It’s full-blown summer now, and I am writing this post from the guest room of our new home in Barre. My impromptu desk is a bookcase on its side without its shelves. It is pushed against the wall under the sash of the north-facing window, whose sole view is the screen of green leaves of the trees bordering our parcel from the slope and vista of downtown Barre. Wait–you didn’t know we had a guest room?
It’s true, we’ve upgraded from the apartment living of our past decade and have enthusiastically become new homeowners. After a year of search, and many, many questionable viewings, we found a practical, safe, and pretty home on a fairly quiet family-friendly street not far from downtown Barre. We purchased it from an elderly retired couple who’d spent the previous forty years raising their three children in the house. We met them for the first time at the closing. We sat and created small talk in the bank conference room as we waited for our brokers and lawyers to make their way in. He used to work for the US Postal Service. She’d had a couple of hip surgeries. I could tell they were sad to part with it, but I could also tell that they were happy to pass it along to a nice young couple such as ourselves.
The house was officially ours on Thursday, May 1st. I’d been packing for the past month, and we spent the entire afternoon hauling boxes over in our little Yaris. She made about a dozen trips before we ended up renting a U-Haul for the larger furniture. The house had been rooms with boxes for month before we invited friends over for a housewarming get together in late June. The deadline was a good impetus to clean, neaten up and stow unsightly messes. We had a great time and are still working our way through leftover pasta salads and beers. At the time of the housewarming though, we hadn’t set up the guest room yet. We’d been waiting on a bed frame purchased via Overstock.com that was late in arriving.
In addition to an upgraded domicile, we’d also decided to move on up from the springy queen-sized bed that Dan has had since his college days to something more well, grown up. I had my heart on a king sized bed. Thanks to a gift from Dan’s parents, we were able to purchase a mattress, box spring and frame at a reasonable rate. We’ve been sleeping on it for over a week now, and I am in love with it more than I can say. It’s like sleeping on a hotel bed every night. And now our old bed is in the guest room across the hall, and it’s ready for any and all visitors. Today, it’s my temporary office. I hear a couple of boys outside bouncing a ball between themselves.
Last Sunday was my birthday, and I spent the first half of it in bed, setting up my new laptop (on which I’m writing this), snacking on coffee and cherries. All while also checking on on Facebook and replying to birthday messages on my new iPhone (also a recent upgrade). I also finished a puzzle and did chores. We ended the day at the Trapp Family Lodge, at an outdoor concert of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. We’d brought a cooler of cold salads for dinner. We swigged champagne from the bottle like a pirates. We ate cheesecake and watched fireworks serenaded by the “1812 Overture”. It was a lovely way to mark the occasion.
So today and for the next 364, I am living out the end of my thirties. Making room for my forties. Tying up loose ends and making them meet. Seems like an appropriate time to make a bucket list, if I was into that sort of thing.
We’ve taken two camping trips so far this summer. The first to Little River, a park on Dan’s list, mostly for the History Hike and the three cemeteries within the park itself. I’d just started working at the beginning of June and hadn’t had time to plan was well as I’d like to have, and so the cooler and foods were slapped together and we came back home with some uncooked meals, which I regretted, but could have done nothing about. Our camp spot was wooded and private. We got turned around a couple of times on the hike, but made the full 3-mile loop. We found both the cemeteries on the map and searched for the third. I’d highly recommend the hike–it’s a moderate walk on a well-maintained path. We were out of shape for it, though, and our legs hurt for days. Also, I didn’t get to spend as much time in the sun, as both our tent site was wooded and the hike was wooded, so I returned home rather cold.
Our second trip was much better planned. We took three nights at Silver Lake. The site we chose seemed a prime spot, but to our disappointment, was located alongside the roadway. We had pleasant enough neighbors, and soon found that the stream running behind our site provided the right amount of white noise from the rest of the sites nearby. Because the brook cut through our woods, I was not able to forage as much wood as I normally like. Our food supply was more carefully rationed. We ate and drank as much as we wanted and came home with an empty cooler and full bellies. We took the pedal boat out on Silver Lake, explored Barnard (the cutest little Vermont town ever), and I soaked in a lot of sun. We walked at night searching for fireflies and bats. It was a good time.
Yes, I did start a new job in June. I am now the associate publisher at VTDigger.org, a non-profit news site focusing on policy and politics within Vermont. I’m enjoying myself immensely and feel rather lucky to have found a team doing great work. They are on the brink of some exciting things, and I am looking forward to being part of all of it. I left Montpelier Alive in mid-April, just before the time we signed the papers on the new house. I’m glad to have had an executive coach working with me at the time of these transitions, as it helped me to keep moving forward with deliberateness.
In my off time, I am coordinating PoemCity throughout the state, seeing through our vision of a PoemCity in every community. I’ll be wrapping up my training with LEAP in late August and hope to meet up with some old friends while in California. I’m taking a couple of online classes about measuring impact and mobile journalism. I’m reading Salman Rushdie’s memoir and planning our next party, which is a group camping weekend at Ricker Pond.
If you’re in the neighborhood and want to stop by, please get in touch. Obviously, we have much to talk about.