300 Seconds Episode 92: “Needless Things”

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You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 92, “Needless Things,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

Now that the Texas weather has taken a turn for the slightly cooler, I’ve been talking walks around the neighborhood to get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.  Some days I walk in the morning, and some days I walk in the evening.  As I go around the neighborhood, I’ll often see people outside, watering their lawns, playing with children, tending to plants, or sometimes cleaning out their garages.

The garages intrigue me; they are nearly always packed to the gills with all kinds of stuff: Bicycles, tools, lawn mowers, children’s toys, exercise equipment, and, of course, boxes.  Stacks and stacks of boxes, oftentimes nearly piled up to the ceiling.  Cars, SUVs and trucks are often relegated to the driveway or to the street.  No room at the inn, as it were.

Seeing all of those garages filled with boxes made me think about all the stuff that I kept in my house;  I’m not that bad, I reassured myself. After all, I had    enough room left in my garage to use it for its intended purpose, so I’m not one of those people.

That notion got thrown out of the window when I sold my house.  I got a realtor and began moving out in anticipation of the house being shown to potential buyers.  The realtor drilled it into my head that I had to make sure to remove or secure anything that was ‘stealable’ from the house before the showings started.  Right or wrong, I interpreted that as ‘get all of my DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games, comic books, books-books, music CDs and nearly all of my computer stuff out of the house.’  As my storage unit slowly began to fill up with boxes, I began to realize, that yes, I did have quite a bit of stuff myself.

By the time the house went on the market and the showings began, I had done a pretty good job of minimizing the amount of stuff that was inside, by either putting stuff into storage or giving stuff away to charity.  In many cases, I had two of the same thing that I either didn’t need anymore or I didn’t see myself needing in the future because my next residence will probably be an apartment. One computer went into storage.  The second television set that was kept in the bedroom for guests, I sold for cheap to a relative and I did the same with the second living room sofa.

It felt odd to see my house without a lot of the stuff inside of it that made it, well, mine.  As a concession to myself, I left the artwork hanging on the walls, as if to say: This house might be up for sale, buster, but until you sign a check, it’s still my house, dagnabbit.

I lived with less stuff for a few weeks as the sale of the house went through, and except for a few moments when I wanted to watch a particular movie, I didn’t really miss the stuff all that much.  Granted, I didn’t get rid of everything, I still had my Xbox for entertainment.  I moved in with some friends after selling the house, and most of the stuff that I had kept in storage, remained there.  The experience made me realize that I can do without quite a bit of stuff, so maybe I’m not doing that bad, after all.

I think we need find a new word to describe the storage units that garages seem to inevitably become.   Instead of being a place to store a vehicle, garages have become a place to keep the needless things in our lives; old things that will likely never be used again and yet, they are the things that we just can’t bear to part with.   I won’t lie, though.  Once I get life squared away and I’m back at my own place, those needless things will be back in my life, taking up space.  Or maybe not.  After all, I probably won’t have a garage to keep them in, and paying somebody to keep my needless things stashed away kind of sucks.

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I make a run to my storage unit.  If you’d like to hear or read more of my words visit Eduardo Soliz dot com.  Thank you for listening!

All Furries’ Eve

furryween

I’m the guy taking the picture

Halloween has been a non-holiday for me ever since I took my last trick-or-treating sojourn as a kid many years ago. I didn’t have many friends in my teen and college years to be invited to parties or to engage in trickery.  Upon moving out, I discovered that exactly zero kids come seeking treats at your door when you live in an apartment.  Except for handing out candy at my parent’s house a few random times, the only thing Halloween meant to me was that Mary Jane peanut butter kisses were available.  Hey, at least it’s not candy corn.

When I purchased a house a few years ago, I figured that I was going to spend my future Halloween nights handing out candy to excited trick-or-treaters.  As fate would have it, that never happened.

At least, it never happened at my house.

You see, I had joined the furry community a year before buying the house and as a result, made some new friends.  One friend that lived nearby also owned a home, and he had spent the previous Halloween handing out candy while wearing his fursuit.  (“Fursuit” is the term for the animal costumes that some furries wear)  When the next Halloween rolled around, he invited a few friends and myself to come over and hand out candy.

