Welcome to retirement
Planning a home-based, backyard May wedding in the Catskills while simultaneously starting a new business and selling a co-op apartment in Brooklyn is not an activity I would recommend. Yet that is exactly what we are doing.
The impending marriage of our daughter is an occasion for joy, but I have experienced too many wet and wild spring seasons in the Catskills to be sanguine about the date of this one. Last May, if you recall, a small tornado tore through our region, toppling trees like pick-up sticks for miles. “Small tornado” is an oxymoron if ever there was one. Some meteorologists called it a “micro-burst” or a “mini-cyclone.” If a wind can tear down forests, it deserves to be called a tornado in my lexicon. We are hoping it will not be reprised this year.
Meanwhile, we are attempting to merge two fully-functioning households into one. Reduce, reuse, recycle is our new family motto. My husband thinks it makes sense to pack our spice cabinet from Brooklyn and mate it with our spice cabinet in Narrowsburg. A Brooklyn neighbor wants to donate it to a Syrian refugee family. Do I digress? I must, because I have too many thoughts roiling in my frontal lobes at any one time to keep them in order.
Oh, yes, the weather. Having survived three floods in our nearly 20 years in the river valley, we try to keep our basement lightly occupied by “stuff.” But this move and the upcoming wedding have challenged us. A collection of vintage bottles, intended for wedding decor, commingles with the doubled Christmas, Halloween and Easter decorations of a lifetime spent between two houses. Whenever I put something down there for storage, the vision of a thousand floating ephemera of floods gone by washes over me, and I reach for the highest shelf.
Trying to minimize the expense and labor involved in this move, I have resorted to selling and donating many favorite household items from our city apartment. A new service called Aptdeco provides an online space to buy and sell quality used furnishings. For a percentage of the sold price, they list and fully describe your item and provide for pick-up and delivery that is fast and efficient. So far I have sold a sofa, dresser and bed frame. (In the too-many-thoughts-in-my-mind department, I sold the bed frame before we moved out of the apartment for good. Now we sleep on a mattress on the floor when we are in the city. “It’s like the Casbah!” I exclaimed to my husband on a recent morning, surrounded by pillows.) Forget trying to donate extra pillows to that Syrian family, by the way. Only unused bedding is acceptable, pursuant to the prevalence of bed-bugs in New York City.
At least the wedding planning has been fun. With the caterer secured, we get to concentrate on decor and landscaping. Truthfully, I could use another year for landscaping, but a seven-year romance will not tolerate another season un-betrothed. I envision the yard dotted with intimate spaces for conversation with the main tent looking out on the river. The aisle will be a path flanked with chairs on either side, lit by candlelight flowing from the house, to a riverside arbor made of birch saplings by the groom.
The present reality, however, is much different. The porch is cluttered with winter storage, while the front patio is awaiting paving stones. Huge logs from previous storms still linger near the prospective arbor and a few overgrown bushes need taming, if not removal. Welcome to retirement!