Crazy Uncle Nick is everything a hooligan could want in a godfather. He got tired of regular graduate school and switched his major:
The man has been to clown school. We used to refer to his various apartments and rooms (he moved a lot) as "Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe." He has the best garage sale karma in the world. And he shares. Witness my pachenko machine:
Nick found it at a Seattle garage sale for $10. Many many years ago I drooled all over it (ok, I begged). He gave it to me for my 30th birthday. Isn't it great?
The last time he moved was about 5 or 6 years ago, to a house he and his lovely wife bought. I believe the U haul went back and forth about 9 times. He is a lucky man: to find such a plethora of treasures, to have friends who help him move them, and to have a spouse who appreciates and even shares his enthusiasm (within reason).
The house has many good features, including a view of Puget Sound and pink tile with turquoise seahorses in the bathroom. The best part (for Nick, anyway), is the basement: Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe has a permanent home.
Their basement was a one bedroom apartment, complete with kitchen and bathroom. You might think that means a tenant contributing extra cash to the mortgage. Maybe space for houseguests? WRONG. What that means is running water. That's come in handy for Crazy Uncle Nick's latest collection: turtles. (This could be so much worse! There used to be a tarantula, but it died.) It started very casually, when a friend had to re-home her classroom turtles. Would Nick take them? Sure! Then he found a few more on craigslist. Pretty soon, people were bringing him turtles. It's sort of an informal turtle rescue.
Before you adopt a turtle, know that they live up to forty years--and that's the little box tortoises. The big ones live even longer. I didn't know this 3 years ago when Nick asked me if the Hooligans would like a couple of box turtles (he was trying to thin his herd of 30+). "Sure!" I said. "That would be cool!" And so we acquired Madge and Tortuga. They will accompany the hooligans to college.
For spring break we road tripped up to Seattle to visit Uncle Nick, Madam Nick, and their little Hooligan--let's just call him MiniNick:
We ate amazing ramen and dim sum, wandered through Pike Place Market, and climbed the giant wall at the mothership REI. Best of all, we came home with 4 more turtles. I told you, Uncle Nick likes to share. They will go to friends in the neighborhood, who understand the commitment they are making.
Meanwhile though, the basement that was clean? No more. But it's fun down there! For the Hooligans, anyway....