no Indian food in Colonie
Monday, August 10 2020
location: southeast shore, Twenty Ninth Pond, remote Minerva Township, Essex County, New York
Gretchen was paying extra so we wouldn't have to clean the cabin before leaving this morning. This mostly meant we wouldn't have to be sweeping up all the pine needles we'd tracked in. I still had a pair of enormous holes to fill under the arborvitæ that the dogs had dug in an effort to extract Anton the Chipmunk. And I also needed to drag the kiddie mattress in from the porch, where it had been serving as a dog bed.
Normally we leave our cabin early in the morning, but today we had an appointment at 12:30am in Saratoga Springs, meaning we wouldn't have to leave until 11:00am. That gave Gretchen a chance for one last swim in Twenty Ninth Pond.
I drove carefully out on the access road, only picking up a few clumps from the grassy hump between the two tire ruts. Near the road, I bottomed out briefly, probably on a fist-sized rock. And then Gretchen got out and directed me as slowly descended a piece of broken bedrock on the edge of Route 28N.
Our appointment in Saratoga Springs was at a commercial builder of cabins. We got out of the air conditioning of our car, and the hot humidity of downtown Saratoga Springs told us we'd definitely left the Adirondacks. Gretchen had been chatting online and on the phone with a guy named Dom, and he greeted us at the door, telling us we could most certainly bring our dogs in. All the humans were wearing masks of course.
Our meeting was in the central conference room, and we were soon joined by the founder of the company, a somewhat surly gentleman whom Gretchen later said was sexist (to me, he mostly just came off as a bit of an asshole). We explained the site we'd bought, how it was west of the Woodworth Lake and might not even have a potential view of it, and how windows oriented for a lake view wouldn't harmonize well with windows oriented for passive solar. Gretchen had initially wanted a maximally energy-efficient cabin, but in conversation we rapidly decided that triple glazing on the windows would likely be overkill for our mostly warm-weather needs. Gretchen also laid out her plans for a cabin where most of everything would be on the first floor, though there would be decks and perhaps a screened-in porch on a minimal second floor. The complexity of putting a deck on a roof (something I've done twice) seemed to blow a hole in our budget, at least according to the surly guy, who thought there was no way we'd be able to build what we wanted with a $300,000 budget, particularly given the fact that there is not yet any well, septic field, or powerline (though there is a driveway). Next we were shown some potential exterior claddings. I'm not much of a vinyl enthusiast, but there's now a vinyl that comes with a styrofoam backing that provides some insulation and also stiffens the "board" so they don't squish when you touch them. It's terrible news for black widow spiders looking for habitat, but it makes vinyl siding seem like a more attractive product. In the end, the surly guy (who lives on the Great Sacandaga Lake) agreed to go to the site to give it a look-see. The meeting left us feeling less settled about the project. How can a dinky 1400 square foot cabin cost more than $400,000 to build?
Our next stop was the Trader Joe's on Wolf Road in Colonie (north of Albany near the airport). But, as expected, when we rolled up, we saw a long line of people waiting to get in (as part of their pandemic-related occupany limit). So we decided to go to Whole Foods instead, where, if there is a limit, it is very high. While preparing to enter the Whole Foods, Gretchen ordered a bunch of food online from the nearby Maharaja Indian Restaurant, which had had good reviews on Yelp (or the equivalent). But then it turned out that they were closed for the afternoon and wouldn't be opening until 5:30pm. So Gretchen canceled her order.
Whole Foods is a gratuitously expensive supermarket for those with plenty of disposable income. That's actually a fair description of us these days, but one has to shop smart in a place like that. So our goal there was to only buy things that were unavailable at our local grocery stores. Items in the store's house brand (365) can often be as cheap as things from Trader Joe's, so we were sure to get things like crackers and corn chips. We also would've gotten some prepared food to eat immediately, but that section of the store had been picked pretty clean, and none of the options at the deli appealed to us. Somehow our half-full cart ended up costing us over $200 as we went through checkout. That's just how it is at Whole Foods.
I'd entertained thoughts about going to Little Anthony's for carry-out, but Gretchen was being so tortured by sunscreen that had gotten into her eye that I decided it was best to just drive straight back to Hurley. On the way we passed through two downpours.
Back at the house, Powerful was amazed that I'd somehow managed to get a haircut at an Adirondack cabin.
A large frog near the dock this morning.
Ramona on the dock. Click to enlarge.
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