Everybody’s Buggin’ Me

I’m sitting in fog so thick it’s as if I’ve landed in an alternative universe, no ceiling or floor to frame my existence, no visible markers to remind me of my position in life (okay, this is sort of my normal state of being, but don’t you think fog is a great manifestation of the human condition ~ and Larry just signed off ~ Bahaha).

All I’m saying is it’s eerie to be driving sixty miles an hour when you can only see a few feet in front of you.

In my head, I’m hearing a symphony of warnings from my Mom about driving in the fog, part of me wants to turn around, part of me is entranced by the idea of subsisting in a cloud.

I keep trying to remember from my driver’s ed class which beam (high or low) I’m supposed to use in the fog? Neither seems to help and clearly, I’m annoying the driver in front of me as I test out both methods, repeatedly.

He’s been expressing himself in sign language, I keep shaking my head and mouthing “I don’t speak sign,” and then I flash a big old smile which seems to exacerbate his gestures.

It’s the simple things in life that give me pleasure.

Slowing my speed seems to be the only option, and bonus, Mr. Sign Language left me behind in the fog.

“Ninety percent of all problems are caused by people being assholes.”

“What causes the other ten percent?”

“Fog,” says Becky Chambers.

I’m meeting Larry at the lake, he went up a day early to get started on the work that needs to be done before our next storm, I stayed behind to babysit my darling grandbabies. Winning!

So this gives me three solid hours to consider plant-based food options (which I admit just don’t stack up to a juicy steak, butter-soaked potato with bacon bits, and sour cream) because there is only so much one can do with carrots, beans, and kale.

I have to admit my rashes continue to improve ever so slightly, but improvement is subjectable, considering the deprivations I must endure. A small radical subsection of my brain wishes they were getting worse so I could justify my proclivity for the finer things in life, but I’m staying the course, and I believe there should be a coin or something to signify my two-week abstinence from meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, and wine.

Now there are other unmentionable merits to a plant-based diet that no one alludes to in the literature.

I don’t mean to be indelicate.

So I’ll just say this, fiber is good for Cheryl, if you need more information call my sister.

This is my second week of veganism (sounds foreign to my tongue too), and I have eaten more plants in two weeks than God ever intended for human consumption, no meat, no bread, no sugar (as in chocolate) and although I think it’s rude to snub our cows, no dairy. I’m feeling good.

Yes, I realize I left one category out, and the booze patrol (aka, my daughters) has been merciless. If you recall when I retired I dropped the word “should” from my vocabulary and I’m also keeping “always” at arm’s length. So if there is a sentence with both words, as in, I should always refrain from a glass of wine, I toss that one right out with the recyclables.

When I open the refrigerator with my fork in hand, historically, I could grab a fork full of pasta salad, a bite of leftover steak, or a slice of cheese. I find myself staring at the bins of freshly cut vegetables, fruit, hummus, berries, I just close the door, and make a cup of tea (thank you, Pete)

I did lose four pounds without trying.

Crossing the Benicia Bridge is a painful reminder of a minor compulsion of mine, I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating. I have a weakness (fixation) for Mcdonald’s biscuit, sausage, cheese, egg sandwich with a hashbrown and coffee. Let’s not argue the deprivation to the body, let alone the soul, for eating such hellishly inspired creations. It is what it is.

I only allow this extravagance after I’ve donated blood, had a mammogram, or when I’m driving to the lake, but only in the morning. I sound like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, not the orgasm scene, but the way she orders a salad.

If I were being honest, I’d mention the occasional McD lapses when I’m feeling impulsive, but that’s REALLY RARE, so why muddy the water.

It’s strange how my car actually fought me as I drove past the Mcdonald’s exit, and yes, I pouted for about 30 miles, then Shaggy licked my ear, and brought me back to reality.

Arriving at the lake with a giant cooler filled to the brim with rabbit food I proceed to load my lout into the refrigerator and watch Larry’s countenance fall.

He says, “I’m starving, what do you have for snacks?”

I pull out carrots, celery, almonds, and hummus. He actually groaned, a grown man, groaning over God’s gracious bounty.

I say, “yum, so good.”

I get the look.

