the bronx bombshell

"I am so outta Virginia, baby. I'm never living in the south again—they can just kiss my Puerto Rican ass." At about midnight, Dolores was calling from the road. The movers had picked up her 60 boxes, she had cleaned her apartment personally (likely for the first time if I know my princess) and was headed for the Bronx. Presumably, she got in at about 4 a.m. to sleep on the floor and presumably the movers will show around 10 a.m. I'm going up there to witness the scene. Will file later.


beach baby

photograph by Christopher Garrison

Due to complaints about the lack of adult content on this blog, we're making a serious effort to improve.

laundry list

Does a 54-foot tractor trailer fit on the ferry?
I don't know, but I'm going to have to find out.
Along with what a "spline" is, how much 2 X 6 T&G costs and a lot of other things.
But first, I have to file all my plans with the Zoning Board. (Dave? Are you listening, Dave?) And get the laundry done and my nails done. And help Dolores move into the Bronx tomorrow, and see The Artist Known as Chang on his quick trip to NYC and back to Taiwan (what Dangerman calls the very defininition of a layover—inside joke). And arrange all these interviews. And pack a skirt so that I don't scare the fundamentalist Ozarkers. And leave town to drive several thousand miles with gas as high as it's been.
About that tractor trailer. . .



This is Sis's kitchen. She is renovating it. Bigtime, as you can see. Whilst exiled from the main room the family uses in the house, they barbeque, nuke and bump into one another. "Basically, it was the old house syndrome... foundation issues, rot issues, sill issues, etc. Turned out to be cheaper and faster just to redo the greater portion of the structure to make it sound. Remember, this portion of the house was added on as an afterthought after the main house and carriage house were built; thus, little if any foundation, little if any structural thought. Also over 100 years of abuse," she says.
It is probably easier to build from the ground up. I think I'll do that. Pretty soon, now, if all goes well. The lawyer actually called me today. The junior lawyer. But i ain't bellyachin'.


suck em up

I guess I'd best just go on down to Payne's Dock and drown my rental sorrows with my brothers-in-misery. It's too late to go to the beach anyway. And my hosts don't approve of alcohol consumption.


legal action

Note from the lawyer after agita, ire and threats of nonpayment:

Yes, file those plans with the town. Also send us a copy. We have the
other items to file with the Town. We plan on being present for the
September meeting

Note from me:

the check is so in the mail.
Your fan, Claudia

From Sis:

Looks great! Like the upstairs foyer concept. So. where are the closets?

From me:

since I'm not allowed to change the interior layout after zoning approval, I'm not putting in closets in the plan. I'll put em in after and call em cupboards or armoires. Fuck that. Lawyer says he will be at zoning hearing in sept.

From Sis:


the subcontractor

"Nick, baby, my man." I'm standing in the Seacaucus, N.J., Home Depot looking at 16-foot baseboard mouldings. Dolores's contractor, Nick, needs them for her apartment. Today. And she's en route from DC. I'm buying. And, it appears, cutting: The lumber department's saw is broken. "Nicky, sweetheart, will eight-footers fit into the elevator? They will? Okay, I'll be over noonish." I need almost two hundred board feet of moulding (by my calculations, hope they're right). That means I have to saw 12 pieces in half with a hand saw. Sweat is beading my back when I've finished. Then I locate the end cap for the counter top, the tile for the backsplash, the grout, the grout sealer (who knew?). The "helpers" are least in sight when I load up the truck. I pull up at Dolores's in the Bronx with barely enough time to offload and zip back to the UWS to park. It ain't easy parking a green full-sized pickup on the street.
"Nicky, baby, check you later."
It's so hard doing tasteful renovations in Seacaucus and the Bronx. And I'm not even sure tasteful blends in with the environment: See lobby of Dolores's new building, above. How appropriate, a lady with grapes. Who is she? Demeter?
By the way, please note contrast: Bronx/Fairfield County. Are you jealous of the range of my friends or what?


dancing fool

The man above can dance. He can dance around the world—and does. Atop Kilimanjaro. At Angkor Wat. Back home (one guesses) in Westport, Conn. Yes, I believe Westport is in Fairfield County, and thus—even without his dancing—people may be jealous enough of Matt that he may need a support group.
(If you too want to join, check out the preceding post and contact Angelina. If you don't know how to contact Angelina, then maybe you don't really belong in our program.)


why you're jealous of us

Some people might be jealous of what we did yesterday. Yesterday we visited Angelina at her Country Estate known as WEIR FARM that is now a National Historic Site and part of the National Park Service. Need I mention that it is in the enviable Fairfield County where if you have a car wreck the likelihood is that it will be with a Range Rover? Need I mention that Angelina is the Executrix of said estate? Would you like her to sing you her Executrix Song? Does the whole thing just make you so totally jealous?

