Sunday, November 30, 2008

For Sale.

A damn cold rain and some cold-footed buyers to go with it: we lost our deal. They apparently wanted brand-new everything in our not-so-brand new house. Fuckers. Sorry for the language, kids, but sometimes, when mommies and daddies get a wee bit frustrated, they use outside words in their inside voices. Fuckers, fuckers, fuckers. May the roof of whatever house they land in fall in on them in the very first week. Whoever ends up buying this little house, though, with its brand new perfect rainproof roof, will be warm and dry. They'll be in a house built in 1949, but they'll be warm and dry.

I think it rained more than the fancies thought it would—we picked up a second and then a third little burst of energy this afternoon and this evening, and this gigantic winter storm may even wrap something around the backside of itself and rain on us overnight and tomorrow morning. By the time we're said and done we'll be close to an inch, I think, and we might continue the odd 2008 tradition of making up our monthly deficit on the last day of the month. At last check, we were only about a third of an inch shy for November, and it was coming down hard again. More on this, of course, tomorrow.

So. 3BR 2BA charmer. Guest house. Rain gauge. A few tiny things in need of eventual attention. Persons having opposable thumbs and willing to use them encouraged to come on by and take a look. We've lived in it several years without anything collapsing or shocking us to death. You can, too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Late November.

Some good rain off to our south, and some of that's forecast to slide northward this evening and overnight, but for now what we've got is this kind of low haze thing that, at least from the ForecastCenter here at 1303, seems to be centered right about two-thirds of the way towards the fence in the backyard. This is the kind of day where you're not sure there are houses beyond the ones you can see. There's no fog, really, but everything seems covered up, snugged in. Everything's shaded gray. The grass, the red car next door, the leafless crepe myrtle over at Phil's. Almost cold. Almost raining. I haven't left the house yet. I might not. Maybe I'll make soup out of whatever there is in the fridge. Maybe I'll go back to bed. Maybe I'll just sit here on the couch until it's time to take a shower and see what's for dinner.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday this time around brings us a more familiar Carolina early winter: sixty degrees already in the sun, and expected to hold there or nearabouts until it starts getting dark again, which by my calculations should be about 2:30. This daylight thing is starting to press at me. But let's us not lament today: Somehow we've landed our happy household in an odd and unlikely space of blissfully empty quiet, nowhere to go and nowhere to be, a tiny meal for two out there on the evening horizon: turkey and fake turkey, pole beans, white potatoes, stuffing, rolls, cranberries. Only the second high holiday I've had to myself, and our first alone together. Not sure when or if we'll see the likes of this again. Plenty to be thankful for, but that it's 11 in the morning and I'm in my own house and still in my robe may well top the list.

A sign of the universe's faith in this operation: yesterday, in the store, a ten-pound turkey on offer for exactly and precisely the likes of me. Late in the holiday game for me to be so fortunate. It's a brand name, and not an organic, but I'll happily roast my Lil' whatever they're calling it later on today. Our plan is to make some species of list, hang it on the fridge, check things off as we go. Glass of wine? Check. Fake turkey roast in the oven? Double check.

What now? Football on TV. Leaf raking. Dog walk. Abundant sunshine, say the weather fancies. Not on the docket: Seeing very many other people, related to me or otherwise. There's a half-note of sadness in that, sure, but there's an equal and opposite song of the rest of today. Happy Thanksgiving, friends and fans of weather. Easy enough to miss the old way, but easy enough to know some version of that's on the schedule for many years to come. So we'll just see how this way feels, too. We shall just quietly see.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Dark.

Five o'clock and dark already, or close enough to say so. Dusk. Late evening before it's evening at all. We're staying cold here in the Triad, windy and chilly and raw and a reasonable facsimile of winter. More of this for Wednesday and Thursday, though slightly moderated: We may see fifty degrees one or both of those days. Damn near WeatherDeck weather, by comparison. Still: I remember early winter around here, ad you're supposed to be able to rake leaves in your shirtsleeves. You're supposed to be freaked out by the freakish warmth, at least the last five years or so, anyway. Keeps cold like this, or cool, anyway, and we might just end up getting daffodils in March, where and when they belong. We may escape the odd January fruit tree experiment we've been getting of late, where you round the corner and there's a cherry in bloom, or a plum. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is just one cold snap. Surely we'll snap back. Surely, soon enough, we'll be worried about something other than seasonably wee temperatures.