This weekend is a work weekend at the lake. We (by that I mean Larry) have to paint the bare wood on the newly reinforced patio, replace the retractable shades, and treat the cracks around the windows with sealant before the entire structure collapses as if a gingerbread house.

My goal is to wash all the cushion covers on the couches in the lanai spotted from years of abuse, do some planting in the courtyard, dust, de-cobweb, and finish all the laundry, which normally would qualify for a reward of some kind, but I’m in purgatory, so I grab a handful of carrots.

So not satisfying…

It’s a busy weekend because we also have two winery events to attend which Larry signed up for during my pre-rabbit days. I’m using my one indulgence to allow for this weekend.

Who am I kidding?

I’m like the government, I print my own indulgences, call me if you need one.

There’s a holiday party at Boatique Winery tonight and tempranillo tasting at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery tomorrow afternoon.

Early evening I throw on a red scarf, a touch of lipstick, Larry a red-lined jacket, and we head across the lake to this year’s first-holiday party at Boatique Winery.

I plan on allowing myself one glass of bubbly at the holiday party and one glass of wine at dinner following the event.

When we pull into the crowded parking lot at Boatique Winery we almost turn around and leave but for this exuberant couple coming out of the winery who start waving at us as if we’re relatives. As they approach the car the wife starts laughing, she says to me through the now open window, “Oh my, I thought I knew you, your face is so familiar? Oh well, everyone is friends at the winery. Hey, we’re leaving, why don’t you take our spot.”

I yell out the window, “thanks, it’s Larry and Cheryl, nice to meet you,” as we pull into a front row parking space.

Well, that was fortuitous, but our luck is about to change.

We enter the crowded lobby and wait in a massive line to check into the event. Apparently, they didn’t plan for so many people and the lines are moving ever so slowly. We’re waiting behind at least 20 people, early arrivers, who want to purchase a second glass of wine, and yet we can’t check in until they all get served, it’s not efficient, and the newcomers are becoming frustrated.

Finally, Nahani, the wine club manager, someone we know and love, asks the people who are checking in to form a separate line. We quickly make our way to the front, and after hugs and greetings from Nahani, we are handed our complimentary glasses of bubbly, and we head over to the banquet room to check out the holiday items.

We enjoy browsing through the cheerful Christmas paraphernalia, chatting it up with random guests, and listening to the solo guitarist. When we’re done we head back to the lobby to pick up our wines from our club membership and you guessed it, to the back of the line we go. Larry loses patience after about five minutes and heads outside to pace it out.

I wait.

I wait.

I wait.

Finally, I find myself at the head of the line, leaning on the counter I wait to be addressed by the harried guy sweating as he moves from one cash register to the next. He walks up to me holding his hands in the air exclaiming he doesn’t know where to begin. Just when I’m about to open my mouth to speak, an aggressive woman literally pushes me aside with her bony elbows and belts out a complicated list of wines she wants to purchase.

I stare at her aghast and give her my most fervent disapproving Mom look.

She completely ignores me and continues to shout directions to the overwhelmed guy with the sweaty brow as if we were on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

As Gandhi says, “there are people in the world so hungry, that God can not appear to them except in the form of wine.” I think he said bread, but for my purposes, I’m using wine.

As you know, I don’t do conflict, and clearly, this woman needs the wine more than me, so in total frustration, I back my way out of the crowded room, mumblings something rather unappealing under my breath, and head outside for some fresh air.

I find Larry milling around the patio and when I tell him what happened he says, “What the hell? Why didn’t you fight for your position?”

I say, “We choose our battles honey and tonight I don’t have the energy.”

“I guess we’ll have to pick up our shipment next time.”

“I’m starving, let’s get dinner.”

Heading to Kelseyville, we’re hoping there is a table available at the Saw Shop because we didn’t make a reservation. It’s Thursday, in Lake County, so I’m not too worried.

Larry says, “I hope they have something you can eat.”

“I’m sure they’ve heard of vegetables.”

I get the look.

Taking seats at the open bar we order the cauliflower appetizer, salad, and a stuffed salmon with spinach and crab for dinner. Everything is delicious and other than the glass of wine, all of it is rabbit approved.

At home, we set a cozy fire and enjoy a few episodes of Breaking Bad which makes our lives seem so ordinary, calm, and stress-free.

