Monday, December 17, 2012

we are all connected

I have not personally met anyone who was at that school.
But we are so connected in so many ways.
People from around the world feel the same way.
How could you not.

If only...
Isn't that what we think.
There but for the Grace of God.
There I stand, there we are, there it is.

I know the area well. The scenes strewn about network news. The quaint little corner shops shown over and over personifying the all-american-new-englandness of it all . The homes are familiar to me - to us. We've strolled there. We've shopped in those shops. We've eaten lunches and dinners and snacks there. We've driven past that school hundreds of times.

The school itself is a literal stone throw from Ferris' daycare so very many years ago.
He was five then. Five can be so small.
Ferris also attended the middle school now opening its doors to our tiny neighbors in need.
I hope they find comfort there. I hope they soon giggle there.

The funerals started today. The first two held right down the street from the house we left only a year ago. I imagine the clogged streets and the full parking lots. So many people wanting to share, to grieve together, to support each other.

But we moved. We moved down here by the marsh. Out of the plush suburbs - into our tight community by the sea. Not quite as close here. Far enough so that our schools didn't lock down as our neighbors did. And too far to feel the press of the secret service yesterday.

From here however, I can glance out the window and see the church where a young teacher worshipped... until Friday. She was 27. Younger than my daughter.
She lived with her parents here in town. A vigil was held for them on our town green.
You see we are not so far.
No one is.

We have a little elementary school here in our secluded seaside neighborhood. It's just around the corner. From the back yard you can hear the kids at recess squealing with delight.
Today I see a police car parked in front. Guarding, protecting, comforting.

I am happy the car is there.
I am sad the car is there.

Peace be to all.

if only...

the mayans were right.

I openly wept several times this weekend.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

dusting out the empty nest

So they're gone. You know the kids. The nest is all empty, and tidy.
We're surviving - don't worry about us.

So here we are at the holidays - in this nest.
On our own.
Hmm... what will (grand)parents do when left to their own devices...

For the last 28 or so years we've been slogging out into cold fields, sometimes in the snow, sometimes rain, often cold - where we take a tiny saw and hack down the largest tree that weese would allow into the house.
and sometimes a bit larger than that.

We do these things for our children.

Kinda like we did this...

...for our children... but let's not digress.

Ah...but this is OUR year.
They'll be no slogging, no cutting, no watering, no needles to vacuum (or shovel up as it were)

ooo the bad tree year...

 because we did this instead!
It's a silver tinsel tree.
Yes. Yes it is.
We could not be more delighted.
The kids will be HORRIFIED.
Which will only add to our delight.
(the light blue glow you notice to one side is a color changing (omg yes... it changes) light bulb installed in the overhead recessed light fixture, conveniently placed above the Christmas tree I am sure for such purposes)
this tree is Wyatt approved... and tastes good too.

Friday, November 30, 2012

late fall

Things are still pretty mild here by the marsh.
While the delay is welcome, I am ready now.
Ready for what the winter has to bring.

This process, this being 'ready' is part practical and part emotional. Even if the house and garden and cars and such are all tucked in and prepared for the season to change, I still need to feel ready.
I am not sure yet, even now in my own autumn, what actually changes to ready me for the dark and cold of winter. I just know it when it comes.
There is no obvious connection to temperature, length of the day, day of the month --nothing I can quite put my finger on.

Its a struggle before this readiness sets in. My body bristles. I snarl against the chill. I am somewhat anxious. just happens. And its all ok. And winter can come.

Don't get me wrong. I do not like winter. I am a warm weather person. My people are short, dark, round island people. We like to swelter.

This readiness is simply acceptance.
I like to think of winter as a healing time. A time to come inside and nurture the soul. Let the dark be a snugly cloak - not a dagger. The early evenings force me to sit by the fire. To read. To relinquish to stillness.

Summer is for boisterous entertaining, sparkly drinks and dancing in the moonlight.
Winter brings long, slow, warm chats with friends over heavy wine and sugary treats.
While Spring may be the time to fall in love, winter can be a time to revel in it.

