This is #3 in a series of 5
The following advice was researched heavily. My husband and I moved our family of 5 + dog to the country nearly five years ago. We were keen to relinquish traffic, long lines for everything and a crazy pace. We also wanted a freer childhood for our sons and at school, smaller class sizes. While I was looking forward to the gorgeous landscape and my husband the fishing, I neglected to remember one important detail. I thought the country was suburbia.
It isn’t suburbia. It’s rural. As in everybody put your mailboxes on one side of the road and grab a flashlight because it’s pitch-black at night-rural.
Time for a disclaimer: Country living is not for everybody. If you are the sort who enjoys more pavement than grass and for whom taking a hike requires a hazmat suit to avoid mosquitoes, snuggle into your favorite sofa at Starbucks with your Espresso Macchiato and assume the following occurrs in an alternate universe.
For the rest of you? Bookmark on your smartphone, pronto.
Tip #3: Wardrobe
I like to read Vogue. One of my favorite shows is Project Runway and I have a wonderful daydream where I am Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s love child. I would grow up in the front row of the couture shows wearing hand-made suits and blowing air kisses. Instead I am in line at the grocery, wearing Gap and politely asking for “Land O Lakes American sliced tissue paper-thin.” Make it work Mr. Deli man, or you’re out!
Did I mention that by living in the country you may develop a healthy imagination?
You need a few items in your closet that will be especially useful. Besides the obvious: jeans, polar fleece ( I’m not kidding) and thermal tights, there are two items of apparel I have found crucial. You may enjoy the Net-A Porter website although there is little there that is practical except for the…
Hunter boots. Buy two pair. One to keep at home, and one for the car. We have the same seasons as the city here: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But we also have a bonus: Mud Season. When you suddenly find yourself driving down a dirt road to bring your child to a playdate and his friend’s mother wants to show you the horse barn, you will write me a fan letter. The pair I keep on my back porch came in handy recently when our septic system service person called me to the back yard to “take a look down the hole.” You can use your newly heightened imagination for the rest. Let’s just say that afterwards I got in the shower fully clothed with my boots on.
Swimwear. The name of the game is Serviceable. When you go to the local lake that serves as the town beach you need to have a Lands End one-piece that covers every area of skin you do not want on display when you need to move quickly. I learned this lesson when on one 98 degree summer day, knee-deep in the lake with a healthy percentage of the town’s mothers and children there suddenly ran a woman towards me along the shoreline. She was yelling “Watch out!, watch out!” and stopped in front of me. She looked down and between my legs swam a long black water snake. In the next 1.2 seconds I leaped David Lee Roth-like from the water and landed on the sand. I am not proud to say I took no notice of the location of my children or anyone else. I stood panting on the beach as everyone ran to see the monster disappear into the reeds. Thankfully I was able to use the distraction to adjust my Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.
Extra tip: Make sure to tie your bathing suit top with a double knot.
If you follow my lead and get the boots and bathing suit you may decide to wear them together. For this, a certain amount of confidence is required. Close your eyes and imagine yourself strutting down the runway in your inspired get-up to “Country Girl Shake It For Me” by Luke Bryan. I don’t know if you’re ready for primetime, but the snakes will leave you alone.
Next Week…Tip #4: Leisure Activities