Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coming To You Live, From My Living Room

I've had a 4-day weekend, but today was unplanned. Yes, I'm home today because of my beloved spring allergies. I just didn't have it in me this morning to struggle through a day at work on next to no sleep, so here I am, in the recliner with my dogs scattered around me, watching Braveheart...that all sounds nice unless you consider my red, itchy eyes, sore throat, & that I'll undoubtedly hear about this absence tomorrow at work. We should never feel sick enough that we can't come to work, after all. Bah. Enough about that, it's not fun to think about. Let me tell you about my weekend instead, since it's the reason I'm home in the first place.

On Friday night, we'd had plans to see Kim Massie & the movie Grease at Laumeier Sculpture Park, but the storms took that option away from us. Instead, we joined a bunch of our childfree friends at Graham's Grill for the evening. It's a great place to just hang out & enjoy the fun that usually accompanies a few beers & people with great senses of humor. Not that I'm one of those people, of course, but we had a really great time, & the food & drink was good, too.

We had a wedding in Highland, IL, on Saturday. Normally, we'd never consider going that far for a wedding (no offense to anyone living in the area), but the groom was the son of Doug's karate instructor, work partner, & teaching partner at the karate studio that they once ran. The man died about 5 years ago when the boy was 18 or 19 & the debauchery that immediately followed could only be rivaled by something you'd see on Jerry Springer. The boy wisely decided to sever all ties from his family, leaving him with no family except for his father's friends from karate. He called us last year to tell us he was engaged & asked Doug to perform the ceremony, & obviously, there was no way that Doug could refuse. Even in Highland, IL, & even if we don't believe that either the bride or groom was mature enough. In the end, Highland's not that far, & it's not up to us to determine who should or shouldn't be married, so it was done, & we wish them the very, very best in the future. The reception had to be the most awkward I've ever seen, & soon that along with the canned beer & impending long drive home sent us on our way. You should see our windshield - many very large bugs met their maker on it. Ick.

For those of you wondering when I was going to bring up wine, wait no more...

Sunday, we headed to Augusta, MO, for our friends' daughter's engagement party. It was at our least favorite winery in the area, which I will dub "Mt. Unkind" for the purposes of this post. They are the largest winery in the Augusta appellation, & its aesthetics are nice enough, & they can afford to bring in good bands. Normally, they charge $5 per person admission (but our friends paid for their guests), & that includes a tasting of 5 of their wines. (Mind you, they barely have 5 to choose from since some of their list is unavailable for tasting.) More & more wineries in Missouri are charging for their tastings, so while I don't care for it, I understand. What I don't understand is why they charge more than twice the price of a bottle to drink it there, when most other wineries charge a nominal fee. Let me break it down for you... It was a hot day, so we didn't want to drink red wine, so we chose a white that they compare to Pinot Grigio. Personally, I'm not much of a fan of Pinot Grigio, but it was the most palatable & the cheapest. They sell it on their website for $9.99, but to drink it at the winery it was $21 a bottle. Add to that the $3 bucket of ice (again, higher than others), & the fact that politeness as well as time with our friends caused us to buy another bottle & bucket of ice, & you'll come to the same total that we did - $48. Yes, $48 - not including the gas it took to get out there - for mediocre wine in a highly over-rated place. Highway robbery. Just think of the other wine we could've bought for that! Ok, ok, it was for our friends, so we were (somewhat) happy to do it, but still....

Wow. Our friends' kids are getting married. Either we're old or our friends had kids really young. Yup, that's it - they were too young.

On to less frustrating subjects!

Doug & I took yesterday off. We didn't really have a plan in mind, & in the end, we decided it would be best to stick around the house & take care of things. You see, between work, weddings, & our social life, we don't have a lot of free time that we allot to the house. As a result, our house is disorganized in areas (as I've mentioned before), & we had a veritable forest of maple trees growing...in our gutter. I remember this happened a few years ago, & our neighbor's son was amazed at our supposed cleverness - he said he'd never thought of planting flowers in the gutter, but he thought it was a fine idea. Heh, that's cute, but in reality, no, so before it got too hot, Doug climbed up on the roof to begin the nasty business of digging out the muck in our gutters. I was grateful that he didn't ask me to help, so I started doing laundry - about 6 loads - & dishes - 2 loads. I started piles of clothes to donate or trash. Doug attacked the pile of mail that needed to be shredded, we did a little work on our tragic rose bed, & voila! Work was getting done around our house. We still have a long way to go in order to get organized, but it was a damn good start. Maybe I'll knock a little off of that long way today. Or not.

To celebrate our day of accomplishment, Doug & I went to our local Mexican joint, El Nopal. Yum. After the grocery store, we came home & continued our celebration by opening up a bottle of rose' that we'd intended to bring to Laumeier on Friday night - 2007 Eye of the Toad Rose' by Toad Hollow. We paid about $9.99 for it & we figured we'd be putting it into a plastic flask anyway - no glass was allowed at Laumeier, & there was sort of a challenge - so we didn't want to risk tainting a better bottle. We'd never tasted it before, but after drinking it, I'm pleased to report that it was quite good, & we'd pick it up again. This rose' is made from Pinot Noir, & it was deeper in color & heavier in body than most Pinot Noir rose', & dry & crisp, just the way we like them. For the price, we were pretty pleased with it, & it's got a cool name to boot. Pick some up when you see it, it's a great bargain.

And so, here I sit...this day is mostly a waste, but at least I was able to write something today. The dogs are sure happy I'm here, & Mattie's getting a little bit of time out of her cone. (If only she'd quit licking what's left of her scab off, she'd be done with it by now.) Perhaps I'll do a bit more laundry or clean the kitchen.

Hmmmm....maybe I should grab a beer first. After all, I'm not at work.


LucyinStLou said...

I am so sorry to hear that you aren't feeling well. Allergies are AWFUL this year.

We love the Eye of the Toad. It's one of our favorite roses.

You and Doug aren't old! I agree your friends kids are just really young :)

Em said...

So, I'll go hunting Eye of the Toad this weekend I guess...if I can wean myself off the margaritas. Sorry about your allergies - I really do feel you pain cause I go through the same sort of thing myself. Unlike you, my office doesn't take issue with people taking sick leave - its just my own internal guilt leftover from the elementary school perfect attendance days or some such. However, I think that grainbased beverages should be avoided during allergy season - grain is like grass which is one of those things a lot of us are allergic to. Try some tequila instead - I've never heard of an allerge to agave :).

Claire said...

Lucy, we generally like Toad Hollow, but rose' can be so tricky...so we were going in blind. Luckily, it paid off! And no, we're not that old, unless you consider that if WE had kids, they could easily be of marrying age. Eeep.

Em, I really kicked something off when I mentioned tequila, didn't I? I had no idea I had such influence. But really, if you can find it, check out the rose'. Good point about the grain-based beverages, too late now. =(

Dave said...

I had the opportunity to meet Todd Williams, proprietor of Toad Hollow Winery on several occasions. Todd passed away a year or two ago. He was very funny (I think that comes with being Robin Williams' half-brother. Look for him as the bartender at the pool in Mrs. Doubtfire.) Not many people know that Todd had a 'silent partner' in Toad Hollow. Rodney Strong joined Todd in this venture after selling his business. They also make a Pinot Noir called Rod's Pride in his honor. Rodney died about a year before Todd did. Both were excellent ambassadors for California wine.