I can't complain about a season that allows me respite to regain my strength for the rollicking I simply must do once the sun returns to its highest point.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

weese unplugged

I've been threatening to do this for years.

About two months ago I called our local cable provider and gently broke the news.

No really... its not you - its me. I just don't feel the same about you anymore.

They were sad. But I had to move on.

Honestly I barely notice the difference. Between the two services H ul u and the Net flicks - its almost too much TV to watch.

But my son was not satisfied when he came to visit on Sundays this fall.
So I took the final step.

And there it is. In full Hi Definition living color.
FREE television. We watched football all day - jitter free, gorgeous picture, no cable.

(I have not had time to properly install the antenna yet. It's just propped up and bungee corded to a fence post - we get all three major networks and PBS - as well as about 20 foriegn language channels.. who needs Rosetta Stone)

Friday, November 02, 2012

a golden opportunity

It's been a busy week here by the marsh.

It started over the weekend with storm preparation.

First I extended all the gutter downspouts far from the foundation and lashed them down, then we put all the lawn furniture and potted plants into the garage. Tucked the extra propane tank in there as well. Certain we would need that if the power went out.

With all the extra stuff going into the garage it was time to do some re-arranging. So I pulled out my 7foot step ladder and started to lay some boards across the ceiling joists. This way I could eek out a little extra storage space up above.

This idea was working swimmingly. As I got up higher on the ladder to view the boards from above I noticed that for some odd reason my ladder had twisted and one foot was off the ground.
I guess I must not have set it solidly.
No worries, I was high enough to take my weight off the ladder by leaning onto a joist. This way I could reset the ladder with my feet.
Seemed reasonable enough.
Gravity had other plans, taking the ladder from beneath me.
Now... 20 years ago I would have been able to lower myself down gently off the joist.
Not so much now. I slid off that thing like a fish on a playground slide.

Luckily my sometimes-overly-concerned wife was not at home at the time. This gave me plenty of time to lie quietly on the cement garage floor and consider my options.
After I was fairly certain my leg was not broken, I managed to get up and hobble around to finish storm preparations.
I managed to get everything tucked away in the garage, including the cars - and locking it up tight against the weather, even with a limp.
I was pleased - albeit achy.
Time for wine.

The storm hit us pretty hard here by the marsh, being only 3 blocks from the Sound. Remarkably we had power until a large tree hit a pole down the street sometime just before dark.

It wasn't until the power actually went out that I gazed out the back window at the crazy storm -- all our stuff safely stowed in our new garage... and slowly it dawned on me.
Safely stowed... locked in the garage...

I have never locked that back garage door before.
Not once.

Which is why the keys for that door hang neatly on a nail - just inside....the garage.

Go ahead... open season. My adorable wife has been having good fun with this for days.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


It occurred to me that I titled yesterdays post 'reflection' and really didn't.
And so... I had started to compose in my head this long, rambling yet poignant post about this past year. How it truly became a reprise from a couple long years of hard things...

As I pieced together different bits and passages it all seemed long ago, and somehow felt close. Close as yesterday might be. Easy enough to remember days, moments, things that were said - a look maybe. Then my mind would bounce - different memory, same time frame. So many snippets. I began to compose - how would I write it, how could I best convey...

then I got THIS!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today I am 50.
Tomorrow I will be 51.
I don't feel a day over 49 tho.
Unless I overdo it. Then I feel about 54.

I have taken the day off from work tomorrow. Of course I will be doing a project. Doesn't everyone do that when they take their birthday off from work?

I am planning to finish up work in the mudroom.

Here is how it looked before we moved in:
I hope from the picture you can truly appreciate the filth. That back wall is a screen door and screened openings.

Here...just in case its hard to get an idea of just how bad it was. The picture below is the pantry - leading to the mudroom. We believe this was Rottweiler Ground Zero.
why o why did we buy this place...
The exterior door in the foreground has been removed as we made the 'porch' into an interior room.

