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The Grind

Things are happening to you, and you feel them happening, but except for this one fact, you have no connection with them and no key to the cause or meaning of them… A passage outside the range of imagination, but within the range of experience.” ― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

I’m on short rations for writing time today. I need to see lawyers and assemble furniture. It’s how I live now.

I see a lot of other Paradise Burnouts at the tent revival meetings staged by lawyers and then down the street at Harbor Freight buying the toolkits to reassemble the IKEA shipments coming in from all points. We listen to the lawyers’ spiel and then go to any shelter we are lucky enough to have and build furniture with cheap screwdrivers. Then we go back to Harbor Freight to buy screws.

It’s how we live now.

My situation is more blessed than most. I have a (very small) but very well put together apartment.  It looked like this before the generosity of my readers struck with a mini-tsunami of Amazon boxes coming constantly to my door.

This is my space when I opened the door for the first time. It’s not a three-bedroom house in Paradise, but these days what is?:

This is a look at the space when I began to unpack and assemble my new life in Chico as my mother’s neighbor.

And miles to go before I sleep,

Miles to go…

As I say to all who ask about the mountains and rivers of Amazon boxes, “They’re from my readers. They made my new home possible. They returned me to life.”

Garage, 5533 Scottwood Road, Paradise, California



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ghostsniper November 29, 2018, 8:25 AM

    Looks nice enough to me, ample for 1 dood.
    Be nice to have more glass, but you have high ceilings (volumetrics) so that’s good for the soul. (low flat ceilings are crushing)
    I would, however, move the fridge away from the range a bit so that they’re not competing with each other and give yourself some elbow room. Maybe 12″ to the right and put a narrow spice cart between the two. You can get one at the dollar store. Say what? The fridge won’t line up with the upper cabinet? Put a tall fake plant/flower on the right side of the top of the fridge. Make a design statement! Guests will swoon. You can get that at the dollar too. Couple throw rugs, few doodads on that window sill, pix on the wall, books on the shelf. Yeah, you’ll make it homey in no time.

  • PA Cat November 29, 2018, 8:51 AM

    Looks like plenty of space for a cat tree for Miss Olive, too.

  • Phillipa Crawford November 29, 2018, 9:24 AM

    Cluttered countertops have never looked so comforting.

  • Marica November 29, 2018, 9:46 AM

    “I would, however, move the fridge away from the range a bit so that they’re not competing with each other and give yourself some elbow room.”
    Agree. Though to my sense of symmetry, I’d line the fridge up with the right side of the top cupboard and stick a baker’s rack between the range & fridge. Something with surface area at countertop height. That way you’d have a place to put things as they go in & out of the fridge, and also have work space on both sides of the stove.


  • Gordon Scott November 29, 2018, 12:01 PM

    Yeah, I figured that a bale of corrugated cardboard was in your future when I saw your Amazon list rolling over. Such a minor problem. And it takes a while for all of your stuff, new or broken in, to settle properly in a new home.

  • ghostsniper November 29, 2018, 12:32 PM

    @Marica, you’re right of course, as we both are, and are not. I too like counterspace, lots of it, but wire racks are not that. Sit a salt shaker on one. Open storage collects dust, grease spatters, cats, etc. I also don’t like overhead racks for pots and such for the same reason. Yes counterspace, yes enclosed storage.

    I too have a sense of symmetry but once an old architect friend came into my office and saw me wrestling with a complex issue maintaining symmetry in the front fascade of a custom 4400 sf colonial home design (I remember it well) and he said, “Don’t be a slave to symmetry.”, then he left without another word, and I was to ponder his words for the rest of the day as I’m driven to do.
    The following year that home won 7 awards in the Parade of Homes.

  • John Venlet November 29, 2018, 1:13 PM

    Gerard, I pray you’ll be blessed with patience as you go through the grind.

  • barbarita November 29, 2018, 2:18 PM

    Thank you for your insight into the horror of the Paradise fire. You are a brave man. May God bless you with peace.

  • Mary Ann November 29, 2018, 7:44 PM

    “Beginning is one place I’ve been before.”

  • Snakept Kansas November 29, 2018, 8:02 PM

    I believe that difficult situations like Gerard’s are an opportunity for one someone to fully realize the positive impact someone might have on others. All of those coming to Gerard’s aid are only a reminder of how he has impacted our individual lives. It has been a rare day over the past ~three years that I have not checked in on the site to see what Gerard, Ghost, Casey, Azlib, Howard, Jaynie, Ten and many many others have to say.

    As Ghost said in the past in paraphrase “It is easier to help others than to accept help”, I completely agree. For a short while some years back I had a freak accident that left me physically limited and dependent upon others for dinners, trips to the doctor, etc. etc. Very humbling. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from others. I am happy to see the same outpouring of support of Gerard. Well earned, sir.

  • Joan Sweeney November 29, 2018, 10:35 PM

    I’ve just read all of the November, 2018 entries of American Digest. Take care of that little black cat and yourself.

  • Bang Gunley November 30, 2018, 8:25 AM

    And if the boxes keep coming after you have the “stuff” you need you can give some away to others in need. I’m sure the folks doing the sending won’t mind.

  • Vanderleun November 30, 2018, 9:28 AM

    Fridge space, ala ghost, and cat tree are on the list today. Thanks.

    Baker’s rack looks sensible too. Keep them coming.

  • Catherine November 30, 2018, 10:26 AM

    Peg Bracken said to make a new kitten feel supremely at home touch her paws gently into a can of tuna. Maybe it will give Miss Olive some comfort and a temporary hobby as you move about organizing. Bless both of you.

  • Kerry November 30, 2018, 11:21 AM

    Looking good! You’re gettin’ there! Very grim circumstances to recover from but, by golly, you are making progress. Take good care of yourself (emotions, fatigue, and just trying to get your head around all the loss) and never, ever give up.

  • Gary Foster November 30, 2018, 3:50 PM

    Will you rebuild or move on? Sorry for your losses. Best wishes.

  • SAHMmy November 30, 2018, 7:55 PM

    Gosh, this makes me cry, but tears of happiness. You are so lucky and it’s just beautiful that you know it.

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