A lot of this summer was spent sort of counting down the days until a major turnover in our house – in which two of our longtime roommates would be moving out of state, and two friends would be moving in in their place. We have a really good vibe in our house, which isn’t always easy in a group house. There are 6 of us here, and I’ve lived here for two years – longer than I’ved lived anywhere else since moving out of my parents house.
In that time, we’ve had various levels of turnover, and varying degrees of getting along. It’s hard to find the exact right combination of people for a group house, and sometimes that means some people don’t work out – don’t like the house, or living style, or communication style, and it can be hard to sort through in the mean time while you’re riding it out living together. With a weird fit, trying to communicate amongst 6 people can be a disaster and really bring everyone down. With the right fit, though, it can feel like family. Part of why it felt like such a big deal that Laura and Guy were moving out is because our house dynamic feels great, and it took a while to get to this combination of people. I’m really hopeful for the next batch but am sad that the little sweet spot we had settled into can’t continue on forever. This post is mostly a bunch of stuff related to their move.
Going back three weekends, because I’ve been slacking on a photoblog post…
Three weekends ago, I was finishing up volunteering with Girls Rock Philly and headed straight down to DC for the DC Zine Fest. We got in pretty late Friday night and woke up on the early side for brunch before the fest.
The zine fest was well attended and pretty fun. I had a weird pounding headache the entire time which wasn’t so great.
Whenever I go to DC, I just want to eat at Pho 14. Post-pho bliss
After dinner, we stopped by a show that our friend was booking but decided to just hangout outside in the grass since we had been in the same building all day around a lot of people.
In the morning, getting ready to head back to Philly.
We headed back in time for Cynthia to get to a zine reading she was reading at, and for Mikey to get to a show his band was playing. This is Whatever, Dad.
We spent the next week getting ready for our first roommate to move out. We planned a big going away present for Laura that involved each of us contributing a song, either by writing one specifically for her going away, or re-writing or recording an old song that meant something to her. We recorded them over the week in Mikey’s studio as secretly as we could.
It was really fun. I’ve never sang on a recording before. It feels good to keep stepping out of my comfort zone, even at the ripe old age of 29.
Later that week, we went out to one last dinner as a house and all dressed up.
Rover dressed up for the photo. He opted out of the dinner.
We just barely missed a huge downpour. It started right after we sat down in the restaurant.
We went to Farmicia, which I had been hearing about for a while. I didn’t love my food but all the meat eaters loved what they had. So maybe that’s the secret.
Laura and Guy
After dinner, we settled in back home and hung out a while more before bed.
The following night was Laura and Guy’s going away party.
We never have parties at our house, so it was something fun and different.
On Saturday, we spent the whole day wrapping up the secret recording project for Laura, including making packaging for the tape we were putting all the songs on.
In the morning, Mikey and I went to Plaza to try to find something fun and different to use on the case. I ended up buying graphite paper with white graphite. So I made this little graphic to rub onto the front of the case. I always call Laura “laurel wreath” because her name is Laura Reeve.
It turned out pretty neat! I don’t know how long the white graphite will stay on there, but that’s ok.
That night, we exchanged presents with Laura and Guy. Guy collects needlepoints so we got him a bunch of old, weirder modern art looking needlepoints.
He ended up leaving the biggest ones here because he couldn’t remember how much wall space he would actually have in his new bedroom. We figured that might be the case.
Laura listening to the tape.
We all listened to the songs and it felt a lot heavier than I expected.
Then we ate Ben and Jerry’s. Laura and I have been talking about getting matching ice cream tattoos for the past year but haven’t figured out what we would want, since we never eat ice cream in a cone or even from a bowl, and getting a pint seems boring.
Early in the morning, as Laura was getting ready to leave.
Rover keeping lookout.
Laura and Tiff with their Jackie Chan inspired matching pandas.
See you later, lady. Laura is moving to LA to go to grad school for Asian American Studies at UCLA. She’s gonna do great.
We all went back to bed for an hour and then went out to Cedar Park Diner.
On the way home, we stopped by the Bathhouse because folks were sitting on the porch.
Then Mikey and I headed out to the beach. It was the only day we really could for the rest of summer so we just went for it, even though it was already after noon.
I’m really glad we ended up going because it was a lot of fun! We almost talked ourselves out of going, because we always prioritize staying home to work on personal projects- Mikey on music and me on drawing.
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that just relaxing is important.
Mikey had somehow never been on a ferris wheel before! So we went up.
We did it all!
Back at work last Tuesday – Luc learned how to stick out his tongue.
Oh my god, so cute.