We had this entire wall ripped down and replaced with new windows and an exterior door last year before we moved in.
Just before last winter I scurried around and insulated the wall and covered it with this attractive pink rigid foam.

detail of foam (and gratuitous large machinery in yard)

Finally this past weekend I got around to sheet rocking the wall.
no really...this is an improvement
It is my mission to finish this room this weekend.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


My halloweened-wife (aka auntie) loves to send the girls things in the mail.

A & J

Monday, September 24, 2012

Learning to use my inside voice

We love living down here by the marsh (my seafaring wife will say that we live by the ocean).
Living by any water does come with its compromises of course. Insects being one of them.

So in order to enjoy our outdoor space to its fullest - we added a screened porch to the back of house this past summer. Some of the best remodeling dollars we have spent so far. We live in this room.

When I last blogged about the screen porch we weren't quite finished.
We are now...

Patio is done, gardens are in and the driveway is paved.

grass filling in now in bare spots (fall is for SEEDING!)

The screen porch is attached to my creative wife's studio.
the glass studio

and offers easy access to the house.
mudroom up two steps
whats not to love?

Well... notice in the first photo the proximity of the house next door.
Helen lives there. We adore her.
She raised 7 children in that little cape. She is near 90 now and she is the most delightful person. Petite, always dressed impeccably. She still drives - but only to the grocery store and to church on Sundays.
With all the time we spend on the screen porch we do try to be respectful of dear Helen.

At least when I remember to.
There we were one Thursday evening (a school nite) entertaining a dear friend, couple (few) glasses of wine, lit some candles and started to banter and tell stories.
Funny (hilarious) stories.

Well, weese loves to tell a story.
Sometimes weese even gets a little ...animated..when telling a story.
Sometimes the excitement of said story causes weese to talk a little more LOUDLY than weese realizes.

Helen (the school teacher)- flashes her garage light. Just twice, quick.
Got it.
Inside voice please weese.

Not to worry tho - my clever little wife came up with a smashing idea...
(potterybrn - outdoor curtains. i hung them on galvanized pipe - they help deaden the sound)
 and our latest addition (thanks Ferris) for chilly mornings.
space heater - (center above back wall)

 Next update for this room is clear plastic panels to winterize. I'll add pics when I install them for the season.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

an epic tale

Have you ever seen one of those epic movies where they start out with some old dude or dame who spends the entire movie looking back on their lives. Recalling amazing stories, poignant moments and wild adventures. Forrest Gump or Water for Elephants are good examples.
Now perhaps you weren't a carny or didn't own a shrimp boat ... but take a moment to revel in your movie…
The ups the downs, the innocence, the wild days. Kids, parents, grandparents, neighbors - crazy neighbors. Holidays, vacations, long summer afternoons. The year there was too much snow. That time you locked yourself out ...and the crazy thing you did to get back in. Your first kiss. A random kiss. Getting a puppy. Realizing what a dumb idea that was. Gardening, swimming, painting, skydiving, tying your shoes, flying, flying in an airplane. Long drives with special people. Long drives with annoying people. Running out of gas. Siphoning. Your first car. Your first car accident. Your fourth car accident. Long luxurious Sunday mornings. That time you went to that huge concert and somehow ended up backstage with the band. Your hippie days. Your kids hippie days. Protesting, sitting-in, getting arrested. Cocktails on Christopher street. Climbing a tree, falling out. Falling in love.

Your life is epic.

wow. huh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I've notice a dramatic increase in large spider webs this season.
I have a feeling this has some weather indications.

The last time I can recall this happening was in 2004.

I am planning to do some research this evening, and perhaps get the snow thrower tuned up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

...and just like that she's back

It's really almost as if I were never gone.
Technically... I wasn't.
Gone that is.

I've been right here.

Doing projects around the house.


Hanging out with my new pal.


Taking up some new hobbies.

oh and... walking to the beach
with my love.

Monday, July 23, 2012

its ok. really. its fine. i promise.

Don't fear the empty nest.

Now when I share with friends and collegues that our last child has moved out, I get alot of similar responses along the lines of "OH THE HORROR" ... these are mostly from parents of younger children.

