Learning from the Land Baroness

By Mary

Looking at the header on this blog, you may note that there are a more than just the Slattery sister’ gracing the top of grain bin on Kate’s glorious late June wedding day. The maid in the hot pink dress is Emily Menn. Emily was Kate’s Maid of Honor, and is the older sister of our Sister-In-Law, Aurora. Emily was educated as a lawyer but in more recent times has found herself owning 8 rental properties in Troy, New York. All of her property was constructed in Victorian times. Some apartments were once huge brownstone private family homes. One was built for use as a coach house, another was made to be filled with nuns as a convent. Each have an individual story behind them. The 54 tenants that rent from Em might refer to her as a landlady. Personally, I like to call her a land baroness.

For months I have known that I needed to take time away, and go out into the world. Time and distance away from the quiet frozen ground back home has been a much needed desire. In October or November, Emily and I started co-conspiring for me to come to Troy to vacation, or as I like to approach it, work-cation. A few months have passed since the conspiring to take the trip north on the train was presented, and I am happy to report that I have taken the opportunity to come to New York and keep up with Emily’s workaholic stride.

One of the big focuses while I am here is to completely caulk, plaster and paint a large three bedroom apartment. With the past history as my carpenter brother’s semi-useful assistant, I am really enjoying my time learning home improvement skills. There is nothing like a knife, drill, caulk gun, and a bucket full of tools to make a woman feel useful!

Most days are filled with paint splatters and caulk. Some days have a different twist though- such as on a  recent Saturday. After spending the morning craning my neck sanding down a ceiling , Em and I headed 2 blocks down the street to a rental property. Our task at the apartment there had nothing to do with home improvement skills. Nope. The job there was to attempt to bag and discard of whatever we could. The former occupants had moved out of the house in a hurry. This could have had something to do with a team of US Marshal’s breaking down the door to look for the husband who was on the run due to involvement in illegal sales of certain substances. The past occupants of the apartment left behind 2 floors of things. The most humorous finds of the cleanup effort were very different from each other. The first find was a tiny scale that we could say was,uh, a marketing scale. The other find was the collapsed remnants of a baby grand piano in a dark scary corner. Ah, the exciting life of a Property Baroness!

When Emily I are not working , sleeping , watching wretched reality tv, or eating (we haven’t wasted the time to turn on burners, so coffee, cereal, ice cream, and microwaved marshmallows are our main substance), we have been known to change our clothes and self renovate.

Dressing up and going out for the evening are a rare occasion. More likely than not, my days have been filled with the goodness of busy pleasing labor, and little outside conversation with the exception of the guys on Emily’s payroll who tend to the electrical and craftsman tasks.

Recently, Em and I have gone thru a phase of watching reality tv on netflix at night. It’s fun to do while Emily keeps herself busy making a chandelier, and I have thrown myself into a fixation of making copious amounts of jewelry thanks to a bead gallery down the street feeding into my jewelry addiction. The two of us have watched so many episodes of Say Yes To The Dress, that I never want to see a white dress again. Our newest reality tv show marathon has been keeping up with the clicky tattoo artists on LA Ink. I giggle as I watch the trendy culture displayed and copy the “rad” way the washed out Cali stars talk. My joke is that I am going to go home speaking like the stars of the show from the East Coast.

That’s hardly likely. For no matter where I am- at heart I’m a mid-western girl. Whether climbing up Sioux grain bins, or on top of a ladder, or standing on 3 inch heels, my roots are within the Wisconsin earth, and so are Em’s. It’s a special gift to share this time and laughter with a kindred sister from the Badger state.

4 thoughts on “Learning from the Land Baroness

  1. gojulesgo

    How cool! There is just something so satisfying about a hard day’s work, doing something physical/with your hands. And it also pleases my guilty pleasure heart that what follows is marathon-reality-TV-watching 🙂

  2. Pingback: Adventures at the Derby « sweetridgesisters

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