Friday, August 28, 2009

New House, New Classes, Same Sam

So it's been awhile. I've made some promises. Regrettably, I didn't keep any of them. I said I'd bring you pictures of the new place. But it's not finished yet. I said I'd blog about Beach Week 09 and Nantucket. I didn't. My procrastination is at an all time high right now with all the things going on. That is not to say I'm not getting things done, because that would be a lie. It just means that I am not necessarily getting all the right things done.

To start with, this summer was probably one of the greatest summers I've had. Maybe ever. It was too good. I don't know how to be a student again. Or still. A month in Italy, topped off with a week of partying in Ocean City with the McDaniel clan, then a perfectly relaxing week in Nantucket/Boston, is probably the best vacation lineup a guy could ask for.

Beach Week 09 was highlighted by Doug's and my (how in the world do you properly write a double possessive like that?) Beach Week 2009 Cornhole Championship with a spotless 8-0 run to seal the title. Tim and I won the BW09 NCAA Basketball Championship playing the 1 and 2 for Virginia Tech (non-basketball fans, the 1 and 2 are the starting guards on a basketball team, with the 1 playing the point--the floor general and the team's best ball handler--and the 2 playing the role of shooting guard--generally a team's best outside shooter). We cut down the nets after a tight battle with UNC, leaving Tyler Hansbrough without his much-coveted trophy. Sucker. Other than that, we set sail with Jerry, rode the high seas with the Captain, and as always, Dumsers was nearby and plentiful.

Nantucket was probably just shy of the polar opposite of Ocean City. Instead of a week long party, this beautiful island was the perfect quiet getaway to finish up a fun but exhausting summer. Much appreciation to my mother and grandmother for bringing us out to visit them at their summer retreat (really, it's more of a secluded cottage in the 'woods' of Nantucket). Melissa's first trip to the Cape started with an easy flight into ACK, Nantucket's newly expanded airport. We rode bikes to Quidnet Beach and Seshachacha Pond (about a mile or two each way) and strolled along the beach there. Melissa and I cooked dinner each night, giving my Mom a much deserved respite from her duties. The produce on the island is unparalleled, the seafood as fresh as can be. The salty, humid air awakens a hunger, literally, that you have never known. We enjoyed sandwiches on the island's renowned Portuguese bread, tasted one of the dessert world's best kept secrets in Indian Corn Pudding, grilled fresh Tilapia from the seafood market, sampled all the brews from the Cisco Brewery located on Nantucket - all delicious. I took Melissa to all my childhood haunts, save for Pocomo, which we did not have time for. We hit Dionis Beach but had to weather a light rain, went to Miacomet but fought the cold winds, walked the Moors but were enveloped in fog, rode bikes to Siasconset (to the locals, it is just 'Sconset, as no one pronounces the "Sia") to show Melissa one of my favorite towns in the world. We wandered the streets of downtown Nantucket, a larger, more glorified and historic version of downtown Annapolis. We both had our first Nantucket bar experience where we met a quasi-celebrity in Rick Pitino's son. He was a very cool guy, and we enjoyed hanging out with him and his wife and their friends. My one complaint about the Nantucket trip is that it was too short. I could have stayed there two more weeks and still felt that way, though. C'est la vie.

On our way back home, we sidetracked through Plymouth, riding the Steamship Authority's Ivanhoe fast ferry to Hyannis, where Darrell and Erin picked us up for a Boston adventure. Plymouth is the site of my ancestry, where my family allegedly arrived on the Mayflower. I saw a replica of the Mayflower, the Mayflower II, stood over Plymouth Rock, stood before a statue in homage to another potential ancestor of mine, Massassoit--the famous Wampanoag chief that created the first Thanksgiving. We ate a delicious seafood lunch on the water in Plymouth before driving to Quincy, where Darrell and Erin live. We took a quick breather at their apartment before heading in to Boston, where neither Melissa nor I had ever been.

We stopped at Government Center to get the notorious scorpion bowls, which as far as I can tell is just a huge bowl full of various types of alcohol. They are meant to be enjoyed by groups of people. We did two people to a bowl. It was a great start to the day. They are only found at Chinese restaurants, and this particular one had all appetizers at about $3 each, so we feasted on some steak on a stick, crab puffs, chicken wings, and other goodies.

In to Boston, we met up with some friends of our hosts who were very welcoming. We hung out at their house, where I fought a constant onslaught of molesting mini-dogs. Then, I got in touch with the younger Rick and met him and his wife at a charity concert in the VIP room at the House of Blues, directly across from Fenway Park. No game there this day, unfortunately. We also stopped at Church, a bar with a homemade 'tequila inferno' shot that is made by infusing gold tequila with habanero peppers. It burned.

