Saturday, September 24, 2011


You get to an age at which you’re convinced you’ve discovered after decades of trial and error, a refinement of experience, the right or best way to do certain things, and just because C is 9 years younger than me doesn’t mean he hasn’t reached that age, too.

He has a bedspread, it was a gift from a family member, a patchwork quilt made from small squares of various dark wool tweeds, subtle grey and brown plaids and herringbone patterns like you might have had a suit made from if you were a schoolteacher in Scotland in the 1940s. When I first saw it, I shuddered a bit because it’s the kind of fabric I can’t get anywhere near without feeling like there are spiders crawling under my skin. But it’s backed with cotton so I don’t have to touch the scratchy side, and it is beautiful, looks perfect on the bed, and C is completely in love with it so I love it, too.

Now, I wouldn’t think that there would be any question, since this bedspread is wool and heavy and very warm, that in summer one would change it for something lighter. Or at least take it off the bed at night. Who would want to sleep under a wool tweed blanket in July? C would.

We actually kind of fought about it a little back in June. I got my way. C feels he’s made a significant compromise, and I won’t argue with that. If not sleeping under a heavy wool blanket when it’s 90 degrees outside diminishes his enjoyment of summer, it diminishes his enjoyment of summer. In the equal and opposite way that keeping it on the bed would make me miserable. So there you go.

The blanket we used instead all summer is a ratty cotton throw the color of a tea stain. Neither of us likes the look of it -- C says it looks like we have 9 cats -- but we never replaced it because I think C found the whole idea so infuriating he didn’t want to devote any energy or thought to it, and I am totally out of the habit of buying things to replace things that are old and stained but still function, and, even if I were not, a blanket is the kind of thing I would buy at a thrift store and there are no good thrift stores in New York. If C would even let me put a thrift store blanket on his bed.

The reason this is all on my mind is that we are on Fire Island this weekend, and the little gift store here in the Pines is selling off everything cheap at the end of the season, and they have a couple summer blankets marked down 40%. But they’re beige and boring, so I told C that I would look on line for something more interesting and probably just as inexpensive. This shop is pricey, so 40% off might not be a bargain. I was thinking probably L.L. Bean, and maybe something maroon. C likes red.

We are at that stage of our relationship where disagreements sprout like mushrooms after rain. All this business of living together, the relentless negotiation and small and large compromises that go into creating a “we” without battering the “he” too cruelly because after all it was the “he” we fell in love with and that’s the glue that keeps the thing solid. We are very different people, C and I, with different tastes, different sets of things that bring us joy, different things that irritate us. He likes Survivor, summer on the beach, and Christmas shopping. I like experimental theater, goat cheese, and inclement weather. But we both love spooning, C.K. Louis, and a good steak and an IPA.

L.L. Bean didn’t have anything, but I found several cotton summer blankets on that he might like, all in the $30 range.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


The temperature dropped about 25 degrees Thursday night. It was crisp and barely 60 on my way to work Friday. The Greenpoint hipsters, having worn knit caps all summer, had no choice but to pull out their fur-lined hunting hats with earflaps.

C and I are exact opposites in our weather preferences. The feeling he describes of mourning and dread this time of year is just what I feel in May. My enjoyment of a beautiful New York spring is always tinged with sadness and apprehension that winter is over and there’s not much time until I’ll be damp and angry for 2 months.

In fall, I can let my hair grow out a little and open the windows. I can cook something besides salad. I’m going to make chicken soup today and roast some beets that I got yesterday at the Inwood farmer’s market. My mind wakes up after a long, heavy torpor and my body comes alive. I feel lighter and inspired, hopeful and generous.