Several weeks ago we had the honour of hosting two American celebrities for a while. To help them keep it real, we decided to put them to work whilst they were here.
Regulars to Hartsyard may have noticed that we never had a door handle on the back door.
Well now we do. Fancy I know.
Once our male celebrity had completed that task, we set him to work sawing a table in half and attaching the separate pieces to walls in the back area so the boys could have more storage.
Then, just to perpetuate gender stereotypes, we lumped the female celebrity with the laundry. Restaurant napkins…kitchen aprons…our daughter’s play clothes, constantly covered in playdough dye, Gregory’s nest of disgustingness…seriously, I don’t know what he does, but he generates more laundry than any person I’ve ever met. In New York that was fine, he’d just drop it off at the laundromat, but things ain’t as cheap here as they are there and his new slave is me.
Fenced in on both sides. There is no escape from the laundry monster.
Next up? Adding a touch of privacy to our slightly ghetto upstairs apartment.
Q and I are up at a sparrow’s fart, when most normal humans are still abed…unless you are a construction worker. And it just so happens that there is a construction site in our back lane, so those poor fellows get quite a morning welcome from Q (who’s generally having a bit of a pants-off-dance-off after a long night in a nappy) and me in my not-quite-fit-for-public-consumption pyjamas.
For the first little while I made an effort with a bathrobe and whatnot, but my enthusiasm for pre-dawn grooming decreased as the new buildings rose, so our American celebrities installed some lattice and purchased a delicious jasmine plant that has thus far survived my overzealous fertilising.
Gregory grew up one of 7, so to supplement the incredible amount of food required to keep their family alive, Gregory’s parents had a monstrous vegetable garden. A vegetable garden that the kids had to help weed each Saturday morning before they were allowed to watch cartoons. Gregory’s mum thinks it rather ironic that her son loves to garden now, as the memory of his weeding complaints have apparently not dulled over the years. Nothing like getting your hands dirty to keep you humble, so our celebrity visitors were treated to a spot of hole digging and radish planting.
Next up all five of us – two adults to wrangle Q, two adults to focus on the task at hand – stopped by an auction house looking for some lockers so the guys out back can store their stuff out of sight of the guest. It is beyond me how men who spend 12 hours in the same place every day can possibly need to bring as much junk with them to work every day, but if you can’t beat em’ join ’em. So now their miscellaneous life possessions are stored in these lockers that our lovely GM Cassie craftily spray painted for us one afternoon.
I know, I know. You’re not looking at her art skills, you’re checking out her legs. The gal owns a great set of pins. If you’re lucky enough to come in on my nights off, you’ll see her out and about on the floor and might even catch a glimpse of their magnificence in the flesh.
This is the thing about being a GM in a small restaurant. Your job description runs the gamut from staff training and wine ordering, to general art and craft.
You can see my valuable contribution in the bottom right of this shot. A flute of our delicious sparkling Cremant and some almonds.
Walls were painted, gutters cleaned, napkins mended, hooks were hung, wood was sawn, clothes were sorted, buttons attached, holes were mended. It was a working bee (or working buzz as my american husband once called it) on our life.
By the end of their two and a half week visit, our celebrities were no doubt completely and utterly exhausted and looking forward to their flight back to NYC, just so they could sit still for 14hours without having to lift a finger.
So, just who were these American celebrities? And how did they come to be sleeping on the fold-out bed in our living room?
Why they’re Gregory’s parents of course, and we were absolutely thrilled (all exploitation aside) to have them visit. Q got her fill of her American grandparents up close, instead of just on skype, (which she tends to have focus issues with) Gregory and I got unending support and love for the entire time they were here, and – finally – Gregory’s parents were able to see, taste and experience the result of their son’s 18 years in the business.
I imagine it must be a heart-exploding thing, to see your children live the life they were meant to lead. To look at them and know they’re happy, fulfilled, challenged and confident in the choices they’ve made. It’s probably then – and only then – that you can pat yourself on the back and say, ‘job well done.’
So, job well done Mema and Poppy. Thanks so much for coming to visit us. I know you were bummed you missed the buildout and opening, but if you ask any of our friends and family they’ll tell you all you missed was some serious slave labour and a lot of unscrubbed flanges.
We love you, and can’t wait to have you back again next year.
I promise we’ll have sorted out the napkin issues by then…