The morning arrives in all its brilliant glory, we hustle to get as much done as possible before our tempranillo tasting at noon. It’s a gorgeous day, the sun is shining, the temperature is in the ’70s when we arrive at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery.

We’re greeted by Kai, the owner, and most of the staff who know us by name. After serving us a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc we are directed to our place at the table. Each place setting is marked by adorable name tags embedded in cork, vases of flowers, silverware wrapped in a linen napkin, and lined up on our placemats are seven wine glasses, each filled with a few ounces of the tempranillo varietals that we’ll be tasting. We were also given a map of Spain showing us the regions where the wines have been purchased.

There has to be close to a hundred people seated at five or six tables set outside under a grove of ancient oak trees. It’s magical. We greet the people seated next to us, we met them at the last event we attended here at the ranch, and they act as if we are old friends.

After the perfect amount of time to enjoy our welcome glass of wine, a winemaker is introduced, and she graciously walks us through each tasting of tempranillo, describing the complex flavors, bouquets, and differences in the fermentation process.

The owner of the winery, Kai, takes center stage in between tastings to offer amusing anecdotes of his travels in Spain, he fields questions about the winemaking process, types of barrels used, and the timeframe between bottling and release.

The entire presentation is beautifully conferred, bestowed, and explained.

As we’re savoring the various wines we are served an aesthetically pleasing plate of food including slices of cheese, spicy jam, brochette topped with prosciutto, and a layered delicacy that delights the pallet and compliments the wines. It’s all so exquisite and the felicity is contagious.

Everyone is enjoying themselves as laughter and gentle conversations fill the charming space.

The pace is leisurely, questions are encouraged, as the staff moves from table to table offering us seconds on our favorite wines and foods.

Six Sigma knocks it out of the park every time, an extraordinary organization, devoted to pleasing the customer which feels more like a cherished guest and friend than a club member.

On our way home we stop at the hardware store for a drill bit, quickly finishing our chores so we have time for a power nap, as we’re joining the Oreglia clan for dinner later tonight.

Larry wakes me from a dead sleep, I can’t remember what day it is, he says, “Time to get up sleepyhead and head to my Mom’s.”

I sit up, it’s completely dark outside, I feel as if it’s the middle of the night, “What time is it?”

“A little after five, you slept too long. I feel great, 20-minute nap, I’m ready to go.”

I glare at him, “It’s good to be Larry. Why didn’t you wake me up?”

“You’re sort of grouchy when you wake up.”

“Because I slept too long.”

“Yeah, that’s it, now get up, we’re late and you’re still in bed.”

Don’t you think God made wine specifically for me?

Glancing at my tousled hair in the mirror, I look around for my fairy godmother, she’s suspiciously absent.

Dragging myself out of bed, I slip back into my jeans, run a brush through my tangled mop, apply lipgloss, and we head over to the original Oreglia house in Kono Tayee, which is located on the other side of the subdivision.

Steve, Larry’s brother, treats us to a tour of the new deck he recently installed to extend their patio overlooking the lake. It’s gorgeous and a huge improvement to the home. They’ll be ample room to entertain and enjoy the new outside space under the protection of an enormous patio cover he created by extending the roofline.

After admiring the new deck, we pile into our Volvo, pick up Rachel and Craig (Larry’s brother) who own the house on the same street as ours, before heading back across the lake to the Saw Shop.

Larry and I end up sharing the exact same meal as the night before, it was just as delicious, and completely rabbit-friendly aside from the cocktails and good wine circling the table as we relax in the friendly atmosphere of the Saw Shop. Nono and Nana generously treat us all to a lovely dinner.

By Sunday we have finished all our projects, it’s time to pack up the cars, and head back to San Jose.

The drive is smooth, with not too much traffic until I hit Vallejo, when suddenly I’m back at the winery, waiting in an endless line, only to be unexpectedly cut off by this manic driver, who decides (without a blinker) to squeeze in between me and the car a few feet in front of me.

Three things get my goat — aggressive drivers, idiots who don’t use their turn signals, and assholes who cut you off to get one car length ahead.

He slams on the brakes as soon as he shifts unexpectedly into my lane and I have to physically hold Shaggy study in the seat beside me as the traffic comes to a complete stop.

And suddenly I’m fluent in sign language? Who knew?


Previously Published on cheryloreglia.com


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