Back to Work

January
15
2014

 

I’m thinking it’s about time I get back to blogging.  With the holidays, and packing up for our move, writing has kind of fallen by the wayside.  But now there’s a little bit of progress to report, so hopefully you’ll see consistent articles in the future.

(I write that as if I’m not the one in control.  Hahaha.  Hopefully some blogs will get written, let’s look at the page and see if something magically appears.) 

We always go into the city to see the tree

We always go into the city to see the tree

We had a very nice, if low key holiday. We took our annual trip into New York City.  We went to the Shake Shack for the first time, then to Rockefeller Center, to the store in the N.Y. Public Library, and then to Bryant Park.  The weather was good and the four of us had a great time. 

This year I decided not to take down every single Christmas decoration since we weren’t hosting Christmas and, well, because I just didn’t feel like it.  Our plan over the past few months has been bringing down boxes from the attic, cleaning them out, and then packing them up for the “move” by putting them in the garage.  And our attic was stuffed.  So now it’s the Christmas boxes.  I actually still have them in the living room, some still need to be weeded through.  It’s hard getting rid of some of the old decorations.  They go back a lot of years, and even if I don’t decorate with them anymore, they still bring back memories. It’s not easy letting go. 

St. Patrick's is getting a makeover

St. Patrick’s is getting a makeover

We thought our metal building would be done by now, and we were going to bring down lots of our stuff, so that when we put the house on the market (target date is this May) the house will be somewhat empty, and when the actual move happens, there won’t be that much to take.  I’m not taking a lot of the furniture.  It fit in this house, and I’ve had it for 20 years but we’ll get new stuff for our waterfront house.  Which, you will probably remember, isn’t even built yet.  We will be moving into the “Crab Shack.”  Then, hopefully in the fall, after interviewing builders and finalizing our house plans, we will start to build!  It’s so exciting. It’s THIS YEAR that we’ll be building our new house!  I can hardly believe it!  It’s been 7 years since we bought the property, and the time is almost here!  Of course living in 1000 sq. ft. cabin for a year will be a bit challenging.  Especially because I’ll want to bring a lot of my “stuff” into the Crab Shack with me. (Winter clothes, small kitchen appliances (and I have a lot), all the stuff from my office!)  But I have a feeling most of it will be in bins in the garage.  I plan to mark them well, with “things to leave in front” actually placed in the front of all the other bins.  Will that actually happen? Eh, it’s a toss-up. 

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Skating is FREE!  You can rent skates, but if you have your own, it's totally free!

Skating is FREE! You can rent skates, but if you have your own, it’s totally free!

So, on to the metal building update:  we met with Nick from Diamond State Pole Buildings in October.  That’s OCTOBER, over three months ago!  We thought the building would have been up before Christmas.  And it was no fault of Nick’s.  He sent his guy to our town hall to apply for the permit, a service they provide when you buy a building.  But here’s the catch.  When you are building anything on the water, there are rules and regulations and protocols you must follow before anything gets approved.

The Chrysler Building had just that minute turned on it's lights.

The Chrysler Building had just that minute turned on it’s lights.

So did the Empire State Building

So did the Empire State Building

We needed to get a surveyor down to the property to map out the surrounding area, and presumably to draw in where the building would be.  But, this area has parts that are in the “buffer zone.” Yes, the dreaded “buffer zone.”  You are discouraged from building in the buffer zone, it would be a whole other rigmarole to get approval, and we had enough property that the building could be moved a little to make sure it was in the safe area. (Yes, maybe some of the regulations are warranted, it saves the shoreline from erosion and the Bay from pollution.  We get it.)

The water around the boat froze.

The water around the boat froze.

Brrrrr

Brrrrr

However, we now needed another guy to come down and draw up where the buffer zone actually was, and to test the soil to make sure it could hold the weight of the building.  And this is where we lost track.  That person was unknown to us, it was around the holidays, and nobody but us cared about the time factor.  We lost a month waiting for him to get down to the property and submit his drawings.  When that finally happened (two weeks ago) we realized that we now had to add plantings (trees and shrubs) to the property in the amount of square footage of the building.  You take away with one hand; you have to give back with the other.  So I researched plants native to Maryland (a requirement) and drew up a map of our property placing the trees, large and small, and the shrubs, and we went down to Maryland to our town hall to submit our plan.  After meeting with three different people in two different parts of town, we got verbal approval.  However, the actual permit won’t be issued for two to four weeks, at which time Nick will order the building, taking another two weeks to get delivered.  Seeing the pattern here?  SLOW.  Everything is slower than you want, and you need a lot of patience!  I said to John that when we move down in May we should start applying for our building permit for the house, which we won’t need until October.  And hopefully we will get it in time!  

