Beating the one-car-family blues

I spent allll winter waiting for warm weather so Beatrice and I could finally get outside and enjoy our gorgeous summer city, something I never really got to do when I was working in Chelsea.


After a couple weeks of lovely weather, however, I realized that we had done all we could do on foot. Continue reading!


December 22nd was our official move-in date at the new apartment.


I did not take photos of the move because I HATE moving. However, this move was probably the best move of my life. Have I mentioned the peace? And the space? We have the whole second floor. And NO ONE lives above us. And rent is easily half of what it would be if we were still in NY. But the commute is three times as much … so yeah, still coming out about even.

As I already mentioned, Erik was in charge of “before” pictures. They all look like this:


He thought I wanted him to take before pictures of the walls and not of the rooms.

Anyway, we’ve been working on gradually making some subtle rental-appropriate improvements that make us happy.

For example, see that random turquoise threshold on the bottom right?


After a couple weekends of sanding through four layers of what was surely lead paint (we used masks!), I put down a coat of strain and a coat of poly … and we had a decent-looking threshold:


The mix-and-match linoleum remains a problem. I’ll have to work on the landlord a bit for that one.

The turquoise is still alive and well in the back half-bedroom (currently masquerading as a walk-in tool closet). We’ll have to address that at some point as well.


Erik’s mom and stepdad came out from MN for New Year’s weekend and helped us feel homey with cupcake plates and competing NFL fleeces. Neither of which did us any good in the post-season.


We used their visit as motivation to get to Halibut Point finally:



Their visit also motivated my mom, dad, and stepmom to come up to Gloucester for brunch at Sugar Mag’s and a snow walk around the harbor. And musical winter accessories it seems.

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And tea in our new bay window nook!


A few more of my new apartment favorite things …

Ocean frost on the bathroom window:


A colorful snowy neighborhood:


A colorful cozy living room:


And the perfect sunrise view from my spot on the bed:


Visitors welcome!

November ventures

In November, we signed the lease on a new apartment in Gloucester.

We were excited because it had (1) more space and (2) fewer neighbors that required us to (a) call the police, (b) hide under the bed in fear, (c) invest our life savings in earplugs.

I asked Erik to take “before” pictures. They all look like this:


I should have supervised.

We couldn’t move in for a month, so we busied ourselves with our typical schedule of local exploration (in the 5 minutes per week not occupied by our jobs or commute).

We discovered and fell in love with the Manchester-Essex Conservation Area:





I also discovered that the little patch of arugula I had planted on the side of our building in April suddenly decided to grow. Yes, in November. After the frost! I don’t get it, either.


I made a salad. Erik didn’t want to eat it because he thought it had probably been infused with too much dog poop. But I convinced him, and he agreed it was delicious. It was nice of that little arugula patch to produce before we moved.

We also went on a cemetery hunt.


I see this gorgeous old cemetery every day from the commuter rail, but I could never quite figure out exactly how to reach it on foot.

Problem solved!


The cemetery is so old that this huge tree grew around the stone:


Can you spot the Erik?


The month ended with some turkey gymnastics. I was certainly not prepared for the logistical challenges when my hero scored us a giant turkey from the farm at the last minute.


The end result, however, was a glorious Thanksgiving turkey raised by my farmer. Sadly, I have no photographic evidence. Just know, it was worth all of the maneuvering, creative transportation, and extreme refrigeration measures taken.

Sigh, November was beautiful.


I miss September

Let’s talk about the brilliance of September. Especially since we’re just coming off of about 10 weekends in a row of “blizzard-like conditions.”

I miss September.

I took the birthday boy on a whale watch.


(It’s worth noting that we walked to the whale watch from our apartment. I’m so in love with Gloucester.)

And we actually saw WHALES. Like 6 of them. Right next to the boat.


I kept my expectations low because the 8th grade whale watch in 1996 was a horrible flop.



We also took a drive over to Plum Island. Before it got slammed and slammed and slammed by weather disasters. Poor Plum Island.


Our biggest adventure of September involved this out-of-control heirloom tomato situation:


Yeah. It’s a rough life.


It was the best problem ever, and canning was the only way out.

We hunted this down three Targets away and got to work. It was a LOT of work.


The end result, however, was that we had fresh tomato sauce through January. Maybe even February. Totally worth it.

Also, in September, Erik’s mouth accidentally walked into my cheek in the pitch-black apartment when he had no idea I was standing in the doorway. It was very surprising for both of us. This happened:


And, of course, our love affair with Cape Ann continued to blossom.

Cox Reservation:


Squam Rock lighthouse:


Squam Rock itself:


Pretty Annisquam:


Gloucester, I love you.  

Vale la pena

My door-to-door commute from Gloucester to Chelsea takes an hour and a half. Spending this amount of time in transit twice a day may seem like a waste to some, but I enjoy it for a number of reasons. I can walk to the commuter rail from my apartment, and I can walk to work from the commuter rail. I can catch up on reading and lost sleep.

And I can see these gorgeous morning views out the train window (unless it’s grey and rainy like it has been for the past five days):

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Apparently, the train also allows me random celebrity sightings on a Thursday morning in no-name MA towns:

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Good morning to you, too, Adam Sandler!

The other thing paying off around here is a certain low-wage organic farming apprenticeship:


And that’s not even the half of it. Who needs money when your man gets paid in vegetables? 😛