Discourse without distraction.

Naked lobster at the elephant table.

I have returned from Massachusetts after celebrating HMOKeefe’s birthday.  It was a wonderful time even if I did give him a cold for his birthday (or tried to).  The champagne was Veuve Cliquot, the lobster 2 lbs and the discourse was without distraction.

Pointy Toilet Paper

I’ll finish the furnace story tomorrow, but right now I’m dwelling on the irony of the fact that last night I was home with no heat in the house. Tonight, I have heat at the house, but I’m in a Best Western in Charleston.

That’s how ridiculous my life is. Timing is everything in life and my timing needs work.

But here I am. And I must say I’m impressed. My frugal boss made the reservations and, while I wasn’t expecting Magic Fingers or mold in the bathroom, I also wasn’t expecting a king sized bed covered in pillows and pointy toilet paper.

The job before this job I did a fair amount of traveling. Between that and personal travel, I spent a fair amount of time in hotels and motels. My traveling days ended before the “luxury bed” was all the rage with the cool hoteliers. You know when trends start trickling down to Best Westerns in Charleston, WV, said trend has gotten pretty mainstream.

I rather like this pillow thing. I have a bunch of pillows on the beds at home as well as sinfully high-thread-count sheets and ambient lighting. These things make for a nice drifting-off-to-sleep experience. To find such a set up here is a nice change from floral or striped bedspreads that probably haven’t been cleaned as often as one would hope.

Pointy toilet paper has long puzzled me. Pray tell, what is the point? Some poor soul earns a meager living cleaning rooms and part of his or her job duties is to fold toilet paper. It’s ludicrous. But if such a thing is deemed a necessity and the bathroom has two toilet-paper-holders, shouldn’t the points be the same size and shape? The lack of symmetry here bothers me. This hotel loses 5 Martha Stewart points for this egregious act. I bet the maid did it on purpose. I would.

[Mmmmm. I just put on my nightgown and crawled into bed. The linens aren’t as wonderful as one would hope – but nice nonetheless; and the experience is so much better than last night’s shivering under a down which just couldn’t keep up with the cold. No down on this bed. Pity that.]

Of course, the coffee pot falls short of my requirements. With the trek down the hill carrying luggage, the travel pot had to stay at home. I’m offended by the Styrofoam cup. I’ve got pillows, pointy toilet paper, high-end soap with an ergonomic design, but a Styrofoam cup. Go figure. If I can’t have a real cup, can’t we do better than flimsy Styrofoam? It’s a travesty, I tell you. More Martha points lost.

There’s no room service, but the clerk says hot breakfast is served in the morning. I believe I’ll partake.

So, if this post reads oddly it’s because the double u key and the snake shaped keys won’t work.  I’ve had to manipulate spell check and control v to type this. 

Never a dull moment. Timing is everything in life. And now I must go to sleep. Big day tomorrow.

Bad cup or not, I’d like to vacation here for about a double-u-eek.  I really like the bed.  I do, I do.

The Doors to Nowhere Somewhere

Doors to Nowhere

I can’t, now, remember the logic behind it, but one of the very first things we did in The Barn was to put in a set of French doors on the second floor. The idea was to build a balcony. I was in my Shakespeare phase.

The balcony still hasn’t been built. I refer to the doors as the Abbot & Costello Doors, the Laurel & Hardy Doors, or The Three Stooges Door. Each of those comedic teams, at one time or another, used the gag of a door that opened to nowhere and involved a fall. When Chef Boy ‘R Mine was small, we nailed a piece of wood across the doors to prevent their opening. That piece of wood was still there when I re-did the room in 2006. (Re-did, hell, DID the room.)  Despite it being nailed shut, The Ex made a down and dirty screen for it which is still there and still ugly.  Screen doors for narrow French doors are hard to come by.

In keeping with the ridiculousness of doors  that go nowhere by way of an ugly screen, I bought the wrong kind of door handle in 2006 to replace the wash cloth stuffed into the door handle hole that had been there since 1990. HMOKeefe installed the door handle. He never questioned the selection; I am, afterall, the woman who installed her towel rods upside down because I like them better that way.  The handle was a mistake, but I’ve grown to love it.  It’s goofy and the master bedroom might be too pretentious without a touch of goofiness here and there.


The doors lock from the inside. Makes sense, no?

I love those doors. Someday there will be a balcony.

[I can’t decide if I want French Quarter wrought iron or Deep South veranda with a pergola, or what, but I don’t have the money so the point is moot.]

The French doors are in the master bedroom which was the living room during Phase I, II, and III of The Barn’s transition to house. When we finally moved the living room, the French Door room was the dressing room and the exercise room. When I had the Happy Divorce To Me remodeling, Burl, the Handyman Extraordinaire, moved a doorway to accommodate the new bed and the dressing room became the bedroom.

I wanted to relocate because the room which used to house the bed (and is now the dressing room) has 5 windows and far too much sun in the morning. I was waking up just past o’dark thirty everyday. The sun was better utilized to illuminate the dressing table; and the French doors are friendlier to wake up to. On hot summer nights, I open the doors and listen to the peepers and enjoy the breeze wafting through the lace curtains – the ceiling fan lazily circling and going nowhere.

mmmm, nap

We had a snowstorm today with significant snowfall. I had no place I had to be and nothing I had to do.

