we just bought a subscription to national geographic. three issues in, and it has now become my main means of procrastination. when faced with the choice ‘Gather 2012 Tax info or read about 1912 expedition to antartica’, chances are pretty positive that i’m going to choose the old huskies. and because it’s national geographic, it doesn’t really feel like I’m doing something wrong. because while i’m not doing what i should be doing, i am learning. and isn’t that what life is all about? learning?
yesterday—while i was not doing laundry—i read an article about scientists hypothesizing visiting the farthest star. and we’re not talking like hong kong far. we’re talking like over 20 years far. which seems totally unfathomable, yet there are people out there that are figuring out if it’s possible. and then there are people out there who want to make reusable rockets to start bringing stuff to mars to make it a sustainable place for people to live. interplanetary living.
my first thought was: oh, great, i’ve only seen 1/100 of the world and now i have to add mars to the list, too?
and then i thought: well, if fran and i go to mars, i hope they have wifi. it would be absolute instagram gold.
and then i thought: i wonder if you’d still only be allowed 1 quart sized bag of 3 ounces or less products on the flight over.
and wouldn’t it be crazy to look out the window and see stars and planets and the moon?
i mean. it’s all sort of thrilling and exciting.
earlier this year, my friend scott and i took a trip to marfa, texas. it’s far west texas. the thing about marfa is the mysterious lights. these little orbs of bright gold and green and red that shoot out from the horizon, hover in the sky and then slowly drift toward each other and disappear back into the horizon. scott was mildly fascinated by it all. myself on the other hand, i thought it was totally alien activity.
i even bought a t-shirt.
another night, we visited an observatory on top of a mountain. a guide took us all outside and used a really powerful laser to point out stars and constellations and galaxies. we then went to those big telescopes to look at things: jupiter, the moon, a star cluster. so you wait in line and then you put your eyeball up to the telescope that is fixed on its subject and you gaze.
it’s incredible. there was jupiter. its rings brown and white and yellow and beige. and it was about the size of a penny just floating there. and then there was the moon. and that was gorgeous and mystifying too.
and can you imagine an alien on vacation with his college friend, going to an observatory and looking back at earth? now that would be something.
I never write in this blog anymore. But tonight’s different it feels.
fran and i are renovating a house. it looks beautiful and cool and bright and just the right amount of crazy—a very delicate balance!—and it’s our big, beautiful and cool house and we’re finishing everything now. and then there is the guest bathroom. and from the start… from the very pull mood board i pulled together…. the guest bath was to be old school ralph lauren classic club bathroom. black lacquer wainscoting. wallpapered. brass fixtures. claw foot tub. and white penny round tile with black grout.
And we got black lacquer wainscoting. wallpaper. brass fixtures. claw foot tub. white penny round tile. grey grout.
grey effing grout.
master fail. we just had a major master fail. a lapse of communication (fran is the liaison with our contractor and general project manager). we experienced total communication lapse. i wanted black. and we got grey.
and we yelled at each other! boy did we yell at each other!
'you never said black grout! you just said dark grout!'
'i thought you knew dark grout was darker than grey grout!'
'how was i supposed to know?'
'because it was in the moodboards, fran! white penny rounds with black grout was always in the moodboards!'
and then fran left and went to grad school class. and i stood there in our 3/4 finished house and I screamed. I stood there and screamed in our new house. I screamed over the goddamn grout.
And then I went home. And I made dinner. And I sent some emails. And I googled ‘An easy and cheap way to change the color of your ugly ass grout’. And I chewed some bubblegum and had a lacroix. and then i took out my box of polaroids as I had some new ones to file.
(editor’s note: by file, i mean throw into a big box of polaroids.)
And then there were all these polaroids. And the box I had holds the last 4-5 years. And that was fran and i’s relationship in instant film. Every single picture. And even the first one I ever took of him. From the very beginning of our instafilm relationship, there he is. standing awkwardly in front of the isabella stuart gardner museum.
'okay. you have to hold really still. this camera is a little sensitive,' i probably told him.
and flash. and motor sound as the photo slides out. and then we lock eyes and then it’s sort of cool to think that the man posing awkwardly in his first polaroid will be the man who i spend the rest of my life with. Fran grabs the camera from me and tells me to go in the same exact spot in front of the museum. And i do. And i know how he felt. it’s an awkward feeling silently waiting for the flash to pop.
our first polaroids: two awkward young lovers standing in the same spot.
