December in the redwoods. Lashing rain. Roof-battering wind. Sneaker waves and swells wanting no less then death. This is for real. The rising Smith laps at the lower steps below the bnb. Molly the dog cowers during thunder. I try not to notice the wide sway of tree trunks accentuated in the view I have through the living room’s narrow windows up toward the ceiling. These are not times for the faint of heart.
Due to the aggrieved skies, I haven’t sleeping well in days. Up at 2am to clean overflowing gutters. A 4am call the next day to sooth a fearful dog (as lightening crackles and thunder booms). Not that I’d rather be anywhere else, but it’s a challenge to time walks for the mail and early morning shuttles into town (the wife’s got to work) in between falling trees and cars gone into ditches (and, on occasion, into the river…to point, as I write this a car lies at the bottom of the Smith not three miles east on 199, its occupants trapped inside, undoubtedly dead, the river too wild to permit even the pros with Search & Rescue egress to pluck out the poor lads inside. Oh my.)
So I don’t complain. The fireplace still kicks out the BTUs, the electric grid has yet to go down in spite of the ferocious conditions, and oh yes, the hot tub is performing like a Ferrari, with a new circuit panel and topside controller recently installed. This is much more fun than waiting for traffic to clear on the Bay Bridge, or for BART to resume running.
So what does a bnb owner do when no one comes a knocking? Well, there’s time to think. Which only gets me in trouble, reliving events I either couldn’t or chose not to alter. I certainly try to avoid that sort of thing when I can. There’s time to catch up on emails, but only those from the dearest of pals. And maybe an afternoon to try a new recipe or get a start on the granola cache that can fall faster than the temperatures around here.
I have my winter checklist as I take stock of the mattresses, chairs, plates, cutlery, and spices. And the sheets and shampoo. And the wine (I lie in wait for the Safeway 30-percent-off all booze sale). I also have my Trader Joe, Berkeley Bowl and Japantown wish-list stashed conveniently in the Subaru glove compartment in anticipation of the next trip to Berkeley and San Fran.
There may not be guests to set my clock to, but I haven’t completely lost my bearings…it’s not as if I am completely aimless. I still have my priorities. Which if I had to list them would be: good coffee in the morning, walking, walking, walking, a redesigned web site, an attempt at reading (Kitchen Confidential on the bedside table), some Trump-bashing, news consumption (nytimes.com, the PBS NewsHour podcast), a mostly meatless diet (last night’s pork ribs, a complete fail, are telling me something), avoiding all shopping aisles, clean kitchen counters (always), zero Christmas presents, five holiday cards max. Hmm, not much in the way of machismo on that list — what, no marathon-training diary or bar bell-related resolutions?). Or artistry (the unplayed guitar, I’ve owned for about 15 years; the 12-button accordion, in the box, about 20). Y que pasa con la idea de mejorando mi español?
I sure as hell hope the story doesn’t end here.
Here’s a wave to the stellar crew I hosted both before and after Spain. A special shout out to Steve and Joanne who cared for Molly and watched the house while we were navigating the tapas bars and train schedules of Spain. Molly sends her regards.