Sunday, May 05, 2002

Par-Tay Checklist; Frontier House

The immediate To Do list:


1. Contact the mortgage company first thing in the morning to get fax number to send my homeowner's policy to them so they'll pay my bill. it's due the 17th. Call the insurance agency to make sure that's all I need to do. Must do. Or we lose policy.

2. Get the form from HUD notarized to get the money (about 1000 clams) from our refinance last year. Didn't realize we hadn't done that.

3. Check with tenants on where the rent is.

4. Verify Geoff's next eye appointment date in June because I think it conflicts with his CORE eval.

5. Contact Dart folks to tell them who to host with and get final info to finish site. They've been awfully patient. And I'm 99% done with cateringman, so that site won't take up nearly all my time anymore.

This week:

1. Download the professor's site I'm working on.

2. Get boxes for the food drive next Saturday, organize church basement so there's plenty of room to bring the stuff in. It'll be fun. Also, ask Pete if we can use his GMC Jimmy.

3. Send mother's day cards to certain mothers. Grandmothers. Matronly aunts... etc...

4. Call Gammy, she fell and broke her arm.

5. Remind Doug about taking Wednesday morning off to be with Geoff while I go to some ridiculous unemployment "retraining" crap. Jeesh.

It is a gorgeous day, I just wanted to do a quick life update, write those things down because I always remember things better when I write them out. I've gotten kind of forgetful in the past few months... eep. Can't be a forgetful nelly in this life. We went to Wayne's birthday party on Friday night. We got there about 20 minutes late because of traffic on the Spaulding Turnpike. We were at Newick's Seafood on the Great Bay of the Piscataqua River in Dover New Hampshire... it was GORGEOUS there. I love living in New England... the sun was setting in the west up the river, and there were all these cute little boats and serious lobster boats, lovely dark pines lining the river and beautiful stately homes across the water in what I guess is Newington, not sure... but I loved it. The boy was kind of well behaved. For as good as he's been the last two weeks, he gets way excited when he gets with his buddy Pete.

Pete always looks at Geoff like "okay, what new trouble can you lead me into here!?" and seems to get such a kick out of him. Wayne enjoyed his cake immensely. It was lots of fun. We had a blast.

Before, when the cake was new...

After... when none of us got any. D'oh!

Kidding! We staged this after all the cake was dealt out. It made me laugh. Good cake too. Kudos to Marcia.

I was supposed to go to this reunion party for one of the companies that I used to work for in Marblehead, but Doug was in a kinda poopie mood, and Geoff was giving me a hard time about leaving. I knew I was screwed if I left Geoff there with Doug in a poopie mood, that I'd get grief for it later. So I decided not to go. At about 8pm Doug says to me "when are you going to this thing?" Mind you, it started at 6 and was 45 minutes away. I told him, obviously I'm not going. Cited my reasons. He kind of shrugged and said "whatever."

I hate going to stuff without him, even if it is something that is primarily MY friends or MY history. He gets all bitchy and moany about going, but then he always has a great time. We went on a harbor cruise once that this same company paid for and had for us, and he didn't want to go. Didn't want to get a sitter. Didn't feel like it blah blah blah.

Halfway through it, he's having a blast talkin' shit with my buddies.


Anyway, I feel badly about skipping it. I'm a schlub. I should have gone and just had him deal.

Marriage: Sometimes it isn't fun. And sometimes it is hard work. But you're a team. And teamwork is necessary. So sometimes there are concessions.

Which brings me to my next topic (nice segue, eh?) I've been watching marathon sessions of this PBS show "Frontier House." Perhaps you've seen it, heard of it? You can't go NEAR PBS without it being on lately.

Essentially it's "Survivor" meets "The Real World" meets 19th Century Montana.

Three families, starter provisions, period clothing and tools, and the homestead act. The goal isn't family vs. family, but family vs. requirements to meet for making it through the winter. Only one of the three families end up having proper stores of supplies, and that's just barely, by the time the whole thing is over. And it is interesting to watch how they changed, grew, transformed... I enjoyed this program a lot, and like my addiction to "The Real World" and "The Real World Road Rules Challenge" programs, this is another "reality" program that I will proudly declare as a guilty pleasure.