And i move on.
there are polaroids from our trips. there’s a butt in background and fran dying laughing in the foreground in the south of france. and there is a group of nuns vacationing in mexico. and a puerto rican parrot. and a big donkey decorated with lots of tropical flowers in jamaica. and a rainy day in maine. and there’s fran in the spinning teacups of disneyland. and there’s me in a venetian mask licking fran’s face while visiting silvia in italy. and a photo of sandra taking pictures of us in the back seat of the car on a late night drive through paris—sandra’s scarf wrapped like a movie star and fran and i giggling in the back, drunk from dinner, and totally loving the very moment we were in. and there is a carnival in portland, maine. and wild wallpaper in west virginia. our first broadway show in new york city.
and then there are the ones in our home in boston. that cozy little place that was packed to the studs with our collections of odds and ends. there is one polaroid of us making funny faces on our couch.
Our entire relationship captured in instant film.
Fran walks in the door from school and although we both want to scream, i show him that picture of the goofy faces on the couch.
And at that moment, grout seems like the farthest thing that matters.
okay. so let’s get caught up. we went to france. and the south of france. and i stole an ash tray from the hotel du cap at breakfast without either my mom or dad knowing. it was an awesome ash tray with the name all fancy like written in gold in the bottom of the tray and the rim in gold also. it had a place to put your cigarette as most ash trays do. i stole it by slipping it in my bag.
it’s now sitting, wrapped in a french newspaper somewhere in our new house.
we had high hopes, big plans to be finished with our home by now. we moved here in april. it’s now august. and we haven’t even started anything. we have a contractor and we have wallpapers picked out. and we have lighting and faucets and floors and ideas and pictures and stuff like that. but we are waiting for it to start. but it will start and it will be awesome. and we’ll have this beautiful home that is perfect for us. right now, i’m leaving things just everywhere. there has been a balled up pair of fran’s running ankle socks just sitting on the floor of our kitchen. not sure if it’s dirty or not, but it’s just sitting there. like it’s glued to the ground or something.
neither of us have moved it. or acknowledged it. it took our friend silvia being over one night and throwing the sock at me as the punchline of her joke for me to realize that a BALLED UP SPORT SOCK WAS JUST SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR KITCHEN.
i step on the shower rug with my outdoor shoes! there is a ring in the toilet! there is an empty toothpaste sitting directly next to the new toothpaste! The little foil wrapping of the toothpaste tube is on the floor! It must have gotten to the bottom of my foot because now it’s also in the kitchen! There is dust! and dirt! AND A BALLED UP SOCK JUST SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR KITCHEN!
but whatever, it’s all going to change and so, like, whatever. Our front door actually broke and our contractor replaced it for us for free with this big, grey door with a plastic mailbox nailed to the front. The neighbors probably think we are so tacky! There was this cute brown, rounded door (think hobbit-ish) on the front of the house. And now there is a big, grey, steel door instead. WITH A PLASTIC MAILBOX NAILED TO THE MIDDLE!
Okay, where were we. So now Fran and I are back in Chicago. Fran got accepted to business school at Kellogg. That’s huge. We’ve been to pittsburgh twice. and we’ve been to florida for family vacation. And a trip to wisconsin for the fourth of july, where fran’s aunt hired a man named dale—i think he was named dale—to come play his italian accordion (it’s called something else when it’s the italian accordion but i can’t think of what it’s called) for us. he didn’t know many patriotic songs but he did know a lot of polkas.
The concerta? I think it’s called a concerta. Maybe.
Anyway, that was awesome. But fran’s sisters and I and fran and his cousins were all standing in the lake house and this guy walks in and we thought he was there to fix the fridge, but he was actually the entertainment. He was wearing all brown and little did we know that he would really define our 4th of July 2012. Later that day, fran and I took out a jet ski on the lake and jumped in the lake with our life jackets on and floated around and talked about our life together thus far. And every so often, cold water would nip at my feet and then I would see fran raise his eyebrows suddenly—the cold current just passed right by him, too.
We got home from wisconsin and then a few days later we went to florida. There was a crazy thunderstorm over the ocean—our house was right there on the beach—and lighting would strike on the water and you could see tiny, little sparks all the way from where we were. Lighting on the water. I think that’s a song?
Storm on the water. I think that’s what it is.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, for the first time ever…. Dale… on the Concerta… playing Storm on the Water!
And that’s, well, that’s been half of my summer.