Remembrance of Rainy Days Past

It rained relentlessly yesterday, sometimes sputtering droplets on annoyed heads, and at times so heavy it washed the color completely out of the landscape.  This kind of weather usually means a power outage, and it put me in mind of a day last summer and a funny innkeeping story.

pat-and-robin-newlyweds-500-300x2251It was a wild week at the inn in mid-July, 2008. It began on Monday at about 7 a.m. with a bang – literally – as the transformer behind our carriage house (where Jake and I lived) blew out. Jake quickly donned his pants and keys and unlocked the gate to the back lane to investigate. The culprit didn’t even try to escape. At the bottom of the pole lay a Kamikaze squirrel who single-handily took out several blocks of electricity.

The morning cook, Eleanor, wandered outside to seek the cause of the morning’s upheaval – this was definitely going to impact breakfast. Luckily, we have a gas stove and we quickly converted our oven roasted potatoes to skillet fried potatoes and the baked shirred eggs to scrambled. A few other quick changes ensued and breakfast appeared to be ready to go on as scheduled, that is, except for coffee. We have one old-fashioned glass drip coffee maker that makes 8 cups at a time. Jake is our coffee connoisseur and began the process of allowing the coffee to “bloom” with the first application of water prior to beginning the brew process. Thus began the long, painstakingly slow, process of making coffee for 14 guests and two weary innkeepers. The guests took this all in stride and patiently awaited their ration of coffee.

As they sat around the breakfast table, the guests laughed uproariously at the cause of the outage and shared in repeating the story about the unlucky squirrel as each guest arrived at the table. Ugly insinuations about what could be served for appetizers that evening and wine pairing suggestions were made over laughter and shared electrical outage stories.

Two hours later I am cleaning the pool – I love this chore – I find it is best to don a bathing suit and scoop the leaves off the bottom by diving down to them – the staff thinks I do it to avoid any other real work? Still waiting for electricity I shared inn tales with a couple from Canada who are dangling their feet and chatting. “What would we have to do to get married here?” pops up and inanely I ask, here here as in the garden, or here here as in Savannah? “Here, in Savannah, in the garden.” Oh, when. “Tomorrow would be good.”

About now I see the bucket truck in the alley and pop out the back fence door to see how long till power is restored. I get a reassuring “15 maybe 20 minutes.” Yahooooooo! He heads to the end of the lane and up in the bucket he goes. And sure enough, 20 minutes later the power weakly sputters to life, the air conditioners begin to spin, when… Boom! The second transformer blows the hard hat clear off the workman’s head sending it flying into the street.

Maybe a couple hours now as we await another crew. Somehow the squirrel has disappeared. The workman and I speculate that a cat must be eating well about now. I head back in and do the things I can without electricity – prepare menus, make beds, etc. No phones and no computers, however, make for a frustrated innkeeper!

The Georgia Power crew arrives and begins work. My Canadian couple returns with a license in hand and I place a call to Gazebo Weddings to inquire if our friends, Rudy and Cyndy, are available for a wedding at 5 p.m. the next day. Now, bored with the lack of a computer and Internet access, I decide to get back in the pool to trim the ivy that dangles down from the waterfall. We notice the house lights flicker on and then we hear a somewhat strange sound coming from the lane.  A glance out the back gate reveals a wire is touching the top of one of the lighting resistors causing a flareup with each surge of power as the AC turns on.  I spin on my heel run full steam ahead and this 50-something-year-old clad in her bathing suit runs down the alley after the retreating work crew screaming, “Hey, hey, the pole is sparking.” After a moment or two, one man turns, most likely frightened out of a year’s growth at the sight coming towards him, and hollers back at me “What?” Well, I changed my verbiage about then and hollered, “Fire!” which sends him a running in my direction.

Okay power off for another three hours. Finally sanity is restored and we carry on our evening with no further mishap, and only the embarrassment of my guests seeing me running down the Lane clad only in my bathing suit and screaming for attention.

The wedding is lovely, the bride in a mid-calf length summer white dress with a beautiful blue shawl and the groom perspiring under the afternoon sun in his shirt and tie. I am honored to share another wonderful beginning. They leave the next day on their motorcycle off to a brilliant future, and I am left with the ghost of a Kamikaze squirrel residing in the lane, who likes to occasionally turn out the lights.