No explanation. Just a moment captured.
Last Friday, David, Laura, Eric, and I went to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert at TD Bank. Laura had seen Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on Good Morning America during one of the summertime concert series and bought the four amigos tickets for their Fall concert in Boston. In the summer, it seemed like such a great idea. We were relaxed and far far away from grind of the school year. A concert on a Friday would be awesome!
As the week of the concert commenced, I looked out towards Friday and thought how would I ever have the energy to teach, grade, lesson plan, and enjoy a late night concert. The evolution of a teacher during a week can be quite dramatic. From fully rested and alert the decline into frantic, zombie (I know how is that possible, right?) is fully actualized by Friday at 3PM. But undeterred and with a blast of a second wind of energy, I headed downtown to meet up with David before the concert.
This time of year in Boston is just magical. We walked from the seaport area towards Government Center with the cold chill of Fall on our cheeks and noses. Government Center was flooded with Christmas lights as the sun set in the distance. Tourists snapped pictures, kids ran around statues, and couples cuddled close before ducking into restaurants. I know this part of the city is a bit kitschy, but I just love it. As a history teacher this is the the part of the city that taps into my curiosity. Imaging I can time travel to the colonial days, I squint my eyes and take in the sights of the historic center.
We committed to walking about but the cold sea air finally drove us indoors. We grabbed a table by a window and waited for Laura and Eric to join us for a quick, warm meal at Anthem were “comfort food is reinvented.” We arrived before them and unable to contain our hungry selves, we gobbled up some calamari while we waited. After dinner, the four of us made our way over to the concert.
We got there a bit early. Well actually we got there on time like dutiful party-goers, but, of course, it is always better to be fashionably late to events like this. Waiting in the mostly empty arena, I couldn’t imagine the place being filled top to bottom with spectators. Had Macklemore and Ryan Lewis sold out the Garden? Yes!The concert was fantastic. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are excellent performers and their music is just so fun that it is hard not to dance. All the sleepiness and stress of the week melted away as 12,000 people had a dance party together. One of my favorite moments of the concert was when Macklemore did “Same Love.” To hear 12,000 people sing along about marriage equality and respect for all couples who love one another was beyond power. It was an excellent night out on the town for a couple of crazy teachers! Concert Selfie!
This weekend David and I went to Comic Con in New York. I know what you are thinking, WHAAAT? That’s right, we decided to throw ourselves head first into embracing an event we would not have attended on our own. Prompted to attend by Andric and Amanda we made our way down to NY on Friday night. I had seen pictures of Comic Con before and never thought I would attend myself. But, truth be told, it was actually a lot of fun.
The weekend started off a little rough with an unexpected car exchange. We piled into the car, only to have a mechanical issue. Tired and a little frustrated, the four us shook off the rocky start and drove the 4 hours to our hotel. Making it to New York at 1AM, we crashed hard.
The next morning, we woke up early, got into our costumes and headed to the Jacob Javits Center. You are probably wondering….what did David and I dress up as? Have you ever seen It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? We decided that we could only dress up as characters we knew and since we are not well versed in the world of comics or anime, we chose Dee and Mac from the Nightman Cometh Episode. In this episode, Mac, Dee and the gang put on a random and wild musical.
For your reference, this is Dee as the Coffee Shop Princess And, here is Mac as the Nightman
Did you know that it is illegal to buy decorative contact lenses in the United States? Deemed medical devices, selling lenses for Halloween, which circumvent visiting optometrists, is not recommended by the FDA. We did not know this when David purchased this pair of cat eye lenses through amazon. While David was able to get one lens in, the overall discomfort of wearing them led to him scrapping that part of the costume. We arrived at the Javits Center and were completely overwhelmed by the crowds, costumes, and sound. This was an incredibly popular event filled with a diverse array of people and spectators. David and I both agree that there appears to be three types of people who come to this event:
Here we are in our costumes striking our character poses. We learned quickly that when someone asks you for a photo they want you to strike a pose.
