What can I say? We’re rusty bloggers. You can read the hopefully now-comprehensible version below…
It’s been 872 days since our last post, right about the time we bought a new nest and started remodeling.
Since then, some other relevant numbers:
1 Cick (Eliot) graduated from college.
872 Hours Sam spent watering lawn and assorted shrubbery.
2 Times contractor made Anna cry.
60 Years Sam has been on planet.
68 Tile sample choices Anna had to peruse.
1 Medical condition Sam learned will be a friend for life.
45 Paint samples Anna had to peruse.
8 Times Sam had to move ALL worldly possessions due to construction.
1 Time Anna made contractor cry (it was worth it).
Our one and only Sylvie died.
We finished the remodel this summer. We dined in our new screen porch. We watched deer feed on our long grass. And Hudson Valley sunsets. And our local heron commuting from pond to river and back again.
All incredibly beautiful, but…there’s the house. And the house has needs. Lots and lots of needs. And is servicing the needs of a house how we want to spend this moment in our lives? The answer is, uh, life is too short to spend one more second thinking about grout.
So, with the paint barely dry, we signed contracts to sell it and left for Scotland, a bucket list destination.
And for the next year, or two, or three, we’ll make our nest in rentals at all of our bucket list destinations.
Maybe we’ll hate living nest-less, maybe we’ll love it. In either case, we’ll let you know from our new blog location. We have to change the name because, you know, there’s no longer a nest to greet you from.
We’ve punched our Gypsy Ticket and hope to see you there.
Now that we don’t have our chicks around to obsess about, we’ve moved on to the dog.
This weekend we left her with a new dog-sitter (eek!), who immediately pegged us for the psycho helicopter dog parents that we are and has kindly spent the weekend texting us pictures to let us know our beloved fourth child is still alive.
Today, we received this:
After we established that she was, in fact, still living, we parsed the photograph for clues as to our angel’s mental, physical and emotional state. We wondered if she was eating enough. Were her ribs that visible when we left her? Her lack of sociability concerned us too. Since when is she a back-of-the-classroom kind of dog? And why isn’t she looking at the camera? Is she painfully shy, or did she recently go blind?!?!
But the question we pondered the most was…
“What is she THINKING?”
Sam’s convinced it’s: “I don’t do cameras.”
I’m leaning toward: “Where’s that damn cat. I know it’s here somewhere.”
How about you? What do you think she’s thinking?
So you think winter in the Northeast is a five month cluster of cabin fever, numb limbs and ice boogers? Well, maybe it is, but at least we have something to talk about. In California, it’s all “Beautiful day, bro” and “Yeah, sunny like yesterday, bro”. And that’s the end of the conversation. Up here, when you’re on line at the hardware store after a weather event you get full chapters of rich weather-related material: That near miss on Route 9 when the Subaru went sideways into the porch where the Gilberts are usually playing cribbage; The snowblower that sucked up a hardened squirrel carcass and launched it through the den window; Four days on an air mattress in front of the fireplace during the outage, surviving on gin and corn nuts. Big stories. Big drama. And new stories blow in with every low pressure system. You gotta love that.
Oh, and by the way, when the sky falls here, the view is pretty good, too…
My father wasn’t a sports fan when we were growing up. Yeah, he took us to a baseball game, and a couple of football games, but his heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t have a favorite team, and he never joined us on the couch to watch the playoffs or the Super Bowl. The Sunday New York Times sports section was the only section he left untouched. During the 1969 World Series, when every inch of New York was afire with Mets’ fever, I suggested that we try to get the impossible-to-get tickets to Game 5. “Who’s playing?” he asked.
Being a sports fan requires hanging out, and my father wasn’t a guy who hung out. If he was going to flop in front of a TV, the viewing had to be informative. PBS. 60 Minutes. A documentary. He didn’t do beer soaked den banter, or locker room small talk. His interactions with us were often formal. We scheduled a lunch. Or a drink on the porch. A “talk” in his office behind closed doors. He needed topics like politics, art and theatre to get to intimacy.
But during his retirement in Connecticut, he grew to enjoy professional football, a sport I had loved for years. He bought a pair of loungers where he parked himself every week and rooted loudly for the Patriots, my mother by his side.
On December 1st, in his hospital room, he and I watched the Patriots barely beat the Texans. And later that week, after he passed away, I realized that this was the first and last time I’d ever just hung out with him. There was no meaningful conversation. No topic dissected. No life plan analyzed. Nothing formal. It was just me and my beloved NFL convert watching the game. Together.
Today was designated DMV day, a day I’d been putting off for months because I assumed all DMVs were like the SoCal DMV where hours of waiting in line with hundreds of equally irritated people wins you an audience with a tweaked DMV employee. Needing both a new registration AND a new license, I carved out four hours and prepared to be irritated.
And this is the slice of heaven I found when I walked into the DMV in Hudson, New York…
One person in line, and dear Mary, who patiently guided me through the paper work. I was in and out in 25 minutes, and it only took that long because I had to do one of the forms twice (pen explosion).
Mary handed over the plates, smiled and said, “Welcome to New York.”
Diary entry, January 26, 2013: Wrote all morning then walked the dog. Freezing out, probably, like, 60. I think LA is getting colder in general. Lunch with Mark at the Country Mart. Warmed up enough that we could eat outside. I had the kale salad. Tasted like hay, but I have to keep the pounds off so I can keep wearing skinny clothes. Afternoon tennis with Shawn. Barbecue and mojitos on the patio with the Schnieders. I wonder if I’ll miss all this when we move to New York…
Diary entry, January 26, 2014: Spent all morning stacking firewood in the basement. Must reduce crazy heating oil expenses. Need a wood burning furnace. Or one that runs on french fry oil. Is there such a thing? Dog refused to go outside. The car needed a jump, and then Red Hook Hardware was all out of space heaters and fat wood. Are you kidding me!? For lunch I had a reuben sandwich, potato chips, soup, an apple smeared with almond butter and three oat cookies. Fuck it. Winter clothes/obesity. What’s the difference? I wonder if Sharper Image makes fleece gloves that I can wear while typing. Tweaked my back trying to pick-ax a deer turd that was frozen to the front walk. Maybe I should grow a really huge beard.
During our move from LA to rural NY, I told my wife that I planned to country-accessorize immediately upon arrival. I would own outdoor animals. I would buy farm equipment. My clothing would be “Git er done” flannel and denim, and my hat would read “John Deere”. Her response was, “Knock yourself out, poser.”
She had a point. I mean, how lame for an out-of-state urbanite to dress up all country local without actually being country local. But today, as I was walking our dog across a barren cornfield, I found this little beauty, frozen in the snow…
And I really don’t think it would be right to wear it without a proper tractor underneath me.