Monday, November 9, 2015

What I Did For Love

I went to the Catskills. In November. Enough said?

My darling neighbor Vicki was getting married to the equally adorable Ben.

Since I was going I offered to do the flowers.

She demurred, I insisted.

I got to bring a plus 2 along. I invited my next door neighbors, the Irishman and his 7 weeks from due date wife.

We loaded their SUV up with flowers, made our 1st Starbucks stop and with an assortment of Ted Talks at the ready plus a rocking country music playlist  hit the road.

We arrived 6 hours later, at the Full Moon resort in a wilderness reserve. All the leaves were gone. But some of the trees still had red apples shining on gnarly branches.

Friday night was all about BBQ and apple crisp, a firepit where we toasted smores and late night dancing in a tent.

Saturday morning was all about oversleeping and starting the wedding flowers an hour and a half behind my imaginary schedule.

Even with a pregnant accountant as my assistant and guest cameos from the wedding party and their relatives bringing waters and iced coffees, time was tight.

As any florist knows, 13 centerpieces, a bridal bouquet, 3 bridesmaids, 2 flowergirls, 6 boutonnieres, 1 corsage, 1 place card table arrangement, 1 piece for the programs, and one pink glass depression ware pitcher plus 4 glasses, 2 vintage bud vases and a coca cola wagon to fill takes time.

I had less than 6 hours. By the end the pregnant neighbor had learned to wrap bridesmaids bouquets and even did one wagon arrangement herself.

Plus she kept the music pumping and ran over to the main lodge to bring us back some lunch, there was also a 15 minute liedown for her. Baby not amused by her new career choice.

But we made it. Not enough time for me to shower, but enough time to change clothes and meet the other guests in the grove.

With the gentle sound of a stream behind us and sheltered from the wind, Vicki and Ben were married.

He cried, she cried, his brothers cried, we cried and smiled all at the same time.

Then there was music, and food, and speeches and more tears, more laughter, and finally we all moved outdoors where the bride and groom walked under a canopy of 24inch sparklers held by the 100 guests.

It was so beautiful they ran back to the beginning and did it again. Seriously, how often will you get that opportunity?

Then the next morning we reversed our steps leaving behind 35 degrees and mountains  covered with naked trees.

By the time we hit Baltimore there were leaves in the trees and when we got out of the car in Virginia it was in the 70's and we were kicking off  our boots and unwrapping the scarves from our necks.

I still hadn't showered, I had been squashed behind the seat of a 6ft4" driver for 6 hours and I needed to pee.

Yet I was as happy in my heart as if I had been lounging on a Caribbean island.

And the icing on the cake?

They're expecting on April 1st and it's a girl!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Not That You Asked...

 Oh these cats! Gus has one job around here and one job only: to get me up in the morning early enough that I can let him out, feed Lucy, let her out, let him in, feed him some crunchies, let him out again and still have time to ice a latte and go back to bed to read till 7:00am.

Of course by the time I get out of the shower Lucy is perched on one window sill or another meowing hysterically because clearly, this time, I have snuck off and left her in the wilds, alone.

Recently Gus has been sleeping in and I'm on a course of muscle relaxers that my doctor hopes will break up my ever present migraine cycle.

So neither of us is bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning.

I've been forced to set the alarm on my phone and as soon as it goes off Gus is up and ready to go, while I am fumbling and stumbling to turn off alarm and get to the front door ASAP.

The only day of the week he is guaranteed to wake up at 6 or earlier is Sunday, swear to God.

How does he know that's my day to sleep in?

The only time Lucy wakes me up is if I'm sleeping after 7 and Gus is out and she is in.

And that is with a gentle paw on my face. Not jumping up and down from my body to the floor, from the floor to my body, over and over like a feline robot.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed that this drug regime works because when I got home last night I had a letter from my insurance company stating that as of January 2016 they will only pay for 9 sumatriptane tables a month.

This is the medicine I take for my migraines and I take the full 27 that have been allotted me, there have been years that I needed a second  different prescription for back up.

If I only have 9 pills a month, I would possibly spend up to 15 days in bed with an ice pick through my head, unable to eat, think, work or let the cats in and out.

I'm a little rattled. Strike that, I'm totally freaked out. I suppose I could pay the full price for 27, close to 200.00 a month, though that seems daunting financially.

I had success with physical therapy but it didn't work the last try, maybe acupuncture? Has anyone tried that?

Any suggestions?

We/I have two months to solve a problem that has haunted me for years.

