I’m here!

December 16th, 2008 | Uncategorized

As I read the comments on the last post, I see that my protracted absence has alarmed some readers. No, the ice storm didn’t knock my power out. I’ve just been too scattered to blog. I went to Pennsylvania to visit my family last week, which always warps time in a disconcerting way. Then on the way home to Vermont, my girlfriend Holly and I had to drive through the ice storm. Click this picture to see how harrowing it was.

Actually, the driving did get pretty bad by the time we got to Saratoga Springs, so we spent the night there. And it wasn’t much better the next morning, see?

ice storm

God, why am I going on about the weather and the driving conditions? I guess I’m still kinda stuck in family brain. On Sunday Holly and I fetched a Christmas tree. Holly’s mom made that hat for her when she was little.


Holly never throws anything away. She still has long underwear from high school, all worn to gossamer webs. This is charming in the abstract, and consistent with her philosophy of Waste Free Living. But it’s taking on a vivid immediacy right now since she’s about to move in with me and I need to find space for all the things she’s never thrown away.

Holly’s website Waste Free Living is in fact now open for business, if you need to get anyone some green & groovy gifts. All the products aren’t up yet, she told me to tell you, because she’s still loading things. But there’s some nice stuff.


Like these compost bins that our friend Jackie Marino and I are putting together at the Waste Free Living launch party a couple weeks ago.

I suppose one could argue that it’s waste-full to cut down a christmas tree.


But it’ll decompose back into soil. Matter is neither created nor destroyed.


But I wish it could be compressed. It would be really cool if there was some kind of Stuff-It file compressor for our physical possessions. That would make cohabitation a lot easier.

27 Responses to “I’m here!”

  1. sillipitti says:

    The physical Stuffit is a sweet idea! My brother has an amazing storage locker that has everything in it–appliances, furniture, instruments, everything–all piled on an around a Jaguar automobile. When you open the locker, there’s dust and cobwebs, and it looks like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark!

  2. Alex K says:

    The harrow dance! **thinks** I like.

    Recovering space is tough. My efforts to do so generally don’t work. Once or twice a year, though, I cull our bookshelves. A cardboard box goes into the coffee room at work, with the sign BOOKS FOR ADOPTION over it. The books that I bring in are usually rehomed within the day.

    It’s about time for another cull. During the holidays, friends will be coming over. I don’t want too many people to see a copy of LIFE WITH MY SISTER MADONNA in our house.

    Yes, it’s in hardback. There was a long wait between airplanes.

    Stop judging me, dammit.

  3. Rachel says:

    How does one stretch a kid-sized hat to a grownup-sized head? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Ready2Agitate says:

    OK so she wasn’t working, but she is getting ready for the co-habitation dance. Cool. I look fw to hearing more abt waste-free living (not to mention wasted living) (hmmm, I meant, like, “I’m so wasted!” wasted, not the living-in-which-time-is-not-used-efficiently wasted). (OK so I converted from aluminum foil to wax paper a long time ago, but what to do abt cellophane tape in the season of gift-wrap? so wasteful! and non-biodegradable!)

    O-T but I just read Maus I and II for the first time ever. Over the Thanksgiving holiday. Wow. I can’t believe I never read it before now. Go now. Read it.

  5. Ian says:

    R2A – one year I used masking tape (that cream, paper tape you use to tape over the skirting board when you’re painting the walls) to wrap presents as I couldn’t find the sellotape anywhere. That must be biodegradable!

    Maybe we’re all nervous nellies, AB, but it’s good to know you’re safe! 😉 I can’t imagine snow like that, living in England where half an inch of snow (all we get in these global weirding days) brings the city to a halt.

  6. --MC says:

    I hope living together with all your combined stuff works out. We’ve never quite gotten the hang of combining our things in our one-bedroom apartment and are running the risk of winding up like the Holliers, if I have their names right — the bachelors who expired in a house full of crap.

  7. HKSuz... says:

    Hey congrats on the cohabiting! It will all work out in the wash… always does.

    Just wanted to say I did get a copy of the Essential DTWOF book for my birthday… it is FABULOUS. (My gf is super!) I love the introduction bit about forgetting to get a job too.

    I know you don’t make much dosh out of the strip – but I do miss it. Look forward to your next project.

    cheers and stay warm!

  8. Jayson says:

    Holly’s hat is just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

    How amazingly awesome is it that she not only has her hat from when she was little, but it was made by her mom and it has her NAME ON IT!

    Made my day, thanks.

  9. Jaibe says:

    Yes congrats on cohabbing.

  10. meg says:

    I need the physical version of stuffit for my *own* stuff… like work expanding to fill the time available, stuff expands to fill the space available.

    and then some.

    Joyous solstice!

