Monday, November 8, 2010

Boo Yah!

I cannot believe I forgot to post this! So much happening right now that I don't have time to update, but at least I can push this out of the "edit" box.

So Hallowe'en turned out to be a blast! (and unlike Election Day, I mean that in a good way). The last tie I had so much fun on this holiday....well, lets just say a bunch of people were still alive who aren't any more (and that is not a vampire joke!) It seemed like the whole town turned out, and a surprising amount of people form up and down the road so I guess Gene's flyer blitz worked. We started early so that people could bring their kids, so you would think it would have been over by 8 but everyone was so up for a fun time that we made it happen and it was past 10 before we agreed to call it a night. Pretty good for a sleepy down on a school night! And also a great way to get people thinking of REU as a good place to come. I think this was one of the smartest marketing things those kids could have done. I'm starting to feel way better about their prospects for making a go of it.

They decided to go the Alice route, because it's so hot this year that everyone would get it. They filled the place with giant roses and playing cards and, my favorite, a huge mushroom that held the baby's bassinet (and cute was that little caterpillar suit Pomona made for him?!) Lots of tarts, of course, and platters of tea sandwiches, and tureens of "mock turtle soup" that was really some kind of chicken with oyster crackers (of course!) and was poured into teacups. The license came through on Thursday, but the stuck to the fruit punch -- which was excellent, btw, and much smarter considering it was a family open house, really. There was a little "haunted house" corner set up for the kids with cobwebs and the bowls of spaghetti and peeled grapes and all that other usual stuff. Jenn did some juggling (you never know what people know how to do), with "skulls and bones", and Alec gave a pumpkin carving demo that was pretty amazing. We had apple bobbing, danced the Time Warp and the Monster Mash, and even played "Alice croquet" (Gene supplied the plastic flamingos to use as mallets), which was a riot. One of the hippies from the trailer park had a fortune telling table. She told me she saw Janis' overdose in her palm at Woodstock -- and no, I'm not telling what she saw in mine!

I’m reading this back and it doesn’t sound like much, but for whatever reason, it was just a really good time. Yay for all of us!

If you're wondering, I would up going as Christine O'Donnell. I wore a long black dress, a wig and I got a witches hat and hung tea bags from the brim. Well, it was clever for Arahmpett! And it was comfortable, which counts for a lot I think. I always remember the 6th grade, when I went as Lucy Van Pelt in her "the doctor is in" booth, which I made out of an appliance box and some oaktag. It looked pretty good, but I couldn't sit down all night. Never made that mistake again!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Yay, the kids got their liquor license for REU!! Or at least they will definitely have it by November 1. So Hallowe’en will be fruit punch, which is probably a good thing really, but Thanksgiving will be as gala as they want it to be. Ed and Leonie are going to do their holiday there, too. I still don’t know if Jeff’ll make it, but Leonie’s got family coming over from France, so we’ll have a big long table and all dress up, and it will be elegant and lovely and a real celebration!

Meanwhile, coming up a lot sooner, I still can’t figure out who I want to be for Hallowe’en. Gene says he could turn me into Courtney Love in a heartbeat, but I don’t know, I’m not really up for doing anything to do with music. Maggs said I should go as a trophy wife, which was funny but more than a little bitchy, I thought. She and Ken get to go to this very old Hollywood bash to raise money for typhoon victims. I was a little pissed about the trophy wives crack so I pretended I thought she said “tycoon victims” and told her we’d appreciate the help very much. Well, I thought it was funny J Anyway, they all go to some Hollywood costume place and spend more on renting something they’ll wear for one night than most people spend on clothes for a year. They’re going as Princess Leia and Han Solo. Yup, the “slave” costume. She must have had some more work since I saw her last. I mean, she’s in good shape for someone our age but for a gold bikini? And he’s no Harrison Ford – more like a cross between George Harrison and Yoda. Oh, well, they won’t be the only people making asses of themselves at that party. Oh, well. I’ll think of something. Or Gene will. He’s so excited to have the kids here and doing something special for the holiday. He drew the flyers for them and even paid to have them copied on the neon orange paper. Tomorrow I’m watching the shop all day so he can drive up all over the place sticking them up. He’s planning to go as far as Amagansett! I think he misses being young enough to train into the Village for the parade and stay out til dawn. It would mean a lot to him if we could make Arahmpett a Hallowe’en hotspot. Stranger things have happened, right? And it’s an innocent dream. Hmm, wonder if he’d want to go with me as Dorothy and the Wizard?

