In an effort to make the house appear more lived-in from the outside, I planted white and red petunias in the front window boxes. They look a little like they're slumming it next to the peeling cyan paint (we still don't know why anyone chose that for a trim color), but they do brighten up the front a little bit. I picked red and white for something bright and because Len said he thought something red would look good there, and I wanted variation. I hadn't stopped to think that I also probably earned us some brownie points with the town when I did this because Monticello (and its neighboring town up the highway, New Glarus) are primarily peopled by Swiss decendants. Many residents proudly fly the Swiss flag by their windows or hang handmade plaques that are produced by someone in town -- the plaques usually show the Swiss flag and then an icon denoting the county in Switzerland that they come from.
I'm really digging living among Swiss transplants, too. There's also a lot of Norwegian families around so I feel right at home. But a couple of weekends ago Len and I decided to go into New Glarus to eat at the Glarnerstrube with our friend Rick. The town was having a polkafest. I told Len I want to learn how to polka. Next weekend is the annual Heidi Festival and -- get this -- they're having a children's tractor pull. Yeah, I know. I too am anxious to watch someone leash several small children to large pieces of farm equipment and make them pull it like Egyptian slaves building the pyramids. It's going to be great.
Oh, here are a few fun facts about the town of Monticello:
- It has just over 1100 people in it.
- The town is just about a mile square.
- The mayor lives two doors down and across the street from us.
- The gentleman recently hired to be the Superintendent of Public Works for the town has been mowing our lawn. He only charges $15 a mow.
Also, everyone in this town waves to you. And I do mean everyone -- Len and I took a walk the other night (to the other side of town, which took about 10 minutes at a leisurely stroll) and passed by people outside doing yard work or walking somewhere themselves. They waved if they saw us from across the street even though no one in town really knows us yet. In fact, a boy about 10 years old was walking toward us playing a GBA SP (see, even in Monticello they're up enough on the times to have the SP version). He looked up as he crossed the street, waved to us, and then turned back to his game. By all rights, if the media reports about my profession are to be believed, this child should have taken out a baseball bat, beaten us until the dollar signs appeared over our heads, then stolen the SUV across the street to do a mission on the other side of Liberty City. At the very least he should have regarded us with youthful suspicion and shyness and stared at us for a moment before moving on. But no...he waved.
Today Len is putting up shelves in our pantry, and then we can finally put our kitchen in order enough to actually use it, something we really haven't done at all since we've been here. For one, we haven't had anywhere to put our pots and pans. And for another, that kitchen is scary, son. I'm slowly getting used to it, but it's so old and generally gross (the people who owned it used to put their flour directly into a metal-lined drawer, without a container for God's sake) that I've had to adjust a bit. The kitchen is the most in need of work here, but unfortunately it's also going to be the priciest, so we have to wait on that.
At any rate, the living room is clean and neat and just needs an area rug to really feel warm.