And perhaps there will be will be an answer that will make me shake my head in amazement that I hadn't tried it years ago.

What a drag it is getting old-er.

on a happier note here are two quick shots of what the pampered pets are doing as I am writing this.


Truly my raison d'etres

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Seeds Of Change

Still can't find my camera, only the charger. Found a camera GG left behind, but no charger.

One's a Canon, one's a Kodak. Never the twain shall meet.

So I've sent away for a charger for the Kodak. 19.95 seems like a safe investment.

We'll see. In the meantime I'll keep searching my files for a unpublished photo or one no one will remember 'cause no one read me then.

I got an exciting email today from  my friend Diane P asking me if I'd read/ heard of this offer:

I clicked it and indeed, there is a charming inn to be given away to a lucky someone with 150.00 to invest in their future and 200 words to spare. All you have to do is lay out your heart and  convince her that I/you are the right person to get said inn.

I'm in. Who else?

Wouldn't that be a fantastic next life?

I didn't know how much I would like to make a change until the window opened in front of me.

Of course we are talking Maine, long winters, late springs, 3 month top growing season, ice, snow,cold. Brrrrrr.

Then we consider lobster rolls, living close to Boston and some of my favorite people there, fall leaves, the ocean, and the fabulous slogan: Maine "The Way Life Should Be". I could use it as a hashtag on all my IG pictures.

Now there's a good reason to completely change your life: social media. But really,"Virginia Is For Lovers" has not done me a lick of good. And she, the innkeeper, seems to have found a girlfriend and is moving to Paris! Hello.

Of course 200 words...I do tend to run on a bit as you all know.

Will I get the inn? One chance on a million.

Will I decide to keep my eyes wide open and welcome change? Even seek it?

You betcha.

There I already sound like a Mainer. Off to look for a pic, maybe one of the cats?

Or maybe one of carnations. The flower I'm always trying to get our customers to love, no luck there.

Better luck with the essay, eh?

xo J

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Small World And All That Jazz

Well this is perplexing....where is my camera?

And am I allowed to write posts without pictures?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?

I could just hit publish and wait for answers but I will forge on ahead.

I have been busy hostessing.

If you are in University anywhere in the UK but mostly Cambridge and you are coming to Washington to do research, I guess you stay with me.

Every one seems to want "a proper room", not a hotel.. Once they get here they like to"go on a bit
of a wander". Everything about my house is "lovely". The cats are "gorgeous". And sometimes they want to go for a run but they have forgotten their "kit".

What more can an Anglophile want?

Cuppa? Don't worry someone is always making one.

The only problems that have arisen, and these are only problems for me, are sussing out peoples nationalities.

If you live in London and are a director at a hospital there, I think you will be English. But no, you turn out to be Irish.

If you say your place of residence is Berlin and you travel between there and Cambridge, I assume you are German. But I would be wrong, you are a Brit.

If you live in and study at Cambridge I assume you are British but no you're a German.

Geography has never been my strong point but I'm beginning to suspect there is a large international conspiracy to confuse me.

Have any of you heard about it in your homelands?

And if so assure "them" it is working.

These last two months have truly been my favorite time of airbnbing

I'm in thrall to the accents, the stories, the massive amounts of attention given to the cats. Who as you can imagine soak it all up shamelessly.

I shut down the inn at the end of October when B.(remember him) comes back from training and assumes his permanent position in the other bedroom. And hopefully at the grill.

But I have loved my months as an American Ambassador.

I've learned so much about other ways of life that it seems my world has exploded..

Since March I have hosted people from China, India ,Brazil, Australia,Cuba via Miami,one of the Stanzs, England, Canada and all parts of the USA.

Incredible experience. I recommend it highly. And to my friends' vast relief, appear to be coming through alive and unharmed, a little wealthier and a whole lot wiser.

 I have always been grateful for the kindness of strangers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Now I'm Back, Just To Let You Know......


Don't ask me. It's like going to the gym or AA meetings or anything else that makes you feel good.

Stop doing it and it's so hard to get going again.

But I'm gonna give it a go. Play catch up.

Iwentontwovacations,atelotsoflobster,readtoomanybooks,walkedablisteronthebottomofmy footinP'Town,sawsunsets,sundowns,sufferedthroughhottestmosthumidsummer,lostplants,

Wait, this deserves it's own time and space.The gun store did NOT open in August.