I don’t remember if I already wrote this (and I’m too lazy to go and look back at old blogs!), but I decided that this winter I’m going to finally clear out all those boxes I’ve been storing on the sunporch. Yes, finally! I’m no Farmer’s Almanac but I have this feeling it’s going to be a really bad winter, so I’m expecting to be stuck indoors a lot. That reminds me – I want to do a run to Trader Joe’s and stock up on their soups and some of those cool packaged things they have, like the Indian and Thai dinners. I better do a candle and battery run while I’m at it. Maybe pick up a few more pair of ski socks – when it gets really cold, there’s nothing like ‘em to keep the feet warm and if your feet are warm, you pretty much feel warm, at least I do. Anyway, I’m going to go through every damned box on that sunporch and be ruthless. Either I can use it – meaning it’s actually useful – or out it goes. Sentiment is not an option here. By the time May gets here, I want a nice empty sunporch, with a clean coat of paint and something comfy to sit on. Yes! You read it hear – I am so going to get this done!

But why am I rushing the season? I haven’t even gone pumpkin picking yet -- better not rain this weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pauses and Delays

Did you ever feel like everything in life was on hold? Not that I'm really doing anything, but it seems like everyone around me who is keeps running into little roadblocks or something.

Like Alex and Jenn, who first ran into a liquor license delay, and then got screwed by some gas pipe under the parking lot that no one seemed to know was there until after that explosion in California, when suddenly people got crazy vigilant and started scanning all kinds of old plans and things. The pipe by REU turned out to be nothing, but they still had to have it dug up, and then a new inspection, which all together lost them two weeks. There's still going to be an Open House there for Hallowe'en, but it looks like no official opening until right before Thanksgiving which, come hell or high water (and please no high water! my yard can't take any more!) they will be serving and which I am planning to eat!

I was going to go with Jeff, but there's another glitch for you! Some kind of FU in his off-shore setup so he's off to Manila again and may not be back in time. I hate that he has to go halfway across the globe and work 24/7.
He sounds so tired of it all, like he'd just rather walk away but he can't afford to. There better be a major payday for him at the end of all this! I swear if there isn't, I may have to see if Horst has any old wrestling friends who might feel like burning off some righteous anger, if you know what I mean. Ahem.

Speaking of Horst, I guess this is as good a time as any to admit that he flew in week before last and we spent some, um, quality time. High quality time, actually. It was really nice. And it's not that he lead me on or anything, but I guess I didn't realize he'd planned to spend most of next year in Tuscany doing wine things and when I did, I was a little infantile about it and we had a major blowup. So yeah, that glitch was mine and since I caused it, you could say it was all mine. It's not that I'm looking for a relationship, but I guess I'm not good at being told I can't have one either.

On the bright side, it looks like Ken may actually be going ahead with his CBGB film, and if he does they're going to shoot the whole thing in New York. Even though they'll have to turn some club under the Williamsburg Bridge into CBGB's to do it. Still, it would be a lot of fun to have it going on, and a great excuse for Maggs to spend months in tow. Maggs says he might even give me one of those expert/consultant jobs on it. Okay, it wouldn't be til summer of 2012, but it's nice to have something to look forward do that hasn't yet been messed up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In My Own Backyard

Wow, so we had two tornados in New York last week – and Arahmpett is so far off the beaten track, we missed them both. It was the NW part of the Island that got hit; we only had rain and thunder, not that Wizard of Oz wind began to switch thing. I don’t know whether to be relieved or a little maybe regretful.

