In the 1800s, the menfolk

In the 1800s, the menfolk would forge ahead into the wilderness, pick a likely spot, then girdle all the trees with a hatchet and wait for them to die. Meanwhile, they’d construct a rude lean-to with saplings and any canvas they were able to salvage from their cargo wagon after they’d overturned it in a couple of dozen mud wallows. Once the lean-to was built and the trees good and dead, they’d proudly invite the wife and children to take up residence in the howling, mossy wilderness, in a dirt-floored hovel roofed with muddy canvas and surrounded by creepy, rotting dead trees. “No place like home, honey!”

Well, our move went slightly better than that. I sent Kate to visit in Seattle during the packing and trucking back and forth, so she could concentrate on the baby, and not on which contractor was going to show up at seven AM and stage an elaborate melodrama in the basement, starring themselves as the hero and all previous contractors to work on the house as foul, hamfisted villains. To stick loosely with the frontier metaphor: you know how when the hero accepts the gunfight with Black Bart, the creepy, lugubrious undertaker oils up and starts working with a folding ruler? Yeah, now imagine that the creepy undertaker is an ASBESTOS ABATEMENT CONTRACTOR. Sadly, Kate was already back home when that bit of the melodrama unfolded.

Anyhow, we’re entirely moved in now, and mostly unpacked, and we own almost the full complement of essential major appliances, and most of them are hooked up and operational. We’ve got a new refrigerator with ice that comes out of the door, which I have wanted ever since visiting friends’ houses at seven years old, and as soon as the plumber arrives for Act V, it’ll even be hooked up. We’ve got a washing machine (ditto: the plumber) and a gas stove (op. cit.) and a dryer that needs me to knock a hole in the cinderblock wall to route the vent. We’ve got newly refinished floors that glow in the afternoon sun, and freshly-painted walls that no longer show the grimy shadows of ancient cuckoo clocks, and we’ve got a cat that thinks he’s just ascended to the throne of a small country.


Lydia is smiling and laughing, and when you put her down to sleep, she rolls onto her left side with a decisive, pronounced “thump”. She’s outgrown the Baby Bjorn pictured below, so I’ve purchased an enormous Kelty backpack that she sits in like a Maharani in a howdah and charms the passers-by.

Kate has some pictures of the nursery.

In the 1800s, the menfolk

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