I myself am feeling seasonably wee. Less light, maybe. Less evening. I myself am certainly less even. All for now, friends and fans of weather. Go cut a light or two on. Cozy up the place. Find somewhere to settle in. This bleak mood will pass. Ride it out. Find a book. Find a mug. Find a glass.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold Rain.

Half an inch? Maybe less. We had better than three-tenths when we got home from the Thanksgiving meal the Learning Community kids cooked tonight: turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, three kinds of potatoes, one burned. I do love a flailing Thanksgiving meal. They had pulled all the coffee tables together in the house and pulled all the sofa cushions down onto the floor and made a seated table for twenty-six. One of the prettiest things I've ever seen. Homemade pie. Corn. Green beans. Rolls. It was a meal for damn sure and certain.

The inspection comes back here at 1303 with a punch list. AMR believes the best. I fear the worst. More tomorrow. More tomorrow. Always something else tomorrow. All this good fortune this fall and maybe that's what's got me worn to the bone: It's not done, it's never done. There's always something new, something else, something tomorrow. There looms on the horizon the prospect of a Thursday Thanksgiving morning -- it had been Wednesday, but a furnace dude is scheduled now to see if the furnace is going to explode, or somesuch thing -- at any rate, there looms a possible Thanksgiving Thursday morning of nothing, of no news good or bad, of no change, of nothing, nothing, nothing. I could summon up some thanks for that.

A little more mist and rain may drag through overnight. Clearing tomorrow. Something else may work through over the weekend. The cold hangs in. Damn near December. The nights are shorter and shorter. The solstice is out there, not too far off. Not too far off.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold And.

Cold. Cold and cold. Not as cold, sure, but cold. Too cold for some of the caulking I've been trying to do to cure up. Too cold for all sorts of other things, too, like for the pansies to take hold, and even though we won't see them, I feel bad, feel like the next 27408ers won't get good pansies until March, at least. Or maybe they'll get our now-regular 70-degree January days and everything will work out fine. We shall see. Or they will, more accurately.

Left the yellow variable spray handle full of water and attached to the end of the hose before I left for NYC. That thing's good and split open now.

Inspection's tomorrow. Surely the inspector will turn up earthquake damage and evidence of an infestation of hippos. Something's bound to be lurking out there. I've been here nearly five years exactly, though, and ain't nothing like that turned up yet, so if we can just hang on...

Oh, hell. Let's us just see. Glue everything down that's not glued down and see what turns up. Vacuum. Finish. Wait.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold As.

OK: Colder here than in NYC, or cold as. There's that brittleness in the air. I have more to say about the weather, but for now a wee prayer: Came back from 10019 and had lunch in 2740something with AMR and we were driving back down Friendly toward the new digs in 27401, just to give 'em a look-see, and this huge white dog, loosed accidentally from his house right there on Friendly, comes barreling down the sidewalk and then across Friendly and AMR gets the car stopped and somehow I'm on foot across Friendly and then down Green Valley past all the medical whatnot and then across Benjamin, waving down traffic, and then through Kiser and Grimsley and whatever the hell that elementary school is up there, and then across Westover and down into that neighborhood with Pamlico and Twykenham and whatever all else and the dude who owned Buck was running all that with me and screaming and screaming Buck ! Buck! and I was also screaming Buck! Buck! and Buck did not once come back, though he looked over his shoulder a few times. Dude and I kept trying to cut Buck off, triangulate, do something, but at one point as I was crossing somebody's fenced back yard I got turned around or missed my shortcut or something and then I lost dude and Buck, and after however many miles I was laid out and I sat down on the curb and listened for dude yelling or for leaves crunching underfoot of a big white dog or something, but there was nothing but leafblowers. So: Big white dog, may you be found and sleeping inside that house on Friendly tonight. Come back, Buck, goddamnit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Large Apple.

Raw and gray here in 10019. Low sky. Strange orange hue underneath as we ride towards an early, eastern dusk. I have not brought enough warm clothes. A $5 pair of gloves is in my future. As is some kind of toasty hole-in-the-wall drink on 10th Ave in Hell's Kitchen.