We are already trying to find a time to return to Boston for a longer trip. Less than 24 hours in any spot is not enough to really enjoy what it has to offer. Maybe next summer.

I don't have the patience to upload any photos at the moment. All the pictures from the aforementioned trips are on Facebook, so feel free to browse them there if you want to. If you're not my friend on Facebook and are dying to see these pictures, we can probably arrange something.

Pictures of the condo will be up at the end of this weekend, when we finally get everything set up. It has been a slow-going work in progress.

To set the mood, I'll describe it. Then you can see if my description gives you a strong enough mental image that the pictures seem familiar when I post them.

We are on the first floor, and to enter our condo, you have to duck under a low growing tree trunk that snakes up over our walkway. We are on the right hand side as you walk up. The door opens inward to pergo flooring throughout the lower level. Immediately to your right, a floor lamp rises above your head with a horizontal mirror with coat/key/hat hooks affixed to the wall (courtesy of yours truly). On the floor is a wrought iron end table with a glass top for Melissa's purse and things. Just beyond the table on the right hand side is a carpeted stairway that leads to...yup, you guessed it...the second floor. More on that in a minute.

Directly ahead as you close the door behind you, you will see a glimpse into our kitchen. As your view spans to the left, you will see a very open living room with a large, full wall sliding glass door/window hybrid that is entirely covered by those cheap white blinds/slats that hang vertically. If you trace the back wall, the one that the door sits in, you will hit a bookshelf, our entertainment center, another bookshelf, and then our fireplace and mantle, before finally reaching the future dog corner where Deacon will live, and then the wall. Turn that corner and you will reach our dining room, which completes the short end of an L. We have our pub height round table set up against the wall with one side flipped down so that it is flush with the wall. Four chairs - two matching wood and two metal afterthoughts - sit around the table. Underneath is an Ikea rug with three bands running longways - dark brown, light beige, and dark brown again. Turn to your right again and you hit the kitchen. As you step into the kitchen, you have counter tops on either side of you. To the left, you have a microwave, a dish drainer, then the double sink, then some open counter, then our older-than-dirt refrigerator. A small gap after the fridge leads to two sliding/folding doors that open to our in-house laundry room (just a nook with a washer and dryer and a shelf above them). As you stand in front of them, look to your right and you will see down the hallway to our front door again, which has a narrow vertical window with more of those blind/slats covering it. On the opposite counter, beginning from the dining room end again, you hit the coffee maker, our toaster, our oven/stove, and then lots of open counter space. Next to the laundry room is a deep pantry, past that a coat closet. Once in front of the coat closet, you are again in the living room. To your right, sitting against the wall that is shared by the kitchen and living room, is our couch. We have two black Ikea Lack series end tables and a large black Lack series coffee table. If you sit on the couch, you will be treated to my 32" LCD HDTV and my brand new LG 5.1 surround sound (partially thanks to birthday money from Mom). An area rug sits under the coffee table with leafy patterns set in various earthy colors--dark and light browns, reddish hues, and some brown-green shades.

Stand up from the couch and take a hard left towards the stairs. Ascend, and at the top you will be looking directly into the study/guest room/Liz and Mom's room. To your right is a full bath, decorated in southwestern themes with mostly browns, reds, and oranges. Kokopellis enjoy the room here. And the air is filled with a pumpkin spice scent, courtesy of the Leo's reed diffuser birthday present to Melissa.

To the left, a midget full-length mirror is attached to the wall at the end of the short hallway. The study is not at all set up yet, so there is not much point in a description. But in the room, directly to the right is relatively deep closet. Directly ahead is another sliding glass door/window hybrid with the same white slats hanging. Beyond the sliding door is a small balcony that is shared by the master bedroom to the left. Walk back out of this room and take a quick right and another quick right and you'll be in the master suite. Directly in front of you is our oscillating tower fan, a matching floor lamp to the one downstairs, and a red Ikea dresser. There is an identical sliding door/window set up against the far wall that leads to the balcony. Melissa set up our festive white light string around that door. The bed sits against the left wall, with the non-existent head board against the wall and the bed stretching out into the middle of the floor. Matching black Ikea Lack end tables sit on either side of the bed - his and hers.

To the left, you will have a narrow 'hallway' that is about as long as it is wide...which is to say "not very." On either side are small closets. Beyond the closets is the master bathroom. It does not have much decoration in it yet, as it has a sliding door and does not require a shower curtain. We haven't picked a color scheme for it yet. For some reason, both bathrooms have the same pergo flooring, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the tour. Pictures will be coming shortly, as officially promised in writing here. Hopefully I'll be a little more consistent with the blog from now on.

Tonight, we are going to the Cardinals v. Packers preseason game with the Gulleys. Can't wait!