We drove up Thursday, September 3rd with a car load full of random items. Oh, this will come in handy, and if it doesn't, we have plenty of room to store it. A cooler full of dumplings on the roof and every crevice left in the car stuffed with meatballs, herring and KEX we set out from 37th Street to start our country living.
I hadn't seen the place I was about to call home since April. James drove by the house after signing contracts and knew a little better what to expect. The biggest thing that had stood in our way of closing was the previous owner's trouble with getting his thumb out of his hmhmhm. And our confidant down the road had been giving us updates on the tag sales and the dumpsters and the general appearance of "what's the hurry?"
Also, to pass code a front porch had to be built. So this guy has lived for 12 years without a front porch, right, and now he HAS to build one so he can sell the place. Nightmares of hack constructions haunted us naturally. But at some point he decided to go ahead and finish something. Prove those 20 years wrong. He went ahead and built the porch of his dreams and left it to us. His friends thought he was crazy but we had to say: stand up thing to do, man.
Go north on 87 to exit 18. Take a right on 299. Take another right on South Street by the Lowe's. Keep going past about 5 apple orchards.
Watch out for goats in the street. Yes, you heard me, I said watch out for goats. Go past the double wide llama ranch. At the stop sign by the big yellow house (The Gunk House, German bier hall opening in March, within stumbling distance from our house...) make a left on to Maple Avenue. Go about 3 house down and on the right, you'll see number 19.
So butterflies within we made that last left... The porch was a nice surprise. The full blown tag sale was not. Lots of customers and their cars in our driveway. The broken dreams on the front lawn putting a serious damper on the happiest day of our lives. We shoved our stuff in the living room and asked politely if the fridge could be cleaned out so we could put our meatballs away.
By the evening they had all left. A couple of strays driving up to ask "how much for a box of records?" but that was it.
I had reserved at least one hour every night the 1st week to sitting and staring at each other in panic and disbelief. What have we done?!!?! But that state of mind never took hold. Instead we started scrubbing.
Our 2 biggest challenges, 20 years of fry grease on the kitchen ceiling and the smell of pitbull breeding in the dining room. Let me tell you, dog urine is not an appetizing smell so having it in the dining room is a bad idea. The top picture is the radiator in said room with a piece of carpet/doggy latrine underneath it. This 2x4 piece of fabric was the first thing to make me want to get in the car and go back to New York City. Where life is easy. But we pulled and tugged and almost threw up and finally got it. That hurdle out of the way made looking forward fun again.
Scrubbing the ceiling was also a very rewarding task looking back on it. It was brown at first. Wipe, wipe with degreaser. It's yellow! Then primer - it's white! That wasn't so hard.
James committed to staying up in New Paltz for a few weeks to start projects around the house while I would go back to the city during the weeks to earn the bacon. But I gave myself 1 1/2 weeks at first to get settled.
Aaaaaaahhhhh. The weather was still perfect and the first week we ate all our meals on the patio watching the sunset.
Thanks to Rosemary, James' mom, we had something to sit, sleep and grill on, but more about her in the next chapter.