You might not know this about me but I have a crush on actor Andrew McCarthy. When I saw that for some reason he was at Comic Con I hurried us all to his booth. And, while I find him to be terribly irresistible in his 80s movies, I was not ready to part with $20.00. So this is as close to him as I got.
A close up of my Dee Reynolds costume. Little did I know that this was actually 3 costumes in one as many thought I was Sleeping Beauty and/or Princess Peach. David as the Nightman strikes his ninja pose
Andric was dressed as the 11th Doctor from Dr. Who. Amanda was dressed as Marceline from AdventureTime and her guitar was crazy authentic looking. People were quite impressed.
This guy was SO tall!! Just a couple of Marcelines. The Doctors from Dr. Who. Breaking Bad I forgot who Andric is posing next too. I am going to say it is a character from the video game Assassin’s Creed (but I might be way wrong).
One of my favorite moments came as we were walking out of Comic Con at night. We passed by this couple dressed as the Misfits, we complimented them on their costumes, took a picture, and walked away. They then caught up to us again and said, “Hey, wait, are you Mac and Dee?” When we replied in the affirmative, they broke out laughing and the man even fell to the ground as he was laughing so hard. Success!
Six years ago, David and I met. It is amazing how short this time has felt. I am so lucky to have found my best friend and soul-mate out there in the wild. Waiting to catch a bus one random morning never turned out so good!
Our first picture together ever. Look at those baby faces! It’s a date. (For those of you who remember this was in my grad dorm room!) We said yes! Snuggles and kisses
The best guy in town!
Have you ever been to Vegas?
David and I made our way to Sin City for 48 hours this past weekend. What brought us so far for a weekend you might ask? Some awesome friends of course! We were invited to share and celebrate in the wedding of our friends Andric and Amanda. It was a fun trip for so many reasons. First, our friends got married!!!! What is not great about that. We stayed at a dump of a hotel which allowed for great stories to follow. We didn’t gamble but we did eat a lot. We learned how to play craps and I sort of want to try my new skills out at Foxwoods. We saw naked Cirque du Soleil and my goodness are those performers strong. We walked the strip and “people watched” to our hearts content. We drank some interesting cocktails and danced ironically. We saw impersonators and water shows and listened to great music. We did not get enough sleep. But, we had a good time! Vegas in 48 hours is intense and exciting and hypnotic and not nearly enough time to see it all. But, definitely a great place to celebrate our friends!
Landing at sunset in the desertWhat you might not be able to tell from this picture is that the women with the blond hair is Holly Madison. That is right, she went to the same performance as us! A random bachelor in drag finds his way to Andric. Singing Michael Jackson. I love how casual the gamblers are about this.
Ugh our unfortunate hotel. We wanted to save money so we went to Circus Circus otherwise known as the mistake in the desert! Sheesh what a sad hotel room that was. Next time we will absolutely splurge and stay at the Wynn.Mornings in Vegas are quiet. Teacher clock still woke us before much of the city. The Wynn was so pretty inside.
Interesting horse outside of the Wynn. Clearly, having come from Circus Circus this hotel left an impression on me.
The Atrium in the VenetianThe Venetian Wine bottle art A little bit of Venice Ceasar’s Palace. Seeing it made me want to watch the Hangover again Got my rings sparkled up at Tiffany’s
The Bellagio. The Paris across the way
ChihulyDavid and the Groom, Andric. Married People!
Another month has slipped by since the last post about the retaining wall. And unlike the month of August, September was a wild ride in our backyard. From ultimatums to last stands, we became competitors in a game of chess. Waiting to evaluate the move of our opponent, we sought to survey the field and make a step forward that not only advanced our position but saved us from a paralyzing checkmate. From August 22 until September 17, David and I were fully consumed in the nuances of this battle of wills (I know what you must be thinking, but weren’t you consumed in this power struggle all summer? And, yes, we were but not even we could have imagined the heated intensity that would emerge over this latest time frame).
