IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
DON'T RAIN ON MY SHOWER
24 February 2008
The huge room was filled with women laughing, talking, eating, and just wandering around. I was standing by Laurel and I asked, "So...how many of these people are related to you?"
She looked at the group. I don't know how many there were, but 30-40 had been invited and we guesstimated that at least 30 had come. "Oh..." she paused. "All of them?"
She then amended it to all of them but two, her best friends from high school. And us, of course. Myself, Walt's sister, and his sister-in-law. We were the outsiders at this baby shower. All the rest were in some way connected to the Hanley family.
The plan had been for the shower to be held at a local park, and it was going to be a picnic. I was somewhat dubious about a picnic scheduled for February, but apparently it is not uncommon for the weather to be beautiful in Santa Inez in February.
However, not this year. It has been raining steadily and it looked like the term "shower" was going to be even more appropriate, so alternate arrangements had to be made to accommodate a group this large in some indoor location. Enter Uncle Chip and his wife, Susan.
Susan had hosted Laurel's bridal shower in 2003 (which I missed because I was in Australia) and Alice Nan told me they had a house which could easily handle a large group. Olivia, Walt's sister-in-law, had Googled the address to get driving directions and was surprised to discover the house was on the market. For only $4.7 million you could own this gorgeous piece of real estate!
What does a $4.7 million house look like?
For one thing, Santa Inez is an incredibly gorgeous area. It's vineyards and it's horses and once you climb up into the hills outside Santa Barbara and come down into the valley where Santa Inez is located, it takes your breath away. The hills. The clouds. The green fields. And, as you begin to get into the populated areas again, it seems to be one huge horse farm after another. White fences cutting a swath through the green fields and horses standing around looking bored.
We found the house without difficulty, but were early and there didn't seem to be any cars around, so Alice Nan called Norm and Olivia and found that they were in nearby Los Olivos, at the Fess Parker Inn, where they thought they'd kill time and get coffee. We decided to join them, but by the time we actually found them and had a quick look at the Inn, it was after the scheduled start time of the shower, so we just turned around and headed back to the mansion.
I suppose I shouldn't call it a mansion exactly, but when the guest house is larger than my real house, and the master bathroom is twice the size (and then some) of my office, I know that this is really not my league! (I do not, for example, fly the flag of visiting guests on the grounds next to my pool!) I did take photos and, again, they will eventually be posted, after I get home.
It was a lovely shower. With a mountain of gifts, everything from booties to a jogging stroller with a place for an MP3 player so baby can have music wherever she goes. She even got her own first piece of bling from Walt's cousin's wife (who couldn't attend, but who sent a package).
By the time we left, the winds which were blowing a bit when we arrived had turned into gale force winds and the "shower" was starting to look like serious rain. The mountain tops which had displayed a generous dusting of snow on our drive over were now completely shrouded in black clouds. We drove back to Santa Barbara and arrived at the Assisted Living facility before the cloudburst began.
Norm had spent most of the afternoon visiting with his mother, and we joined the nice visit they were having, went to the dining room and had dinner with her. We lingered until the place had nearly cleared out, and then back to the room for more visiting before my mother-in-law was clearly exhausted and it was time for her care giver to get her ready for bed. She obviously gets more confused the more tired she was. She asked me what, exactly, was my relation to Tom, as she had forgotten he was my son.
Now we're all back at the house, having a slumber party. Or we were before the others wimped out and went to sleep. I'm sitting up, the only awake person in the house, waiting for Alice Nan's husband to return from work. He is a tax accountant and I'm sure that my friend Mary can sympathize with how his days are going at the moment!
It's been such a fun day, a chance to see my daughter-in-law in the full bloom of pregnancy, a chance to hear the possible baby name whispered by my brother-in-law, who thinks that Tom spilled the beans back at Christmas (lovely name, if it's the final decision), and a chance to laugh and visit with Walt's mother as well.
It's been, and continues to be, a great trip. And best of all, I got a text message from Ashley saying that Bissell did not find a forever home again this week and so will be with us for at least one more week.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2890