Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Welcome and first post

 
Welcome to my blog.  A word on the title:  I am
(1) Critical in the sense of judgmental
(2) A mom:  three children, ages 13, 10, and 8.  The brilliant 13-year-old is helping me right now.  I could never have set up a blog, or done anything except send an e-mail, without him.
(3) Lonely.  A relative term.  I love seeing my husband and kids.  I miss my friends, who are nearly all in New York, and I live very far from New York indeed.  Most of my time is spent in northwestern Germany.
(4) The middle class.  This will be the most contested, the most labile, the most contradictory, the absolutely hard to pin down term.  Let's take the easiest definition first, the economic.  I have no money, but I do have some education.
  And now for my first post:



NIGHTMARE in PARADISE:

Vastly to my surprise, I can recommend Nantucket Island as the shopping experience of a lifetime--not in the stores, naturally, where ugly sandals are currently on sale, $350 marked down from $700.  The billionaires are driving out the millionaires here, a horrible experience for one who as a child knew the island as a peaceful fishing village, but the one advantage of this demographic disaster is the Hospital Thrift Shop, where for $29.  I got exquisite shoes, worn once, for $15, a lovely Dolman-sleeved boiled wool jacket, a hand-knit sweater, an elegant straw hat, Martha Stewart perfect after I removed the grosgrain ribbon welcoming the Welleseley class of 1961, several CDs and I forget what else.  And later, friends have invited me to "TIOLI," the Take It Or Leave It Section of the town dump, from which they have culled their  teakwood set of lovely outdoor furniture, several ornaments, lots of items in their home, and clothes, clothes, clothes.  I can't wait to stand among the vultures and grab some designer shoes for free.       
Other than that, life here remains horrible.  I had a large margarita to get me through lunch to the tune of my mother's voice. People drop $1,000 in the cheese shop for an evening's lark.  Women who look much younger than me dodder slowly down the street, and when I look closely I see facial skin stretched tight as a drum, fixed smiles, wigs, and shopping bags from stores with no price tags on the merchandise (if you have to ask how much, you are so not "our sort of people").  Botox? Facelifts?  Meanwhile, the proprietor of our B&B told us it is not "de rigueur" to hang out our wash: "People can see it from windows, you see."  Gee, I feel so sorry for them.  I hung up twice as much wash yesterday just to spite him, and in revenge he let his dog poop all over our yard.  I asked him to clean up and he yelled "it's the dog's yard" but grudgingly agreed to do so. More poop appeared, I sent an e-mail saying my children walked there and not to allow the dog to do his business at all ever again and explaining that we needed a clothesline. Got an e-mail back telling us they'd try to clean up but we were "trashy" taking over the back yard with a clothes line.  I didn't think people with lots of books in their houses and who actively campaigned for Obama would be the type to think of clothes on a line as trashy.  We took our line down and are now desperate. They did offer their clothesline, upon which algae grew thick as a carpet.  The laundromat they say is the only one on the island is $3.75 a load and an expensive cab ride away.  I knew there was another one in town, asked the first non-billionaire on the street, and found the washing machine at the end of the rainbow, allegedly only for the Yacht club but there's no "VERBOTEN" sign so my husband is down there now. The Grand Union supermarket is the only place I can afford to shop, except for the Hospital Thrift shop.  And to top it all, we seem to have bed bugs.
I came prepared for ticks -- but this?  Once upon a time, my mother, an extremely good artist, painted a scene from our then-affordable cottage of wash billowing out on the line to dry.  It was a romantic scene, and my favorite painting of hers.  Is that Nantucket gone forever?

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