Afternoon Tea

004006019D came for the weekend.

We were blessed with crisp sunny weather and even crisper Chardonnay. In short, a good time was had by all.

The high point was afternoon tea. It’s an opportunity to sit back, put your shopping down and eat, drink and be merry. Plus, it’s a known fact that any food served on a three-tiered cake stand is extra delicious.

Afternoon tea at the Empress is a luxurious experience.

The shabby chic tea lobby is the closest I’ll come to Downton Abbey and our attentive server was like our very own Canadian Mr. Carson. He explained everything (“curried chicken with mango chutney, smoked salmon pinwheel, egg salad…”) He even gave direction regarding the order of eating–start at the bottom with the sandwiches, move to the middle for the buttery scones and cream and finish on the top with the assortment of decadent sweets.

As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Carson had a super special tea sense. Every time one of our cups reached the half full mark, he arrived to top it up from the big pot at our table. He even added milk and sugar to D’s. (I’m a purist who drinks my tea straight.)

We were like minor royalty, or at least aristocrats, and while I can’t speak for D, I could learn to live with this level of service. By the end of afternoon tea, I was beginning to believe I deserved to be waited on like Lady Mary. Boy was my sailor in for a surprise!

Turned out he did get quite a surprise. So did I.

This evening, the house got real cold. Cold enough that we could see our breath.

“I don’t understand what could be wrong,” said my sailor, fiddling with the thermostat. “I’ve turned it up, but the heat hasn’t come on.”

Uh oh–I forgot to order oil. No oil–no heat. Even I know that. A quick call to the Co-op yielded the following result: they can’t deliver until tomorrow so we are doing indoor winter camping tonight.

My sailor, who knows about such things, declares it’s not quite cold enough for us to die of hypothermia.

Mr. Carson, where are you? I need a top up!



My cold lingered, picking up steam with each passing day.

The pinnacle of my misery: gasping for air in the middle of night after a particularly violent coughing fit, frightening both my sailor and myself. Time to visit the doctor.

She diagnosed bronchitis and prescribed antibiotics. They should start to kick in after about forty-eight hours, at which time I should not only feel better but will no longer be contagious.

Until then I’m mooching around the house, feeling like something the Chihuahua rolled in.

I’m way too busy for this and besides, bronchitis was never part of the “Christmas with my sailor” plan.

Comfortable is Good!

After the ordeal:  "If I can't see you, you can't see me!"
The most amazing thing about having my sailor home again is that it feels like he was never away.

The previous six months of worry and angst seemed to go on forever while I was living them, but now it’s like it never happened. As soon as I saw my sailor again and we got to talk and touch, it was like he’d only been gone a couple of days.

It was immediately . . . comfortable.

I realize that comfortable isn’t the stuff of romance novels, (no one will ever make a movie about our relationship!) but it feels pretty good when you’re in it for the long haul.

This is not to say that our reunion weekend went perfectly. Far from it. I’d been battling a cold for a few days before my sailor arrived. Miserable cough or not, I planned to stick to my sailor like glue as he ran around taking care of boring “getting back home” stuff:

His bank card had been de-activated because it hadn’t been used in over six months–trip to the bank to get a new one. The battery in his truck died because I didn’t start it as regularly as I should have while he was away (oops) so he had to get a new one installed. I did say it was boring, but it had to be done and I wanted to do it with him.

Until I woke up with one of those grinding headaches that usually don’t get better until I’ve spent six or seven hours lying quietly in a dark room when I’m not running to the bathroom to throw up. No errands for me!

Since there’s no helping me when I’m in this state, I sent my sailor and our boy for brunch/male bonding. The dog curled up beside me to offer moral support.

The day wasn’t a complete loss. My headache didn’t last as long as they sometimes do. I was a bit fragile, but able to get out of bed by early afternoon–just in time to go grocery shopping with my sailor!

It was the best trip to the grocery store I can remember.

Recovering From the Weekend

016It doesn’t seem long ago that recovering from the weekend meant drinking lots of orange juice and vowing never to drink again or at least not until the next weekend.

These days, although the weekends are never as fun as they used to be, it takes considerably longer to recover from an especially challenging one.

On Friday after work when all I wanted was a glass of wine and a half hour to myself, I discovered (shudder) a flea on Penny’s tummy.

On Friday evening I gave the poor dog a toxic flea bath, hoping only the fleas would succumb to the poison and the dog would emerge unharmed by this traumatic experience. Not one dead flea dropped off her when I rinsed her and neither my boy nor I have been bitten, so hopefully it was just a lone vermin and not a full-blown infestation. Just in case, I stripped the beds and washed all the bed clothes in hot water. Then I vacuumed the entire house, including everything upholstered to catch any malingering fleas hoping for a free meal from the delicious mammals in our home.

Then I had to scrub the tub because we humans probably shouldn’t bathe in flea shampoo residue.

On Saturday morning when all I wanted was to bring a mug of coffee back to bed so I could lounge and read for a while, my boy woke up extra early with a stuffy nose, a sore throat and a nagging head ache. (Oh the joys of back to school and exposure to the cocktail of germs and viruses to which our children are exposed!) At least the house was clean, so after grocery shopping and an assortment of other really fun errands, I could devote myself to waiting on him hand and foot while worrying that I’m going to get whatever he has.

Since I need some joy in my miserable life, on Sunday I accessed some much-needed mall therapy. Yes, I know I’ve vowed to limit shopping, but I exercised admirable restraint given current challenging conditions: a couple of books, a scented candle, lip gloss (for medicinal purposes) and a pretty robin’s egg blue notebook.

What I saw, loved and didn’t buy even though it called my name: a supple leather Kate Spade handbag at Winners.

Even my sailor was impressed when I told him.

His reply to the news: I can’t believe you left without the Kate Spade bag!

How many sailors understand the allure of a Kate Spade purse? Clearly we were meant for each other.