(Teriyaki Salmon, Miso and California Rolls were the first items we unpacked! So Good!)
Recalling my initial reaction to Sunny Valley Farm, I decided to wait until I got home before calling Sarah. Crashing the Princess due to distracted driving (i.e., Little Ben drives me to distraction) wouldn’t fit within my budgetary constraints at the moment. So I opted to sit on the garden wall in the Lavender Lady’s back garden and watch the squirrels and birds fight over acorns while I dialed her number.
Waiting for Sarah answer, I took stock of all the good things surrounding me – my toes felt warm and cozy in my wool socks, my crochet scarf kept the brisk air off my neck, and a handful of cookies kept my tummy full on this fine fall day. Sarah picked up on the fourth ring.
Sarah (chirping): “Hey mom! I can’t talk right now. I’m at work. Mind if I stop by for dinner tonight?”
Me: “Little Ben’s right there?”
Sarah (still chirpy): “Yup! So dinner?”
Me: “Seven sound good?”
Sarah (still channeling her inner cheerleader): “Great! See you then! Love you!”
Little Ben must have been standing right next to her.
Which isn’t as creepy as it sounds, Sarah Armstrong is Nevermore’s Chief Funeral Director (she prefers the title mortician, but Big Ben won’t let her change it). Who often works within close proximity of Little Ben. I texted Beatrice and added an extra entree to the Chinese takeout order for this evening. Then thought about it and added three more and a side of hom bow to my request.
Fortunately, my earlier tasks ate up enough of the day that seven pm rolled around rather quickly. Three hours flew by while I disassembled Laundry Island, made my bed and participated in a lengthy discussion Harold S. Ellington (Beatrice’s skeleton) about my current inquiry while dusting the front room (nope not stalling at all).
At a quarter of seven, Beatrice rolled thru the front door juggling two large boxes filled with takeout containers plus her bag and briefcase. Relieving her of the boxes, I breathed in the wonderfully spicey smells of General Tso’s Chicken and Mongolian Beef. Setting the boxes down on the entryway table I perused the selections, egg rolls, yakisoba, all kinds of veggies covered in multiple sauces (I love sauce) and a variety of rice dishes. At this point, my stomach realized the pancakes and cookies left the building hours ago and threatened to attack the takeout boxes directly, Alien-style.
Beatrice (a bit out of breath): “So, why did I buy enough food to feed a small army?”
Me (wishing I could filch an egg roll): “I might have invited one?”
Beatrice: “That’s a good reason. Why?”
Me: “To help move my table and stuff into the garden shed.”
Beatrice (smiled and arched her eyebrow): “Nothing to do with not wanting to go by yourself?”
And with timing only Dourwood can muster, he knocked, saving my bacon from Beatrice’s follow-up funny.
Wood: “Bee! Morticia! How are the new housemates doing? Hmm…do I smell Chinese?”
Me: “Sure do. Sushi too! And you’ll get some right after you help me move some stuff into storage.”
Wood: “Morticia, I would love to, but I’m not dressed for it. My suit….”
Me (crossing my arms over my chest, trying to look stern):”…Is perfectly fine. And after you help me move my boxes, we’ll eat the takeout in the shed. Where you can pay Beatrice the ten bucks, you owe her.”
Wood (laughing, looking between Beatrice and I): “Ahh, you told her about the bet? Thick as thieves already! I knew you guys would be great together! Let me grab my sneakers out of the car and roll up my sleeves. That food smells terrific by the way, had an emergency ear infection come in, so I missed lunch.”
He gave me a quick squeeze then darted back outside again.
Beatrice (shaking her head and laughing): “Can I change? Or should my penance extend to trying to bend and lift while wearing a pencil skirt?”
Me (smiling): “No, go change. You bought food, that was our deal.”
Sarah walked in with Wood who’d retrieved his sneakers. Things moved quickly with three people (Sarah only carried the food down, wasn’t fair to rope her into Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum’s atonement), everyone laughed when I recounted (with Wood providing sound effects) why I disliked garden sheds. My 50’s style Formica and aluminum kitchen table fit perfectly into the middle of the shed – providing a flat and stable surface for both eating and map reading.
Fortunately for Wood and I, tonight the former came before the latter.