The fireplace screen was the bolt of lightening that struck the bow of the boat. No longer are we just deflated and demoralized. This ship is sinking fast.
Again we have a three hundred dollar budget to replace the old, broken fireplace screen but this time it is is even more difficult to work with. We searched home and hearth stores, we searched Google, we searched Craigslist. During our two day vacation getaway we even visited an iron worker in Damariscotta, Maine that our friend Bob Whear recommended. There were lots to choose from but nothing for three hundred dollars that would work for a fireplace this yuge, as we say nowadays.
The owner also requested a list of the innkeeper’s duties and told us to ask for anything we wanted. “You can even ask for a raise,” he said. “Not that you’ll get one, but you can ask.” How does one approach this request when it starts like that? We started with procrastination.
So he shouted in frustration, “What’s with this fireplace screen? Are you waiting for one to fall out of the sky?”, then stormed out of the meeting. We sat there, stunned. I was reminded of my children when they were ten years old.
The American bluster also increases. The Election of 2016 is in full swing and many of our guests can’t resist the fractious discourse. Politics come up quite frequently during this unusual election season.
There were the two nights the wine connoisseurs from outside of Philly visited. Both nights we sat by the fire wondering what the world would be like if the Supreme Court hadn’t elected George W. Bush. We knew there wouldn’t be a heated debate when we all hesitantly admitted we were voting for Bernie in the primary. The handsome retired U.S. History teacher and his HR wife were in full agreement with us on the current state of affairs.
Another guest was angry about a social security loophole that is being closed in a few months. It affects married couples and the ability of one spouse to retire sooner but collect the higher earner’s social security benefits. Always moving cautiously into discussions like this, I sensed I couldn’t get into it with him, how I don’t like this bill either but it was a compromise President Obama had to make to get the do-nothing Republican Congress to pass a budget.
Aiko from Juno, Alaska was our guest for an evening. She arrived late but I was up watching the election returns so I made her a cup of tea before showing her to her room. After she went to bed, Bernie pulled a yuge win out of Michigan.
Aiko needed a ride to Harney & Sons in Millerton, New York the next morning. Another taxi problem arose but we are now infrequent quasi-Uber drivers. We wish there were more guests in need of rides. This time I made the trip.
Aiko grew up in Osaka, met her husband in Paris as an exchange student, and flew in the night before from Vancouver. She sells tea filters for a company in Japan and has a sixteen month old son back home in Juno. We discussed the election. Both of us were in agreement. A President Trump is a scary thought.
Later that night a skunk came out of hibernation and stunk up the driveway. The couple arriving for the night remarked on this. As they came in the front door a bat swooped through the living room. The woman shrieked. Rich brought them to their room. The bat followed.
The owner’s wife called from Florida to tell us her husband has decided to sell the inn and a photographer from the realtor’s office might stop by to take pictures. This will take some time, she told me. After all, the other inn in town has been for sale for five years.
How do I feel about this? Relieved.
Friends visited for a girls’ weekend. On Saturday morning we walked to the Farmers’ Market where I ran into the photographer from the local paper. He is a shy, elderly man, and was wearing his large camera around his neck. I re-introduced myself and he said, “Oh yes, I remember you. It’s hard to remember all of you, there’s been so many of you over the past few years.”
There have been five innkeepers in ten years. It’s a small town and most of the residents know the reason why there have been so many of us. I’ve seen peoples’ responses when I introduce myself as the innkeeper, I’ve heard the veiled comments, and the frequently asked question, “does he still own the inn?”
The photographer kept poking in his odd way. Although the paper is actually a small monthly newsletter and he is a photographer not a writer, he apparently has a journalistic curiosity regarding this topic. He was in search of some local gossip.
I refrained from giving him the scoop he was looking for and pointed out the micro lettuces that are all the rage at the local restaurants. “I’m so glad I found them here. I was wondering where the local chefs were buying them. They’re delicious. Have you tried them?”
“No,” he shook his head and gave me a knowing, sympathetic smile.