The times they were beautiful

We returned safe and sound and exhausted from our trip to Madeline Island. It was absolutely beautiful, it really was. There are a million things to write about and I’ll get to them, hopefully! So let’s do bullet points!

  • First and foremost, the wedding was beautiful and simple. Only close family, very small ceremony, no big planning. A lot of specifics weren’t even figured out until a few hours before the ceremony. I love that. I’ve really come to appreciate simplicity in these sorts of things. Writing the advice column and watching what my sister went through with her wedding sort of kills the fantasy about weddings.
    • Mary-Alice could not have been more lovely in her wedding dress. She was able to use her mother’s wedding dress (rescued and rehabbed post-Katrina), cut to a classic tea-length. The addition of simple pearls and mary-janes and you could have wept seeing it.
    • There were 16 people involved (including the bride and groom), so we all got to pair up and be in the processional. David walked his mom up the aisle and I got to walk with Matt’s (insanely adorable) little nephew!
    • Mary-Alice had asked us to hum the Wedding March as her father walked her up the aisle. Instead, it was decided that we would surprise her and sing “You Are My Sunshine” instead. The look on her face was priceless.
    • In sum, the whole event focused not on spectacle or drama, but on the very core of the matter: two people who love each other very much coming forward and entering into a public contract of obligation. Two people focused only on each other, basking only in the love of family.
  • The dogs, bless their retarded hearts, wore themselves out running all week. The house that Mary-Alice rented for the week was huge (comfortably holding all 16 of us), on a giant piece of land and allowed dogs! I’m not sure she knows how much I appreciate that I got to bring the doofuses with me on this trip. For whatever stress they may cause in the moment, they are always such a huge comfort to me.
  • The house we wanted to buy!!! It’s a bust. The inspection was on Wednesday, David had to come back into town for some work things and was able to be there for the inspection. We knew there was going to be some work necessary for the house, water damage and such. The assumption was that since the phrase “newer roof” was being bandied about as a selling point, then the water damage would be from the time before the “newer roof”. This assumption was incorrect. In fact, our assumption that “newer roof” would imply that the house had something that functioned as a covering for the building was also wrong. Apparently, the phrase “newer roof” means “a shoddy piece of shit installed by disreputable asspipes who thought nothing of scamming an old man out of his money and leaving him with something on the top of his house that channeled water directly into the structure for years to come”. There is nothing about this roof that was installed correctly, not the materials, not the technique, nothing. As a result the house requires more than any regular buyer could possibly put into it. I’m not sure if I’m more pissed at the city inspectors for not finding this or at the conservators of the owner’s estate for not putting forth the effort where he could not. I don’t blame the owner, it’s obvious he’s in no position to be dealing with this. Knowing that we are the second potential buyers to have sunk multiple hundreds of dollars into an inspector to find out this information makes me question the integrity of the entire deal. At what point is it no longer ethical for the realtor or conservators to not disclose the information about the roof? Certainly it is not a lie that the roof is “newer”, but that roof is a detriment to that property. It is continually causing damage to the house such that it was our inspector’s opinion that there was so much damage to the outer structure that there was no real recourse but to tear down the house and rebuild.
    But, I guess this is where we pull our pants up and move forward and keep looking. It’s really frustrating, but I maintain that in home buying you must always be prepared to walk away.
  • The real sadness is that this was a house that we both liked equally. We have each seen houses that we have liked but the other was unimpressed by (do I love the mid-century rambler? oh yes I do! does he? not so much.)
  • Being on Madeline island re-awoke a little spark in me. There’s a part of me that wants to buy an old farmhouse somewhere near a crafts or artists community. Someplace where it’s half hippie artist and half flanneled ambiguously lesbian with a few dogs and a house that has a great view and some problems in the winter and a no-nonsense haircut and wide hips and artsy sensibility and raspberries in the backyard and David climbing trees somewhere. Somewhere like…Vermont…
  • On the drive home we hit some road construction on I-35, north of the cities in the “Save the Baby Humans” corridor (these exist everywhere approximately 100 miles outside of any larger city on the interstates where the billboard space becomes a bit cheaper). I got nothing against the pro-life message per se, but I am a deeply cynical human being and sitting there for 40 minutes seeing billboard after billboard touting “God’s Handiwork” and “God’s Greater Plan” and “I had my genes BEFORE I was born” made me wonder why they never showed pictures of babies with anencephaly or harlequin ichthiosis, are these not also part of the plan? Examples of the handiwork? Someday they will invent a pill for my brand of cynicism and the world will be a calmer place.
  • I was greatly saddened by the passing of Senator Kennedy this past week. He truly was one of the last great fighters for equal rights for all. As much as I appreciate Obama, he is no Ted Kennedy, that’s for sure. For all that would spit the venom of his faults and mistakes so haughtily as he passed, I would counter with this article. I know of few others who have fought so hard to give a voice to those who had so little. He was not one that fought to oppress many while hiding secret affairs (ahem, Mr. Sanford, Mr. Craig, Mr. Ensign, Mr. Foley and so on and so on).
  • Another passing that surprised and saddened me was that of Ms Sheila Lukins. She was second only to Julia Child in my book. In fact, she saw the banner Julia Child was carrying and took it one step further. Fine french cuisine was, in fact, accessible and attainable for the home cook but she told us to not forget Morocco and Thailand, cumin and fish sauce, she truly was a pioneer for expanding our meat and potato palates beyond the borders of midwest and out into the greater world. I have owned a couple of her Silver Palate cookbooks and in the mid-nineties when I was coming into my own in the kitchen I learned so much from them. She was part of the celebri-chef culture back when it meant knowledge and artistry, not stringing together whatever current hip foodie culture terms are popular and face humping a camera to the delight of the pre-menopausal (I’m looking at you Emeril and at you, Bobby Flay).
  • I got nothing else right now. David is back to work today. This week I will be sorting out my head and getting myself back on a regular schedule. I hope to write more about the issues of coming off Effexor and the wall I hit this summer. I also need to focus more on my fiber production and get more yarns and rovings out there, as well as finish up the new website for it all. Oh, and Chester has a few opinions to share with y’all.
  • Unrelated pet peeve: it’s spelled “voilà” and not “wallah”

