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Bits of Esopus

It was such a treasure to spend a few days in the country. As soon as I arrived, I curled up on a bench on the deck and napped with my head in Mike’s lap while he played with my hair. I spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the sofa with Printer, reading. I was so tired from our life in the city, I could barely move. And for the next several days I just sat, and watched the rain, or read a book, and I took lots of naps. It was perfect. The quiet, the storms, even the little chores. I completely relaxed.

Except for when we lost electricity, but who even remembers that?

I couldn’t post these as I was taking them because I didn’t have all the paraphernalia required to make the camera and the computer talk to each other, but now I’m home and I have the paraphernalia, so here are some of my favorite photos from our country get-away.

Warning: Two of the photos are of dead things.

dragon fly

Lunch! (Not mine.)

humming bird

The country is good for dead things.

rain soaked windows

It’s also good for afternoon sun through rain-soaked windows.

Happy Wednesday!

Thunder Storm

T with T and tea

Yesterday we had another huge thunder storm, so huge that for about seven minutes Trouble and I were huddled on the floor in the middle of this beautiful glass house wondering if the wind was going to blow all the windows in. I call this house a “glass house” because most of the walls are windows. I love that about the house, love that no matter which room I’m in the woods and lake are all around me, but in the middle of a fierce thunder storm, with rain pounding the glass and the trees bent by the wind, it’s a little terrifying. Mike took the picture above on his BlackBerry moments before the rain started, when the rolling thunder had first made itself known. Twenty minutes later all the power went out. The wind didn’t blow the house down, but it did blow over several trees, which knocked several power lines across the roads, which meant that we couldn’t leave the house, which meant I wasn’t going to make it back to the train station in Poughkeepsie, which meant I’d be spending another night in Esopus. Which was fine with me!

However, the downed power lines also meant we couldn’t turn on any lights or watch TV or get online or flush the toilets or wash our hands. ┬áThe water for this house comes from a well and is pumped through the pipes with electric pumps, so when the power goes out, so does the water. We had about a dozen gallons of bottled water in the basement, a bottle of wine, a lot of food, and a grill, so we decided the rest of the night would be kind of like camping in a super luxurious three-story tent.

We grilled meat and vegetables on the outdoor grill, in the rain, and we drank wine and when the sun started to set we lit candles and curled up with the dogs and whispered about the TV we would be watching if we could turn on the TV. And it was all fine and dandy until the sun completely set and the house was pitch-dark and suddenly I couldn’t relax. I was totally on edge.

“What was that?”

“What was what?”

“That sound.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“I think there’s someone upstairs.”

“There’s no one upstairs.”

“THAT! You didn’t hear that? That scraping sound?”

“It was probably one of the dogs.”

“Shhhh. Listen.”

“… …. …. …. … …”

“Ok, so it stopped. But I definitely heard something.”

I’m always afraid that with the loss of electricity will come the loss of civilization and before you know it, we’ll be attacked on all sides by brain-hungry zombies with gnashing teeth and rotting flesh. Even while Mike was roasting marshmallows for s’mores I was a nervous wreck. Even with chocolate and graham cracker crumbs dribbling down my chin, my hands were shaking.

Around ten o’clock we put all the dogs to bed and crawled in ourselves, a flashlight between us so we could both read. I was too jumpy to sleep, too jumpy to lay in the dark, but burying myself in a nice fictional romance was just the ticket. Then, at ten forty-five, I heard a strange sound. I froze, held my breath to listen. It was a low buzzing sound, so low it was barely audible. Was it a swarm of flies? The sound of a car coming up the road? When you’re in a glass house on the middle of eighty acres, the last thing you want to hear late at night during a power outage is a car coming up the road. I sat up and looked over at Mike, who’d fallen asleep with his face in his book. I was about to shake him awake when I realized what I was hearing: the gentle hum of central air. I reached over and flicked a light switch and the unnatural, gorgeous glow of electric light filled the room. I shook Mike awake anyway.


I turned the light off. Turned it on again.

“The lights are on! Great! Now will you turn them off and go to sleep?”

He smiled at me and pet my hair and I felt like I could breathe again. So we turned off all the lights, made the house pitch-dark again, and I fell fast asleep. I do love my first-world trimmings.

And speaking of first-world trimmings, I suggest you head over to Kim’s Kitchen Sink and enter to win a $30 CSN gift certificate giveaway!

Yesterday — This and That

We started packing this weekend. Not Michael and I, Adam and I. Michael is taking care of eight Alaskan Malamutes who live on eighty acres of land in Esopus, New York, and so Adam and I spent Saturday in Central Park, then we went to SoHo to do a little shopping, and then we went back to my apartment and started packing. I didn’t want to. We’d shared an idyllic New York afternoon and the last thing I wanted to do was ruin it by packing my home into cardboard boxes. I hemmed and hawed and insisted on cooking a three course meal, which is laughable considering I only starting learning how to cook within this last year, I was obviously just procrastinating. However, Adam is the kind of guy who organizes his underpants by color and cut because he thinks it’s fun, so by the time I had the first course on the table, he’d all ready packed up several boxes of stuff. And I was relieved. It was little like ripping a band-aid off a wound, but once the book shelves are empty, what’s the point in putting off the rest? So we packed and we packed, until we ran out of boxes and only then did I realize how much crap Mike and I have. Seriously. Adam and I packed twenty boxes of stuff from the living room and the only reason you can tell is because now there is a huge stack of packed and labeled boxes along one wall. Mike and I have really got our work cut out for us.

But for now twenty boxes will have to be enough, because on Sunday morning I hopped a train to Poughkeepsie and Mike picked me up at the station and drove me to Esopus, and now I am sitting on a deck with my feet up, laptop perched on my knees, a cup of peppermint tea at my elbow, and I am looking at this:

My View

I don’t know if you can tell from the crappy photo I took with my computer (I forgot the cord that connects my camera to the laptop, so had to use Photo Booth instead) but there is a lake beyond those trees. A perfectly lovely shimmering lake, full of fish to fish if you like to fish, and snapping turtles, and frogs, and all kinds of other wonderful things. There is space for the doglets to run around, so long as I keep them separated from the herd Malamutes, who, friendly as they are, see ten pound dachshunds and fifteen pound chihuahua mutts as snack foods. Of course, if I did let them mingle, we wouldn’t have to worry about driving cross-country with two dogs.

Sunday afternoon it was very hot and so I put our doglets in the air-conditioned, furnished basement and spent my afternoon like this:

P and Ish.

That’s Printer, and he probably weighs about a hundred pounds. He likes to rest his head on your knee for a scratch behind the ears, and if you don’t comply, he will take one of his giant paws, and he will place it gently on your shoulder and push a little. And then huff an exasperated sigh, as if to say, “I ask so little of you, human. PET ME ALL READY.”

This place is heaven. The space, the green, the crickets, the humming birds, the dragon flies, the wind in the trees, it’s all absolutely heaven. It’s a perfect reprieve from our impending move.

Malamute Footrest

Malamutes make good footrests.

T and TT

When Trouble wants to sit in your lap, you let her. All ninety-five pounds of her.

EDIT: This is my 100th post at A Serious Girl! (Just felt like I had to mention it.)