At the park last week, we ran into Eddie! His family had been away in Bulgaria for most of the summer. It was nice to see him but he wouldn’t give me the time of day. He was too busy running around with his older brother and I think was having trouble processing seeing me after so long.
Wednesday, Mikey played a solo show at the Kat Frat. He goes by The Goodbye Party for his solo project. Look him up!
On Thursday, we packed up the rest of Guy’s stuff and got ready for a trip to move him out to Chicago. We stopped at Honest Tom’s for burritos on the way out of town, and Tiff met up with us to say goodbye to Guy.
On Thursday night after work, we drove halfway to our destination and stopped outside of Pittsburgh in Braddock to stay at our friend Jack’s place.
We got to meet Jack’s dog, Whinnie, who has soo much energy. Rover is so calm, I’m not used to seeing dogs who aren’t! It took me a million tries to get this photo because most photos of her were just a blur.
Writing a thank you note for letting us crash.
Since the rest of our drive was only 6 hours and we had no major plans for Michigan once we arrived, we had a leisurely morning in Pittsburgh.
We got brunch and then went to a building that has a comic book store, a record store and a coffee shop all on different floors.
After 6 hours of driving, we arrived in Michigan and met up with my mom for dinner and caught up. Then we went over to my dad’s house and caught up with him and his wife, Sue, and went in the pool and hot tub.
A perfect way to wind-down after long drives and sleeping in unfamiliar beds.
The next morning, we stopped by my favorite little barn store in Paw Paw, where I always find my old wooden farm boxes, weird signs, perfect midcentury lamps, etc, for way cheaper than anywhere in a city.
Then we drove up to Grand Rapids for their second annual zine fest.
Some buds from Chicago were tabling, and a few acquaintance from Grand Rapids, and it was really nice to catch up with everyone.
Guy and Mikey went to record stores while I tabled, and after the fest was over we headed over to Mad Cap for some fancy coffee.
We thought about going to South Haven, where one of my best friends was having a bachelorette party, but it had already started to get later in the evening and weren’t sure how sober the situation would be by the time we arrived, so we opted out since it would’ve been another long drive. Instead, we wandered around Paw Paw and went to the small town ice cream parlor, The Sugar Bear.
The Sugar Bear has been there my entire life, and weirdly enough now offers vegan and gluten free options! Keeping up with the times.
We got milkshakes and sundaes and headed down to the lake that is in the middle of town.
We sat on the bench as the sun set and boats came in and out. There’s a little dock right downtown that boats can tie-up to, and people hop off to go get pizza or ice cream. We used to do it all the time when I was young. In hindsight, it’s a very idyllic thing to be able to do.
A big uproar as of lately in Paw Paw is a new traffic and parking plan downtown that included adding purple bike lanes down the main road. A lot of people are pretty confused and upset about the town going from four lanes of traffic down to two and no one understands back-in angle parking or the need for a bike line. Everyone will adjust. Small-town life. Haha. I kind of liked the purple lanes, especially with a purple sunset and the purple flowers planted on the bridge. The “big” tourist draw in Paw Paw is its winery and vineyards, so that’s why purple is the color of choice.
This is Saturday night in Paw Paw. Traffic is hardly a worry…
On Sunday morning, we continued on to our end destination – Chicago, where we would be moving my roommate Guy into his new living accommodations that came with his new job as a sort of personal assistant.
It also just so happened to mean he was moving into the Trump Tower.
It will be a pretty weird adjustment, I’m sure. Going from this big old punk house – while pretty clean and organized, to a 3 bedroom condo on the 50th something floor of one of the biggest buildings in Chicago – and only having one roommate.
An adjustment might be an understatement.
After getting Guy all moved in, which didn’t take long at all, and going to Intelligentsia and meeting up with my friend Dan from Baltimore who was coincidentally in town, we headed up to Wicker Park for food and more coffee.
We stopped at Big Star for Tacos
and met up with Guy’s sister, who also lives in Chicago. It felt good to hand him off to a familiar face. It would’ve been weird to just drop him and leave – even though that’s essentially what we did. After tacos, we went to Caffe Streets for some more coffee, and then said our goodbyes and headed on the road again.
We had planned to stop in Braddock and stay at our friends’ house again, but we got on the road a little later than we had planned, and then forgot about the time change, so we decided to stay in a motel in Ohio – which was kind of fun anyway.
At a breakfast spot in Strongsville, OH.
We were only gone from Thursday evening to Monday evening, but it felt like the longest trip because we spent time in so many different places. It was a good end cap to summer, right before starting work again almost full-time, which happens next week.
And now it all starts over! New season, new roommates, new job, etc… Hopefully what comes next is as good as the last year was.