  11. JenOttawa says:

    Holly’s hat (a.k.a: toque in Canada) reminded me of the toques sold all over Arctic Canada. They are crochet hats with the name of the town written in. Usually 2 colours, almost always slightly gaudy. I love walking around a city in the south and seeing someone with “Pangnirtung” inscribed around their head. I tried finding a pic online, but no such luck.

    re: waste free gift wrap: My mum has us all stocked up on fabric gift bags. We even save the bits of yarn used to tie them up. I think the tree looks way prettier with the fabric underneath.

  12. C. says:

    I heard that Houghton Mifflin is no longer accepting manuscripts– do this news place your net book in peril?

  13. The Cat Pimp says:

    Congrats on Holly moving in. As for the Stuff Issue – welcome to middle age. Just remember that a zesty yard sale is a joy forever. (Better than a house fire!)

  14. Hey, C. Yeah, things are very tough at Houghton right now. But my next book was already in the pipeline, so for the time being it’s on track. Thanks for checking in.

  15. Dr. Empirical says:

    A house that seems palatial suddenly becomes cramped when someone else moves in. Congratulations on finding someone who’s worth the cramps!

  16. M-H says:

    We’ve just done the moving in together thing and it has been… very very difficult. There was **stuff** everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. You had to watch where you were walking. But after a month things have settled a bit. We put a lot of surplus furniture out on the footpath – we have a leash-free park at the end of the street and so lots of people walk past with their dogs. Even the old broken chair went, after a couple of weeks.

    We still haven’t got all my things out of the cupboards where they were stored while the house was reno-ed, but we do have all the furniture in the room where it will eventually live, and it seems there will be a place for everything we are keeping, and that we will be able to walk around safely. We had lots of storage built in with the reno.

    Lots of negotiation involved, but it’s all good. We are very happy to be in the same house at last. We even got our first joint xmas tree, and we don’t really ‘do’ Xmas.

  17. April says:

    Congrats on the co-hab!! Good luck to you both.

    I loooved Holly’s hat. Thought: “that girl has a certain je ne sais quoi. Let’s check out her website.”
    Now I’m captivated by the organic hemp camping frisbee. Oh and the monster composter.

  18. Pam I says:

    Ah joint Stuff – I did once nearly move in with a GF (in the end we decided it was a bad idea as it was her house and I would be a lodger, no matter how it was phrased) – as we would have two of everything, we worked out where everything could go and what could be thrown / passed on. The crunch came with a devastating question – what would happen to my ironing board? That infantile wail over a five GBP object made me realise I couldn’t make the move. So one of my parallel other possible lives disappeared.

    And I still need a Stuff Stuffer – for books, is all, they have filled this place.

  19. bstngal says:

    That second pictures looks just like the main drag at Oberin. Did anyone else think that?

  20. Ready2Agitate says:

    What a great blessing, Dr. E! I’m sure to borrow it sometime.

  21. Heidi says:

    I guess it’s fortunate that my partner and I met when we were still quite young and didn’t own much of anything yet. So now we have just the right amount of stuff for our itty bitty house. It’s hard to keep it that way, though. Last night I actually dreamed that I found a door in the house that led upstairs, where I discovered two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchenette. It was so disappointing to wake up and realize that our house doesn’t really have an upstairs. If only.

  22. Kate L says:

    Congrats, A.B. and Holly! 🙂

    Heidi, your dream of finding hidden rooms in your house reminds me of a reoccuring dream that I would have as a child. I would dream that I’d be exploring the basement, and find doorways to rooms no one knew were there! When I moved away from home, I had the dream one more time, then they stopped. Now, my parents have both passed away, and I live in the house I grew up in. Say… what’s that door down by the washer and dryer – I never saw THAT before… OH MY GOSH !

  23. Dr. Empirical says:

    Thank you so much, Ready2Agitate!

    Heidi & Kate: I used to have recurring dreams about finding doorways to strange new worlds. It sounds like Alice in Wonderland or Narnia, but I think the true source was the Saturday morning kid’s show “Lidsville.” Forty-three years old, and I still have the occasional Lidsville nightmare. Billy Hayes as a boy…((SHUDDER))

  24. smutti says:

    Now that I don’t have to live with it from Dec-Mar, GOD I miss the SNOW!

  25. Sara says:

    Co-habitating is… an adventure? Hopefully it will be awesome. As far as “stuff” accumulation goes, have you looked at PODS? I’m not sure exactly where you live (nor do I need to), but they do seem to have places across the country.

  26. su smyth says:

    Happy co-habitating & season’s Greetings from Vancouver BC
    I enjoyed your interview on CBC this week and I bought a copy of EssentialDTWOF at our local independent bookseller’s today for my GF who dosen’t throw ANYTHING away either… (I used to swim at Crystal lake near Barton in the 70’s when my family drove down there from Quebec, lovely spot!) All the best!

  27. mlk says:

    congrats to you and Holly! really, you two are made for each other — both can appreciate the importance of all those things that *must* be kept. maybe a shed will help you manage??!?!?