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September 13th, 2004

Four months ago Tuesday, I moved into Toad Woods. The Brimfield Antiques Market was open for the first of its three annual shows, and the first few days of home ownership were filled with visits from friends, and hauling home carloads of chairs, a wicker awesome, tools to replace the toolbox full that went missing in the move, and many charge receipts-worth of urgent necessities. Mark and Priscilla helped me plant a tree, and then it was The Summer Before The Worldcon.

The summer went as one might expect and Noreascon 4 proved to be a thing of intensity and wonder indeed. Somewhere in there, I unpacked enough boxes to be at least semi-functional, mowed the lawn a few times, welcomed a truly delightful number of visitors from near and far, and had the house painted. That was in between trips to Arizona and Rhode Island, outings to music festivals in New York, press checks in New Hampshire and up the road in Worcester, MA, and more than a jaunt or two to Boston.

I missed the Brimfield show in July, spending the main weekend of it in Boston prepping for the convention. Putting together the 240-page Souvenir Book trumped the need to unpack boxes, and production crises with the 112-page Convention Guide quickly ate whatever time I fantasized I might have to do a bit more settling in before visits from loved ones before and after Worldcon.

But there was still the September show at Brimfield to look forward to. Jack flew in to help with the N4 Dead Dog party, and then for a week of antiquing following the convention. I attended my first carnival glass auction ("ooh, shiny!"), and we spent a couple of days tromping our way past and through a couple thousand booths of antiques, kipple, and junk. We were both looking at most everything, though I went specifically hoping to find a dining table and some sort of guest bedroom nightstand that would get the phone in that room up off the floor. The table constraints were considerable -- it had to fit in the small eating space off my kitchen, be exceptionally sturdy, and be so low-priced as to be fairly labeled "cheap, cheap, cheap!" We looked at hundreds of tables that were too big, too junky, way too expensive, just plain not to my taste, or any combination of these factors. Then, early Sunday afternoon, I found a 1930s English pub table at the "House of Windsor" tent in one of the many fields of antiques dealers who sell at Brimfield. The table is ideal for my space. It's utterly solid (on its trestle base), and it met my "cheap, cheap, cheap" criteria in spades. Color me happy.

Jack helped me get the table home, clean it up, and set it in place. We also put together one of the remaining three shelving units awaiting assembly, so there was a place to put the new carnival glass that's come into my life since I moved in, and a box of cookbooks, too.

None of the many nightstands I saw at Brimfield quite fit the ticket, but the guest room phone is now at a convenient height thanks to one of the hand-painted stools I moved with me. Better yet, I discovered that the end table I picked up during the May antiquing expeditions fits very nicely in the smaller guest bedroom. That room needed just such a piece of furniture for visitors to rest their books, glasses, and other bedside kipple on. All of which means that my post-Worldcon recovery period included really pleasant amount of settling in at home, far more than I'd anticipated during the first few days.

There are still the other two shelving units to assemble, piles of boxes needing to be unpacked most everywhere I look, a water treatment system to have installed, and an ever-eroding driveway to deal with before winter. But there's something about having a real dining table that's helping me feel more settled than I have since moving out of Toad Hall. I think it's the story of it all, mostly. And the utter rightness of the table itself. It's like I've brought home all of the enjoyment of drinking with Britfans -- in pubs, in convention hotel bars, and at parties -- on both sides of the pond. Already, Toad Woods has had visitors from Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, California, Washington, and Poland. Eight states and one foreign country...not bad for the first four months, especially considering I haven't even held the house-warming party yet. And now my new home has a table from England that was built for sharing convivial times with friends. I knew I needed a table; I'm delighted to have found one with so much personality, and one that fits me and my current needs so well.


Geri 2014
Geri Sullivan

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