. Get the blood moving and work out those old 'sitting at the computer' kinks that need some attention.

We all have a little floor space here that we use to do that. It's a great use of space!

At April 5, 2009 at 6:42 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

It does look like a nice place, and I hope the Spartan ethic provides peace and a space for inner cleansing.

The light is the essential thing, and it looks like you have good windows.

At April 5, 2009 at 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, this is not too bad, really. I'm glad you landed on your feet.

The chair looks like a 50's redwood lounge chair, very chic here in the south. One of my prize posessions is a double redwood settee I found at a thrift store years ago. Redwood is resistent to rot, usually it's a matter of tightening or replacing bolts to shape one up. If you get inspired, redwood stain is hard to find in an enviro-friendly version, but not impossible.

Good luck w/your new place, and keep us posted.

At April 6, 2009 at 12:11 AM, Anonymous Kootenay said...

As a woman who shares bathrooms with both men and dogs, I feel compelled to weigh in on the toilet seat question. I'm a big fan of toilet seat up. That way, whether the dogs have been drinking out of the toilet or not, the seat is dry whenever I want to use it. It's easy to spot seat position and correct if necessary - spotting doggy-slobber requires closer inspection, and there's nothing more irritating than going for a quick pee and finding yourself with a wet ass.

I suppose the "toilet-seat-up" folks probably frown on dogs drinking out of the toilet anyway, but they do love it and water bowls in the house are messy too. Mine go for the toilet even if there's fresh water in their dish. Out of consideration for the non-dog-owners, I'll avoid speculating on why dogs prefer toilet water.

At April 6, 2009 at 1:16 AM, Anonymous kim said...

I'm so glad to hear you sounding more positive.
You're off to a great start.

At April 6, 2009 at 2:58 AM, Blogger a rose is a rose said...

i'm glad you're warm and fed and have a roof. tv and phone and internet are secondary

At April 6, 2009 at 3:51 AM, Blogger Dr. Know said...

I've not commented much lately, but be glad you have a place to call your own. In today's world, looks like you're doing OK. It may not feel like it, and you may feel the most important things in life were left behind, but it will get better. Just hunker down and move forward. It could be far worse - you could have an entire state's government after your sorry ass for 20 years - like me.

I'll be checking up on you periodically. I'm about to embark on the same sort of "adventure", and it ain't lookin' pretty on this end either.

At April 6, 2009 at 7:02 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Yeah, Iagree, guys, I was quite lucky I got this place. By all rights, for many reasons, I shouldn't have gotten it. I'll go into that a greater length later.

Of greater importance right now is the Great Toilet Seat debate.

What's the point in leaving the seat up if you're a guy and live alone? I once asked my ex, how come we always have to leave the seat down but you don't have to put it up when you're done?

She said if women have to bend down to put the seat down, they may pee their pants. True answer.

Well, first thing in the morning, same thing could happen to me if I have to bend down to put the seat up, unless I get fancy and use my foot.

Yeah, the windows let in lots of light at certain times of the day, which helps keep my light bill down. The foot space is a godsend. I frequently walk from room to room just because I can and it helps me think when I'm visualizing my next chapter. I'm DAMNED lucky to have this place.

The bathroom, comrade, is actually bigger than the picture makes it look. It's at least as big as my bedroom, which is also bigger than my picture made it look. In fact, the only picture that gives a good sense of the room's size is the kitchen. The apt. is actually bigger than you all may think.

I just opened up a separate gas account with Nstar and I'd done the same thing with the local power company. I should start getting bills this May/June.

At April 6, 2009 at 7:19 PM, Anonymous shane said...

JP, I am glad you have a decent place to stay, and that you're continuing to write. Some of your previous, more despairing posts were so painful to read (although I am certain they were far more painful to write)and it sounds somewhat like a small glimmer of hope or light might be in there somewhere now. I hope so. I'll keep coming here as long as you do and I wish you a lighter burden as you move forward.

At April 6, 2009 at 7:33 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Shane: I've suspected for years that I'm manic depressive. After a while, you just live for manic phases like this. I'm going at warp speed nine with American Zen II: Rock of Ages.

Gotta log off now. I got a beautiful toddler I have to go spoil.

At April 6, 2009 at 10:34 PM, Anonymous Kootenay said...

No, no, that whole "pee your pants" thing is just silly. The real reason women hate the toilet seat left up is that if you don't notice and go to sit down you end up with your ass in the toilet, which just feels icky, especially in the middle of the night. That, to me, is the only valid argument on the toilet-seat-down side of the debate. However, when you introduce the dog factor the wet ass thing takes on a whole new dimension. In my (not inconsiderable) experience with ass-wetting, it's more likely to happen because of unnoticed dog-goobers than unnoticed seat elevation - one is just much more obvious than the other. Toilet roulette is just another one of those things that keep a woman's daily life entertaining and challenging.

At April 7, 2009 at 3:59 PM, Blogger Lisa said...


Landing in the toilet is not a problem for the 60% of avoirdupois American women. It is just the feel of cold porcelain in the night which is a turn off, and the inevitability that the man has dribbled on the edge. Eeeouw!


Your mattress reminds me of a difficult period of my own. After sleeping the night in my car in a church parking lot, I decided a move was in order. I took my 30 yr old VW convert with the rusty floorboards, chunked a futon roll in the back, and hied me to a better place, a far piece down the road.

It was an excellent decision then, and maybe now, too.

At April 7, 2009 at 5:42 PM, Anonymous Tengrain said...

JP - welcome home!

Not long ago I was taking out of town visitors on a tour of Alcatraz (lived here in the bay area my entire life, and never had gone). The thing that struck me the most about it was the monastic nature of the cells.

Just small spaces, a bed, a desk, and a shelf - that was pretty much it. I looked at it and for a long while, I thought it was pretty much ideal.

I'm not saying your place reminds me of Alcatraz, but there is a lot to be said for simplicity and getting back to basics.



At April 8, 2009 at 12:56 AM, Anonymous Kootenay said...

Zen's alright, I suppose....but kittens are more fun.


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