I don’t own a fursuit myself.  They can run in the few thousands of dollars so I like to joke that I have a mortgage and a car payment instead.  My lack of costume made me the ‘handler,’ a person that helps out fursuiters by making sure they don’t trip over things or bump into kids.  Since fursuit heads severely limit vision, a handler’s job is essentially to keep fursuiters from accidentally hurting themselves or others.  In addition, my job was to take pictures and occasionally run into the house for more candy and bottled water to keep our three fursuiters hydrated.

The fursuits were a smash!  After the trick-or-treaters got candy from each one of them, their parents often wanted to take pictures of their costumed children (and sometimes themselves) with the fuzzy people.  It wasn’t unusual to have a large group of people congregated in front of the house: Trick-or-treaters collecting candy, parents taking pictures, fursuiters being silly and everybody having a great time together.  We stayed outside until our supply of candy was gone.  Despite being pretty bushed from all the running around I had done that evening, it was easily the most fun Halloween night I’d had in years.

We gave it all away, too!

The tradition continued with seven fursuiters showing up the next year and more and more joining the fun with each successive Halloween.  Lucky for me, more handlers showed up, too!  One guy even bought an ice chest that we filled up with candy before getting to work.  There were a grand total of fourteen fursuiters last year, making the house a veritable bonanza for the trick-or-treaters in terms of the amount of candy and fun to be had.

I have yet to spend a single Halloween night at my own house.  Instead, I have furries to wrangle, candy bowls to refill, pictures to take, and memories to make!

27 Things I Noticed In My Just-Bought Home

homeAfter about 2 months of looking, negotiating, gathering money and signing a metric crapton of papers, I am finally in my new (to me) home. Of course, I noticed a few things:

  1. As mentioned previously, we didn’t discuss which, if any, appliances were going to be left. They left behind the one thing I didn’t want: the electric range.
  2. I took a peek inside the oven and wished I hadn’t. I don’t think it has EVER been cleaned.
  3. On the plus side, there appears to be a gas line present. Time for an upgrade!
  4. Well, after I buy a refrigerator, first.
  5. and get the utility guys to make sure the gas line is good…guess it might be a while. :/
  6. Seriously, it looks like it was never used, some people just don’t know what they’re missing
  7. No refrigerator, but there’s a water line so I can get an ice maker.  Woo!
  8. There is a general air of uncleanliness around the place. The oven, the tub needs scrubbing, the floors need sweeping, and the carpet is shag-nasty!
  9. I even had to sweep some webs and stuff from a few walls…ew.
  10. Speaking of the carpet, there’s this weird red-pink fuzz all over the master bedroom floor??
  11. Checking the keys, I found one that didn’t work in the outside locks…it was for the master bedroom. Oh-kaay.
  12. …and the second bedroom door doesn’t lock.  I’m sensing some trust issues here.
  13. The doorbell doesn’t work, and I thought I was antisocial.
  14. It’s only temporary anyway; I want a doorbell that sounds like the one from the Jetsons…seriously!
  15. Finding bug traps everywhere…well, maybe if they cleaned up a little.
  16. First major upgrade (after a gas stove) will be a new shower/tub, but for now some bleach and a good scrubbing will have to do.
  17. People have gotten smarter about their network security, no open hotspots nearby.
  18. Spent the first night vacuuming and filled up the machine’s dust canister after one bedroom…EW.
  19. I don’t think I’ve ever filled up the dust canister when vacuuming my whole apartment.
  20. Yeah, definitely going to need a new shower head, I like to feel the water bouncing off my chest like I’m Superman
  21. I’ve never had a garage before, its nice.
  22. Scratch that, having a garage is AWESOME.  Yes, it has rained recently, why do you ask?
  23. I found what appear to be used plastic bags and aluminum foil in a kitchen drawer…I wonder if the previous owner was also Mexican.
  24. I didn’t think I was going to need a lawn mower anytime soon and then heavy rain came down the day I got the keys.  Nuts.
  25. Once again, I get to pick between the duopoly of suck for internet: Time Warner and AT&T 😦
  26. Actually, I think I’ll go with Clear
  27. Damn, it feels good to be able to walk around in my boxers again!!

