Saturday, February 05, 2011


[First – a thank you to my all the commenters, always. You have been especially fun and funny and sweet in the last days and months, and I deeply appreciate all your writings on Ocean.]

Today we shook hands in agreement, Ed and I. (Not that we fully understand the terms of the agreement just yet, but still, it was a solid shake.) I know this much: slowly I’ll be shifting my belongings to the farmhouse. Come April, I’ll be where I was in the first years of my life: amidst farmlands and, well, farmlands.

We spent the morning going from Menards to Home Depot to lumberyards and plumbing retail outlets. I have been working with an old friend in construction (Andy Anderson) who has seen me through hefty home improvements in the past, to come up with a plan for the farmhouse that is basic and clean. We agreed today on what needs to be done and how to go about doing it.


Yes, there are crumbling walls, broken stairs, missing ceilings. Yes, there are odd holes, cracks, chips and unmatched surfaces. But surely it’s doable. Andy will build, Ed will tackle the outliers, and I can stain and seal. We are set to go.


Ed still marvels that I want to put that much effort into restoring something that is not built with modern sensibilities in mind. Nor is it especially efficient in design. And the neglect has been tremendous.

But I do. And I’m even okay with the downside: the necessary drive to a grocer, the mosquitoes (they are especially dense in this part of Dane County come summertime), the stepping onto a turf that is not my own. There’s a lot of outdoor work too, and I don’t mind.

It’s all part of the idea that I have – whereby the better part of the soft seasons (spring, summer) will be spent on a combination of outdoor work and writing work, and the rest -- the harder seasons, they’re for my classroom life. And one of the best things about the farmhouse is that it’s a mere twelve minutes by car to campus. Or 45 minutes by bike. Or split in equal portions between the two.

In the meantime, tonight we did the very urban thing of going to Sundance Theaters with my older girl and to Porta Alba for pizza afterwards. I have to soak up those last bits of city life. Before I turn into a pumpkin and bask in the sprawling farmed fields to the south of Madison.