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Updated: 05/27/05

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Friday, 27 May, 2005

It's been a busy, busy week. Gary was off, but certainly didn't rest much. He has been doing errands and schlepping around like a madman. He took the first load of stuff down to the condo in Longport on Wednesday, stopped at Lowes for some things, got his haircut, took his Mom out to lunch and his kids out to dinner. Yesterday he hit Ikea and Target, then whipped up a little dinner party for sixteen of his now former colleagues.

I, of course, sat around on the couch eating bon-bons while he toiled. Okay, so that's not entirely true. I finally finished leveling the living room floor and it looks pretty good. I'll let it cure for the next few weeks, then seal it and polish it. We've reached a tentative compromise on the concrete versus wall-to-wall carpeting discussion: I will polish it all and then we will get a very large square area rug for the living room portion of the room - leaving about a foot of concrete showing at the edges. We'll have the guys finish installing the two-sided fireplace and that should about do it.

The wine cellar is almost complete, although I want to see if they can install some sort of lift assist for the door since it is so heavy. But we spread ten bags of marble chip gravel on the floor and it looks and feels pretty good. I'm going to see if the Cyruses can make a little counter to go at the far end of the cellar so we can have a couple of seats and a place to open bottles.

I also made three desserts for the dinner party - a French Silk Chocolate Pie, Coconut-Ricotta Cheesecake and Strawberries with Sour Cream Dip. Gary made a delicious Crab-Artichoke Dip for an appetizer and we had shrimp with cocktail sauce and crudites. I had to make a last minute run to the little corner market for fresh diet coke since the bottles we had were all flat.

Most of the folks arrived a little before 6:00 and Gary gave them the grand tour while I finished puttering. They gave him a lovely engraved nameplate and business card holder for his new office - it was really sweet. We put up four little tables in the living room with tablecloths and served a buffet on the dining room table with a rib roast, potatoes, and salad. People commented that it felt as though they were eating in an outdoor french bistro, which was pretty much the feel we wanted.

Dinner Party Setup

It was a fun evening, and I'm glad that we had the Uber Moms here before to test out recipes and get most of the heavy lifting in the house finished. Everyone left around 9:00 and we cleaned up and got stuff packed up for the shore. Gary drove down this morning and I took the train down this afternoon when the office closed. I told Suki I'd come see her on Tuesday at lunch, and we'll both be back on Wednesday, but she was unimpressed.

[Poor kitty.]

Speaking of kitties, I received an e-mail from Virgin Atlantic telling me all of the wonderful things they're doing these days. To be honest, I am quite a fan, so as opposed to the e-mails I get from US Airways, I actually opened and read it. I know that some people travel with their pets quite frequently, and apparently Virgin has identified a niche here:

Your furry friends passengers are now be able to earn gifts for themselves and Flying Club miles for you with our great new reward scheme for pets - "Flying Paws". This scheme caters for posh pooches, fussy felines and even friendly ferrets!

On their very first Virgin Atlantic flight your jet setting pets will be given a welcome onboard pet pack, which has been specially designed with their needs in mind. Dogs will be given an exclusive Virgin Atlantic doggy t-shirt and sparkling dog tag; cats will receive a toy mouse called "Red" and a Virgin Atlantic collar tag; and ferrets will receive a very cool limited edition flying jacket and collar tag. These exclusive gifts are part of a whole host of goodies available.

All pets that travel on the "Passport for Pets" scheme will be given a passport which will not only gives you a record of all their flights but also allows them to collect "paw prints" which you will be able to redeem for their gifts.

One "paw print" is awarded per flight and once your furry travellers have collected five points they become eligible for some of the fantastic goodies available. How about a handmade Virgin bowl plus a specially designed nonslip mat so they can "dine in style"; or you can choose to donate their rewards, worth fifty human pounds, to their favourite registered animal charity or sanctuary. Alternatively, if your pet's feeling particularly loving, they can show their true feelings by donating 1,000 bonus Flying Club miles to you.

More individual gifts are available once your pet has flown ten, 15 or 20 times. Choose from blow dries and pedicures to Burberry, Prada and Gucci pet clothing, to a personal Pawtrait from the famous artist Cindy Lass, who is renowned for her paintings of celebrities furry companions around the world.

Maybe I should bring Suki on a couple of trips with me. We can get her decked out in her VA collar tag and a Prada cat jacket.

[Not to mention "Red Mouse".]

Quote du jour:

"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater. . . suggest that he wear a tail."

-- Fran Lebowitz

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