Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day Three: Hot in Sonoma

This is actually a story from Day Two. I hadn't included it in that post for what should be obvious reasons, but since it became a recurring theme on the next day I am backtracking.

For 25 years, LK and I have valiantly fought to have the last punchline in any slanging match. So I thought I had won when we were having a chat before dinner. As you do when at least one person has trouble reading the menu, you end up talking about how eyesight gets worse as you get older.

I was saying how my reading was pretty good and I didn't need glasses until about two years ago. I made the mistake of adding, "But I guess no one can avoid having their eyes start to dry out and change focus."

To which my loving bride quickly added, "And that's not all that's drying out."

As our friends laughed, I came back with my counterthrust, "I know. First my eyes, next my wife."

Thrust. Counterthrust. I assumed I had won.

Of course, I was not considering that there is no time limit on when the other person can come back over the top to reclaim the prize. So it was back at our hotel having a nightcap when LK struck.

Jaki ran a flower business and was heavy into the design and decoration side of it. She was telling us about some of the creations they had put together for funerals - floral fields with airplanes flying overhead, and such.

LK thought and said, "When Don goes I think I will have them make a giant martini glass, and I will have him in it with a pimento in his mouth and a toothpick holding him in place."

I pointed out they didn't make toothpicks big enough, and she said, "Well, we can always use a garden umbrella."

And all day yesterday, whenever we went past an umbrella - and eventually this grew to include flagpoles - my wife and friends debated the merits of whether they would suit to hold me in place. Frankly, I do not quite get the humor of this all, but those three seem to think it's hysterical.

Anyhow, we arrived in Sonoma after a short drive from San Francisco, and it was like we had travelled hours. When we got out of the car (and it's a Hummer, so car is quite an insult), the temperature was in the high 90s and all those complaints about cool San Francisco evaporated.

It was after noon when we got here. We stopped off at a place and tasted some wines that won't win any awards and wandered around the gift shops they had attached. Then to the town square of Sonoma, which was chock full on a Sunday afternoon.

We found a place to park the Hummer - and I am glad it isn't me parking that monster - and went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Fantastic food, and the type of Mexican flavors that just don't make it across the Pacific to Sydney.

Then some wine tasting at Sebastiani winery. Some of their stuff was quite nice. I really liked the Alexander Valley cabernet. Jaki and Robert also like the blends.

Then time to check in at Macarthur Place. Beautiful, big rooms and really nice grounds. By then LK needed a nap to make up for her lack of sleep the night before, so I went to Jaki and Robert's room and we opened the cooler and had drinks. At 5, the place had a wine and cheese tasting, which was really just a full glass of wine refilled a couple of times and all the cheese you wanted. No pretense at "tasting".

Then we went back and woke up LK. After all it was cocktail hour, and she was falling seriously behind. And we turned the TV on because one of their friends is a pit crew boss for one of the leading dragsters, and ESPN was showing the Seattle races.

We got to learn a lot about drag racing, which was truly unexpected knowledge.

As you can imagine, after the heat and the lazy afternoon we went to the restaurant on the grounds here. Good food, followed by a complete lack of any more energy. I even found myself turning down Robert's invitation of a nightcap. Bed looked too inviting, and when I lay down it proved to be every bit as comfortable as I had hoped.

Today is an all-out assault on visiting wineries. Jaki and Robert have arranged for a limo, so we can skip that spitting-the-wine-out bit if we want to.

No comments: