Rogue Ink

May 21, 2008

My House. In the Middle of My Street.

Filed under: Entrepreneurship,Writing — Tei @ 5:42 am
Tags: ,

I didn’t used to have a house.

I was a wandering sort of rogue. I lived in half a dozen cities in less than four years, and even when I was theoretically settled (you know, going to college and all) I would drop everything for a road trip every two months or so. And by ‘every two months’ we mean ‘biweekly’. I used to cruise around in the car just to PRETEND I was going somewhere, even when I had a test the next day and there was no way in hell I could even drive from Chicago to Cleveland (a short jaunt, really).

I moved to Boulder, Colorado temporarily to help out a friend of mine who was having her second baby. I used to visit her in Boulder a lot when I was in Chicago (that was about a normal one-day sixteen-hour hop for me), and I loved Boulder, and why I didn’t move there before is beyond everyone, including me. I decided to stay after she and her husband and their passel of children moved back to California. It may have had something to do with the incredible plethora of attractive snowboarder/philosophers. I mean, just possibly. Also the breweries. There are a lot of them, and their joint creed is deliciousness.

So I found a house.

Actually, I found a duplex, but since my neighbor’s entrance is way over on the other side and he actually has a different street address than I do (as in, mine is Grove Street, his is 16th Street), I just pretend he doesn’t exist. I have the front of the house anyway, which makes it better.

I like my house. It is big and roomy and has lots of windows and plants growing about it, and it is walking distance from everything. It is painted a pretty shade of green and has an attic with no apparent entrance (I am not making this up) and a friendly ghost (I might be making that up a little but I had VERY strange dreams the first night I was there, and they involved levitation, so what’s your conclusion? That’s what I thought).

Settling down is a new sensation for me. Usually I’m thrilled to be elsewhere for awhile. I like novelty. I like visiting. I like intruding upon friends and strangers and seeing what’s up with them. I never expected to want to settle down with a house but here I am, happily monogamous to a single place, and now I can’t get back there, and it saddens me.

I am not a social creature.

There are many, many ways in which I am not your typical female, and this is one of them. Women are supposed to get off on communities and interactions and discussions and compassionate goings-on. Not me. I like all of those things in moderation, but if I don’t have at least half the day entirely to myself and my own devices, I start looking around for things to break. Crockery. Hearts. Small buildings. You know.

I was one of those teenagers that didn’t want to interact with the family and I never got over it. It was actually a problem before then. As a kid, my mother was certain something was wrong with me because I never wanted to play with the other kids. I was a nose-in-a-book girl, and it took a long time before everyone realized I just liked it that way. As an adult, my closest two girlfriends are very accommodating to this quirk. I have actually had both of them take one look at my crazed stare and insist that I go on a walk. For four hours. Or so. Until you stop feeling homicidal.

They’re great. My Tara actually did this to me WHILE WE WERE PLANNING HER WEDDING. That is how intense that crazed gotta-be-alone look is. Even soon-to-be-brides know what’s up. We’ve all decided I’m not allowed to have children. It would be a survival of the fittest game – who can run away from Mommy the farthest so that she doesn’t kill them in a maddened blood-wrath. They could make a reality show out of it.

I’m not living alone right now. What’s worse, I’m living with my family.

While I was sitting here, right now, writing this post? My brother came in and tried to make conversation (I’m typing in his room since Daddy kicked me out of the office so he could watch TV shows on Hulu), and then my dad came around behind him and tried to offer me the office back, and I frankly want to go out and kill everyone in the world right now, just to keep them from talking to me while I’m writing. When the keys are making that happy sound? The voices of angelic children singing hosannas would be in disharmony with that happy sound. The voices of my beloved family are causing me to involuntarily sprout iron fingernails with which to wrench their tongues from their sockets.

I love them. Really I do. But I want my goddamn quiet house back. It never tries to talk to me. Even the GHOST shuts up when I’m writing. It’s a very considerate ghost. I think it used to be a writer, too.

Moral of the Story

1. It’s important to have a place where you can accomplish things.

2. Find that place.

3. Then never leave it.

This is good advice, from me to you. You don’t want to see the blood-wrath. It ain’t pretty.

Not Related At All

Akismet recently caught a spam mail entitled, “How to Weigh Weed.” Now, I did NOT click on it, because I know better than to encourage the beast, but I was mightily curious, let me tell you. Do you weigh weed differently than you weigh, say, jelly beans? The things you MISS when you skip the secondary intoxicants, I’m telling you. I don’t even know street names anymore for any of this stuff. I used to. I used to have CRED, people. But I was faking it.

Subscribe. I’m homesick.



  1. All I can say is, I understand completely. I love the peace and quiet of my house. The cats come by the desk a couple times a day. Sometimes they leave, other times they sprawl across the nearest magazine or piece of note paper (which usually has very important notes on it, but the cats look so darn cute I don’t want to disturb them).

