Friday, May 27, 2011

"Our 'No-Cal' Adventure Continues"

The main purpose of our “road trip” to Northern California – other than seeing the mentioned yesterday Joan and David, and our equally wonderful friends, Patsy and Bob, was to attend a fundraiser for Audubon Canyon Ranch, longstanding a bird-fancying organization. We had visited one of their preserves on an earlier trip. It was located on a high hill, from which, using powerful telescopes, you could look into egrets nests, and watch the egrets doing their thing. (I guess it’s not “Peeping Tomism” when you’re looking at birds.)

Before going to the fundraiser, we were invited to visit Patsy and Bob’s cabin, in the Russian River area. The setting was densely treed and extremely remote, bringing to mind – at least to my mind – the locales of every “slasher” movie I had ever seen. The kind where the guy in the goalie mask “chain saws” and otherwise mutilates the campers. I did not mention this impression to Patsy and Bob. Instead I gushed,

“It’s so private!”

And I left it at that.

And now, an incredibly boring side story.

(For those of you who have a short time to live, you may not want to waste your remaining precious moments reading this. For your assistance, I will write the story in italics, so you’ll know when to jump back in. And, of course, sorry you have a short time to live.

Why am I bothering to tell this incredibly boring story? I have to. Why do I have to? I don’t know. I suppose it’s like the unattractive person who is never asked to dance at the prom. You feel bad excluding them from the proceedings.)

Okay. So here we go. Final warning: It’s boring.

We dropped by an Antique Mart in Sebastopol, accumulating assorted trinkets and “collectibles”, whose value, in total, amounted to seventy-nine dollars. We then spotted a Navajo rug hanging from an overhead rafter. We had it brought down, we look it over, and we liked it. We also liked the price – four hundred and fifty dollars. After being offered a ten percent discount, we liked the price even more. We bought Navajo the rug. Dr. M paid with a check.

We departed the Antique Mart in Sebastopol, heading for Patsy and Bob’s…very safe, I’m sure, cabin. The directions we’d been given instructed us to turn right onto a dirt road, which is immediately preceded by a clearly marked “Refuse Disposal Area.” But we can’t find it. There are trees everywhere, but no dirt road. We are entirely lost.

Suddenly, Dr. M’s cell phone rings. We find the first place we can pull over. It’s Anna, calling from our home, which she happens to be visiting. Anna tells us that she just got a frantic call from the Antique Mart in Sebastopol. (Our home phone number was on the check.)

It turns out they had made a terrible mistake. The rug wasn’t four hundred and fifty dollars. It was eleven hundred and fifty dollars. The price tag just looked like it said four hundred and fifty dollars. To everyone, including the salesperson at the Antique Mart. But not the rug’s owner, who had hit the roof when he heard that his eleven hundred and fifty dollar rug had been sold for four hundred and change.

Being who we are – meaning nice – we turned around and drove back to Antique Mart in Sebastopol, and we returned the rug, which was a bargain at four hundred and fifty dollars, minus ten percent, but was a rip-off at eleven-fifty.

We then drive out of Sebastopol again, returning to our search for Patsy and Bob’s, undoubtedly mayhem-free cabin. Amazingly, we find the dirt road turnoff around a bend, literally fifty feet beyond where we had stopped to take Anna’s call. Dr. M tells me that if she’d have known we were that close, she could have dropped me off at the cabin, and driven back to Sebastapol herself. I’m actually glad that didn’t happen. I felt considerably safer in the car.

Okay, I’m done.

The Audubon Canyon Ranch fundraiser consisted of an outdoor buffet, featuring food “stations”, offering signature delicacies prepared by local restaurants. In the interest of brevity, I will mention only one dish, symbolizing the fundraiser’s culinary motif:

Duck bacon.

Okay, one more.

White bean, wild duck (Apparently, “Auduboners” care about birds, but they don’t give a crap about ducks) and boar sausage cassoulet.

Last one. I promise.

Lavender poached spring rabbit.

Welcome to “roughing it” in Sonoma County. Where you couldn’t get a hot dog if your life depended on it.

I had drunk wine two nights on a row. On that third afternoon at the fundraiser, I refused to drink any more. It is my view that if you drink wine on three consecutive days, you must immediately check yourself into Rehab. Or move to France.

Before leaving for home, I consumed two cups of delicious but extremely strong black coffee. This led to the necessity of even more “Pit Stops” than on our way up, one of them by a primeval, roadside forest. To distract passing vehicles while I jettisoned the excess fluid, I instructed Dr. M to throw her arm around me and pretend we were appreciating the view.

That may have been my favorite moment of the entire trip.

Family News: This was supposed to arrive as two separate announcements, but the first announcement disappeared due to a technological snafu.

The first announcement was that we are honored, excited and finally authorized to publicly proclaim that Rachel and her bf, Tim, will be having a baby sometime in mid-November. So there's that happy news.


On the second night of our San Francisco excursion, while dining at an inn, (which has received one Michelin star, though their forgetting to accompany my soup with a soup spoon could drop them entirely out of the running), we got a call from Tim, heads upping us that he was going to propose to Rachel that evening.

We now have two weddings and a baby in our rather immediate future.

Big changes.

All good.

Congrats times two and our very best wishes to Rachel and Tim.


Nathan said...

I am curious how anybody could write the number 1100 such that it appears to be 450. I have tried hard to reproduce this feat, and though I can make it look something like Y60, that's about as far as I can go without just plain cheating.

Brian Fies said...

I think I've commented maybe twice in the couple of years I've been a regular reader, but in today's installment you drove right past my house! Should have let me know you were coming, I would've left a gift basket of toiletries at the curb. Now I really want to go to that antique mall and take a look at that blanket. Otherwise, your post exactly captures the tone and flavor of a certain type of fundraising benefit around these parts, although I think I could also find you a decent hot dog.

Congratulations on the family news. That's sincerely pretty sweet.

Mac said...

Congratulations on the impending baby.
Speaking of France and wine, my friend worked on a movie in France and they had wine every day with lunch, all the actors and the entire crew. It's not just what they like to do, it's actually a mandatory stipulation - and if you don't provide wine at lunchtime, the union can pull their members.
The film was terrible, but I don't know if it was anything to do with them drinking at lunchtime.

joe said...

As my relatives in Spain say: Muchos mazel toves


Lloyd M. said...

Two Weddings and a Baby. Starring Hugh Grant? Congrats, one, two and 1/2 people; plus 2.