Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Journey's End

Following the reception, my wife and I rode off into the moonlight for a week-long honeycat. Not honeymoon--honeycat. We're both cat people, so we generally approve when a feline shows up when we're visiting a friend's house, watching an anime series, etc. Little did we know how much of an impact cats would have on our honeymoon. Erm, honeycat.

My wife and I worked out a formula:

Cat = Good
No Cat = Bad
Fake Cat = No Cat
2 Horses = 1 Cat

You can apply this in your everyday life; I assure you it works.

Our plan for the week was to go bed & breakfast hopping, staying at a few different locations for two nights each, and seeing whatever sights in the vicinity we cared to see. As long as everything was within a reasonable driving distance and we could spend most of our time out of big cities and away from highway traffic, we'd be happy. The first place we stayed at might actually have been run by the cats. But we'll get to that.

Out in the remote hills of Pennsylvania was a small B&B in the woods. I have driven back country roads. I know back country roads. Getting to this place made me redefine "back country roads."

Our rustic, artistic cabin was decorated with original tile and stained glass work crafted by the host himself. The sink in the bathroom, for example, was a colorful glass bowl with a drain in the bottom. We spent the better part of a day learning from our host how to make stained glass art, which is really not that difficult to learn...it's having the patience, planning, and skill to actually create anything that's the tricky part.

The general idea is to map out your design on a piece of paper, cut various pieces of glass to the specifications you've drawn, smooth down the edges of each piece and run some metallic tape around them, and solder the pieces together. There's more to it, of course, but you probably don't want an art class from the guy who ended up with a 4-piece glass sculpture when the beginner's average is 10 pieces.

Mine was supposed to have a fancy, 6-piece border. One of the pieces broke; the other two weren't fitting together properly; I hadn't even started on the tiny ones--for the sake of simply finishing, I called it quits at 4 pieces and assembled what I had. Meanwhile, my wife is channeling Charles Rennie Mackintosh and having visions of buying her own soldering iron for Christmas (which she did).

My wife is all sorts of artsy; she started off with an ambitious design and picked things up pretty quickly. I am a writer. I used to doodle in school. I've drawn a few pencil sketches here and there that've turned out pretty OK. I am all about scoring grooves into sheets of glass and snapping them in half, but I'm afraid my expertise at working with stained glass...doesn't even extend that far; I had to call for help about half the time.

Still, with a fair amount of assistance, I have a souvenir that I'm quite pleased with. Guess which one's mine:

We weren't alone in our stained glass endeavor, however; in addition to our teacher dropping by every so often, we had no fewer than two cats come in to show us how it was done. Apparently, licking the empty lunch plate on the table is how it's done.

There were cats outside, cats joining us for breakfast, and, at one point, a cat in the cottage who saw fit to sleep on my face. We are cat people, as I said, so we welcomed the extra company, except when company fell asleep on my face at 2 AM (though we still got a laugh out of that). Our already enjoyable stay at this bed & breakfast was made better by the ambient fluffy bundles of happiness, and thus the first part of the formula was born: Cat = Good.

Our second B&B was in the historic part of Maryland, not too far from the part of the state that's next to the water. We ended up extending our wonderful stay by one night, and on the morning of checkout, we were escorted back to the car by a cat. Once again, Cat = Good.

One of the places we visited during our time there was a used bookstore. I'm fairly confident we spent the gross national product of Kenya in the hour we were there. Our somewhat eclectic finds included The Complete Sherlock Holmes, a book of hilarious letters to and from Groucho Marx, poetry by Mary Karr, a Russian Jewry book illustrated by artist Marc Chagall and written by his wife Bella, a copy of The Phantom Tollbooth signed by the author and illustrator, a history of the Star Trek universe as told by the wisecracking Q, and a novel by Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Michael Dorn (Worf) about time-traveling samurai warriors fighting Egyptian gods.

It's nice to be reading again.

We moved on from Maryland to Delaware, spending a day at the Delaware Art Museum before checking in at what was originally our final B&B of the trip. Ceiling Cat works in mysterious ways, because canceling our first night in Delaware to stay an extra night in Maryland was the best decision we made all week. Our one night at the B&B in Delaware was undoubtedly the low point of our vacation--the drive there was miserable; the "historical" honeymooning couples' suite had neighbors downstairs watching loud TV; an old book cabinet containing Clive Cussler and David Baldacci novels rescued from a garage sale; plastic blinds with the price tag still on them; a huge and slightly creepy portrait of someone's grandmother staring at the bed; and worst of all, there were no cats. Hence the second part of the formula: No Cat = Bad.

The third part of the formula, Fake Cat = No Cat, came from this leg of the journey as well. We figured that having dinner at a restaurant called Krazy Kat's would help salvage things. Our meal was avant-garde and exceedingly fancy--my wife and I tend to prefer simple, casual dining, but we can do avant-garde or exceedingly fancy from time to time...just not both at once. Underdressed and unable to identify half of the items on the menu, no amount of bizarre anthropomorphic cat paintings could make us comfortable enough to properly enjoy the meal. We needed a real cat.

With a few more Delaware attractions on our must-see list than we could fit into one night at the Delaware B&B (which, I might add, did not serve complimentary breakfast and is therefore not a true B&B), we had decided it might be nice to stick around the area for another day or to. So, we found a B&B in a part of Pennsylvania not far away from the places we wished to visit, and settled in for two nights in the terrifying murder cottage at the edge of the property.

Ha ha! I'm just joking. It wasn't actually that close to the edge of the property.

No, really, it was a lovely two-story colonial home with plenty of privacy, lots of windows (with no price tags on the blinds), two full bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, a cozy living room, and really tiny hallways and tight corners that make the house seem eerily empty with just two people in it after the sun goes down. Nonetheless, our stay there was most enjoyable, and we knew we were going to have a good stay when we spotted a cat during one of our day trips, sprawled out at the entrance to a museum building with swarms of people around him, knowing full well he was the main attraction.

We found no cats at the B&B; however, there was a pasture in the middle of the property. Two horses came over to the edge of the fence to greet us as we got out of the car on our last night there. I am not a horse person, but my wife seemed to enjoy their company, so we concluded that 2 Horses = 1 Cat. Thus, our formula was complete...and so is the tale (tail?) of the honeycat.

As with the wedding, there are plenty of stories yet to be told. But, considering I just resorted to using the old tale/tail pun, it's probably best if I stop here. For now, at least, the wedding saga has officially come to an end. Until we meet again...I wish you many cats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I laughed really hard at the image of Nathaniel with a cat sleeping on his face. :D