It’s good, I know, because except for the patch Ludo put in, I doubt my roof could take something like that. And I’d have hated to watch my big tree torn up and spinning away Out East. I freaked out just watching the footage on the news of the storms hitting the city. You don’t expect to see New York looking like Oklahoma or something. Where Jeff lives in Queens, there were trees down all over the place. He sent me phone video of a big old tree completely uprooted, taking half the sidewalk with it. The top branches were chopped off by the wind and ended up down the block, smashed onto a parked car, completely crushing it. He was lucky. Windows safe, power on. All he has to do is walk carefully so he doesn’t break a leg tripping on the rubble.

Jeff was here the weekend before and it was nice and peaceful. He didn’t leave til Tuesday, since he could take the days and said he needed the rest. It was a little to early to go picking anything (dummy me!), so maybe he’ll come out in a few weeks do do that. It was good to spend some quiet time. This time we really caught up. He’s doing some stuff that sounds interesting, even to me. I hope it’s his ship coming in at last; that would be so great. And I got to walk him around and meet the Kids. Jai turns out to be a closet geek (I just realized that’s funny, and very 2010, that he’s openly gay but still a closet geek!) and knows Jeff’s name from some fanboy gaming blog; don’t ask me to explain because it’s so not my world. Anyway, Jeff was able to help him around some bugs on this software he needs to send patterns to a factory in Malaysia and that the phone support people were screwing up. Jai has a nice little sideline going, “facilitating” for small designers who are transitioning to medium and starting to work in quantity. No coincidence, I suppose, that his uncles own the factory in Malaysia. Then he, Jeff I mean, put in a few hours going over the system some friend of Zach’s is supposed to be setting up for the Restaurant. Busman’s holiday, isn’t that what they call it? But he liked being able to help the Kids and they made us a fantastic dinner as a thank you, so all in all it was happy days for everyone.

The important thing is that we got things sorted out. When you’ve been friends forever, the way we have, it’s so hard to have a blow up. You don’t want to watch a lifetime get blown away like some trees in a tornado, right? It’s bad enough when it happens to a marriage; it should never happen to friends.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bet You’d Live Here If You Could and Be One of Us*

(* with apologies to the Go-Gos!)

When the kids asked me what we do for Labor Day in Arahmpett, I was kind of embarrassed to say “nothing.”

When I was growing up, we had some kind of town picnic/barbecue thing, where Uncle H and his pals would drive all their grills over to the parking lot at the elementary school and everyone would bring hot dogs and potato salad and jello molds – all that kind of stuff. The big thing, I remember, was that the town would pay the guy who drove the Good Humor truck in advance for his haul and he’d set up there, too, and all the kids – the grown ups too – would come running for free Chocolate Eclairs and Strawberry Shortcakes. You know, I can still taste those? They had this great cakey stuff stuck to the outside, and in the center of the vanilla ice cream was a kind of crunchy mother-lode of flavor. You had to take a really good bite to get all three layers in your mouth at the same time. I was more a licker than a biter – I had front teeth that were sensitive to cold things – but I always made an exception for Good Humor bars.

And there I go again, starting out on one thing and rambling along a side road! Back to where I started – even after my school years, it’s been a long time since Arahmpett’s done any town holidays. First it was apathy, then too many old people; now it’s the economy plus apathy and old people….Zach was especially disappointed. I think they had this idea they were moving to some kind of Heartland. I suggested maybe we try and get a committee together, see what had to be done about zoning or permits or whatever, and try to get something going for next summer. Well, Jenn must have said something to Peter, and I know I did to Leonie, so next thing you know, they decided that if the kids wanted to try and pull some kind of ad hoc thing together now, since the vineyard would be closed to the public anyway, they could use the picnic area outside the tasting room. The next morning, those kids were all over everywhere, sticking flyers under windshields.

Meanwhile, of course, the weather forecasts are dire beyond imagination about this hurricane Earl that’s due to blast the Island by Friday night and kill the entire holiday weekend. Does this stop the kids? No way, bless their crazy hearts! They just kept knocking on doors. I heard the pitch a few times, so I can tell you it was like they were running for office, the way they’d talk about how excited they are to be here and what a great town it is. The enthusiasm was too cute, but I was worried they’d be really hurt when it didn’t turn out. On the other hand, I figured Earl would cancel it anyway and we’d all be hunkering down on our own with candles, peanut butter sandwiches and bathtubs full of emergency water.

