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!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Peace of Drizzle

After the stickiest, most blech week, we finally got a little rain. Not much, but still. So a couple of hours ago, I stuck on a suite, dragged the old plastic webbing pool chair into the middle of the lawn and stretched out in the drizzle with a mason jar full of bourbon and lemonade. Ahhh!

Yeah, sometimes it’s the simple things, right? I felt like I was 16 again, only then Ronnie and I used to have to sneak the bourbon. And in those days, I sat out in the sun, not the rain. We used to drench ourselves with baby oil to sit out in the sun. Ronnie always undid her straps, but I used to love getting a tan line – it made me feel tanner and more glamorous to see that teeny stripe of white on my shoulder. Now I can’t remember the last time I tanned. First I got out of the habit, then I heard so many horror stories that I made sunblock my best friend. Now I guess I’m lazy. Even with the fake tans, you have maintenance or you just look like you maybe ate too many carrots. Stretching out under a drizzly sunset, though, there’s no fuss. All you’re going to get is wet, and you always have to shower after laying out anyway so, perfect, right? I cooled down from all the humidity and let everything just melt out of my body. At least that’s how I was visualizing it. Every bit of stress dripping off my fingers and toes with the water -- totally relaxing. Or maybe it was just the bourbon.

I was hoping for maybe some kind of revelation. If I were in a movie, there would have first of all been some very cool background music. Then I would have suddenly jumped off the chair with a fast cut showing I’d had this great idea and was putting it in action. Or else while I was sitting out, something would have happed, like a gorgeous man crashing his car into the tree in the road and then I’d drag him out of the wreckage and we’d fall madly in love. You know what? Considering my track record with men, maybe it’s just as well that that all I got was a little wet.

After maybe 20 minutes or so, I came on in and had my shower. I’m still trying to figure out why I feel so peaceful, because if I could then maybe I could repeat it sometime when I get restless. Or maybe then I could turn myself into a life coach like Cory Lake. I mean, is that a great gig or what? How do you qualify for it? Has been rocker with four marriages behind her, and still alive and – bourbon aside – relatively sober. Who could be a better life coach than me?! I’m sure I could fit it between volunteering at Have a Heart and helping Leonie in the winery tasting room. Just joking, you know. But not all the way. I think I really am ready for the next part of my life, and I’m still enough of a dreamer that I’m hoping maybe it’ll be something great.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Men 2 Boys

Well that wasn’t fun at all. And it was a great reminder to me that I just don’t understand men and will never understand men. And that most of the time, like right now, I don’t much care if I ever do!

Backtrack. Jeff came out and was here for a week. Remember how I said he’d been in Manila for months? Okay. Where Jeff works now is a start-up. He’s been calling it his “end-down” because he’s kind of over the hill for start-ups, which are a kids’ game (he says this, not me!) and this is his last shot at one. I couldn’t tell you what they’re trying to do, because it’s all Martian to me. But Jeff things they could make a lot of money, and getting in on the ground floor and being so critical to it, he gets stock or a percentage or whatever. If this works, he says, maybe he’ll be able to retire someday after all.

So they had to hire a bunch of people to work on the program and stuff, and it turned out that they were getting them somewhere in Manila. And he had to go there and get it all set up and everything. And while he was away, he subleased his apartment to his old company, who had some programmers in from India for training and needed a place for them to stay. Apparently this is how the computer business works, with people hopping all over the world. This is why Jeff was staying for a week for a change, because he wouldn’t get his place back until August 1. I told him he could stay for the whole month of August, if he wanted to rent it out another month, or even longer. He’s my best friend in the world, after all.

He got here straight from the airport and looked like someone recovering from malaria or something. Which he wasn’t – he was perfectly healthy. Only even skinnier than usual and pale and grubby looking, because he’d been working almost 24/7 all the time he was there. Can you imagine going to Manila and never going to the beach? And he’s not a great traveler, so all he wanted to do was take a shower and crawl into bed. Which was fine with me.

Only it was the same day Horst was leaving and he’d dropped by to say goodbye on his way to the airport….did you ever feel like you were a revolving door??...and he was sitting with me in the living room having a glass of Green Mountain “Summer Wine”, which is a light white blend with a really nice kind of flowery taste. Okay, I’m getting way off the track. Thing is Horst is sitting in my living room when Jeff arrives, and bam! Now I need to make it absolutely clear here that Horst and I have not started anything. We’re friends, that’s all. Like Jeff and I are friends, only newer. But as soon the two of them were sitting in the armchairs glaring at each other, I felt like a bone between two dogs. I couldn’t exactly throw Horst out and he was leaving in another hour any way, so that was that. It was horrible. Every stupid little comment anybody made was like a stick of dynamite.

Now at some point, Horst had told me he used to have our poster on his wall when he was 12. Hey, I was only 19 at the time myself at the time, so it’s not exactly The Graduate! It was that one when I had the Louise Brooks bob and lived in that vintage silk lingerie I used to find down at Antique Boutique and Screaming Mimi’s. It was sort of my Sally Bowles look, if you remember, kohl and all. I’d found a few copies of the poster in my stuff, and as a kind of joke, I’d autographed one for Horst and so I brought it out to give him. I had it in a tube of course, but he had to unroll it then and there and give me a big kiss. And Jeff turned all kinds of purple. Then Horst had to go, and gave me another kiss and a bear hug – and until you’ve been hugged by a former wrestler you don’t know what a hug can be – and even shook hands with Jeff, both their eyes narrowed like hand to hand combat.

As soon as the door closed, Jeff lit into me. I swear, Uncle Harry never yelled at me that bad when I was first dating Robbie! And for what? Hanging out with a friend? While he was over in the Philippines, by the way, and believe me Ed and Leonie, and even Gene, were getting pretty sick and tired of me hanging around them all the time. I know I shouldn’t have yelled back. I mean the man had a ton of jet lag. But I was so pissed at being talked to like a naughty child, that I just let him have it back. He stomped off and hit the shower – I could hear the water – and then I heard the bedroom door slam. I figured he’d sleep it off, but the next day he was still pissed off. And I was too pissed off at that to apologize. I mean, I hadn’t done anything wrong and would have apologized just to be nice except he was so mean to me! And Horst calls from Vegas, and he’s making snarky comments about Jeff, so here I am pissed as hell at Jeff and feeling like I have to defend him…and also sad that Horst was maybe turning out not to be such a sweet guy after all.

This is getting too long. Okay. Let’s just say we couldn’t just sulk around for days. But neither one of us would be the first to cave. So we ended up being very very polite and all “no whatever YOU want to do” and everything like that, and it was just awful.

Jeff went back to the city yesterday. I spent all day today alone in the house, just listening to the quiet and it was wonderful. Sigh.