Monday, May 29, 2006

There's Still Some Work to Do in the Yard and Basement, But Hey -- It's Not Like Grey Gardens or Anything

So we did a bunch more yardwork this weekend... We got some mulch and spread it out over the topsoil we got last weekend, I pulled out a difficult stump, I cleaned the glop out of the gutters, the ♥G♥ mowed the lawn, and stuff like that -- Also, we got the rest of the stuff we need to finish hanging flourescent lights in the basement. We've become Menard's regulars. Fortunately, there's a nice drinking establishment w/good ambience right down the street from Menard's at which we can stop off for motivation.

Speaking of yardwork, we watched the fascinating documentary Grey Gardens last night, about two members of the blueblooded Bouvier family who, shall we say, let things slip a little bit. I don't care who you are, you have to see this movie.

Quick recap: Jackie Kennedy's crazy aunt and crazy cousin are Beverly Hillbillies in reverse, in that they have a fabulous Long Island mansion overlooking the Atlantic, but because they are fucking crazy they let the place go to pieces (literally) and are usually only one step ahead of having it condemned. For a slightly lengthier recap, here's Wikipedia's entry on Grey Gardens.

Interesting afterstory: The property was eventually purchased by Washington Post editor/JFK drinking buddy Ben Bradlee and his wife, Sally Quinn. (Note: Mr. Bradlee gave one of the best comebacks to a C-Span caller I have ever heard. Years before the Mark Felt revelations, Brian Lamb was interviewing Bradlee and someone called and said that he knew for sure who Deep Throat was. He smiled and nodded his head and said "Great! That makes two of us!")

On pages 456-457 of his memoir, A Good Life, Mr. Bradlee describes his new property -- In all my life, including years reporting about slums from Washington to Casablanca, I have never seen a house in such dreadful condition: attics full of raccoons and their dropping, toilets stopped up, a kitchen stove that had fallen into the cellar, a living room with literally only half a floor, grounds so matted with devil's walking sticks and other thorns they were impenetrable, a large walled garden which was so overgrown it could not even be seen. Over everything hung the knee-buckling smell of cats and cat excrement. Whole rooms had been abandoned when they filled up with garbage, as the Beales moved to the next room. The house had been condemned several times by the Village of East Hampton as unfit for human habitation, then rescued by friends and relatives (including Jackie Kennedy, once) who supplied the new furnace or new toilet required by authorities.

This morning at 5:30 one of our cats was sitting on the bed and decided that it was a good time and place to blah. ("Blah" means "barf.") We were like "Oh great -- now we're just like Grey Gardens." We were about ready to send him off to be part of the sequel of one of the other excellent documentaries we saw this weekend, Gates of Heaven, about people who bury their deceased pets in formal graves at a pet cemetary. At about 5:32, I wanted to just send him today and get it over with, rather than wait for his natural demise.


Anonymous Searchie said...

I, too, am a Grey Gardens fan. Here’s a great article from The New Yorker about the infamous “Marble Faun,” the Beales’ handyman:


5:46 PM  

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