They were right and I was wrong – on everything. And am I ever glad! Earl passed us by. The weather this weekend has been so gorgeous it would make you want to come here on vacation (just kidding!). I made my way to Green Mountain noonish to help Peter and Leonie, and the kids were already there, plus a few of the hippies from the trailer park. Around 2, people started streaming in. We had folks setting up grills, all kinds of food set out on the picnic tables. Someone brought a portable volleyball net, and a game got going. A couple of the trailer park guys brought guitars, and we did some singing. George got a little too excited and started a chant to make me sing “Hard to Be a Girl”, which was embarrassing but then fun, because I got everyone to join in on the chorus. All the time, Jenn, who is some powerhouse, was working the crowd with the baby (smart girl!), meeting and greeting and getting people to put down their names for a town “event planning” committee. It was a great day. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many Arahmpetteers in one place – and all smiling even! And enough people hung around to help clean up, so Green Mountain doesn’t look like a trainwreck.

We might have a real town here again!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just a Nice Day

This must be the nicest weekend of the entire summer. I’m sitting out back, thinking about how another summer’s almost gone and I still haven’t really tackled the yard. What I’d really like is to have an outdoor living room, like we had at the beach house. It’s not the size of the lawn I miss so much as the open space, with no trees dropping bugs and seeds and sap dust onto my book or (even worse, cause it scratches) laptop screen. On the other hand, I love my trees. I guess I just need to make it my winter project to clear out the damn sun porch for real this time.

It seems like a gigantic job. Then I watch what those kids are doing with the old bank and I’m embarrassed. Seriously! Tuesday, after Have a Heart, I popped my head in to say hello. It’s amazing how much they’ve accomplished. Ludo showed me around. They needed a real contractor to handle the kitchen and the upstairs, and Peter recommended him. So old offices are all kitchen, and the vault will be for wine, which will look very cool. Then all around the windows downstairs is going to be their market. There were shelves already up and painted all kinds of bright colors. Zach and Sophie were working on covering some odd long tables with mosaics made of broken plates and things. Ludo says those were the counters left from the bank, where people would fill out their deposit slips. The center is apparently going to be table seating. Right now, there are a bunch of used tables and chairs piled up; I recognized one from Have a Heart. Ludo says that upstairs is going to be a more traditional restaurant. A friend of his who’s one of the hippies who lives in that sort of trailer park they squatted on the abandoned garage is a woodworker and is making a very cool bar for it. I have to take his word for it, because the stairs aren’t ready for prime time yet. It was like a hive in there, buzzing with energy. Made me very excited to seem something coming to life. I told the kids I’ve gotten pretty good at painting furniture and would be happy to lend a hand if they need. I hope they take me up on it.

I was telling Maggs about my hipsters (can’t help thinking of them this way). She and Ken are flying in Thursday to stay at the house….I mean, Corey’s retreat… for Labor Day. I’m glad the restaurant is nowhere near opening yet because Ken thinks he’s a foodie and I wouldn’t dare bring them somewhere I can’t vouch for. But I figure it’s never to early to get the buzz started, right? Anyway, it turns out she’d seen Jai on some Mizrahi show that was supposed to replace Project Runway, and she’s dying to meet him and Pomona and maybe get first dibs on a hot new label. This, as I told Leonie, is what I call networking!

On a totally other hand, I had a call from Jeff the other day, so I guess he finally gave up being pissed at me for nothing. Catching up on sleep and stuff will do that. He’s going to come out one weekend after Labor Day, when (he says) it’s quiet. Maybe we’ll go apple picking or whatever kind of picking there is then. Yeah, I know I should know this but I don’t.

Enough blogging! It’s too nice even to sit still outside. I’m going to go take a long walk and enjoy the best kind of summer day. ☺

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We Have Hipsters!

The way I see it, you've got two ways these of knowing which way your neighborhood is headed. If you've got bedbugs, you're going down. But if you have hipsters, oh happy days! And though it's freaky hard to believe and I totally don't get why, it looks to me like Arahmpett is on the way up.