So, the cabbie said. What are you here for? Business, I said. We rode like that for a while. What kind of business, he said, eventually. I told him. Oh, he said. You write books? You're a writer? I guess so, I said. I wrote one. I don't know. We rode a little more. What are your passions? he wanted to know. Passions? I said. Yeah, he said. Passions. I like writing, I said. No, he said. I mean like cars. Like cars and sports. Oh, I said. I like those things, too. Then we talked about Shelby Mustangs for a while.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Head Cold.

How long does the cold last, I asked my kids yesterday. We thought you liked the cold, they said. I do, I said. I do. I meant the head cold. Oh, they said. Depends. Most of us have had it all semester.


But it is cold, shining knife-edge cold, actual jacket-wearing cold, Nashville cold, smell-of-concrete cold, all-the-last-remaining-flowering-plants-frozen-dead cold, hat-in-the-house cold, cold, cold, cold. These are the first of the last days of 27408 cold for me. We're moving our operation. The transition team is already working to make sure ANYLF can get itself up and running in 27401, where the weather promises to be radically similar to the weather here. We report live from this WeatherDeck until the end of the calendar year, give or take, and then right around or before or on the first, we have to site and set the rain gauge at the new ANYLF Global Operational ForecastCenter. The WeatherPorch. The something. I'm not yet sure. We've got a team working on that, too. We have a lot of teams, a lot of openings for qualified applicants. Prospective interns should please fax a cover letter and a clip of a live stand-up in a hurricane to 1-888-99ANYLF.

Cloudless. Cold. Yesterday, as whatever that was came through, I saw flurries in my driveway. First confirmed snow of the season. Not enough to qualify as a trace, even, but it was there. I saw it. I did.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Damn Cold.

January in November. Cannas frozen. Most all else, too. Trying the truck in the morning ought to be an adventure. That's all, really. It looked like snow earlier. It didn't do it, of course. But it's worth pointing out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can, May.

Let's open here: We seem to have sold the house. To schoolteachers. Can I say how much easier it might be to leave the bookshelves to people who have books? Can I say how much easier it was to rake the leaves out tonight knowing that it felt like the right thing to be doing? Can I say how many minutes I would have had to sit on the bottom step for saying can instead of may? Can I please be excused? I'm sure you can, Drew. The question is: May you?

We've turned hard cold. We've sold the house. When I moved in here it was the coldest day of the year. Maybe we're aiming into December for that same thing. The sign in the yard says UNDER CONTRACT. We're under contract almost everywhere. I'm back to NYC this week. The abject insanity rolls on.

Looks like we're going to freeze every night this week. Most of the leaves are down out of the Japanese magnolia. I'm about ready to call this winter. Heater's been running all night. Dog curled up on the sofa. Hat weather. My grandfather's rake. These are not sentences. Let's just all go to bed and worry this through in the morning.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Winter Light.

Here, friends and fans of weather, is what I hope: I hope you, too, took your coffee on your front porch with your dog in the sixty-five degree breeze. I hope you raked and swept and then watched your good work get blown around the yard. I hope you enjoyed what was a classic, classic southern November day out in front of a week that promises 40s and 20s. Carolina fall: all of the possible weathers, all at once. An inch of rain yesterday. Hard freeze several times the rest of the week. That'll do it for the cannas, the hydrangeas, the other hangers-on.

Driving down Holden and Aycock this afternoon with our exploded winter sky sliding across us, I remembered one reason why I like this season so much: we don't see light like this, clouds like that, except for three or four days each year, right around this time. Maybe a little bit in late January. Maybe. Cold tomorrow. That's good, too. I hope you got out today, hope you'll bundle up and get out there tomorrow, too. Hey, fall. Hey, winter. We had no power all afternoon, and I came home to a house full of candles. Feels like right now damn near everything that happens fits on about exactly right.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Cause.

Turns out today should have been the chili day. Have you been outside today? I have been outside. It is not fit for man nor beast, except that it totally fits. I love days like this. Always have. Somehow I'm reminded of watching the Jerry Lewis telethon with my folks back in the days before cable TV. In my memory, the weather is always like this, even though I think that thing happens in either the early fall or late spring. Still. It's chilly and rainy and I'm sitting with my parents and it's one in the morning and I'm allowed to stay up late and we've been watching all day, all however many hours, and Jerry's got his tie undone and the tote board finally goes over forty million dollars, and Jerry cries, and my parents cry, and I cry because they cry, and the weather's been like this all day and night and it's still raining. That's the sort of weather we're having today, friends and fans of weather. Telethon weather.

