Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nearing the end of a journey

The horrifically draining task of sampling wine

I used to read a lot of books about wilderness survival. 

I found a real allure to the idea of raw human need; the building of shelters, distilling of water, the search for food or even companionship. These compelling dramas, stories derived from life and death situations depicting frail human bodies caught in the maw of an unsympathetic nature...these yarns (if anything really deserves to be called a 'yarn' it is stories like these) provide really solid subject matter for book-reading when one is cozy in their bed under a reassuringly weighty quilt, or perhaps sitting in a wing-back chair before a roaring fireplace. This juxtaposition of dire, horrific exposure to the elements with the uber-warmth of a home and hearth can best be described as my 'happy place'. Everybody's got one; that is mine.  I've had to take refuge there quite a bit lately. 

I suppose it's a strange item to begin a blog with, but perhaps there is a telling analogy to be drawn here. Or maybe not. I recall a line from a book I read about a mountain climbing incident that left some climbers stranded on the side of a mountain. The author, when considering the attraction of mountain climbing, described it thusly: "mountain climbing is like hitting your self in the head with a hammer; it only feels good when you stop." Words that I can relate with.  

I'm actually rambling at this point, merely because I feel I have been worn down to a nub, not unlike that last bit of eraser at the end of your pencil. You remember it...when in grade three, you attempt to erase your crappy drawing of a robot and find that your eraser has eroded below the critical level of its metal tube casing and the paper inevitably tears when you attempt to eliminate a poorly drawn futuristic weapon-like appendage. Wow. Talk about digression.

So yes, I feel like a raw, rubbed down pencil eraser in a life-or-death struggle against nature. This is the feeling when you've reached the bottom of your finances and you are in the final climactic count-down to opening the doors of your tiny, do-it-yourself restaurant to the large and unforgiving public.

And yet, despite this rather grave and slightly surreal preamble regarding my position, I actually feel a little bit...good...I think. Maybe better than good. Maybe, I'm actually feeling a little bit CAPITAL. 

Today I sampled some wine and tasted some cooking that was all quite good. Better than good: delicious...exceptional. I looked around a space that started out so grey and sad and worn down and now I see vibrancy and coziness and even, just maybe, old world charm. I can say, truthfully, that I hung that wallpaper with my own fair hand. I landed every staple in the reupholstering job of our chairs. I worked with a talented chef to develop recipes that meant something to me. I pleaded, begged and argued on the phone for more money, faster delivery and better prices. I cut in and painted out all that wainscoting. And other than my talented carpenter cousin and a few other very appreciated helping hands (you know who you are), I can say I did it myself with a tiny budget and a really big vision. I bet the whole farm and in the end, I did it, damn it. 

I did it. 

Now I just have to dot a few 'i's and cross a few 't's and then maybe, just maybe, I'll be ready to open my doors and offer my neighborhood a bit of myself. For that is what this is about: inviting as many people as possible to my dinner party. 

In the end, that really was the point. I'm dying to see how it all turns out.

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