Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hanging Up Hollywood

Last month marked the end of an era for Mr. W and me.

Back in December, Mr. W mentioned to the renter of our Hollywood house that he planned to sell the place in the next couple years and, a day later, she called to tell him she wanted to buy it. 

As soon as escrow started, it was like the last tiny shreds of our youth and coolness slipped away. No more house to flit off to in the Hollywood Hills. No more tales of sitting next to famous people at sushi restaurants or running into stars on the local hiking trails. Even though we've lived somewhere else for two and a half years, it was like a big fat door was closing—and I immediately wanted to slide my fingers along its jam to try to hold it open.

To me, Hollywood has always represented a feeling of being alive.

When I was just out of high school, my friends and I went to an 18 and over club there and bribed the waitress to sell us Jell-O shots—our first booze purchase in the U.S. In my 20s, I spent many a night dancing, drinking, ogling boys, and making hilarious memories around Hollywood's streets. Mr. W has countless tales of his nights out on the Sunset strip, claiming Dublins as his own, hitting on way too many girls, and building a portfolio of inside jokes that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

When we met in our 30s, the memory-making took on a whole other dimension. My trips to Mr. W's house in Hollywood every weekend were like mini vacations. Little escapes to a kind of foreign land where you never knew what you'd see. One night we were out having burgers and beers, and two girls stood on the sidewalk outside our restaurant smoking cigarettes while wearing fake mustaches. I LOVE this about Hollywood. Its weirdness, its diversity, its culture, cuisine, ridiculousness, trend-setting—there is really no place like it.

Our house there was the last connection to that energy and that time in our lives. It was our last connection to being young and in love. To being newlyweds. To learning each other. To spending time with Pete.

It was incredibly strange to pack up the guest house last month, collecting every last bit of evidence that we ever lived there.

It was equally strange to go back to Hollywood last weekend for a bachelorette party. I will say that I don't miss trying to find parking there after midnight, but when I drove down Hollywood Boulevard in the morning, past the famous Mann's Chinese Theater and the Kodak—where they're currently setting up bleachers for the Oscars—I felt that old familiar prickle of excitement. That feeling of being alive that only Hollywood can spark.

Admitting that we're officially done with the place feels like hanging up a precious suit we'll never wear again. Kind of like zipping my wedding dress into its storage bag in the closet. I love that dress. It was the perfect fit for the occasion. But there was a time and a place for it and that has passed.

Our time and place in Hollywood has also passed.

But oh how lucky we were to have it while we did. To be alive there and to be able to recall what that felt like even now while we're miles away.

Thanks for the memories, Tinseltown, and for serving as the spot on the map where it all began for us. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

No Crying Over Spilled...Glass

We're no strangers to mishaps here at the Maris house, but this past week has been a test of our collective wills.

The good times began last Friday when the glass walls around
our new shower were supposed to be installed. Mr. W finished grouting the shower last Tuesday and, after a minor incident with the table saw that involved a sliced finger and blood spray on his face, he also installed the new bathroom vanity. It seemed like the old master water closet was moving right along.

But when the shower glass installers went to put in the surrounds, they discovered two of the panels were an inch too tall. So they laid the track and hung one little sliver of glass and promised to be back this week.

Oh Glass Misfortune, how could you get worse?

Why, in the form of a broken car window of course!

Saturday when Mr. W hired a helper to come load stuff into his truck to take to the dump, Glass Misfortune reared her head full force. We both heard the helper shout "Oh no!" while we were in the side yard and all I could think was, "Please don't be fractured or concussed."

We rushed out to where the guy was loading the truck and found him with his mouth agape—and a 4x4 wood beam in his hands that he had just smashed through the back window of Mr. W's truck. Did I mention the truck is only a few months old? Did I mention I have eczema and a strange rash on one of my legs?

Super fun times around here right now, ya'll.

After spending Valentine's Day drinking wine and laughing with friends, we thought perhaps our fates had changed and the pox had been lifted.

But then we got the call that the local building supply shop we'd hired to cut our master bathroom countertop was having major issues. Never, ever buy a slab of marble over the phone after you leave a stone yard. Back in the late summer or early fall, we saw a lovely slab of "French Vanilla" marble but weren't ready to pull the trigger to buy it on site so we called later that afternoon and asked if we could send the local builder to come pick it up.

A nice big crack down the middle and cheap filler in some divots that turned a lovely shade of brown

When we saw the slab again, it looked totally different from what either of us remembered. And it had a big fissure right down the middle. Our builder buddies thought they might be able to cut it in a way that placed one of the bathroom sinks over the fissure, but that didn't work out. And when they called us this week, it was to tell us that the marble was pretty much crumbling as they were trying to shape the countertop. Fail.

We drove over to the shop to look at it and agreed that even if they could try to fix is, neither of us liked the marble. It was just a crappy piece of stone and we never should have bought it without writing our names in permanent marker on the actual slab we wanted. So we told the builder to cut us one of their existing slabs of Cararra instead. Bye, bye Benjamins...

The good news is our building supply pal is going to try to sell the old marble on consignment, as it would probably work fine for a smaller vanity. So hopefully we'll recoup some of our cash.

The shower glass guys also came back yesterday afternoon and installed the walls they weren't able to set last week. After one more visit to hang the shower door, they should be done.

Friday is going to be a big day here—the new countertop is supposed to be delivered and the shower door is supposed to be hung. In the meantime, I may burn some sage and say some prayers to the glass gods that everything goes in a smooth, non-shattery direction from here on out...