Raining like it means to here in 27244, and it was when I left 27408, too. Spent the morning standing in the rain, scrubbing the WeatherDeck with a stiff-bristled brush. Just flew in from Cleveland, and boy are my arms tired. And my back. And the inside of my head.

Raining. Raining, raining. Dark. I love it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So Miserable.

Heavy fog this morning giving way to a forty-degree rain: I love it. We're past that point where every tree is lit up, and are moving now towards the place where this kind of rain might take a good portion of the rest of the leaves down. The days are getting shorter. It's cold. It's cold in here and I'm running the heat. I've got two shirts on. I'm layering. I'm thinking hard about making tonight the first chili night. I love November more than I love February. Come February I'm tilting towards March and April. In November I'm tilting towards solstice, towards soups, towards finding another record to put on and a chair to slump down into and a hat and my high school girlfriend's grandfather's flannel shirt, which still and still I cannot throw away.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Convective Something.

I'm always amazed by how the cloud cover holds the heat in. That's all. I'm not saying it's hot. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fat Rain.

I'm standing dead tired in the Home Depot holding in my hand a gallon of N-62, which is not to be confused, the woman is telling me, with N-63, your two-in-one cleaner, or N-64, your basic wood prep. N-62 is your mildew remover. Will my deck be slipperier than owlshit, is what I'm trying to ask her, slipperier than it is even now? I don't know, she's saying. We've also got your outdoor bleaches. Then the roof starts humming and thrumming and she looks at me wide-eyed and says, Is that rain? I hope to God not, I say, for maybe the first or second time in my life, and she says, Sounds like rain. I buy one of your outdoor bleaches and also a pre-finished threshold and glass sconces of various sizes to replace those I've broken in my tenure here at 1303 N Elam and I head outside and sure as hell it is rain, completely unforecast, at least around this local forecast, which throws something of a wrench into the whole to clean or not to clean thing vis a vis the deck, and it's a big fat slow rain, huge cold drops, the sort where if it had ben colder I'd have stood there and thought, Damn, son, this may turn icy, but it wasn't (colder, that is), and so I came back home south down Battleground, outdoor bleach if not in hand then surely in back seat, and now here it is dark and way out at the end of the day and I'm dead tired still or maybe even more tired, but I'm over the disappointment of the rain and now at the place where I'm thinking back on standing in the Home Depot parking lot in that fat cold rain and I'm thinking that was up there with the best parts of my day. Even though I needed it not to rain, I liked that rain. Hadn't seen it rain that way in a while.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hard Cold.

Not a freeze, but something like that this way comes, I do think, soon enough. Truck pulling hard to the left when I hit the brakes. That can't be great. Gotta sell the house. That can't be great. Hey, housing market. Hey, all other markets. I did rake the leaves. That was something. That was something right there.

The dog had a fine day while I raked all forty acres here and then planted curb-appeal pansies and tried to pull the remaining tomato ties off of what seemed like a good idea at the time and now seems like an eyesore addition to the monstrosity that is the front porch. She lay all morning and midday on the deck paws crossed and ears back like fighter jet wings and squinting and chewing the breeze that was bringing in all this chill cold. That dog loves that porch. She'll love the new porch, too, I know. Plus the back deck. Let her live long enough to love them both, O Muse. OK? OK.

Getting empty in here. We've got ourselves a storage unit. De-clutter, the priest says. So we do. He sells the house and I'll pray whatever he needs us to. I do want the new house. I just want this one, too. I want not to move. I want not to do things, and I want to do things. Maybe I'm just all full of want and also all full of odd unexpected satisfactions of certain of those wants. Don't just yet know how to live this way. I shall try to get it figured out. Step one: plant pansies. Do it with the dog overseeing. Then do whatever it is that's next on the list.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Leaf Trucks?

Something blew in. The light got all odd right around lunchtime and then some clouds pulled through and now it's chilly and brisk and nearly November again, though not quite entirely November. This is still much more like an early-season cool snap than November. But it's hat weather again, so one shouldn't complain.

It was apparently Official Leafblowing Day here on North Elam, but we missed the memo and instead spent the day elbow-deep in caulk and dust. If the trucks come through tomorrow I'm just going to stand there and watch them suck up everybody else's leaves and think about what could have been. I'm beat down and tired and spending a good deal of time thinking about place, thinking about this writing shed, thinking about the next one. We have, apparently, signed on to a new writing shed. I like the idea of it, like the physical actual thing, even. I like all of it. There's this, though: I like this one, too.

