Derek Johnson Muses

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My Home Nooks

I live in an odd, old house. But with all that old stuff, it’s got some nice spaces I’d like to show you.

Entry way...

Entry way…

Here’s something I never would have thought of: a window in the front door. What I don’t like the entry way is, when I come in, I feel like I’m in a hole, not in my house. It’s a contained space, a lot of which is space I never go into.

Officecase...

Officecase…

This is my second bedroom. Right now, it’s an office. I have a feeling that it will turn into that room that I never use, but it gives me another place to sort things out in. Only things that have been sorted go in here-no random junk. The plastic crate is where I keep my printer paper.

Deskhole...

Deskhole…

The sight above is a momentum to my excruciating laziness. I had moved the L-desk to my place from the office, along with file cabinet above, and tried three or four times to put the glass top back on the suction cups. Didn’t work out. Finally, my Dad came over, and we got it done.

The Little Closet...

The Little Closet…

Oh, my one precocious closet in a 1900’s house, thanks for having some extra shelves in you. Once upon a time, we had so many fewer possessions. There’s a light in the back of the closet because it opens into both bedrooms. I’m guessing a single closet this size is some women’s worst nightmare.

Junker...

Junker…

This my spare room/half-bedroom/possibly future bedroom. I’ve been meaning to throw away some of that paper, or at least go get some more shelves to stack stuff on, and at least sort through some of the files and get them organized, so I don’t have to bungle around when I’m looking for my old bills and stuff. Finally, I went out and got a storage case to put some of this stuff in. Hopefully, this will look better at some point.

Seating...

Seating…

This is the window in my bedroom.  Right before moving, I thought about getting a bigger dresser, but then I got this chest in a bench by the window. (There’s a fancy word for it, but I don’t know what it is.) So this bench is my dresser, which is great given that I never sit on it. It still needs some dividers to organize it.

Crevice...

Crevice…

I give a lot of credit to whoever decided to put in those shelves directly into the wall, even though I’m using them as makeshift picture hangers.

Looking Frame...

Looking Frame…

I’m not sure, but I think my back utility room was built on to the house back in seventies, but thanks to the people who decided to leave this kitchen widow for me to look out into the backyard.

Storer...

Storer…

I bought the landscape photo at a garage sale in Utica, straight out of the Bob Ross collection. The poster is last year’s Big Red Wrap-Up poster-too lazy to stop by the NET offices in Lincoln. This is the corner where I might build a cabinet to replace the second-hand storage crates now there. Also, the hockey stick is for sale if anyone’s interested.

Where it Used to Be

A little known-fact about me: for a brief four-month stint after I graduated college in 2005, I took up residence in Lincoln between 17th and 27th, just south of A. The Sunken Gardens and numerous parks were with reasonable walking distance of my hobbit’s layer, the bottom floor of a large house that had been carved into apartments. The surrounding neighborhood, a stone’s throw from downtown Lincoln, was full of nice, reasonably well-kept homes and apartments, enough so that I was not scared at night.

Old crib...

Old crib…

I had a meeting in the area and drove by there again last week. The place feels not-me-now, although to be fair, the neighborhood is very similar to the one I live in now. At the time, I was living the life I thought I was always bound to live in my twenties, a cheap apartment in an urban area, working all the time, and spare time at the coffee shops.

I’ve always been fascinated by these houses that get carved up into apartments. Some time ago, probably in the fifties, a working class family lived there, but as we’ve become more mobile and moved the suburbs, it was divided into apartments. People have fewer children and want more closet space.

In the long run, it might have been better that circumstance sent me back to the more-economical Seward. Yes, there is not as much to do here, and there are fewer options, but God had a plan. Still does.

Neighborhoods of Seward

Over the past year, I’ve semi-moved twice, once to an apartment a few blocks from my parents’ house, and the second time to my new house. The first move wasn’t really a move and felt more like a designed re-organization. I would sleep at my apartment, but I’d go back to my parent’s house to check in the internet and cook most of my meals. In the eight months I had that apartment, I would be surprised if I cooked more than twelve non-breakfast meals in my apartment. When I came to my house, it was a real move

Each of my residences each has an unique flavor, which conversely is what is one of the oddity’s a town Seward’s size. Even though there’s only 7,000 or so people here, the neighborhoods mirror pre- and post-World War II style, and Hillcrest Street divides the town smoothly along those lines.

My parent’s house is a duplex that sits on a semi-busy suburban street, (East) Pinewood, which comes off Highway 15. Ironically, my aunt in the Bay Area gets less noise on the street she lives on than we got on our street because she lives in a circle off the main street. (In California, a house where you have less noise is more valuable than it is in rural America.) The garage dominates the front of the house, making it looks smaller than it actually is. The windows to the backyard and the upstairs balcony do create a lot of room, but I always felt like I was looking out at the interstate of walkers and school children passing my kitchen window, back and forth, back and forth all day. I heard the school children playing in the morning and the parents coming home and taking their kids to practice in the evening, even as I was stowed away on my private island.

The House by the Elementary School...

The House by the Elementary School…

As I have alluded to, I felt semi-home at my apartment, which was the definition of a studio space. My realtor told me that renting is for people who want to do nothing but work and not do home maintenance, making that your residence nothing more than a glorified Motel 6. The complex, a mess of college students and other twenty-somethings, represented a mass of humanity at life way stations. In my constant desire to be alone, I always seemed to work my hours so that I woke up well after everyone else left for first shift at five in the morning, and arrived back after everyone else was in bed.

After I had lived their for three months, I felt much more safe than I ever felt on Pinewood because there were a lot of people living close to my apartment and could hear the city bustle when I lay awake in bed. Even when a door slammed at three in the morning and someone stormed out, it was mildly disturbing when I slept in proximity to others, very similar to the time I lived in a dorm just off the freeway in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Street by my Apartment...

Street by my Apartment…

I don’t want to make conclusive assertions about my new house, since I’ve only lived here a month. There’s more drive-by traffic than I expected because of an one-way street that forces some people to drive by my north corner, but overall it’s not bad. From the outside, my house looks bigger than it is; I’ve already got stuff strewn everywhere. I have a porch I can sit on in to read and watch people go by.  There aren’t as many walkers as there are on Pinewood, just the hodge-podge of people who live around me. Since I’m in an old part of town, the houses around me are kept up to varying degrees. Some are ghost houses, some have been refurbished and dazzle, others are abandoned, still some are being rebuilt. It is not crowded with families and retirees like Pinewood was. In a way, it’s like cities were back in the 1950’s, when people of all walks of life and political persuasions lived close to one another. While I have left the old walking trails that lead around the ball fields behind, I can now walk into downtown Seward, mega-plus.

My new house is a dilemma in the making. I love the old-school neighborhood and the old-school high windows and ceiling, but my house is small and lacks the closet space of a modern house. I would really miss being close to the coffee shop and the bank if I had to move, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Who knows what opportunities will come by in the next thirty to forty years? I may even get a chance to leave Seward.

But if I stay, it’s great to know that Seward has plenty of options.

Rocking it at the Crib...

Rocking it at the Crib…

Thanks to St. John for letting me stow this here...

Thanks to St. John for letting me stow this here…

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