El albergue

El albergue

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Swimming blind

Living as I now do in the midst of a natural playground (SO many beautiful places to go hiking and exploring!!), I tend to think of the great outdoors when I think of exciting new experiences. Recently though, I’ve plunged right into what has to be for me one of the most exciting adventures I’ve had in a while… I bought a car!

Having never owned a car myself or dealt with any of those pesky things like car insurance and whatnot before, this has been sort of like trying to swim underwater through a murky lake – I had an idea of where I was going (Car! I need to own a car!), but I really couldn’t see how far away that goal was or what little or big obstacles might pop up out of nowhere to hamper my progress.

Prime example:  When I learned that I needed to buy a car sooner than expected, the first overwhelming question was “Where?” Should I try to find one up here in Mendocino? Should I try to find one in the Bay area? Should I try to find one back home, where hopefully there might be some better deals hanging out? Should I look on Craigslist? Should I go to a dealer? Ahhhh!!!

But I dived right in, feeling my way around, asking people with more experience for advice. Of course, I hadn’t taken any positive direction one way or another, but at least I was orienting myself, right?

Well, lo and behold, out of the blue, my housemate found me a seller in Fort Bragg that she had a good connection to! AND, wonder of all wonders, it was exactly the kind of car I had been hoping to find - a Honda CRV! Not only that, but it was in great running condition and had under 100,000 miles on it! AND it was in my price range!!!

Then came lots of uncertain paddling through lots of unknown territory – go talk with the seller, look over the car, pretend like I know what I’m looking for/at, take it to a mechanic, listen to said mechanic’s advice like a lost child desperate for directions… Upon deciding to go through with the deal, the seller and I both sort of waded through the paperwork as newbie’s on the scene, mostly certain that she had all the papers necessary. Then I realized last minute that the car needed to be smogged before the DMV would process the change of ownership. Thank heavens someone in my gym class knew where to get that done. And when I made it to the DMV, I felt so wide-eyed and clueless, standing there in front of the lady at the desk sort of stammering. She was wonderfully patient though, and all the documents were in good order. (Yay!)

This is about where my figurative head burst above the figurative waters, and I took a deep figurative gasp of air. A car! I own a car! But oh wait, what’s this further stretch of water to swim? Oh yes, that would be figuring out car insurance. Phooey

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dinner by Candlelight

Wine Hour at Brewery Gulch Inn last night was a romantic affair. As the innkeeper on duty, I was busy every single moment, going back and forth between the kitchen and foyer to help the attendant pour wine and set up the dinner buffet, stopping to answer guests’ questions, turning around every which way at my desk to sort through what seemed to be a hundred distinct pieces of paperwork, picking up the ever-ringing phone to answer reservation inquiries, and constantly strolling over to the fireplace to jab the smoking logs into a decent blaze. But for all that, it was too lovely an evening to go at all crazy. The guests chatted quietly over little glass lamps burning brightly on the tables, the fire was cozy, and food and wine found its way into guests’ hands around the myriad candles lighting the service area. Most of our lights were off, and more candles glimmered around the rest of the foyer. Every movement and word seemed softened in the flickering glow. The food itself, delicious as it always is, seemed somehow better for the ambience.

It was such a peaceful picture of rest and enjoyment.

Even the owner, harried as he was with keeping constant watch over the generator and frequently checking to see if the power had been restored after the big storm, seemed affected by the graceful mood of the candles. Instead of being peevish, as he most certainly had a right to be, deprived as he had been of sleep throughout a long night and day of running an inn on the fragile strength of a back-up generator, he was generous and friendly as he talked with guests softly illuminated in the darkness.

And when PG&E called to let us know that power might not be restored until the following evening, even that news was not immune to the effect of the candles. As I hung up the phone, they continued to flicker gently, seeming to say, “Don’t worry. Things will work out. Now sit here with us and enjoy this moment of quiet.”