Well, if it does, you're not alone. Many many people are jealous of Angelina, and of me for knowing her. This jealousy has become so oppressive that we have formed a support group to deal with it. We call it Jeal-Anon, a group for people trying to deal with others' green-eyed monsters. We're not jealous ourselves, naturally. We already have everything everybody wants! Yes, I even found a parking space right in front of the building when I got back from Angelina's.
So you see. You are right to envy me. It's just that I find it so hard to cope with. But I have the support of my friends who are all in the same, satin-lined boat. Angelina. Brad, of course, a charter member of Jealousy Anonymous. Paris Hilton. And so many others. You know their names. Even if we don't know yours.


the aerie at yankee stadium

"Oh my God!" Dolores, stopping by her former sty to deliver the kitchen sink which she bought all by herself at Home Depot. A few days ago she was the proud owner of a ruin with concrete floors covered with crumbling linoleum. Now she has new kitchen cabinets, counter, sink, plaster—and new floors. The floor went down in a day. The contractor, who had never assembled a floating floor before, was amazed. So was I, who had suggested it in the first place. You lay down a layer of foam fabric, and the one by four-foot pieces snap together with a hammer, basically. No nails, no glue. If this weren't a PG site, I'd tell you about my only other experience with a Pergo floor while filming an orgy. Later.

NEWS FLASH: Ex Hubby seeks couple to rent his BI house. ASAP. Call me.


tooling up

"Do you have a plane?" I don't know where I'd be without BI Bro's tool collection, which ranges from antique- decorative to the all- power- all-the-time type. The only thing is, he needs a whole separate house to keep it in. And so do I. And we're not allowed to build so much as a tool shed on the property without getting a permit defining how many times a day we plan to TAKE A PISS during the building process.
I am finding this particularly egregious, since I have to present complete plans—including floorplans—that cannot be changed once approved by the zoning board. Since I don't think that well in three dimensions, I am eliminating all closets from my floorplan. I will buy wardrobes or build in later, but I cannot be held to the placement of closets before even seeing the space.

Besides, Town now has another set of restrictions for what can be IN your closets:
Khaki and navy blue allowed.
No fuschia, spike heels, black leather. . .

Bonus points for other Historic District restrictions


balcony seats

"A balcony is going to look pretty funky on the island. Especially cantilevered," said my brother the set carpenter.
"Yeah, but it would be in your room overlooking the salt pond. Don't you want to be able to take a chair out there?" I said, after spending the morning on the phone with the timber frame architect designing the building that will be over on the far right of the frame.
"Oh, right," bro said. "My room. Yes. Yes, of course I want a balcony."
So we agreed that the only way to make it look OK was to put it on columns over the back deck. Protects the back French doors from the weather a bit. Inhibits the view and the sun a little underneath. But at least it won't look tacky.




The new tenants have moved in, along with their 4 x 4 pickup, their jet ski, their Harley, their Great Pyrenees dog (and I mean great, as in enorme), their cases of Corona and their hopes of perfect weather.
Meanwhile, this is my alternate paradise next door, as the season begins to feel like it's winding down. School clothes in the stores, kids beginning their summer reading lists, hurricanes heading north. Won't be long until the convertibles and jet skis are gone and it's just us little emperors, masters once again of our Elba, or, as some inhabitants call it, The Island of Misfits.
Bonus points for:
*IDing my flipflops.
*IDing characters who make the Isle of Misfits an appropriate name.
*Naming other turning points of the season.


what a tomato

No, Angelina darling, we're not talking about you. For once. Actually, we've had about enough of you. And your love affairs. And your tatoos and adopted children and vials of blood. And your whole stupid Hollywood thing. And, most of all, Brad. I mean, puhlease.
No, what we're talking about is actual tomatos. Grown by Dolores's Father Juan on the outskirts of Cleveland. And all we can say is: "What a tomato!"