[There’s always plenty to do, but today there was nothing pressing. As is customary for me on such days, I accomplished far more than if I had something that had to be done. I’m oppositional like that.]

Before bed last night, I draped the lace curtains up over the curtain rod so I could watch the anticipated snow fall when I woke up. It did and I did and it was a lovely morning. Eventually, I got up, drank a half-pot of coffee, and decided a nap was in order. I lazed away the morning, snoozing and watching the hush fall over my world through those doors.

I have the keys.

It’s not true that they go nowhere. They’re a portal leading to contentment and comfort. The longed-for balcony won’t change much. The doors, all by themselves, bring the outside in and the inside out. It is my place between the worlds – inside/outside, waking/sleeping, daydreams, sweet dreams, midsummer nights and midwinter naps.

The doors are no longer nailed shut. And when Juliet builds her balcony, the lock will still be on the wrong side of the doors leading to Nowhere and Somewhere and all the places in between. 

I have the keys.

Hedonistic Winter Naps

Nap Haven

The art of the nap is one I developed late in life. From the age of 3 to, oh, 40 or so, I could no more take a nap than I could sing lead at the Metropolitan Opera. (Trust me, folks, I cannot sing.)

Naps are a gift most wondrous.

The best ones are the ones that sneak up on you. Planning a nap sucks the essence out of it – like planning a laugh. The pleasure of the nap is inversely related to the intention to nap. Conducting one’s day in productivity mode and then suddenly finding oneself in bed drowsy with increasing lethargy is oh so good.

Even though I’ve discovered the joy of naps, I am still unable to sleep anywhere other than in a bed – preferably my bed.

Even sweet Babette needs a blanket these days.

Winter naps differ significantly from summer naps. Both are pleasant. The winter nap, however, also serves as a body warmer. Recently, and particularly, I’ve enjoyed the dichotomy of being snuggled in my bed while gazing at the frozen tundra which is my yard outside the French doors. Listening to the wind cause the barn to grown and creak has been a nice backdrop to puppy snores and the hum of the nonstop furnace.

Since I haven’t, for the most part, worn anything but pajamas for days, I’ve enjoyed the feel of thick silk against my sinfully high thread count sheets. We hedonists enjoy such pleasures. There have been incidents of crawling into bed in jeans and a sweatshirt. There’s something somewhat illicit about burrowing into the bed clothed in something other than nightwear. Napwear?

I’ve been running at full tilt for months. I knew I was exhausted, but I’d underestimated the extent of it. When downtime hit, I had a number of ambitious projects lined up. I knew I’d need a couple of days of R&R before launching said projects, so I did plan naps.

I’m not sure you could call them naps. I woke in the morning, drank a half a pot of coffee, went upstairs to change clothes and, instead, ended up crawling back in bed where, with some resemblance to a coma, I clocked another 3 or 4 hours of deep, drool on the pillow sleep. I’d get back up, drink the second half of the pot of coffee and end up back in bed for another 3 or 4 hours of sleep before giving up on it all and just going to bed for the night. I reckon that I slept 18 hours a day for a week or so.

I should be well and thoroughly caught up on sleep by now, but it appears maybe not. [The first order of business tomorrow is to make arrangements to have my thyroid re-tested – even if exhausted this is an insane amount of sleep.]

Eyes of Love

If not for the impending arrival of the houseguest and Chef Boy ‘R Mine’s arrival, I think there’s a good chance that absolutely nothing of those ambitious plans would have been accomplished. Mind you, I didn’t make a dent in any of them, but some order has been restored in my living environment which is a great comfort.

Today is my last day, for sure, of downtime. Last Sunday should have been, but snow storms, car problems, plumbing problems, and electrical problems kept me home much of this week. These problems allowed me good time with Chef Boy ‘R Mine and Girlfriend O’His, but the New Normal is knocking on the door and it’s time to get my stick shift out of neutral and rev the engine.

While I’m not planning a nap, I think one is likely.

Puppy Pile

The puppies are champion nappers and if I do succumb to one, I’ll put them in bed with me where Trudy will serve as a foot warmer, Willy as a stuffed animal to clutch as I snooze, and Babette slumbering on top of the covers while completing the tableau of the Still Life with Snoring.

A normal nap does involve street clothes unless it’s summer and I’ve been gardening. In such cases, I strip down and really wallow in the texture of the bed linens. But it is winter. Most likely, this afternoon will find me in jeans, sweatshirt and accompanied by puppies snoozing (and drooling on the pillow) away a couple of hours. (A pox on the power nap! Anything less than a couple hours can’t properly be called a nap.)

It’s all good. While the past ten days have been anything but Total Zen in 2010, I’m feeling pretty grounded and centered. Restored, if you will. The renewal of the New Normal schedule of my life seems doable. A couple of weeks ago, I was ready to wave the white flag of surrender. The opportunity to nap has made all the difference.