Monday, January 14, 2008

Waltham To Watertown

In just about a month, three years to the weekend from when I first moved up here, I'm moving. I'm only moving about four miles from where I live now, but it'll be to another town here in eastern Mass. I think it'll be a good thing: New year; new place, new space.

I'm moving from a one bedroom apartment in a building built in 1930 that houses sixteen other apartments, with stores on the street level, to the second floor of a two-family single. It's a two-bedroom unit, completely renovated with all new appliances and (ta da) a washer/dryer included. It also has two porches, one off the eat-in kitchen and the other off the living room. I even have my own parking space. How about that, huh?

Up here many houses were originally built as two-families. The owner lives in one half, generally the bottom half, and rents out the other half. It was what made the house affordable. So, in reality, everybody lives in apartments. You also split the basement and the yard.

The trend now is for two-families to be turned into condos. Each half becomes its own house. An escrow account is set up for exterior repairs (roof, siding, etc.). However, as the owner of both halfs, if you don't like the tenant, you can always get another; as the owner of the condo, it's anyone's guess who you'll get as the other owner, and, if you don't get along, you're stuck. As you can imagine, it can, and does, get ugly.

I have been collecting boxes and this past weekend cleaned, in anticipation of packing, until my arms fell off. At the suggestion of my sister, I wiped everything down now instead of doing it while packing.

As I write this, it's snowing like crazy outside, a real nor'easter. The snow accumulation, from Waltham into Boston, is supposed to be from 4 to 8 inches. West of Walthman into western and northern MA, there's supposed to be well over ten inches. But, up here, people just shrug it off and continue on. So, I have to get ready to go to work.

Dixie was not interested in going for a walk this morning. She relieved herself and then walked right back to the door, wanting to go in. Boy, I wish I had that choice this morning. It's a dog's life, I guess.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sleeping Into the New Year

I decided to stay home for new year's. Actually, I hadn't sought out any options so I didn't have many choices. Me on the sofa an' Dixie on the floor celebrating the new year. I was asleep before midnight.

At about ten of three in the morning I was awakened by a heavily Boston-accented male voice shouting somewhere outside. He was yelling - "Dohn' evah come to my motha's house again," over and over. During his shouting I heard a series of pops, which I interpreted as fireworks, but could have been gunshots. Then I heard a car peeling out and speeding away. I got up and looked out of the bedroom window, in the event the altercation had happened in the courtyard, it sounded so close.

This morning, during our walk, Dixie and I walked around to the street behind my building so I could look for any shell casings. I didn't see any and everything looked okay so I guess the incident wasn't as serious as it sounded.

It was quiet during our walk this morning and I was prompted to wonder if being outside on New Year's day morning might not be the quietest morning of the year, even more quiet than Christmas morning.

Today I'm going to meet up with a group of people I've never met before to walk to the overlook at the top of Prospect Hill park. The overlook faces east and toward Boston's skyline. It is a very beautiful and panoramic view. Oddly enough, the overlook's name is Boston Hill. There's free hot chocolate for all those who hike to the top.

It's not supposed to start snowing until later on in the day today, just about the time the walk's over. I kind of hope it starts snowing while we're at the top so that we can walk back down through the forest in the newly falling snow.

Once, a number of years ago, I took a winter's day hike with the Appalachian Trail Hiking Club of Md. We went out toward western Maryland somewhere, I don't remember right now, and hiked along the Appalachian Trail for a bit, coming onto the Trail and leaving it from side trails, making the hike about a five mile loop.

It was a slate gray day, cold, quiet and with little wind. There were about fifteen hikers and we set off in a line that soon strung out, the faster hikers up front and the slower ones bringing up the rear. The sun couldn't break through the grayness but the green of the evergreen trees and the colors of the clothing we hikers wore made up for the drabness.

Toward the end of the hike it started to snow. At first, being under substantial tree cover, we barely realized it was snowing. Then, as we exited the forest and walked across a meadow toward the parking lot, the falling snow blanketed everything, including us, in whiteness.

It was kind of magical emerging from the forest and walking into the freshly falling snow. It was so quiet, comforting and peaceful.

I hope the new year brings peace to me, to all who read this and to everyone everywhere.