Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This is my place

I have finished reading a book by the man I call @scattermole, and a review is percolating in my head. While I ignore that and let it simmer, I’ll tell you about how I’m trying to learn to be happy with a frugal amount of everything.

Because I’m broke (paying off bills from the carefree days) and frugal and smarter than I used to be, I look for small pleasures in my life. The Woodsman tells me it’s the little things that are the most important. Mom (and a lot of other old wives) say the best things in life are free. I find these little things everywhere. They cost less than shoes, and they make me just as happy.

Last year I rented an ugly little duplex with human animals living in the unit next door. This family’s surname was the same as a popular nut. The universe handed out something appropriate there. When the lease was up, I was too tired to move a third year in a row, but I did. For the quiet. And the calm. Now I live in a cute little house with its own yard in a quiet neighborhood on a pretty street—for the same amount of rent as I paid to be disturbed on a daily (and nightly) basis.

As you can see, the place is cute, no matter the season, and you know how good it makes you feel to be surrounded by cute. For the same amount of money as I paid to live next to the zoo—and throw in a nice landlord too.

I didn't even realize just how stressful the year next door to the "Walnut" family was until I moved. Now I am grateful every single night that I don't have to share in some other family's hateful noise and rage and thumping and bumping and yelling.
I have friendly neighbors now, and that means something. Sometimes I come home from work and think that Mr. Sweep next door has built some sort of steampunk amusement park in the driveway we share.

But he and his wife, the Feng Shui expert, are as sweet as you could ask for and always willing to help. They had a neighborhood cookout this last weekend to celebrate Mr. Sweep’s fiftieth birthday, and I got to see their backyard.

My dogs are different creatures now that they have a yard to play in without being molested by screaming children who were never taught respect for other creatures. (The hellions would actually bark at the dogs. I kid you not.) I don’t think my dogs are ever going to stop barking at the good neighbors, but I understand why they have trust issues.

And there’s a little green tomato on one of my tomato plants. I forgot to get a shot of that.

These are really good things to take pleasure in, I think. What a difference a year can make.

Are there little free things that bring a lot of pleasure into your life? Now that I've started learning to appreciate them, I feel pretty clever. And I'm a cheap date too.


The Green Stone Woman said...

This was a fun post to read. I'm like you, I have to find my pleasures in the little things around me, but I sure as heck appreciate them. Solitude being one of them and no crazy neighbors!

Lydia said...

Aaah - I love this. Especially on a day when I'm feeling so not myself. I LOVE your house and I LOOOVE your little dog - what in the world is he? I'm sorry the little serial killers in the making scared him because he is so sweet. Perfect paperbat doggie, IMHO.

Let's see. My art supplies aren't free, but the solitude and peace and I have when I make something with them is one of my favorite things in my life.

And blogging IS free and I love that and all my bloggie peeps and the ones I read, like yours.

And I love walking and listening to birds and avoiding the pillbugs.

Actually, I can't think of anything I've paid for that I like as much as any of those.

paperbatty said...

Hello, Gossamer. I've really been enjoying your blog, as I am working on self-improvement and searching for what makes me happy also. You have a lot of good ideas to share. Thank you for stopping here.

Lydia, I'm so glad I found you, too. Blah to those who think Twitter is a waste of time. The dog (Taz, B. Tazwell, Puppy Boy, Man Dog) is a Chihuahua-rat terrier mix. He is the most joyous dog I've ever met except when it comes to eating dog food. You can see how happy he is in the last shot; that blur above his butt is his little curly tail waving like a flag.

powdergirl said...

That was a really sweet post and the pics are wonderful.
I'm afraid I'm a bit of a spendthrift myself.
Mostly it's shoes and clothes.
But my friends are always asking why I don't build a McMansion, as they mostly have.
Well if I did that I'd have to give up my shoes. So I'll stick to my little old house that's falling down around me, but is quite cute, thanks very much : )

paperbatty said...

But, powdergirl, you've got STYLE.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

Terrific post - and something we can almost all relate to, in one way or another. For me, it's the horrible neighbors. I had them once. Luckily, they moved before we were forced to escape them.
Your house IS sweet - and dogs do like a lot to roam that is all theirs without interruption!
What IS all that scaffolding in your neighbor's back yard? Are they adding a second story? That's one heckuva lot of scaffolding! LOL
I am terrible when it comes to saving money - I even when to therapy once for it. I decided it was easier to just buy what I want and live in a more affordable place. LOL My downfall: art supplies. Many of which I will never use or never find (a pet peeve of mine right now. I fell in love with Twinkling H20's - and bought one small pot of EVERY color - now that's a lot of money LOL And I can't find them for the life of me!)

Good post!

paperbatty said...

Tristan, I love to buy craft supplies too. But I just have to be really disciplined right now. Last weekend I got a deal I couldn't believe. A girl who works at Michaels was getting rid of a bunch of craft supplies at about 10 cents on the dollar. I bought a stack of scrapbooking paper 10 inches tall for $6!

You also won't believe what's going on in the driveway photo. Mr. Sweep, who is a chimney sweep studying to be a history teacher, has a lot of scaffolding, I guess. That round thing is not the moon. It's a water barrel. The Woodsman is guessing that it holds about 1,200 gallons. Mr. Sweep is trying scheme number five or six for getting this giant plastic barrel over his fence because it won't fit through the gate. And that's free entertainment, as Exley used to say.

Thanks for the compliments; they mean a lot coming from you.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I love your place - it IS cute! And you can't place a dollar amount on your own inner peace and sanity. We lived in a yuck neighborhood surrounded by horrid neighbors. We finally screwed up the courage to sell that house and found paradise. It's not the Taj Mahal or anything, but even a trek into the backyard is like a vacation! It's so quiet, peaceful, but we also have nice neighbors we can count on if needed. Sounds like your place!

paperbatty said...

ETW, yes: inner peace, priceless.

Nicola said...

What a great post to make you stop and count the good things in our lives.
My greatest blessing is my Husband Howards the kindest, funniest, most caring man & I'm honoured to have met him.
The second thing I'm most thankful for is giving up the rat race! I now make my living crafting & selling my jewellery. I can't tell you how many blessings that brings me & so what if the money's not as good..the rewards are infinate!
Then there's all the wonderful bloggers I know who uplift my life all the time in so many ways.
Awesome folks like you

nic x

paperbatty said...

Nicola, I have the best job ever, if a girl has to work for someone else. So I try to always be grateful for that, even though it would be wicked awesome to stay at home and create art. Thanks for reading my posts.