Country Mice Visit the City

Another week – three visitors at the tent! Robin’s friend, Isaac, and Charlotte and Robin’s official couple friends Allie and Gabe. 

The highlight of the third week in the tent, however, took place decidedly not in the tent. In fact it took place about as far away from tent-dom as one could imagine… on the third floor of a gallery building in Chelsea in NYC at the Paris Review Summer Issue Launch Party. 

Charlotte’s good friend, Hank, invited her to the event 

Charlotte: Which I was thrilled about! I have loved the PR since I was 18 and my boyfriend at the time got me a subscription. Honestly the worst thing about that break up was losing my physical copies in the mail… not gonna shell out $40 for the print edition no matter how much I love the writing. 

After some corralling from Charlotte and a very anxiety producing text to his manager, Robin was able to get work off and agreed to come down to NYC for the launch as well. The launch itself seemed to be consistent of exclusively NYC’s hottest and youngest intellectual crew (so obvi we fit in uber well): Model-esque, exuberantly moments away from publishing their next big cultural critique piece or selection of poetry, and drunk off of the free drinks (poured by some very funky bartenders).

Robin:  I had blast schmoozing with the young NYC intellectual crowd. Surprisingly they seemed to accept me inviting me into their scene (even though I am such a WEMA country boy). My proudest moment was when I put Tom Jones’ song “It’s not unusual.” The crowd went wild and the DJ gave me a thumbs up and said, “I like your style.” I proceeded to play an Italo Disco song “Dance School” and Jamiroqui’s “Feels So Good.” In my mind the night was a succes not to mention the pictures I took of Charlotte in front of the Andy Warhole Poster of the giant receipt!

Coming back to WeMA we were surprised by the sloooowww pace of life – now we had had a taste of the fast life! But the tent remains a source of vitality. We had our first dinner made a la rain (aka it had to be cooked under the tarp). We also had our first dinner a la dietary restrictions (vegan and no peanuts). They were one and the same. We made lovely sesame noodles with thin sliced veggies and topped with cashews; a beautiful salad with almonds and figs and strawberries; all served with some free bread from the local bakery with olive oil. It was a hit. 

Beautiful pasta with fresh herbs and ricotta made by Robin for a very hungry Charlotte post waitressing

Chow for now Arizona, 

City Slickers


Friction on the Frontier

Watermelon feta salad with corn on the cob and fresh Hungry Ghost Bread

Having now had a friend over for dinner, one could argue that we are officially settled into tent life.

Every morning we wake up around 7am, spend a few more blissful moments in bed and then get up because Robin has work at 8:15. We eat breakfast together (overnight oats, yogurt, or toast- though we have yet to perfect the latter) and make a pot of coffee for Charlotte and a cup of tea for Robin. 

This week has had its share of highs and lows and a lot more habitual wine drinking than we have ever done before. 

Highs include some wonderful dinners – frittata with greens, watermelon and feta salad, and pasta with summer squash and mushrooms; the joys of waking up together; a great meeting with the Hoffmans; and the beautiful view we see every morning. 

Charlotte: For the record I made the frittata and the watermelon salad! 

Making frittata (with camping stove 1 – before the propane leak)

Lows have included the anticipated set back types: our propane stove sprung a leak; 

Charlotte: When my friend Max, to whom I had gone on and on about lovely tent living, was over no less! How embarrassing! 

Robin got a flat tire; we broke a bottle of sesame oil (causing our storage area to smell very tasty); and we put a thawing watermelon on top of our dry goods bin – making a very sticky mess (thankfully nothing was ruined!) …  perhaps less anticipated (and exciting) ‘struggle’ has been the navigation of living with a partner. This is a whole caboodle of firsts for both of us. The most obvious being first time living in a tent but it is also the first time either of us has cohabited as part of a couple. 

Charlotte: Despite the fact that we had been told of these troublesome times by friends and family, perhaps foolishly I was caught off guard to hear that Robin was feeling iffy about how we are spending time together this summer … How do you make time for dates when you are both working full time, dealing with ‘homeowner issues,’ and trying to keep up intellectual pursuits?! All I can say is thank god I have an IUD. 

Much intensity later, we decided to go on a morning date on Saturday 

Charlotte: and I am very much looking forward to it!

Happy Campers (and ecstatic Charlotte) with waterrrrrmelllooooonnnnnn

Chow for now Arizona, 

Difficult Darlings

High stakes.

our home

Well One Week later and so much has happened. 