The community made such a loud and constant noise that the landlord gave up. He owns a hair salon on the same block and his business was over. Kaput. Day after day he and the other hairdressers sat there, day after day no one came, well except to complain or to drop off a letter telling him why they weren't coming.

He kept telling me he had made a mistake but what could he do. He had a lawyer, he got another lawyer, the gun shop had an NRA lawyer. I would go to the NRA website and read about the far left liberals who were attempting to stop this former Marine from fulfilling his life's dream. a second store with more room to stock assault weapons.

When you are mentioned by name twice on such a website it makes your eyeballs spin around in your head.

Then the fateful day arrived, the owner got his permit from Richmond, the capital of Virginia. he was now licensed to sell guns in Arlington.

He brought the letter to the landlord and waved it in his face and asked what he was going to do about it.

The landlord did the right and honorable thing, he bought him out of his lease. And then he made two signs that looked like they were drawn by schoolchildren. They had smiley faces all over them and the words "no guns".

The town went wild! People came racing onto the block jubilant. They went into all the stores hugging and congratulating all of us who had dodged the bullet.....literally.They honked and waved as they drove past. Not a week goes by that someone doesn't come into the store and say how happy they are about the outcome.

So many people told me you can't fight the NRA, they have lawyers, guns and money.

But we had heart and soul on our side.

And in a rare instance of justice, we won.

Now that's a happy ending!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Once Upon A Time

I wrote a long blogpost a few hours ago and then the computer ate it. Editing?

I don't have the heart to do it again so I'll just give you the bullet points.

Owners out of town for 24 days, 4 to go.

In that time we have had our flower cleaner quit, our driver tear ligaments in his ankle and massive amounts of rain fall both from the heavens and from our roof, close to the computers natch.

And not just one rainfall.

While we haven't been busy at work, we've been busy at work.

On the home front the Swiss intern arrived on the 3rd just in time to experience total hood immersion holiday style.

The party started around 4:00. I left at 11:pm, she came home at 2:00am and the stalwart rocked it until 5:30am.

We take the 4th of July very seriously around here.

She was amazed by the welcome; her calender is full, the neighbors are smitten. We hate to leave the block so when I show up with a  fairytale creature all long limbs, black hair and navy blue eyes, tatts and an accent....

Well let's just say my black bean/ brown rice salad was redundant.

I had already paid the price of admission.

So when shop owners return on Saturday and I get the hell outta dodge on Monday the 13th. the cats will have a built in babysitter, the neighbors will all be babysitting the babysitter and the garden will grow thick with weeds. ( outta dodge is off to Cape Cod and my friend Susan's house which contains the best guest room in the universe. Not to mention a stream of delicious food, 3 white doggies, proximity to lobster rolls and a perfect showerhead)

Weeds. That's the Brothers Grimm twist for you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Of A Tuesday

Just two more guests and I'm out of the Aibnb bizness till September.

The Italian guy left this morning about 8:15, giving me a few minutes to strip and remake bed before work.

I arrived home with time to spit polish room, add fresh flowers and give the bathroom and kitchen a shine. All this in 100 degree weather, with the window units laboring mightily to keep the house a cool 80degrees in the living room, 74 in the bedrooms.

The Italian guy turned off his airconditioner and the overhead fan saying it was too cold to sleep.

Italy I don't think so, I think he came from Hell. It's never been too cold in my casa.

Now I'm waiting for the Australian.

I'm pretty sure he will speak English unlike my guest of the last three nights.

Hard going for a communicator like myself. I finally downloaded the Translate app, which helped me immensely.

At least I could express my feelings about the USA/Columbia soccer match last night. Bon mots such as "they play dirty" flowed from my fingertips.

But no app was needed for Enrico and Lucy to communicate, it was love at first sight for him.

And even though Lucy is married I detected a lilt in her voice and a tilt of her head which made me suspicious.

Then I saw her tail disappearing into the guest room and I knew it was all over for Lucy and B. At least until the next time he comes over.

She has not learned this behavior from me, I promise.

Unless she has managed to find my dairies.

We are waiting for another storm to hit with winds up to 60 miles an hour and hail.

Oh joy. My backyard has just drained out from last Saturdays tropical storm.

Gus of course rushed out into the inferno as soon as I got home and will undoubtedly wait until he is ready to wring from the rain before I see him again.

Kids. What are you gonna do?

The sky is turning black, this will be my second guest to arrive in a Wizard of Oz fashion.

Gotta run, need to put my umbrella down and start the plaintive cries of "Gus, Gus" so often heard round da hood.