Maybe I'll pull a floorboard out of this one and take it over there to the new one. For luck.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Roof.

The giant blue barn behind us gets its today. We got ours last month. Every other house in the neighborhood, it seems like, has had unto it a new roof delivered. Ours was courtesy of May and June hail and Fay's fancy arrival in August. I'll chalk up everybody else's to damn near the same thing. Now comes the insurance premium jamboree. We'll see.

Unseasonable warmth, friends and fans of September and April, continues. Too much more of this and we'll see daffodils poking up. Probably not too late to plant pansies, to get bulbs in the ground so they can come up too soon, to maybe even squeeze one last round of greens out of the ground, if you're careful. If you've got a cold frame. If something.

In to work for yet another splendid faculty meeting and then back home to prime and paint and prime and paint: trying to finish every last little house project we can out in front of what looks to be a holiday season of vast insanity. Almost time to rake the yard. Almost time to go out back and pick up sticks. Almost time to cover over the exposed electric in the writing shed. Trimmed up the outside bathroom last night, dog on the guest bed supervising. We're about to need a lot of supervision around here, I do believe. Someone is going to have to be put in charge. What I know for sure: It shouldn't be me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lawn Chairs.

Seventy-six degrees and cloudless and even though surely it should be something chillier I do not care. My afternoon class hadn't read the assignment, and I largely couldn't care about that either. Played them a Brady Udall story off the radio and sent them outside to be outside. Now I'm holding impromptu office hours in the shade of the Chinese Fir and just trying to keep my head in something like the right place.

The good guys won. I just still can't get hold of that. It had been so long since we'd turned toward our better angels I didn't think we knew where they were any more. But we did, it turns out. We do.

The sun's so bright off the tree trunk right here I have to squint to see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Light Drizzle.

Or even a medium drizzle at times, if you want to know the truth, which of course you do. The sweetgum out back by the shed is bronzing over. The junk maple my folks brought us three years ago has gone red-orange, or orange-red, depending. Remember those two Crayola colors? Me, too. The Vieja maple's about spent. Phil's maples are on the verge of lighting themselves red. It's fall, still fall, the middle of what has been a damn fine fall, and it's raining. Drizzling. There's a fog to go with it. You don't want to cheer for weather on election day — it keeps folks home. Not these folks, though. We're off to stand in line right now. We're bringing the big umbrella. We're ready to wait. Today's probably the kind of day where you're going to want a cup of tea. Here's hoping, too, that later on you'll want a cup of champagne. Come on, baby. Goddamnit, come on, come on.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hey, November.

Yeah, Carolina November. Gray. Abidingly gray. Maples turning or finished. Oaks just starting. Slightly warmer out there than you'd think it would be. Trash trucks all in the neighborhood. Crows in the trees last night.

Most of the rain looks to be well off to our south and east, wrapped around some kind of coastal situation that seems to be pretty well soaking Wilmington and parts similar. We ourselves look to be good candidates for a showery half-inch over the next day or three. We'll probably hold in this half-warm that's no real kind of temperature at all, not warm enough to open the doors and windows, not cool enough to kick the furnace on. I'll take it. I like the parenthetical, the in-between. It's good to be back, friends and fans of weather. Or of whatever this is we're getting today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tiny Forecasts.

ANYLF has had a strange six weeks. The weather got lost in all that. That is not a good thing. You don't want to be not knowing what's going on outside. Back to the reason for doing this, then: small-bore noticings having to do with place and temperature.

570 miles up to Binghamton and 570 back home to 27408. Friday up and Sunday back. Oaks at high yellow peak up in the higher parts of I-81 through West Virginia and Virginia. Clouds of blackbirds or starlings or whatever it is that shows up this time of year and blows out of the tops of trees in expanding and contracting breaths by the several hundreds or thousands. Chilly, but not cold. Frost on the trunk of the rental car this morning outside the La Quinta Inn in Johnson City, NY. There are three cities all mashed together up there: Johnson City, Binghamton, and something else. Two or three rivers, too. Fog Saturday morning. That odd fall green was out all over the place, the fescue having one last cool-weather go at it and leaves all over all the yards.

I am a deeply weary boy. It's been a beautiful fall, though, and someone ought to be saying so. So.