These parents go on to tell me how they NEVER want their children to move out; how sad they will be when they are gone, and they can't imagine their lives and homes without these kids.

Then there are the parents of teens - they nod knowingly, perhaps with a slight smirk. Folks in this stage of parenting believe that the teens years were invented to make you WANT the empty nest.

While its true the teen years can be difficult - they do pass, as did the terrible threes and the feisty nines.

What happens then is your child matures. They stop that hormone driven hating - stop hating you, stop hating rules, stop hating teachers and school and in some cases even stop hating brussel sprouts.
Your teen turns into a young adult. Who can actually be alot of fun.
Gone are the silly arguments over independence and laundry on the floor - and we welcome long meaningful chats. Intelligent, wordly conversations. Thoughtful acts and warm hugs.

So why you may ask would you ever want this fine young person to leave you?

Quite simply - because THEY want to.

Your young adult has come around, and survived your upbringing. They are often grateful and content with your company. And while they can't beat the accommodations... they really want to be out on their own. In their own space. Not like when they were teens and secretive. This is a matter of adult privacy. The kind you will also enjoy when they go.

Think about it.
You always wanted the best for your children, and hoped for their success and happiness?
Do you remember that feeling of the first night in your 'first place'?
So once they can, when they have the means --this will make them happy. 
Very happy.

And that will bring you joy.
(and the adult privacy doesn't suck either)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Our nest

Well its happened.
We knew it was inevitable, we felt it drawing closer.
All the signs were there, the ducks were lined up, plans made, preparations underway.
And so - it was not a surprise.
There was an announcement, a schedule, and finally... execution.

Ferris has flown the coup.

Its not like we're new to him not being around. He went to college, he went to Florence for a few months-- twice.
We're used to him not being here.
Tho, oddly, there is something about his room being empty. All those other forays into the world left his room intact, even looking a bit lived in, his energy still swirling about.
This time he took it all**. Took his 'stuff' to start his new life.

Ah, but don't worry about us.
A trip to Ikea and a couple Princess blankets later - we've transformed Ferris' once manly, cozy cave into cuteness.
Bring on the babies we've got room!

And look who came over to console us in our loneliness this weekend.

I think we'll be OK.

Definition of 'all' - meaning everything in his room. The basement and garage... well that another story.
Its a transition we are used to. The Daughter The Therapist finally took her stuff when we told her we were moving - the alternative being tossing the stuff into dumpster. Dumpsters are an effective motivator. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

5 weeks early
 a strapping
5 lbs. 12 oz.

our grandson

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

what do you do when it hits 100°

The roofers are here.

So is the patio crew.

We're in the final push now. The projects that were supposed to be all wrapped up by Memorial day - look like they may make it in time for the 4th!

Oh, and the Tax Assessor visited too.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

you know you've been remodeling too long...

when you start to vacuum and mop the plywood floors.

Friday, June 08, 2012

ever so close....

It's been 7 weeks.
We love the work being done.
But it's been  7 weeks.
This is really getting old.

The screen porch is done!
ok ok ... we still need gutters...and some landscaping.

The studio should be done in two days.

Pictures of that next week.

Friday, June 01, 2012


[from may 23rd]
doors to screen porch are in
hole cut through brick from mud room to new studio space
nifty ceiling fan

from studio looking into house


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

but wait ....there's more

I may have forgotten to mention that at the same time we are remodeling the attached garage to become studio space --we are also adding a screened porch to the back yard.

We live by a salt marsh...

Ideally I had wanted to screen the entire property.

After much consideration and several glasses of Cabernet, we determined this was, in fact, not practical.
So we'll settle for a small room where we can put a table and maybe a rocker.

Here are some progress shots.

more updates soon.
they are working fast!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Progress on the construction project.

After MUCH consideration, debate, research, waffling, deciding, looking at pictures and changing of minds - we finally made a decision on what to replace the garage door with.

There were many factors to consider, with a big one being price.
We quickly found out that would could get literally anything our imaginations thought up ...for a price.
If we wanted to be able to continue to - we may have to compromise a bit.
Here is where we ended up:


After (unfinished, and without the handles installed yet):

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

On the bright side?

