Monday, September 22, 2008

Cape Escape: The Gardener's Nest

In an email last Thursday night to Friend Greg of The Midnight Garden, I mentioned that I was looking at a three day weekend, to be followed by a rather grueling work week, so I was considering ways of getting out of the city. Only half-joking, he responded that I was welcome to come join in the fun of painting his apartment. The prospect of meeting an online friend in person, getting to the Cape, and splashing around a bit with paint was too much for me to pass up, so off I went Friday afternoon.

New York seemed to have other plans for my trip at first. My subway was shut down for close to thirty minutes because of a track fire -get this- behind my stop. Wouldn't it then be in our best interests to get as far away from the fire as possible? None of us ever quite figured that out, but it did lead to some good-natured bonding with my fellow passengers. I caught the 3pm Cape Cod bus out of Port Authority, but for some reason the bus took a route on city streets all the way through Manhattan and the Bronx, thus getting us caught in rush hour traffic and about 493 million red lights. As with the subway, I was similarly baffled by this turn of events; maybe the Manhattan highways are off-limits to buses. So just getting the hell out of Manhattan took over an hour, AND we drove practically right by my house, which made me think they could have just told me when to meet them on my corner, and I could have skipped the subway and first 50 minutes of the bus ride, but of course no one had thought to give me that option. Stupid Bonanza/Greyhound/Peter Pan Buslines (yeah we don't have interstate public transportation, we just have a bus monopoly: much more capitalist, and therefore, better).

Nonetheless I was in motion again, and very happy, my happiness increasing once we actually got to go the speed limit, somewhere around Stratford, Conn. Feel those G's! As I told Greg upon arrival, this trip reminded me that buses are worse than trains, but lately they're much MUCH better than planes.

Once I realized I was going to be late, I called him at home, but had already missed him, so the poor guy spent an hour in the Hyannis bus-stop wondering if I had already arrived and wandered off on my own, possibly to get knifed at the bar down the street where such things are a weekly occurrence, apparently. Eventually I showed up though, in one piece, and we got to exchange our first hug.

After stopping at a Wendy's where I acted like I had never seen food before and we watched some teenagers in the next parking lot over play Dukes of Hazzard, we repaired back to the Nest, where I had the pleasure of meeting Badum. He and his person are even more handsome, charming, and welcoming than the blog had led me to expect. Both gentlemen set about making me feel quite at home through a generous application of hot tea, head-butts, purring and good conversation. We listened to Butch's new CD, and continued the various threads of conversation we've been having online. I was able to inform him that yes, those of you I've met in person really are as wonderful as you sound. I've been turning into a pumpkin at about 11pm most nights lately, but I happily stayed up until late that night as we continued chatting and galloping around the apartment like cheetahs.

There was a satisfyingly slow start to things Saturday morning, with coffee on the balcony (until I threatened to catch on fire in the morning sun), more talking, then Greg had to go to a short meeting at work. This allowed me to luxuriate in the crickets, brilliant sunlight, and sea-scented breeze, and to rifle through Greg's possessions in peace, most of them still conveniently stored in open boxes. Sadly I found nothing that was blackmail-worthy, which means that Greg is a virtuous fellow, better at hiding his skeletons, or my standards for scandalous information are inordinately high. I never asked about the hot-pink Sousaphone though. Sometimes the mystery is better. Loved the racing stripes.

The nest really is as cozy and fun as Greg made it sound. I told him it feels a bit like a tree house in all the best ways, and when he complained about the slanting floors, I told him to pretend he was on a ship. He reserves judgement on that approach for now. Nonetheless, the place has a wonderful feel, and I suspect will become even more cozy and nest-like when the weather turns cold.

After he returned from his meeting Greg made more coffee, we chatted some more, then finally got around to the supposed reason for my visit, painting the dining room. The ceilings in the Nest are pretty low (seven feet, would you say, Greg?), but instead of making the place feel cramped this has the effect of enhancing the coziness and tree-houseness (I think the amount of light, and the airiness of the place helps). It also means one can paint the walls without needing a ladder, even a shorty like me. I love the color Greg chose, too. As he said on his blog, it keeps changing with the light, which in that room especially (since almost every other room in the place attaches to it) will cause some lovely effects. It was a nice Autumnal color to work with on the last weekend of Summer.