Lots of geese flying in

Lots of geese flying in

Ice is gone, all is well

Ice is gone, all is well

 

The Oyster and the Turkey

November
27
2013

We have a lot of oysters on our property in Maryland.  A lot.  They are stuck to the rocks all around the perimeter. And the state has a program now to help little oysters grow.  They are called spat although we call them oysterettes. 

Oysterettes

Oysterettes

They help filter the water, which is a very good thing.  But it got me thinking, where did the saying the world is my oyster come from?  And why the heck IS the world my oyster anyway?   Oysters, in my opinion, are quite ugly.  They are gnarly and lumpy looking, and they are hard to open, if one should be so inclined.  I would not, I am not a big fish eater, and eating something that looks kind of snotty is not something I would ever consider doing.  (Please forgive me if you are an oyster lover).  I know many people don’t have the food hang ups that I have (although my translation is that their palate is not as refined as mine is).

The saying I found out, actually comes from Shakespeare, who coined quite a few idioms that we carry through our lives as truth.  All that glitters is not gold, break the ice, too much of a good thing, and too thine own self be true were written by him also, although they make a little more sense if you ask me.  The oyster quote first appears in Shakespeare’s play ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ (1600).

Falstaff: I will not lend thee a penny.
Pistol: Why, then, the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.
Act II, Scene II

This is my world?

This is my world?

 

We have taken this to mean anything is possible, (or according to some, if you have money then anything is possible.)  Why?  Who knows, maybe you have to read the rest of the play to understand it, because that translation doesn’t make sense in this context to me.  But we do know for sure you need a sword to open the darn things.

This is an oyster we caught while fishing

This is an oyster we caught while fishing

 

What does this have to do with Thanksgiving?  Oyster stuffing!  It’s supposed to be delicious because the cooked oysters delicately flavor the bread cubes. The recipe goes back to the 1600’s, and it’s popular in areas all over the country.  Although why anyone would want a fishy tasting stuffing alongside their bird is beyond me.

Turkey in our driveway in Maryland

Turkey in our driveway in Maryland

 

So, this morning, John and I were discussing our Thanksgiving plans, and the fact that we’re going up to my cousin’s in Connecticut this year, as we did last year.  Before that, Thanksgiving was always at our house and it used to be a houseful! We’d have my parents, my sister, John’s parents, his Aunt Betty who lived with them, and his Aunt Mary, who didn’t, but who we loved having over because she was a little thing who could eat more than three people put together. And of course there were John and I, our two kids, and sometimes a boyfriend or a girlfriend.  The guys would play pool before dinner, while the womenfolk  were upstairs, preparing food, or talking, or singing,  or just having a glass of wine.  Sometimes (frequently) the moms got into an argument! They were both opinionated and outspoken, and there were a couple year’s early on I would just dread having everybody together in anticipation of a fight breaking out.  Today, we’d love to have them all back, even with an argument or two.  Except for the kids and ourselves, they are all gone now.  We’re a small group of four right now, so we’ll join another group.  They’ll be ten of us.  Thanksgiving goes on, we’ll celebrate and be so thankful  for the family we still have, and that we can celebrate this day together.   We’ll be thankful for our good friends, for our health, and for our dreams for the future, which as you know, includes moving and building a house in Maryland.  Yep, the world may be our oyster, but that oyster won’t be in our stuffing.   That’s another thing I’ll be thankful for.

Turkey in our side yard in New Jersey

Turkey in our side yard in New Jersey

 

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.  I hope you will know the joy of family and friends, good health and good cheer.  And don’t worry too much if things go awry.  Believe me, it will be something you will laugh at years from now, when you are looking back at the celebrations you used to have.

At our house in PA

At our house in PA