Other People's Shit
Let’s pick up where our last tinyletter left off, shall we?
WE ARE OFFICIALLY WISCONSIN RESIDENTS AGAIN! The move from Chicago to Sun Prairie was not without bumps, though. The movers we hired to lug our furniture down three flights of fire escape never showed up. Apparently we were operating under different definitions of “confirmation email.” Anyway, some harried Googling found us a team of suspiciously fast movers that packed our truck top to bottom—our couch was in there vertically, somehow. We left the city with a few last glances at the pop-up donut shops and street art of Logan Square, as well as one last pizza delivery from Sarpino’s.
The unloading of the truck was made possible by my mom, Rose, and step-dad, Rob, along with Mark’s parents, Ron and Teresa. People of big hearts and many talents. Most of our belongings now reside in the Riechers’ garage while Mark, the pups and I chose the most essential items (mostly beer and electronics) to bring with us into the house. I will be forever grateful to Ron and Teresa for letting us stay in their basement while we patiently await our mortgage pre-approval. It turns out not getting paid over the summer, on top of switching jobs, does not give a bank much confidence in your ability to pay for a house.
Shortly after move into our new “garden unit,” we were off to Ireland. The ten-day adventure started in Dublin, winding down the left side of the road through Cork, Dingle, Galway and ended back in a castle in Dublin made for quite the honeymoon. We laughed when—after extensive staring at the ground instead of the nearby Star Wars mountains—I found a four leaf clover in Dingle. We cried when we got locked out of our apartment in Galway thanks to a slipped skeleton key lock. We were awed by the sweeping green curves of Connor’s Pass. We smiled at the serendipitous meeting of old friends in Dublin. We drank real Irish whiskey, found craft beer that was adamantly not Guinness, and ate traditional Irish stew. And lots and lots and lots of fish and chips. We even had some craic along the way. Check out pictures from our trip. And make sure to ask Mark about the time our car broke down on the opposite side of the road because Ireland.
Crashing back to reality after such an amazing trip was really hard, as usual. However we came back to a space that was not fully ours. The adjustment has been interesting for all parties. Mark and I are used to our own space, we’ve been living together for the last six years and out of our parents’ houses for at least ten years. It’s weird to suddenly have two other people around all the time, people with their own routines and habits. I’m not familiar with the norms and roles of the household, and Mark might be too familiar with them. The pups are excited to be in a bigger space with a huge yard to run around it, but it clearly stresses them out. Their routine is off. We don’t go on daily walks down the boulevard. We don’t see our neighbor dogs and their people anymore. There’s no sidewalks in the subdivision and that feels strangely isolating for us.
The isolation, stress and anxiety has taken a toll on all of us. We each deal with it in a different way. I tend to keep myself busy because if I slow down for a minute I can feel the crushing jealousy and nagging feeling that we must have done something wrong to be living in a basement at this point in our life. In addition to starting my full-time teaching job, I’ve been looking for babysitting or housekeeping gigs to bring in extra cash. Turns out taking a substantial pay cut for a more supportive, healthier job atmosphere can be really frustrating and stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new school. My students are amazing, my coworkers are hilarious and incredibly supportive, the parents can sometimes overshare but it’s truly the best place I’ve worked in years. Maybe not a high bar, but still.
You can tell me all you want about how Madison has a lower cost of living, but really it’s not that much lower. Thanks to the weird economics of student rentals, habitable apartments that allow two pups tend to be rarities, or at least close to what we’d pay in Chicago. Groceries and gas are slightly cheaper, especially since the refrigerator keeps mysteriously restocking itself with eggs (Mark’s note: Thanks Mom! Love you!). Beer is definitely cheaper here, but we still have a bunch from our last Binny’s run. Where’s the cheaper midwest living we remember?
It’s just all overwhelming. I keep wondering, is it worth imposing on the routines of others, mixing our shit with their own, to get to where we want to be? Are we putting too much pressure on ourselves to get a house within six months of moving? Will it even be a house we like if we rush into it?
Friends and family have been so generous this year with advice, helping us move, letting us stay in their house and donating to my classroom (seriously, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!). Why am I complaining? My life is pretty good. We have each other, we have the pups. And a wise friend recently reminded me: “home is where you, Mark and the pups are and where is best for you all at the time.” So maybe dealing with other people’s shit isn’t so bad when we have each other. But maybe we need to deal with our own shit before we can be dragged into other people’s. I dunno what the answer is, but hopefully soon we will.
WATCH: Stranger Things on Netflix. If you haven’t yet then you are missing out on some pretty amazing 1980’s nostalgia. Plus that soundtrack. Bonus WATCH: Crazy Ex Girlfriend, which we liked enough to watch in its entirety throughout points of our honeymoon. THIS IS A SAFE PLACE, NO JUDGEMENT.
READ: Mark’s recap of Great Taste of the Midwest. We had a BLAST! We had a pretty amazing beer squad for the whole weekend. I predict more beer related events in our future.
ATTEND: We attended a pretty rad event held by the Capital Times about the education gap and early childhood education in Madison. The Capital Times holds free talks each month about different community interests. The next one is on Tuesday September 20th and asks the question: What’s happening to the neighborhood tavern? See you there!
REJOICE: It is almost time for Mark’s favorite time of the year: Fall! Finally the Duke of Fall can take his rightful place at the thrown of all things pumpkin spice, horror and flannel.
Well, until next time - sit inside and enjoy the sound of silence that greets you as you reach for the remote to marathon Stranger Things.
Laurie, Mark, Mac & Bacon