After we applied two coats and had sandwiches, Greg indulged my wish to see some beach before the sun set. Even just walking there, past charming old New England houses and big stretches of sea marsh, was lovely. We got to the beach at low tide; there didn't seem to be any wind, which made the gulls gliding by in slow-motion all the more wonderful and surreal. We also saw some herons (amazing how many bad puns one can come up with involving the word 'heron'), and a whole lot of unidentified splashing objects (USO's) in the almost still water. Greg has some (surprise!) better photos of the evening over at his blog, as well as better shots of the paint job in various lights.

I realized this weekend that if you help someone paint - or move, for that matter- at the end of the day you simply have to have pizza. I don't know why that is, but it's true. Lucky for me Greg was in the same mood and suggested it before I did. I was afraid he'd feel honor-bound to suggest something fancy and Cape Coddy, but no, we were of one mind. The combination of food (really good pizza, by the way), sea air and previous late night meant that I did turn into a pumpkin this evening though, dropping like a brick around 10pm. Yeah, I'm a crazy, madcap, big city kind of guy. I didn't think about it until today, but I wonder if I had a touch of my country coma too. A case could be made. I hope Greg wasn't too bored by me that night. I was pretty much a lump.

There had been some talk of painting the kitchen Sunday morning, but when we started stirring around 9am, I, thinking I was going to catch a 12:30 bus, knew there would be no more pretense of working. More coffee was had, more talking done, and around noon we realized I'd be taking the 3:15 bus. I had a shower, Greg had a shower, allowing me to check one more time for incriminating evidence (sorry, still nothing), then we raced off to the bus station, arriving as my bus was loading. I'm so glad Greg thought to take some photos before we jumped in the car. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't get any photos of Birdie, and the two I got of Java are both blurry. At least I have one good photo of Jess and Marc. I love this shot below.

Thank you, my friend, for a lovely weekend. I look forward to doing it again.


Greg said...

I guess I'll have to just leave the really incriminating stuff lying out in the open next time. (I can't believe you mentioned the Sousaphone, though...embarrassed!!)

It really was a terrific weekend, and your account does it justice, remembering things I'd forgotten (all those heron puns and the Dukes of Hyannis); it WAS a really good pizza, wasn't it?

Your misadventures starting out make one nostalgic for the weekly boat that used to leave Greenwich Village and go directly to the pier in Provincetown all those years ago.

Java said...

I'm pickled tink that you two got together last weekend. From Greg's account, and now yours, I get the impression it was a marvelous meeting of two like minds.

And your hair looks red in this picture.

Butch said...

That was a great weekend and you both squeezed in as much as you could.

Was it a full sized Souzaphone? I used to play one in High School. Fortunately, I do not own one though I'd thought about buying one from time to time. I used to be able to do a halfway decent elephant call with it!! ;-)

Nice picture of you both as well and glad you enjoyed the CD!

Birdie said...

In all these great shots, where's the one of the Sousaphone? Sounds blackmail-worthy to me. (And the sunset photo is a soothing study in blue. Nice.)

So glad two of my favorite bloggers got to meet. However, I would like to hear more about the hot tea, head-butts and purring.

Greg said...

Jeez, Patrick, you were dead on about Birdie and the extra questions! ; )

Greg said...

And please, Butch, Birdie...a little sensitivity?

Anyone would think it was one of your sousaphones we were just discussing quite openly on the Internets...

Patrick said...

Wow, Greg, considering how excited people are about the Sousaphone, aren't you glad I failed to mention the impressive collection of MC Hammer parachute pants? That was another aspect of Greg I was content to leave a mystery.

Jess said...

Oh, I am so jealous that you got up there and spent time with Greg! You do such fun stuff! When I grow up, I want to be you!

tornwordo said...

Aw, that sounds like a lovely weekend. I'm always a pumpkin before 10. I love the last picture too.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Sounds like a great time! Cool that you both made a new friend and we got to be a little part of that. Also glad you were not put off about the 'six degrees to Patrick' joke. Now lets see, Jess & Marc met Patrick, Patrick met Java and Birdie plus now Greg as well, Java met Birdie who also met Patrick and Birdie met Joe, heck even the wild turkey met Patrick so we know they are all real. I am actually a dirty old man who touches himself in naughty places when I read all of your blogs. ;P

Butch said...

(sooo-this-is-me:) ..."dirty old man", is it? ;-)

( If you were a real "dirty old man", you would have forgotten where all those naughty places are located ) ;-)

Java said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Java said...

Part of my problem is that I read these posts and comment on them early, so I miss the discussions in the later comments unless I come back to check these things out. You see the date here?? It's been a while.
I'm looking forward to your report on the most recent visit to the Nest. Having read the other side of the story from Greg, I'm quite intrigued.

btw, that deleted comment above was mine. It needed an edit.