5 Tips for Weekenders
Just bought a country home in the Valley? Here are some ways your life may change.
Illustration by Chris Reed
What happens when a New York City girl finds love, gets married, and decides to buy a weekend house in New Paltz? If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself stripped of the conventions of city life and freed from the confines of uncomfortable work pants, and a slightly wilder, more carefree version of you may emerge. Don’t worry, you’re not going feral. You simply bought a house in an unknown area and are undergoing all of the side effects that come with this excellent purchase. Here, a list of my favorite transformations that you might also experience:
1. You’ll Get Excited About Poo
On a Saturday morning, you might find yourself awake at 6 a.m., eagerly awaiting the truckload of manure from the farmer you found on Craigslist. You’ll watch bleary-eyed as the excrement of 500 cows, aged for four years, is dumped onto your lawn, and the farmer proclaims that this is the “best crap ever.” You will understand the importance of a raised bed, and how it’s absolutely necessary to have a deer fence. You’ll simultaneously admire and curse the groundhogs that sneak under the fence to gobble up all your lettuce.
2. You’ll Look Down on Whole Foods
You will become a snob about all things produce-related. For example, you might develop an intimate knowledge of when things are actually in season. From here on out, entering the Whole Foods in Union Square will pain you as you see strawberries are on sale in November. Everyone knows they are an early summer fruit. And pumpkin pie in the summer? Absurd.
3. You’ll Talk a Lot of Trash
When you’re back in the city, you will bemoan the fact that you don’t have a compost bin, and hate yourself for throwing all these perfectly good banana peels and eggshells in the trash. You will seriously consider bagging them up and driving them to your house upstate, only to get into a friendly debate with your spouse about the hygiene of carting trash back and forth. (Eventually you’ll agree it’s a bad idea.)
4. You’ll Appreciate Your Weekday Workout
When trudging up your fourth-floor walk-up, you’ll steady yourself by knowing it’s only making your legs stronger for the insane hike that you plan on taking this weekend. By Tuesday, you’re already plotting your adventure to Minnewaska State Park and subsequent potato pancake blow-out at Mountain Brauhaus. You will proceed to spend $250 on a pair of hiking boots at Paragon Sports without regret.
5. And Finally, You’ll Become the Envy of Your Friends
Those who come visit will marvel at the size of your yard, and the fact that you have a full-size washer and dryer. They won’t sleep well at night because it’s too quiet. You’ll make them a farmhouse breakfast in the morning, complete with biscuits and redeye gravy, to quell their discomfort. Maybe you will tell them the story of the bear who ate your compost box, and then — sufficiently freaked out — they will be put to work in your garden. Those weeds aren’t going to pull themselves!
Mandy Tang is an online entrepreneur and author who spent a decade living in Manhattan before living for four glorious years in New Paltz. Her latest book, Weekend Warrior: How to Buy a House in New Paltz, is available on her website, www.83soperroad.com
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