Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hostess with the mostess...

Forewarning: this blog is extremely wordy!

So, this past weekend was a time for remembering, crying, and being there for each other. A time for catching up and asking why it takes a funeral for us all to get together. A time for ceremony, thinking of your spiritual beliefs and supporting one another, sometime physically but most important emotionally. A time when you find yourself in another town, really too far to drive back home. A time when you say to one of your best friends, yes, I’ll stay with total strangers that are friends with your mother.

It was also a time for me to stay in a home of huge proportions. Arriving at this home, in the dark, we pulled up to a four-car garage. We had been told to enter through the door in the middle of the garage, through the garage, then into the home through that door. The outside garage entry door included ornate ironwork. The actual garage was larger than my previous house.

To enter a house and be walking on beautiful deep cherry floors, looking up at twelve-foot ceilings made me trust my friend more and more with each step I took into this immaculate home. The tile work in the kitchen and resting area was unique and comforting with their earthy tones of green, blue and terra cotta. And the twelve-foot ceilings. The kitchen was outfitted with Viking appliances, including the microwave. In the center of the kitchen was the enormous island topped with teak. The maple cabinets with their warm, burnt sienna glaze begged to be looked through for ingredients in preparation of your next gourmet masterpiece. If that masterpiece happened to include a pasta dish, no worries, just use the pasta faucet at the eight-burner Viking gas range. Or maybe you needed to grill your salmon while keeping your dill sauce warm, again, no worries, as the warming drawer was conveniently located under the range. What’s that? You need to prep some veggies while someone else fills the glasses? Just stand at the island to prep at that sink while the other person is over at the granite counter/bar filling the glasses with ice from the below counter ice maker then filling them with drinks from the Subzero fridge. Or maybe, they’ve reached into the 15’x15’ pantry to grab something from there.

Of course, they could just walk across the resting room to the granite topped side bar, reach into the fridge for an ice-cold beer, scoop some ice from that in-cabinet ice maker, open the maple/glass enclosed doors for a really refreshing beverage. But let’s not go there, as we don’t want to numb this experience. We want to continue to enjoy every single moment.

You could serve your meal at the kitchen table, with its hand-painted top overlooking the back veranda arranged with several seating areas, or you could walk across the hall to the beautiful jewel-toned dining room with its table for twelve to dine under the crystal and iron chandelier.

I honestly cannot remember how many bedrooms there were on the first or second floor. I can remember that each one was well appointed, warm and welcoming. Especially as each one had its own private bath. I do remember the master bath. With his and hers sides. That’s right, sides, not sinks. Joining the two sides was a shower room with multiple showerheads and beautiful tile work. You could reach for your towels from one of the beautiful deep stained wood built-ins.

You could then take one of two staircases up to the second floor, or if loaded down, use the elevator. (let’s let that one sink in… elevator) Up those gently winding, cherry-topped steps you would arrive at a long hall and at least ten-foot ceilings. On one end of the hall you could open the double doors and be encased in the media room, complete with drop down viewing screen, six or so leather recliners with cup holders. You could also prepare a small feast there from that full-size fridge, granite counter top, microwave and in-cabinet icemaker. Or you could shoot pool at the pool table, play poker at the poker table, or overlook the woods from the end room window. You would be able to see what you were doing by turning on the Tiffany-style lamps above each of these areas.

Down the hall were additional bedrooms, workout room, second floor laundry area, and other various doorways that, quite honestly, I just didn’t open to explore. Each room I saw had it’s own unique feel and was as welcoming as one could ask for.

The only thing I have ever seen that was larger than this home was the heart of the people that own it. Debbie and Carlos not only opened their doors to two strangers, they opened their hearts and welcomed us in. While, yes, this house was unbelievably huge, it is a home, make no mistake. They have made it a home where you are enveloped by their generosity and caring from the moment you walk through the door and you feel it long after you’ve walked out.

I have stayed in smaller houses and not felt as welcomed as I was in their home. For that, I will forever remember them.

Take care - Me

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