Thankfully, at school I was utterly distracted each day. Between setting up the classroom, writing lesson plans, and interacting with my new crop of students there was little time during the school day for me to think about the mason or our destroyed yard. But, the ride home would inevitably come. Sitting in the car waiting to pick up David, my mood would change. From pacing through the thousands of questions that define a school day, I would become fixated on one: Did he show up? We have a 45 minute commute home. Some days we practiced our confrontation lines. If he says X, then we will say Y. And then, if he says Z, we will say A. And on and on we would go until rounding our block. Most nights though the car fell silent and we stared straight ahead completely exhausted, frustrated, and on the brink of tears. When we pulled up the drive the answer was always the same: He did not show up and he did not communicate with us. We were trapped, without the wall complete if we fired him we would need to hire a new mason to complete the wall. But every mason we called declined to take the job citing that the project was too near completion, that there was no money in it for them to make, and for us to just hang tight until our miserable mason finished. We tried to express to these possible future masons that what was one day of work for them had dragged on and on and on with our guy. They commiserated a bit but still said it was not enough to entice them.
Coincidentally on a Thursday off from school while getting a manicure with a co-worker, I learned that her husband was a trained mason and that he would look at the wall and even help us finish it. WHAT?!?! Something to be hopeful about!?! Armed with this possibility and a sense of an upper hand over our mason. We gave him an ultimatum on Friday. David told him, “If you do not complete the project by next Friday, your work on the project is done and you can pick up your tools and leave the premise.” Our first real strategic move on the board since the start of the project was made. The mason acknowledged it and we waited for his return move. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the following week came and went and no move was made. No sign of the mason and no communication.
While this is illegal in the game of chess, we moved a piece again. Thursday night David reached out again and said, “Clearly, there is no way you can complete the project in the next 24 hours. Let’s cut our ties and please pick up your materials. Your work with us is done.” Unlike before, there was no response. What kind of maniacal plan was he hatching!?!? Never good with stress or anxiety, I began to imagine the worst case scenario. Would he come to our property and light our house on fire? Would he come and tear down the wall he did build? Would he steal our grill which sits out back? My mind and emotions were reeling in fear. It is in moments like this that I am particularly thankful to have married David. Always calm and collected, he talked me off the edge.
Friday a day after being fired from the job, my neighbor informed me that the mason was on our property. Terror ran through me! His move was made. But alas, it was a curve ball and he was actually doing work on the property. So wait, all we had to do was fire him for him to feel a sense of commitment to the project!? Rushing home, he was still there. Our move: a bit of good cop-bad cop routine. David told him his work with us was finished, to pack up, and go. The mason demanded his last installment of the money and David refused. We got stuck in this cycle of: leave, not with out my money, we are no giving you any more for an incomplete job, then I am not leaving. Around and around we went. Finally, I made a move. Sign a contract sir that says if you do not finish any item on the list of to-dos you will receive no further payment. He signed. Feeling a checkmate coming…David and I were on high alert.
The next 48hours were a flurry of activity. For someone with a supposedly broken ankle, he moved quickly around the yard. Yet, still he maintained his bad habit of not coming for full days but rather an hour here and there. How did he plan to make the deadline exactly? He told us he had purchased the fence months ago for example, but we found out from our neighbor that the mason was at Home Depot buying the fence on Sunday! Finally it was Sunday night. it was a race against the clock and the sun. Texting back and forth with our neighbor, we waited to see what the final move would be. Would David and I have played a bad move and in giving him 48 hours be paying for a sloppy finish and find ourselves without the money to tidy his project and our yard? Would he admit that he could not finish in the allotted time and leave?
At 7:00PM it was over and the sense of utter relief washed over us. For over three months my mind was held hostage by this mason. For over three months, David and I were embarrassed of our home and fearful for what his work and lack of work meant for our life’s savings. For over three months, we tried to establish some kind of regular communication with the mason so that both of our objectives could be satisfied. In the end, he drove off and we took shots of brandy.We were relieved and ready to start new with a new landscaper. I wish our old mason the best and I hope that the family and life difficulties he shared with us, if true, are able to be sorted out. Our final move brought back some hope for us and brought this summer saga to a close.