Ohmigod. There’s a lot to do.

Arrived in Springs yesterday, and my priorities are not what I thought they’d be. The road traffic is less intrusive than I feared. I thought I’d be on the phone immediately, making arrangements for a solid  board fence to block all motor vehicles from my sight. Occasionally, I’m conscious of the whoosh of tires, but most of the time I’m unaware.


It’s now the end of Day 2, and I’m one step further from camping. But the situation has many similarities:

  • I’m freezing. 40 last night, 50-55 today, going down to mid-30s tonight. The heating system is kaput (I knew that) and I don’t have an electric heater. I’m sitting here with a wool scarf around my neck, a down jacket on my shoulders.
  • My provisions are in an Igloo cooler. The refrigerator I thought I would salvage makes a loud noise and it’s gross. It’s going away ASAP.
  • You can’t drink the water. It’s orange. Rusted pipes, no doubt. I’m brushing my teeth with Poland Spring.
  • There are animals in the woods. I’ve seen five deer in my backyard in the past 24 hours. I shouted “Go away!” but they didn’t budge.

I’ve had a very productive two days.

Going, going, gone!

Going, going, gone!

On Sunday at 11, I met Rob and Sean from Relocators at my storage unit in Centereach, where I had squirreled away some basics. The truck was only about 1/4 full on the trip out, but, because they are also junk removal “specialists,” I had them take away a couple of hideous tall storage units and a plaid couch, above. Another hour’s labor and $90 later, they had also removed a load from the cellar where I thought I’d find useful things and hidden treasures, but instead found a badly broken wicker sofa, a rusted-out power mower, a weight bench and bar bells, a mattress and box spring, and, as they say in the tag sale ads, “much much more,” mostly disgusting.

From the time they left till midnight, I was non-stop movement, unpacking and arranging.


Lots of this (barberry)


Wisteria strangling red maple


Carpets of this in bloom (lily of the valley)

Today was even more productive. This morning I got online – YEAH! – thanks to two guys from Cablevision, one a fellow Brooklyn refugee; then met with Marcello, a landscape contractor, and showed him all that needs doing, from hauling away a fallen-down wooden shed (‘shed’ makes it sound smaller than it is – it’s got to be the size of a front parlor) to taking down an oppressive, misshapen cherry tree (not a flowering cherry) and digging up evil wisteria which is running rampant. He also has a guy (naturally – they all have a guy) who can fix my broken doors, replace my bathroom linoleum with ceramic tile, and “much much more.” I await his estimate.

Pretty but evil wisteria

Pretty but evil wisteria

I mopped 1000 square feet of floor, including the porch, dealt with a dead mouse under one of the baseboard radiators without calling an exterminator, got my dumping permit from the Town of East Hampton ($70/year – not bad for anything and everything) and then my beach parking permit ($25/year), more quickly and with less pain than I had imagined. My car is now festooned with colorful stickers.

Then I had a cup of New England clam chowder from the Springs General Store and bought two astrology books and some Updike stories from the Springs public library book sale for 25 cents each. Who says the Hamptons is a rip-off?

(Seriously, everything, from laundry detergent at CVS to a box of crackers at Maidstone Market, costs at least $1 more than it “should,” or than it does in Brooklyn, rather.)

In the late afternoon, in a bid to get warm, I drove to the end of Flaggy Hole Road, where I sat in my car looking out at the water, listening to NPR, and dozed for a spell. There was a Little League game going on in Maidstone Park, and people were walking dogs and fishing in Three Mile Harbor.

It feels strange to be here. I keep thinking, “What am I doing here?” Then I look at other people, and wonder “What are THEY doing here?” The draw is not as obvious as New York City. Some vitality is missing, or perhaps that’s another word for stress.


New headquarters of casaCARA

This evening I had my first official visitor: my friend Jifat, who lives about 20 minutes away in Northwest Woods. I told her to dress warm. She came in a fleece jacket, wooly scarf, and gloves, bearing champagne.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in GARDENS & GARDENING, LONG ISLAND, OLD-HOUSE MAKEOVERS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to OMG

  1. This post made me smile with excitement for you. It seems like so much work. Rewarding work. Champagne and gloves. Perfect.

  2. Anonymous says:

    this sounds 100% fun to me. get yourself an electric blanket and worry about the heat in time — you’ll only have cold nights in May! let’s hope anyway!

  3. Mary-Liz says:

    Sounds great!!! Cleaning & getting rid of stuff can be so cathartic. I was thinking about you & wondering how you were doing in these cold nights. So glad you are back blogging – I missed you!!

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