I grew up in a small town amid farms on Eastern Long Island. As a child, I played in my father’s greenhouse dirt and walked to my neighbor’s farm stand to eat peas. When I was able to freely choose where to live, I choose the city for three reasons: the subway; culture; and the awe-inspiring, brilliant chaos that emerges when lots of people congregate. A few years ago, we bought a two hundred year old house complete with loads of original details and a dilapidated barn. I panicked and worried about the overall location, which was too far from “home”– a/k/a NYC and LI. We sold the equivalent of my dream house within the year.
Two years passed. Then, partly to appease my urban-bred spouse who started to crave quieter streets and partly to appease my own long-standing inclination to build a garden, we officially moved in January to the Hudson Valley. I sold my beloved, boring safety net–my coop unit–just as the building itself began renovations that will make its new owner the “profit” we denied ourselves. Except for my bookcases and couch, my sister and mother became the custodians of nearly all our rather new furniture that fit the apartment well but not the quirkier house. I miss the subway, the culture, and the people. I do not miss the glaring materialism of urban life. If I am to live in the country, I want to live in the country properly.
We refer to our house as “Ducky with the eye patch.” You correctly guessed the reason. We did intend to invoke the “ugly duckling” imagery. I do not intend to replicate the (arguably insipid) glamour of suburban-HGTV renovations. Too many folks seem to presume that I desire Shaker kitchen cabinets…or kitchen cabinets at all. We do have a long list of regular, routine repairs. Due to its faulty foundation, the 140 year old house was a few years away from degeneration. Two neighbors conveyed their initial interest in buying our house until they realized how much work required. Our house is not a good investment property. For us, the price was right, the street filled with old-school charm, the 900 square feet interior a good compromise (I continue to try to convince my other half to do a tiny house), and the .395 acre or 17,000 square foot, mostly clear lot bestows just enough land in which to hopefully grow enough edibles to fully replace the grass.
We now live about six miles from New Paltz and the Hudson River. I cannot walk my dogs without encountering apple orchards. The landscape inspires. Even my family members who are familiar with dreamy agricultural landscapes perceive my new neighborhood as lovely.
With excitement, happiness, and relief, I still commute to NYC — the boroughs — to officiate weddings. The commute is genuinely bearable. I read and daydream without interruption for a restful ninety minutes straight. For me, this is a shorter commute than the two+ hour trip from Eastern LI to Manhattan, which I accomplished for a few years in college and grad school.
Finally, you reached the point of this post:
I look forward to officiating wedding ceremonies in Ulster County and its environs. After years of declining weddings in this area, I will be able to accept the honor with joy. Thus, if you pardon these early, gradual stages of SEO labor and want me to be your wedding officiant in Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Highland / Lloyd, Clintondale, Plattekill, Milton, Marlboro, Gardiner, Rosendale / Tillson, Ulster Park, Kingston, Saugerties, Rhinebeck, and even Albany, please do e-mail NewYorkOfficiant@gmail.com! I am delighted to enjoy the opportunity of expanding my range as a wedding officiant in the Hudson Valley.
Perhaps in October, when our property gradually transforms into something interesting, I will begin to offer eloping couples the ability to marry for almost-nothing in our backyard.