    At around 3, the room mate comes home. From 3 to 8, it’s non-stop talking from one chatty Virgo. If you knew Pete, you’d look at me like I was crazy. When we worked at the same company, Pete never talked to anyone – ever. But at home all bets are off, especially if I’m watching a new DVD. The amount of talking seems to increase in direct proportion to the complexity of the movie’s plot line.

    Maybe we should introduce your mom to my room mate? Have her come over after 3. She and Pete could share a bottle of Cuervo and ignore the movie.

    Comment by Harrison McLeod — May 21, 2008 @ 6:12 am | Reply

  2. My God, I could have written this post. I so ‘get this’ it’s scary. My mother is a nice 3000 miles away from me and gets a weekly call. This call consists of me going “Uh huh…” about 400 times.

    When I moved out of my parents house, I was in a serious relationship and just wanted to live on my own before I got married. Six months later we broke up. I realized I just wanted to be alone, I didn’t want to get f’n married! I’ve lived alone for the better part of 20 years since then.

    Except for four years when a boyfriend moved in to my place. He never left the apartment and I would literally ignore him to escape him. I grew to hate the sight of him. I was a very angry person in the last couple of those years. Not good. He left and I got my silence and my space back. It was a beautiful thing.

    I’m in a fantastic relationship now and we’re talking of living together. I think it will work if we get a new place (as in, he ain’t moving in here). He likes his space too, so we’ll probably be just fine because we understand each other. But in the back of my mind, I’m still a teeny bit afraid.

    Damn, I love my solitude. Hope you get home soon. 🙂

    Comment by Karen JL — May 21, 2008 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  3. Eek, Tei, you’re stuck working when you’re on a (so to speak) family holiday? Sounds like business is booming! Or did you just have enough Quality Time with the fam while in DC?

    Comment by Sunili — May 21, 2008 @ 8:06 am | Reply

  4. Tei,


    Welcome to National Lyrics Week! Congratulations!

    Long drives, check. Like LOTS of alone time, check. Drive family crazy with that need, check.

    Usually, my daughter and I have an understanding. Sometimes, she goes on and on about the sweet new Pokemon cheat until I want to jump up and down on her GameThing. It’s funny, because she goes into soltitude mode once in a while (not often, she’s a Pisces)… then I feel chatty and neglected. Hehe.

    Headed there shortly so they can chatter me to death… check. *sigh*

    All year I look forward to making a bunch of trips there in the summer. Then when summer comes and I start the mini-vacations, well, I love the drives…

    “Fish and visitors stink after three days.” Ben Franklin

    Who forgot to say, the visitors are having less fun after three days, too.



    Comment by Kelly — May 21, 2008 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  5. This is what comes of editing comments. I moved a paragraph. “Headed there” refers to my parents’ place, not my daughter. I’m headed to see her in two minutes. WHY can’t you ever hear your alarm???

    Comment by Kelly — May 21, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  6. […] has whispered about her house in the middle of the street and Friar posted his never to do list. These are people of the earth who bring sunshine into my […]

    Pingback by Online Whispers ... People Of Earth | The Writers Manifesto Blog — May 21, 2008 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  7. The more I hear, the more I think we are twin sisters of different mothers – or in this case, the same mother. My mother cannot stay in bed in the morning if there’s anyone up in the house. No siree, she must get up and talk to you. Imagine being in the middle of the Ontario lake district at 7 am on a nice July morning, sitting next to a lazy river, staring out at the bay with a cup of tea in your hands, and having your mother rattling in your ear about all the things she has to do once you go back home. As you sit there with that serene look on your face, you’re wishing laryngitis on her, or wishing that her morning Paxil would just kick in already. You try not talking, but she’s just going to fill the void with more talking. You love her, but you wish she’d not need you so much. Then you think “Damn, this could be the last time we sit here.” She’s in her 70s and while that’s not ancient, she’s showing her age. So you sit there and let her talk, suddenly wishing you had more moments like this.

    Comment by Lori — May 21, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | Reply

  8. I feel for you. That sucks. I can’t wait till my son leaves then I can have my office. Right now it’s my bed. And anywhere I can find peace and quiet. Usually my bed. Until the neighbors come out and start bitching at eachother. Right now it’s cold enough so I can shut my window.

    Comment by Ellen Wilson — May 21, 2008 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  9. Harrison: Oh. Sweet. Biscuitsauce. My mom does that too. She’s actually one of those who, when watching a spy movie, in the first five minutes, will ask things like, “Why is he doing that?” As if ANYONE KNOWS WHY HE’S DOING SOMETHING FIVE MINUTES INTO THE MOVIE. Let the plot UNFOLD, woman.

    Karen JL: With you there. The only proper boyfriend I had was in college, and we lived in the same dorm and had exactly this problem. Ever since, I’ve preferred my menfolk to be distant, so that we can get together, escape from stress, go have a nice rambling adventure and be affectionate, and then LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE FOR AWHILE. It works great. I don’t know why there aren’t more people doing this.

    Sunili: My family works. They just don’t do it quietly. We’re in the two weeks between graduation and the official party for his graduation. I don’t know why there needed to be a two week gap. I suspect it was just so my mom could have all of us in the same house for awhile.