The only complaint I have is that I wish they had filmed an episode a week the way "The Real World" does it... but there are like eight episodes total I think. The website gives a lot of detail that you miss out from the overview programming, so if you've watched the show and haven't checked the site, please do.

The first family on the frontier is the Brooks family, initially just Nate and his dad. Nate's bio said he was employed at Fisher College in Boston... so he's my local favorite! Yeah Team Brooks!

Nate and his dad Rudy head out to the west and are preparing a homestead for Nate's bride Kristin to come out in July and have their wedding (by the way, yes, I cried and cried, it was gorgeous. I'm a friggin' sap. But I loved it).

How hip and cool and sweet and wonderful is this guy?

The cabin he built for her, the dress he sent to her, ugh! Gorgeous and romantic, and so grounded. He's a damn riot too, very funny. I'd have all the Brooks family members over for a beer and hang out anyday. Especially compared to the other two loser families.

The next family is the Glenn Family, from Tennessee. She's Karen, and is divorced with two kids, Logan and Erinn. She's there with them and her 2nd husband, Mark. Initially it's all peaches and cream. They all four seem to get along great. But eventually the marriage and all the interpersonal relationships in the family start to fail. It's really incredibly sad to watch. Karen is controlling and unyielding, Mark doesn't feel like he's a part of her "family," because it's her and the kids and then him on the outside, so watching him distance himself and begin a resentment at being treated like an 8 or 12 year old was difficult. The boy Logan was so funny, full of great little comments like "My best friend is Work. You met him yet? Nah, cause yer a 21st century slacker!" The daughter Erinn rocked, and I thought she was the most normal person in that house, but you can tell in the future her mom's going to pollute her mind. They'll have a hard relationship as she grows.

The Glenns officially separated, after they got back to Tennessee.

Finally, the team from Malibu California, all Hollywood stuck up attitudes and all, the Clunes. A husband, wife, their three kids and a Clune cousin.

They cheat, and break laws, and basically don't really learn anything from the experience but they are convinced in the end that they did and would have survived the winter with one pile of "wafers," Gordon's nickname for unsplit rounds of firewood.

The wife, Adrienne, begins the journey all heartbroken about not having makeup, skin cream, shampoo etc... the girls are just as shallow. They smuggle 'contraband' into the past with them, which they later realize was stupid and they bury the stuff under a tree. Gordon, the dad, is upset and angry that life is so hard. And "you mean to tell me that 19th century man wouldn't have come out here more prepared than our so called "history experts" sent us out here?"

The two boys seem to get the most out of things, and really love being with their dad on the frontier. By the end, the girls who started out naughty seem to have learned the absolute most.

They all would have died lonely miserable deaths in 1883.

The thing that pisses me off the most about these people is they are the most highly educated of the bunch, but the dumbest when it comes to reality of things.

They came into the project thinking "this is going to be fun, romantic, and so cool." The wife "has a degree in food science" so they obviously planned on living off her skills. She is an excellent baker, wonderful in the kitchen, and makes great baked goods with her time. But they miss the point. The first winter out there would have been the hardest, and being most prepared with essentials instead of peach pies would have been the important task.

They needed wood split and hay cut for their animals. Not scones with raisins. She ended up building a romanticized 1883 life as their crops come in and their hunger abates after the spring, but this does nothing to prepare them for the future, for the winter. It was kind of sad to see her get all into it and happy, only to know in the back of your mind that nothing she is doing is going to benefit the clan in the months of cold to come.

So this show sucked me in, and I really liked it. It's one of those things that I can't pass on the dial without seeing what's up.

I'm glad I didn't watch from the start though, because the very first episode where Adrienne is crying because she put rag curls in her hair, and wasn't allowed to wear makeup for the olde tyme photograph they were having done, pissed me off and I couldn't take it seriously at all. If that was the first episode I saw, that would have been the last. Glad I tuned in when they were milking cows and the Glenns were a fightin'.

Anyway. Geoff is head to toe mud out there. It's spring. I have some seeds I want to plant, get a garden going out there... And during the week we'll go pick vegetable plants out. I saw where one of the squash seeds that Geoff had planted is growing up. Aah, frontier life.

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