Bonus points for those who recognize the background of this photograph.

rising tide

"CSC House...beaches and no power plant noise!"

another dog blogs


"My vote is for CSC!"

this just in


"CSC ...paws down..the best! My owners do not even rent from her, and she still lets me hang out at her house."


vote my way—or else

Just so you know: This is what Rex thinks of House of Hat. Rex likes CSC. He said so.
Also so you know: There will ne NO MORE POSTING BY ME, THE OWNER OF CSC, until the voting goes my way. Clearly Citichild knows what side her bread is buttered on. And I think the Heiress of the House of Hat might want to reconsider: Doesn't she kind of rely on staying at CSC herself??? TO GET AWAY FROM THE POWER PLANT NOISE???
And speaking of power plant noise, where IS that former power plant employee? In the air en route home from Scotland? She needs to vote aye for CSC immediately.

Remember: Vote Now! Vote Often! Do it for Rex!


vote today!

This is the infamous house that has a porch that Certain People have never been invited to sit on and smoke cigarettes and Certain Other People have never been invited to with their dog who has a name beginning with R. I should mention that the porch furniture is even more marginal than that at Claudia's Surf City. But it does have those little depressions in the arms for beer cans. Tasteful, right? The view from this porch, too, is quite nice—a straight shot over CSC to the ocean which is Much Further Away than it is from my place. Not to mention that you can't hear the waves, only the soothing white noise of the power plant.
Still, this house belongs to one of my dearest friends, and I have spent some happy hours on the porch. Which I have been invited to often. It is classically and tastefully decorated inside. OK, there's one tiny bathroom, no dishwasher, the microwave blows the power unless it's on top of the refrigerator where you can't reach it and the basement is downright spooky, but that's the price you pay for living in a museum. With ghosts.
Please write in (or call 1-800-TELL-EDIE) with your votes for Which House Dan Should Rent next summer.
All votes will be compiled and analyzed by the Hatfield-McCoy Auditing Service. Owners not permitted to vote.


lucky dog

This is Rex.
In the background of this picture, at left, you can see the house that welcomes Rex—and all dogs who have had their flea meds. Not all houses on this island welcome dogs. In fact, right across Harbor Pond, there is a house with a tower room that not only does not welcome dogs but barely tolerates humans. It is very, very clean, however.
Meanwhile, just remember, Rex: Who loves ya, baby.



This posting for the architect to see railing and trim detail.

through the glass


room with a view

I had to hang out of the window to get this, but last night was beautiful.


post-and-beam post

"Why not use conventional framing?" my sister asked me yesterday, when I told her I had finally narrowed my choices to three post-and-beam companies. Well, there is sturdiness, for one thing, given the winds. And then there are the speed and getting-people-to-show-up factors on the island. Unlike some, I'm not a big fan of the look of post and beam (Great Room? don't make me gag), but I'll figure something out.
The Architect gently explained to me a couple weeks ago that I can't afford her and recommended I use one of the in-house designers at the timber frame companies instead. I am talking to one of them who claims to be able to produce modified plans to my specs for $5000 in a week. Another company quoted me $1.75 a square foot (or $3136) for plans to be deducted from the final cost of a shell of approximately $75 a square foot, or $134,400. Another sells similar structures that top out at $58,000, erected. Go figure. Still, if I want to make the August zoning board hearing, I might better have this guy draw up the plans pronto.


everything but the sink

"Oh my god, this is a nightmare. I'm in Home Depot hell," wailed Dolores. If I thought it was not easy picking green, that was before I had to help pick out flooring and kitchen cabinets, tiles and counter, moldings and kitchen sinks. She had previously decided on Pergo floor and Sherwood cabinets, but when it proved that her first choices couldn't be delivered for two weeks, and with the contractor showing up on Monday, we had to rapidly go to plans b and c. Also Dolores didn't really have any idea what sizes or quantities she needed. We winged it. Hopefully the stuff will fit. There was a wide range of help at Home Depot, from fab to surly to invisible, and we spent a lot of time waiting.
I learned a couple things during those two-and-a-half quality hours at HD: that there are these strip inserts you put between cabinets to make them look better, that Pergo floors require no glue but just fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and that there's no point in selling moldings over seven feet in NYC because they won't fit in the elevator.
Dolores learned that when you suddenly spend $4000 on your credit card they require authorization.


not easy picking green

"The celery one or the bluer one? Or are they both too dark?" Dolores trying to decide paint colors in her new apartment, Help her out, people.
Oh, and it should go with the view.


point a to point z

Angelina & Daughter, a wholly owned subsidiary of B&C Five-Star Transport, help out in my life-long effort to move everything I find on the street in NYC to the island and everything I find on the island to NYC. This latest score was temporarily placed in front of the circuit-breaker box, a site that later proved to be misguided (see previous post). On the return trip to NYC, the load included smoked bluefish and a large wooden fish which does not fit anywhere in the apartment.