Scavengers From The Beginning

Maybe scavengers isn’t the right word… but it has a certain ring to it. I was contemplating the right terminology for describing my life with my husband and the kind of people that we just are. The stuff that seems to be the very substance of our being. And scavenger is what I came up with.

Something about the idea of a person who searches through the discarded remnants of others to acquire the items necessary to live a new life resonates with me on a deep soul level.

This became apparent to me as I was continuing to work on rebuilding the home we purchased over the winter. I stopped to smile and reflect.

From the beginning of my relationship with my husband we have always done things a particular way. Our own way, for sure, but also in a way that requires building and scavenging.

Our wedding was the very definition of the essence of what I am trying to get at here. We essentially had a 20K+ wedding for around 3 thousand.

A wedding starts with the invitation. I made the paper for each invitation by hand, and then my husband designed an insert to be printed up to go inside. Bringing the estimated quote from our first choice invitation at 750$ down to 45$.

When we couldn’t afford to rent cutlery, dishes, and table cloths (as the estimate for these items alone was almost 2,000$!) I purchased all of the items outright from second hand stores for 200$.

When we could afford to rent tables and chairs (valued at another 1,200$), a friend loaned us tables and we made benches out of scrap lumber. This cost us 0$.

My wedding dress was given to my for free by a cousin that had owned a wedding shop that had shut down. The value of the dress was 4,000$. It was a lacey mermaid fit wedding dress and I looked amazing, all for the low price of 0$.

I wanted flowers in abundance. Flowers, stacked on flowers, stacked on flowers. The estimated price of the table pieces, boutineers, and bouquets was 2,400$. We spent 15$ on seeds, and spent the three months leading up to the wedding perfectly timing the planting of flowers so they would all be in bloom at the same time. In addition to that when our wedding party arrived to help with the wedding, I promptly brought them to a swamp on the side of the road to forage the last of the flowers and greens needed. Not one person was even surprised that this is what I would be doing the day before my wedding.

My mother in law rescued me with the food. I had been planning on cooking all of the food myself to save money, she quickly talked me out of that idea and offered a modest budget to cover the food. Another 2,000$ saved.

I made my veil and ring pillow out of my mothers dress. I don’t even know how much these things cost because I never even looked to buy them.

My mother and mother in law made the wedding cake (I thought it would be a nice bonding activity), saving another 540$. My mother also cut the cake, as the caterer wanted a gastly 100$ for cutting the cake, to which I scoffed.

We choose to get married at the farm where I worked at the time. A farm venue rental generally costs between 2,500$ and 4,000$. We spent nothing. We had a beautiful plan of getting married at the top of a meadow looking out over the green mountains rolling out around us. The weather had other plans, and we ended up exchanging vows in the area we had set up for the reception. While it would have been nice to have been married out in the meadow we had mowed an aisle into, I will always be glad about that money we saved.

The list goes on and on of little things done with love. I made the gifts for the guests, and gifts for all the wedding party, while Patrick designed the thank you cards. Photographer friends took our photos so we didn’t have to hire anyone, a cousin bought a hitch for his SUV so he could lug all his DJ equipment up though the Green Mountains. Our friend became ordained to marry us, etc.

Most of the things we did ourselves, but a lot was still done by the hands of people we love who were there for us on the journey. That through our work we created something that could never be recreated again. Because our love can never be created again. We have built our love with the loving support of others. (To cheesey?)

So while I was raking up years worth of leaves, trash, and broken glass in my backyard this week I smiled. Because This house we have bought has the same story as our wedding. Of course this is what we are doing, because this is what we have always done. Right now we are building a new love story in this home.

Once again we are doing the work ourselves. Patching roofs, hammering in the hardwood floors, hanging drywall, mitigating bats, and running plumbing. And of course various other things as needed. And once again we are scavenging, searching and accepting with open hands any discarded home items, or building materials that someone else doesn’t want.

It’s almost like we new what the future would require of us and our wedding was the test run of the life that we would end up living.

And without fail the hands of those we love are by our side lending a helping hand, showing up with some food, or to whisk us off for a hike.

I know its a lot of work to live this way. And I know people think we are crazy. But I have to say I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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