titusnowl: (1790s naval reading)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I don't have a firm opinion on the first matter, but whenever the "nature vs. nurture" debate rears its head I come down strong and hard on the "nurture" side of the argument. Most of my siblings have been foster or adopted, all of whom came from very bad backgrounds - my parents are the "high risk kids" specialists for the foster care system they're involved with. Most of them were "crack babies." All of them were from poor families, parents in jail and/or on drugs, the kids themselves underfed, neglected, abused physically or emotionally - these aren't options for each kid, mind you, all of them were underfed and neglected and abused. They've all come to our family with behavioural and emotional problems; they've all been undersized when we got them (the little brother of mine who wants to be a spy when he grows up was wearing "preemie" sized clothes until he was about six months old, I shit you not). They've all turned out just fine. Tiny-tot Spy-boy is now 7 or 8 years old, taller than my mother, hale as a horse; he was developmentally delayed and didn't learn to talk clearly until he was 4, but is now a surprisingly clever conversationalist with a great sense of humour and something of a native genius at science and math problems (I know science and math aren't directly related to speech, but they were saying he was actually retarded when he was younger). My parents take babies with terrible starts, and raise kids who are above average. We also all act related - there's a range of emotional temperaments in my family, with my mother being a person who is Serious and Does Not Talk About Emotions and my dad being a person who is Goofy and Believes In Constant Reassurance Of Affections, and me, for instance somewhere in the middle where I am Goofy but Do Not Talk About Emotions; but all the kids end up sharing elements of the "family temperament," we almost all get my father's quick temper and equally-quick laughter, and given we've had more kids than I can count over the past 15 years I think the odds of every single one of them just coincidentally having been born with those temperamental factors already are pretty slim. So I am definitely a Nurture rather than a Nature proponent.
titusnowl: (little jeffie homemaker)
[Error: unknown template qotd]When I was born, we lived in a little house on Branch Street in Valatie, New York. My mother's best friend lived across the street; she had a son a few years younger than me, and followed him up with another son a few years later, and I used to go across the street to play with them.

The house was a low-slung not-actually-ranch-style home built (I guess afterward, based on the architecture) some time in the postwar housing boom, possibly as late as the '60s. It was brick on the front, facing the street, with mint green siding on the other three sides. One edge of the yard sloped down steeply into The Gully, where we built the doghouse. The back of the yard edged on a neighbour's fence; he grew green grapes, and I got in trouble more than once for picking grapes off the fence. The other side of the yard ended at The Thicket, where berries could be picked in season. I remember the yard pretty clearly, as you can see, but I have no memory at all of the interior of the house.

We moved the August before I started first grade; I remember being very proud of myself for memorizing my new address to give to the teacher on the first day of school. The new house was a double-wide, full-length trailer, cream with brown trim and a matching shed, with a huge yard because we were on the end lot of the park - there wasn't quite enough space to park another trailer between us and the cornfield and forests that surrounded the place, so our yard encompassed all of that extra space. I've never liked the neighbourhood (that's the place where the kids from the other end of the trailer park - our end of it was mostly old people, besides my family, and was well-run and respectable, but the other end was EVERY STEREOTYPE ABOUT TRAILER TRASH YOU'VE EVER HEARD, including meth labs and a guy who used to hang up gutted deer from a tree in his front yard), but the house and yard itself are very nice. I lived there for 13 years, altogether, and my family's still there - I'll be returning in a couple of weeks for a visit.

I spent one ill-advised year in a dorm room in Mississippi. That's definitely my least favourite.

During that Mississippi tenure, however, my "permanent address" - at least from the summer before school started until my sister decided to move back to New York at Christmas - was in Biloxi, where my sister shared a beautiful two-story condo with a view of the white sand Gulf beaches. I wasn't there long, but every memory I have of my time in Biloxi is pleasant: picnics on the shore, dollar movies with free beer at a theatre that catered to the sailors and airmen who usually bought me and my sister and our friends tickets so we'd get the discounted service-member price, trips to New Orleans, chocolate daquiris and nights on the offshore casinos. It was nice being a beach bum for a while.

My first apartment in Texas was here in Longview, and it was incredibly tiny - I want to say it was 360 square feet, and if it'd been an open-plan studio it would have felt a lot roomier than it did once divided into two rooms and a closet-sized kitchen. I never got very attached to it, and moved out at the end of a year.

After that we moved in together in Greenville and got a much larger one-bedroom that became our home for four years. I liked the apartment itself, but the management was two bitches in a bitch boat, and by the time we finally moved I was sick of the entire town. Only its relative proximity to Dallas saved it, and even that wasn't really worth it.

We're back in Longview now, in a two-bedroom with a living room that has no wall long enough to put a sofa in it, but that's ok because we spend most of our time in the workroom anyway. There's a fireplace, too, which I love about it, and the neighbours (now that the Queen Bitch and her Hellion Offspring have moved out from the place upstairs) are very nice. We still haven't unpacked all the way, though - the square footage of this place is greater than that of the Greenville apartment, but the layout of the floorplan made us end up with less usable space and a lot of stuff we just don't have room for if we take it out of the boxes.
titusnowl: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Justin's dad asked me this out of the blue as we were sitting around having lunch the day he helped us move into our new apartment. I told him I want a Viking funeral. He said he could probably find me a Coleman canoe.
titusnowl: (little jeffie homemaker)
[Error: unknown template qotd]One day, while living in Greenville, I went outside to check the mail and found an entire six-foot-long 1950s teakwood buffet cabinet sitting on the grass in front of the building. It was beautiful. Dozens of drawers were piled around it, none of the hardware was missing; the only issue was some slight crazing of the veneer on top which would be easy to cover, and a loose leg which could be glued back together. We waited a while, and it never moved, so finally we assumed they were throwing it out, and under cover of darkness - working to make sure it didn't get damaged by dewfall - we brought it into our apartment. Nobody ever said anything about it, and the neighbours whose apartment it was tossed in front of had a history of doing that (the day we moved in we found a video rack just sitting on the grass, and I put a note on their door asking if it was meant to be garbage, which was met with an affirmative so we took it), so I guess our assumption was correct.

I love that thing. It provides stylish storage and the barware sits on top of it and looks really neat.

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titus n. owl

February 2015

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