We are no strangers to living in a house under construction/remodeling.

It's not for the faint of heart.

Furniture is temporarily strewn about rooms while its original location lies in rubble and dust. You step over things without even thinking. The vacuum is a permanent fixture in the middle of the dining room. There is a fine layer of dust on EVERYthing - even tho you keep wiping and wiping. The screens outside, nearest ground zero are laden with sawdust, muddying the view. Of course you don't dare to open those windows...not that it really helps. The yard is wet and gooey where the grass has been disturbed or removed. The dog gravitates to the expanses of moist dirt - why o why. And so there are muddy towels always to be found near the door, the vain attempt to keep outside out.

The bright side? Well... it makes entertaining a breeze. Gone are the days of keeping the house tidy and clean. No picking up, no dusting. O sure there is daily vacuuming - can you tell? Stuff is piling up on all horizontal surfaces. Its as if nothing has a place anymore. The disruption is infectious.

Drop ins are welcome - we just don't care. Watch your step please.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Bucking up

Work on the studio project is moving along. Its rather nice just having people show up everyday and do stuff.
This is the back of the house where they cut a giant hole into the brick.
Today they are doing cementy things out in the backyard.

In the meantime - I had recently lamented that the project we had started in the house had gone awry when my menapausal hormones decided I could not handle this heavy work.

To quell these hormones I used some wine... and hired someone to pull out some of the heavy, hard to manage stuff from the room.

Then ...we took the job back.

I am (yet again) painting the basement walls. We're using UGL Drylock on the cinder block walls. Its a great product, and the walls look nice and clean. This paint actually has cement mixed into it. This helps with moisture seapage through the block. Its kinda like painting with peanut butter, tho not as tasty. You can have the product tinted - but I want to stick with nice pure, clean white. Ahh white.

Then we (read 'we' as mostly my spunky-wife) tiled the floor with the least ugly of the cheapest tiles we could find at our local big box stores.

She is quite good at it.

This small room is done now and I was able to move my tools back in.

Here are the before and afters:

hideous, scary chaos



much better

next up....
the laundry room:

Friday, April 27, 2012

project work at the little house by the marsh

I have failed to post about all the construction, remodeling, landscaping, swearing, crying, painting, scraping, digging, sanding, sweeping, drinking, and washing we have done here so far.

I want to.
I want record it all.
For posterity.
For me.
But - it seems that with the end of each project or task comes a new one on its heels. They have mounted up in a heap now, and I am so far behind that I became paralyzed.

Today I throw my paralysis to the wind. Who cares if I am starting in the middle (or the end?). Just start. Today is now.

ok. so.
Monday we started renovation on the one car attached garage.
Seen here on move-in-day last July. Ew. That isn't even our crap in there.
You see, one of my 'had to haves' when we were house shopping last year was a two car garage.
This house didn't have that. We liked the house anyway (what were we thinking.. more stories to come)

And so...

The (my) garage is now almost complete - we are landscaping (by we, I mean my hardy-wife - you can see her wheel barrow there) and still need electric.

Since I am too lazy to actually get out of the car to open a garage door. This winter I ran an extension cord across the back yard into the basement. I am so clever.

Converting the one car garage to a studio was also part of the original plan when we looked at the house.

Sadly this renovation has been idle all winter...

Happily it is no longer idle.
(seen here after being gutted- new rafters installed to allow for insulation and lofted ceiling -more pics coming as we make progress) 

I have lived with this enchanting artistic woman for ...well most of my life now... and in all this time she has never enjoyed a true studio space. In our last house we shuffled her from basement to garage to backyard to front porch to back bedroom. Never a space that was hers. Never a space that could really be called 'the studio'.

I have longed for many many years for her to have one (o sure... I bet she was longing too).

And so finally... after all this time -- well in a couple more weeks...

My love, my best friend, this amazing artist will finally have a space.
A space to be creative, and enlightened.
To paint, to draw, to cut glass, to sip wine, to chortle, to dream, to inspire, to be.