    Kelly: Ben Franklin. Good man. Also said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And I believe him.

    Lori: Yeah, it is like that. I try not to let my annoyance override my love, but it’s an ongoing battle. She just doesn’t understand antisocial. She was seriously about ready to send me to therapy as a child.

    Ellen: BB gun. That’s all I have to say about that. Good luck and fine aim to you.

    Comment by Tei — May 21, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  10. Tei,

    My mother, five minutes into the show or movie, tells me the ending ’cause she watched it last week.



    “You sit there and let her talk, suddenly wishing you had more moments like this.”

    It’s really true. I have a friend whose mother died when she was pretty young, and who gets weepy+angry if I say mine’s irritating me. Two lessons. Do not mention mother (if she’s been irritating) to that friend; do remember how much she’d give to have her Ma wreck the ending of Monk for her. Thanks for what you said.



    Comment by Kelly — May 21, 2008 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  11. Tei

    I hear ya! I was laid off years ago, and had to move in back with my folks for 6 months. Drove me nuts. I love my folks. They were really nice and supportive. They weren’t doing anything wrong..they were just living in their OWN HOUSE. But it drove me nuts. I wanted my independence…and I didnt’ have it.

    Luckily, I got a job, moved out and got my own place.

    Two years later, I was laid off AGAIN. And moved in with my folks AGAIN. Back to square one.

    The 2nd time around was really really discouraging (I felt like “George” on Seinfeld). Single, in my 40s, unemployed, and living with my folks. A winning combination.

    Well, now I’m gainfully employed, and have my own HOUSE! (Sweet).

    I just hope it lasts and I never get laid off again (knock wood).

    Comment by Friar — May 21, 2008 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  12. I just have to tell you this post made me laugh. out. loud. Several times. Not that you would know (gotta ❤ random internet encounters), but I don’t laugh aloud at stuff I read. Unless it’s good. This post is good!

    I can also totally sympathize with the sentiment. I get social in the late afternoon, but I MUST have the house to myself in the mornings. I want to wake up, open all the windows, and take three hours to shower and get dressed. In peace and quiet. Or in the raucous noise of my stereo. But I have to have the OPTION. Right now my BF works nights, and sleeps from roughly 7:00am to three or four in the afternoon. So not kosher.

    Good luck with your own personal insanity babe.

    Comment by Margot — May 21, 2008 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

  13. Friar: I am sending good juju to you.

    Margot: Hey, thanks. Come around often – we try to keep the laughs coming. If a reader laughs online and no one hears it, does it make me happy? You bet your sweet tuchus it does.

    Comment by Tei — May 21, 2008 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  14. If a reader LOL’s and the internet isn’t around to hear it, do they make any sound?

    Comment by Friar — May 21, 2008 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  15. @Friar: Only if they have their speakers on.

    Comment by Harrison McLeod — May 22, 2008 @ 12:46 am | Reply

  16. My normally quiet house is roaring with laughter and my inner quiet voice is rolling its eyes saying, “Oh she must be reading THAT blog again!” I am happy to roll with laughter and disturb the zen solitude in my home for you.

    Comment by Karen Swim — May 22, 2008 @ 2:59 am | Reply

  17. Kelly, I agree. It’s a tough realization that parents are not perfect. It’s even tougher to realize they’re not immortal. I remember with vivid clarity wondering when the hell I’d get five minutes of peace, and then I saw the wrinkles and the way my active mom is slowing down some (not stopping, for I have a theory that Capricorn mothers are like sharks – to stop is to die). We have a great relationship and the irritation she causes is my issue, not hers.

    My mother ruins the punch line. Every time. :)) But then she’ll say stupid stuff that slays us, like the time we were sitting on the porch at a funeral of a friend, and later she said, “Christ, it was so hot on that funeral home porch I could’ve died!” Accidental, stupid humor always endears a person to me. :))

    Comment by Lori — May 22, 2008 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  18. Lori,

    I guess I can never stop, if that’s the case. Not likely with me, anyhow.

    Until later,


    Comment by Kelly — May 22, 2008 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  19. MY dearest Tei..
    I love that you are making your own home, and no less in Boulder, and even that it couldn’t quite be your home until we left it. Being that you blog abut grammar and writing it drew my attention to your pronouns and compels me to rant about that habit of senselessly attaching pronouns to mundane objects. My house and My street and, of course, My Tara are ok. They are Ok because there is some element of ownership to them and because the pronoun actually helps the description. For example, my house evokes all sorts of images and feelings in a way that “the piece of property that I have sublet for a term of one year” does not. Also, the house in some ways owns you as well (I’m thinking now of the fox in The Little Prince.)However, when people attach pronouns to everyday and generally mundane objects it makes me irk. For example, “I’m going to My coffeehouse to read My newspaper and eat My Sausage omelet.” Or, “I really can’t make it past noon without My coffee.”Next I fear it will be “my toilet tissue,” “my hand sanitizer,” etc.

    Comment by MonstersMama — May 25, 2008 @ 2:25 am | Reply

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