Last weekend my friend Steph came up from New Rochelle to the big Renss. Steph, my sister, my niece, my mother and I drove up to Lake George for the weekend in the ridiculously beautiful house shown above. No, I do not have a vacation home on the lake. We had the privilege of staying in this A-frame mansion because my cousin, Randy, cleans a rich family's houses and watches their evil dogs for employment. These people have homes all over the Capital Region, and are building another one in Saratoga (big money). Immediately I wondered why they would want so many homes in the Capital Region. Why not branch out and buy a beach bungalow on the ocean somewhere away from the place that only gets 65 days of sunshine a year?
Staying in someone's house whom you've never met is a really odd experience. The place felt more like a hotel that happened to already have food and strange white people's pictures strewn about. Every time I started forgetting that other humans owned this house, another artifact would pop up reminding me that the sanctuary was not mine. I started to slowly fall in love with this family. I admired them for gonig completely organic. I enjoyed their china pattern. They had a plaid couch and a gorgeous fire place. There was only one television in the house, and it was tucked away into a comfy finished basement. The living room was for living and chatting, not loafing. Books were everywhere. Their CD collection contained Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Carole King, and Eric Clapton. They kept a log of house parties and visitors. They had a foosball table. Kayaks were in the garage. So was the booze - which of course I didn't touch out of respect for these wonderful people. . . but I longingly gazed at it. The family also owned two little dogs named Milo and Lucy that fought like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Complete with ear biting.
So, we had arrived midmorning and had lunch. My mother fixed some well-intentioned Sierra Mist drink with vodka in it. Steph and I zoned out and drank and ate while my sister, mother, Randy, and Emma amused themselves with gossip and feeding potato chips to the dogs, respectively. After lunch, Steph and I tried to clandestinely sneak out to the trail leading to the docks, but Emma, my rowdy three-year-old niece, saw us right from the start. So we ran wildly past the house and into the woods to avoid baby-sitting. Sometimes we adults just need to be alone.
Eventually the rest joined us anyway and we all had a grand old time frolicking and poking a dead fish and hating an old man who was putting up his dock. He dropped his sandal and I waded out in the freezing waters to get it. The old coot didn't even mutter a thank-you through his dentures.
Later, we made our way out to the little Village of Lake George to explore. Instead of minigolfing Steph and I opted for Fort William Henry. In some later post I will gush about the experience and my love for historical reenacting, but I just don't think I have the energy right now. It takes a lot out of me.
My cousin Randy is fantastic. He's gay, he's sassy, and he's hilarious. He owns two small dogs, a BMW, and collects teddy bears. There's really nothing better than a dinner in his presence. The restaurant we went to was very kitchy and cool, but I will admit the service was pretty slow. We froze at our table outside. My mother and Randy had ordered a pitcher of soda and, as my family is wont to do, decided that it "didn't taste right" and complained for more. I think the heavens would have to rain fire before my mom would ever drink diet coke. The goodlooking waiter brought another pitcher and. . . no dice. There's really no pleasing my family at a restaurant. I cringe at the tone given to the wait staff and I make sure to make pleading eye contact with a genuine, "Thank you" every time the waiter even comes near the vicinity of our table. This time, however, I learned that cattiness could be wonderful. If only coming from Randy:
"Drink up, everybody, there's plenty of shitty soda to go around."
At the restaurant there was an adorable 16 year old busboy who captured Stephanie's heart. I had overheard that it was his first night cleaning up after yuppies and their children. I understand how she felt. It was one of those instances where you see someone from a distance and you just know that if somehow God willed the two of you to speak, wedding bells would ring. Once he turned legal.
Back at the mansion, we had ice cream cake and sat around the fireplace on various pieces of luxurious furniture.
When Steph and I retreated to the downstairs bedroom we were unpleasantly surprised. We turned down the bed and found that the sheets, pillows, and blankets were covered in dog hair. A perfect weekend foiled. No matter how rich, sophisticated, and literate these people seemed to be, they slept in the same bed with their dirty-assed dogs. Every little ounce of envy melted away.
They were just like everybody else.