Minor Details

homeI don’t know when the light finally came on, but when it did, I’m pretty sure I did a facepalm. After weeks of negotiating prices, repairs, dates and all that yadda yadda yadda on the house I want to buy, I realized that I had overlooked one important little thing:

Appliances.

You know, those little things that make life more convenient: a refrigerator to store food in, a stove to cook that food on, and a washer and dryer to wash clothes that have gotten dirty after cooking and eating said food.  Since the disposition of the appliances is not in the home purchase contract, I could open up the door on Thursday to find the aforementioned modern conveniences waiting for me….or I’ll be making an emergency trip to Ye Olde Electronics or Department Store for a new refrigerator and stove.

It’s not as bad as it seems:   If there is no washer and dryer, then its back to hanging out with the freakos at the laundromat.  As far as the stove goes, I plan on replacing the it anyway because the home has an electric stove, something which I have learned to loathe during my many years of apartment living.  Things might get a little dicey without a refrigerator, though, because I really like cold sodas and dairy.

Oh well, just as long as they leave the hot water heater.  Then again, I’ve gone without hot water, too! 😉

How Home Sweet Home It Is!

homeAfter years of dealing with annoying neighbors one wall (or floor) over, lousy parking, poor management, constantly increasing rents and not being able to own a cat without a big deposit and paying ‘pet rent.’ I am finally going to take the plunge and buy a house.  I’m almost there, too:  if all goes well I’ll be a homeowner within a few weeks.

Its a big step for me and more than a little bit scary.  For better or for worse, I am setting down roots here in San Antonio.  There’s also the whole ‘what happens if I lose my job’ bit, but these days, that cloud is constantly hovering over everyone’s head, so that’s nothing new.  Instead, I choose to focus on the Good Things associated with having my own home:

It’s my house, and if you don’t like it… – On a philosophical level, an apartment is never ‘really’ yours, and it will be nice to do whatever I want without having to ask myself whether I’ll be dinged for something when I move out.  Also, there is the whole ‘investment’ angle, but I don’t care too much about that.  In my opinion, the mentality of the home one lives in being an ‘asset’ instead of a ‘home’ is partially to blame for the nutzoid homeowner’s associations I always hear about in the news.

More room! – I have always lived in one-bedroom apartments and even lived in a efficiency once when things got tight.  Unless I get a Unabomber special (i.e. an isolated shack)  I’ll be getting a 2-bedroom house at the bare minimum and it will more than likely have a garage, too.  That’s going to be a LOT of extra space that I’m not sure I know what to do with.  I might rent out the extra room and I hear garages are great places to store things.  I’m also looking forward to hosting parties again, it has been way too long since I’ve hosted a Super Bowl or New Year’s Eve gathering.

Do What I Want – One of the crappier parts of living in apartments is you have to be careful with your noise level lest you arouse the ire of your neighbors.  While I am not a very noisy person, I do like to turn up the sound when I play video games and movies and have occasionally been ‘that guy’ that has had his stereo or surround sound system up too loud.  Conversely, I have also had to bang on a few doors and tell neighbors to tone it down.

WOW a Garage! – My parent’s house does not have a garage and so I have never had the pleasure of having one.  Based on what I have seen from friends, I understand it is a storage space.  I might go nuts and actually keep my vehicle in mine.

KITTEH! – I have wanted to have a cat for some time, but as I mentioned in the intro, certain things about apartments have kept me from getting one.  I can now acquire a cat and hug him and pet him and hold him and call him George. 🙂

Good Old Gas – My parents have a gas stove, and it is awesome.  I have not lived in a place that has had a gas stove since I moved out, and cooking food has royally sucked since.  One of my requirements for a home is that it have a gas connection so that I can once again experience the joy of heating up tortillas and hot dogs the way God intended.

House Party – When I had a bigger apartment a few years ago, I loved having friends over for games and even Super Bowl and New Year’s parties or two.  It won’t be too long before I’ll be hosting get-togethers and this time we can crank up the tunes! 😀

Buying a house is big and scary and fraught with pitfalls, but I’ll take the hits as they come and look forward to the good things that come with owning a home, like freshly-warmed tortillas!