On Permanent Vacation


Today, Chelsea, I and the kids spent most of this Labor Day laboring, cleaning up 48BRE to get it ready for our very first AirBnB renter (TBD). Yet, despite the long hours we put in cleaning the house and the yard, ultimately it felt like “we’re on a vacation.”

All weekend long, we experienced the same feeling, despite the hard work we put into each day before allowing ourselves to enjoy the fruits, per se, of our labor.

On Saturday morning, we-four went to the community center in Eldorado and help pull weeds out of the cactus garden for an hour. Not only did we feel good about giving back and working outside, but we met some mighty cool people including Missy, who taught us a lot about gardening in Santa Fe, but Milo also drew the very first raffle ticket and essentially got to pick the grand prize of a pad of Texas Prickly Pear, which apparently grow gianormously.

We planted this and other clippings immediately when we got home, but before doing so, we had a marvelous brunch at Fina Cafe, which is only five minutes away from where we were. This was the first time this weekend that we felt like we’re on a “permanent vacation.”

The weather has been hot-and-splendid and the opportunity to work-hard-and-learn has been likewise spectacular.

Thus, when Sunday came around and we spontaneously decided to have a small Gin & Agave spirits tasting cocktail hour at Grandma Delia’s Cactus Garden, atop the hillside overlooking the green valley below, and a good dozen or so neighbors, friends and family showed up and the weather cooperated and Missy bought an amazing gluten-free Artemis cake baked with almond flower and then everyone pitched in helping clean up after the sun set and the night fell…well, once again, despite the sore feet and tired hamstrings - it just felt like I was on holiday.

Now, technically, we we’re on holiday, but once again, because we worked hard to earn the chance to leisure, it made all the difference.

It began early Saturday morning when I first had a fight with a tree and the tree won; then I created a parking lot for Hacienda Dominguez out of old headboards we were going to throw away; then I created 16 new pathway lights out of redwood stained 2x4s and deck lights. Those tasks alone took from 6 am until 3 or so in the afternoon; then the party prep began with carting a few wheelbarrow-loads out to the garden, making a crispy and spicy bean salad (the secret was Tajín and sriracha-flavored corn nuts), as well as cubed watermelon and purée for the house drinks.

We we’re ready right at six, just as our guests began to arrive, and just as the sun began to curve westward into the horizon. A bit tipsy on Sotol y Sandia, most of us relished the marvelous banquet of color that lushly sat upon the horizon, just long enough for us to enjoy seconds of the house cocktail. The swath of orange and red and blue-purple mountains reminded me of the OP (Ocean Pacific) t-shirts I wore in Junior high or the Patagonia logo. So, in essence, it felt like we were living in a Van Gogh, Matisse or O’Keefe painting or at least part of someone’s idyllic image of the perfect landscape.

Then came Monday, after an omelette on our open air patio overlooking the hills toward the mountains, where we spied a lone half-naked man meditating atop the next hill, we went to work.

Then after a long arduous day of cleaning 48-B, we had leftover gazpacho soup and quinoa and mint salad, and then I joined Milo & Olivia in the newly cleaned hot tub.

It was only the second time I’ve been in it in the nearly four months we’ve been here. So, despite the rowdy company, I relished the back-massage and the chance to “relax” - or at least the opportunity to stop working, making it the perfect ending to a fruitful Labor Day.