So here's what I know. Tuesday I was helping out Gene and he tells me that someone bought up the old bank building at the end of the strip, the end that's not tied up in the Wilber estate. Anyway, someone bought it and there's fresh newspaper taped all over the inside windows, and that's all he -- or anybody -- knew to tell. Because if anybody knows,Gene finds out. That afternoon,this couple walks in, all Ernest Sewn jeans and vegan shoes. She's a very severe Eurasian with hacked off hair and she's wearing a wife beater with an necklace made of the contents of a hardware bin. He's got on those skinny black glasses, a frayed dress shirt and a baby sling. They're picking through stuff, getting all excited and taking pictures with their phones. I hear the word "sustainable." They give Gene some money for Sy Gioe's old Tiki bar and a box full of those Welch's jelly glasses with the Flintstones on them, and say they'll pick it all up later in the week.

Yesterday, early in the morning, Leonie calls me to ask me to dinner. Not ask, beg. They're entertaining some potential clients and she thinks maybe I'd be able to "relate to them and smooth things over". She actually asks me to "dress cool." So I threw on my "I heart (actual drawing of human heart) Reykjavik" tshirt and worn jeans that really fit, with some giant rubber earrings I picked up in Amsterdam back in the day and can only wear for a few hours without wanting to pull my lobes off. And as soon as I walked in, I kicked off my shoes so I'd be strutting around barefoot with toe rings. The group, 6 kids none a day over 30 to my eye, included the pair from the thrift store -- not to mention the baby, who fortunately slept most of the time, except when he had to nurse. And let me tell you, that he didn't bark his head on mommy's necklace doing so was a major miracle!

Glasses...or Zach as I now should call him, turns out to be a painter (and on his website, which I checked as soon as I got home, his work looks interesting). Jenn, the wife is a sommelier. All of this is part of the story. The hunky guy with the incredibly pale grey eyes looked familiar. Then I remembered staring at the line from his shoulders to his butt one day when I was helping out in the Green Mountain tasting room. He, Alec, turns out to be a chef and Jenn's brother-in-law. Sophie, his wife (Jenn's sister) writes feminist graphic novels (I had no idea). The others were Jai and Pomona who aren't a couple but are partners in their own clothing line. Alec and Jenn went to Johnson Wales together and have been wanting to open their own place ever since. Now...lately, I guess...they've been working together at a moderately hot place downtown and trying to scrape together the financing to move on.

It seems that even Brooklyn is getting too pricey for the young and hip -- it's what always happens; the artists build up a neighborhood and then get driven out. So they've been looking for alternatives. After the tasting, they were so impressed with Green Mountain that they started wondering about the neighborhood and rode around. They saw a nearby beach, an easy drive to the Hamptons and tons of cheap, abandoned real estate. Eureka, apparently. Cashing in on their tiny holes in Prospect Park, they were able to buy the old Woolworths and two houses, Jenn's with a big enough garage to turn into a painting loft for Zach. When they told Jai and Pomona and drove them out to see, those two got so excited they traded in their loft in LIC to come along.

Jenn and Alec want REU ...which stands for Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and when I knew that was from Hitchhiker's Guide, I got a nice shot of respectful attitude....they want REU to be "as local as possible", so they're getting their produce from nearby farms and cheese from that crazy hippie over near Riverhead. And they want to get a lot of wine from Green Mountain. Now this is all great on paper, and I wasn't going to be the one to say anything to discourage them and screw up a sale, but Peter, who may be the most honest guy I ever knew (okay, him and Jeff), asked them flat out where they thought they'd get customers for this kind of place. You know, it really smacked me in the face, the confidence and optimism of being that young. These kids just waved him off with a smile. REU is going to be a combination restaurant and food shop, and they figure if they build it people will come. Specifically people like themselves. Total certainty that just by them coming here and staking a claim and cooking and making art, others like them will start to come and before we all know it, we'll have a whole hipster colony. My mind is still boggling, and I've had all day to think about it (and sleep off the excess wine!).

If nothing else, this is going to be fun to watch, right? First off, I want to see what they do with that tiki bar!