This morning I went out on the back deck and looked around. The sky was blue and the temperature was just right. I decided, Darn it, I’m going to stop and smell those roses. I sat down in one of the outdoor chairs and used another for my legs (that, I might add looked suprisingly good.) Next to me was a pot of parsley and I nibbled on it.
I looked at all the corners of my property, then at the outdoor structures, then at the parameters where my far wealthier neighbors have hedges and barriers to keep me from seeing them and save them from having to witness the occasional laundry I dry in the sun.
My structures are what they call in real estate parlance “pre-existing grandfathered structures “ Roughly translated it means that before East Hampton got so popular and full of high end individuals with property demands, the locals could do whatever crazy thing they wanted with their land and what they did was build little accessory cottages where they could live out the summer while renting their bigger structures. My former owners built a little cottage and also a barn-like garage. The fact that their land was less than a quarter of an acre did not stop them and to their credit, the place does not look crowded and the little cottage is private and hidden from the other buildings.
These accessory structures are valuable because it means I can rent them without having the building inspector come barging down the driveway with a cease and desist order. When I first moved here, I was so disoriented and apprehensive about money that I rented everything in sight. I rented the cottage to a yacht owner who used it for his cook and his wife. Once the cook took me on the yacht to look around. It was nice but I wasn’t tempted in any way. The yacht owner, a Seventh Avenue millionaire (garment business) rented every summer for three years. He bought the cottage a new refrigerator with a freezer so his cook could make fresh ice cream to serve on the boat. I always felt like a bystander to all this East Hampton behavior and still do.
The other accessory structure I have is a garage/barn that had several holes in the roof when I bought the house. The holes didn’t keep a lawyer from renting it for his luxury car so he could take the train (at the end of the block) and then drive home. This lawyer once invited me to his Central Park West apartment to see the Thanksgiving Day parade from his window. I can’t imagine why I thought this would be a good idea but I went. His apartment was so high up I couldn’t see much but there was a very good buffet.
I haven’t thought about these early years for a long time (I don’t rent out anymore) but as I sit here “smelling the roses” I realize what a comfort this house has been for me. People feel good when they enter and I feel good when I enter. The other morning my daughter was visiting and she walked out and found me waving my hand around.
What are you doing?
I’m blessing my property.
That’s how you bless, you wave your hand around?
Yes. That’s one way.