To be chronological or not… 

We set up the tarps last Sunday. Charlotte’s dad came out to help us complete with an engineering brain and 6’6” of scrappy brawn. Thank goodness he did! The tarp set-up seems to have created the most set-backs and irritation of the project thus far.

Charlotte: All things considered, though,  I maintain that these set backs were minute compare to how awful this whole building project could have been!

Our first attempt went smoothly. We rigged the 20’X30’ tarp more or less in a typical army tent style with a line down the middle and four corners staked at various heights. It seemed awfully simple and besides the fact that it was great to have the extra pair of hands and a knot expert it seemed a tad arbitrary that my dad be there. By late morning we had rigged it all up and Mark, Charlotte’s dad, was sent to get some tecnu to relieve the encroaching the poison ivy we had all been up close and intimate with. 

Tragedy and distress struck in those fateful 20 minutes when a big gust of air swooped up under our tarp. The force ripped holes near the less enforced sprocket holes that were being used to support our rigging line. How annoying! A fucked up tarp, a bunch of poison ivy, and three hangry workers … 

mere minutes before the fateful gust …

First things first we went back to Robin’s (former) home to eat some scrambled eggs and wash off … then brainstorm. Thanks to some handy left-over planks found on site we were able to create a less stream-lined but, perhaps, more sturdy tarp set up. Setting up the tent, we began to catch site of our upcoming summer. Besides a plethora of bugs and poison ivy, we agreed that it seemed awful romantic. Plus Mark had brought out Charlotte’s graduation gift – a lime green electric bike! 

Charlotte: Screeching down the driveway near the tent, it seemed to me that this was the closest to being a kid that one could get at 21. 

We moved into the tent on Thursday  … a very dramatic evening that consisted of the most childish argument antics courtesy of Charlotte. 

Charlotte: But hey! If this is what being a kid is like as a post-grad oughtn’t a girl get to pick a ‘well you hurt me fiiirrrrsssstttt’ fight every now and then?!

However, the set up looks beautiful and feels like home … besides an agreement that something must be done about how cold the bed is (wool blanket under the sheet?). 

Charlotte: Stumbling half tipsy into the tent last night after going to a show with a good friend and finding Robin’s arms welcoming me, I thought to myself: is *this* real life? Is *this* me at 21? Because if so that is pretty dope.

highfalutin tent living

From now on this blog will chronicle our adventures living in the tent – so while all four corners of our tarp and tent are firmly secured, the stakes may be ever higher. 

Chow for now Arizona, 

Tarp Tanglers 

Screw it!

Squaring a floor joist.

Well here we are.

What started as an odd tongue in cheek idea about a month or two ago has materialized into a full blown platform on some friends land, around $500 spent (and many more saved, we hope), and two impassioned (or crazy) post-grads embarking on the next phase of our life.

Some questions in our minds as we approached the end of undergrad:

Where to live?

How to spend the summer?

How to save money?

After being in this academic race (yes that happens too in very alternative liberal arts colleges) how could we find some clarity? How could we become grounded again?

Robin was having trouble finding  place with his friend, Saul, and Charlotte really just did not want to pay the $600 rent for her (lovely but janky) college apartment room.

Neither of us are huge Thoreau fans or aficionados but we figured that his whole “live in the woods” but have laundry courtesy of local town and gown would be a nice approach. And thus the tent idea was born.

Robin: I didn’t want to just camp. I wanted to camp in a huge ass tent. So luckily we found a nine person tent for two people on craigslist for only $75 (a good deal, I think?) Maybe a steal nonetheless a lot of space.

Since we wanted our tent to be dry all summer we decided to build a 16ft x 16ft raised platform to camp upon. This was more of a production then we may have anticipated but we learned a lot in the process, leveling, squaring and constructing a complex set of sturdy floor joists.

Charlotte: we also learned a lot about each other. I was very wishy-washy at times and upset when I was not given “exciting” tasks. However we learned a lot about communicating through and with difference and sharing responsibility at Hampshire College, which we were able to implement. A practice in praxis. How “woke.”

Bare with us as we develop our blogging persona’s. The adventures will continue all summer full of twist and turns, fiascos, triumphs and joys, tribulations and serendipities. We hope you will enjoy our silly musings as we mosey (or more likely trip and stumble) through this next pasture of life.

Chow for Now Arizona,

Platform People