ps about 2 weeks ago the banner at the top of my website went from being the same shade of pink as the sides to being a different shade of pink. Can other people see this? I’ve changed nothing on the site. Any ideas from the peanut gallery?

6 thoughts on “The times they were beautiful

  1. Maybe they were joking? I know it’s “voila” but spell it “walla” because someone I ran across on a board years ago actually thought that was how it was spelled. Now it’s sort of a running joke.
    And yes, I can see that your banner is a different pink than the rest but I don’t know how to fix it. I am the suck.

  2. The house-inspection money can also be called ass-saving money. I was sad to lose a deal on a house in a similar way but I chalked it up to good luck. Thank your lucky stars :)

  3. Sorry to hear about the house. To me the pinks look the same – on the left there’s a section with no border between banner and sides above the further-away dog (Maddie? I assume Chester’s the super friendly one up front), and I don’t see a distinction in the color, except whatever optical illusions my mind is having fun with.

  4. Waa. I left a long comment somewhere, but I don’t think it posted, and now I can’t find it. As my daughter would say “Anywhoooo….”
    I’m so sorry about the house, but you would love Vermont. I thought “She’s thinking about Vermont” before I came to that phrase in your paragraph. My real home is the midwest (born in Iowa City, went to college for 20 years there before moving to Vermont), but the vibe here is very special, and if you want an artsy community, the state abounds in them. From the tiny (Hardwick, with a weaver, book artist, blacksmith and glassblower), to the fairly large (Brattleboro), and all sorts in between. The fiber arts are enormous, too (and you’d be closer to that mecca of yarnies–Webs–a place to which all true yarnies should make a pilgrimage at least once).
    Please come!
    More importantly, you are a genius at describing the the most fundamental truth of a thing–weddings, sexuality, etc. You have a genuine gift. I’m such a huge admirer of your writing but more so your brain. A book would be wonderful, but don’t feel pressed to write one unless you really want to. I know you won’t.
    Good luck finding the right spot.

  5. Ask your realtor to add the home inspection to the file on the house. You already paid for it, you can save other people who might look at the house a lot of time, money and heartbreak by sharing.

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