Weekends turn into Mondays -- 06/17/02

We had a cool and rainy weekend here in Rhode Island, but it didn't rain all of the time.

Friday night was a quiet evening at home. (Gee, what's new about that?) I rented a DVD of The Heist, a moderately entertaining caper movie staring Gene Hackman and Danny Devito. It had a reasonable amount of clever moves and double-crosses, etc., not a gripping thriller, but I usually find Hackman to be interesting to watch. It is rather amazing to think that 31 years have gone by since he starred in The French Connection.

Nancy and I went out for a bike ride on Saturday. We rode down into Peace Dale as far as the point where the construction of the continuation of the path begins, then turned and rode toward the other end of the path. We stopped short of going to the actual end at the train station, but we did explore down a small road that crosses the bike path at one point. As I thought, to the right was a deadend after just a couple hundred feet and to the left was perhaps a quarter mile ride to Ministerial Road. (Ministerial Road, also known as Route 110, is just a few miles long, running from Route 138 down to U.S. 1 near the coast. It is a beautiful road, winding two lane blacktop through a wooded area, the trees arching overhead -- naturally, a few years ago the state highway department wanted to widen the road, straighten it out, bulldoze the trees, but public outcry made them backoff and, instead, designate it as a scenic highway.)

Sunday began with scattered light showers but then became just overcast. I got a Father's Day phone call from Adam in the morning -- he brought us up to date on the progress he and Leah are making in buying an apartment (purchasing an apartment in a co-op building in New York City makes buying a house out in the real world seem simple) and I filled him in on the varied adventures of his younger siblings. Around noon it got a bit brighter. I took that as my chance to get in a good workout so I set off on a nice five mile run.Ah, that felt good. No, really, it did. The sky kept getting brighter and brighter and during the last mile of my run the sun came out. The day became bright and sunny. Between the sunshine and a fresh breeze, the grass dried enough that by late afternoon I was able to mow the backyard, after weeding my vegetable garden. (The frontyard is still all dug up, have not yet replanted).

Nancy and I had been talking about going out to dinner and then to a movie, but we decided to postpone the movie to another night, so that meant we no longer needed to eat early enough to get to a seven o'clock movie, which gave us time to take a bike ride (and to return The Heist to Holly's VideoSource while we were out riding). In fact, we didn't even get to the restaurant until around seven. Sean had been out, helping move a large electric organ a friend had bought, but made sure to get back around five because going out to dinner had been his idea (well, he felt that either we should go out or he and Nancy should fix dinner because it was Father's Day and he didn't think I should have to cook dinner on that day). We went to the Mews Tavern (yeah, the same place Nancy and I took her mother for dinner a couple of weeks ago after doing a winery tour). A severe thunderstorm hit around six-thirty and it was still pouring down when we drove to the restaurant. We were lucky -- just as I was about to drop Nancy and Sean off near the rear entrance and then hunt for a parking space in their overflow lot, someone came out and got into their car in one of the closest possible parking places. As we were running the short distance to the back door, there was a flash of light and an instantaneous thunderclap that set off car alarms in the parking lot. While we were asking the hostess for a table for three, we were laughing at the cacophony of car alarms in the parking lot and the hostess told us that the vibrations from the thunder had made the glasses on the shelves bounce and vibrate. (This morning's news had a shot of a funnel cloud seen near Hartford, CT, but no reports of it touching down.)

We only had to wait about fifteen minutes to get a table in The Patio -- which is what they call their main dining room. There's a bit of a story behind that: This had originally been a bar with a few tables and they had expanded out to a patio area and then they had made it a covered patio and then they had walled it in and put on a better roof and so it gradually over the years evolved into a indoor dining room. Uh, a few small problems, like no building permit... Oops. So they made a deal with the town... they'd tear down the offending addition and plead guilty and pay a fifteen thousand dollar fine and the town would give them a building permit to replace it with an approved dining room. Everyone's happy. They also expand to the building next door, connecting that with their building. Now they have a smoking dining room and a gift shop (you can buy Mews t-shirts, etc.) in that building (with a proper-dress cocktail lounge upstairs). The big dining room (located where the patio used to be) is called The Patio -- its central feature is a tree, a huge real tree that looks as if the restaurant was built around it, but actually had been cut down elsewhere and moved to this site, it's upper branches giving the illusion of holding up the cathedral ceiling. The tree is bare of bark, covered with drawings of leaves, autographs, sayings, etc. It is decorated with Christmas lights. There is a bicycle in the tree. This fits in with the other strange objects hanging from the tree and from the ceiling: a canoe, a ski-lift seat, a kayac, etc. We got a table next to the tree. (All of the tables have license plate sized signs that can be flipped to show your current status: NEED BEER and GOT BEER.) An order of onion rings and an order of chicken wings to keep us occupied while waiting for our meals, plus lemonade for Nancy, Mountain Dew for Sean, and Beamish Stout for me (it's from Scotland, something like a Guinness, and yes, I did have a refill). Nancy and I had fish and chips, Sean got a PizzaBurger (a hamburger topped with cheese and tomato sauce and pepperoni).

The heavy rain had passed while we ate; there were just light sprinkles when we left for home. Jennifer was supposed to work last night but she didn't feel well (I think she was just exhausted beyond belief) and had to call in sick.

And today was a Monday. A busy day at work... and yet it seemed no matter how much I did, there was always more to do and then when I attempted to come home I hit a monster traffic snarl. They are doing maintenance work on the Newport bridge -- so westbound will be restricted to one lane according to the sign (from mid-April to July 1st) from 6am until 3pm (the heaviest traffic in the morning is eastbound, onto the island and in the afternoon it is westbound, leaving the island). Today they still had it cut to one lane all through the evening rush -- although there was nothing rushed about it, stop and go, creep and crawl, so that the fifteen or twenty minutes it usually takes me to get from my office over to the mainland took more than an hour... traffic was so backed up from the bridge that it choked other traffic off. Stationing a flag man on the bridge to direct the traffic merge to one lane might have helped a little. Being able to tell time might have helped more. And shutting off that blinking electronic message board that told us the lane closure would be from six a.m. until three p.m. would made things a little less annoying when it is three hours past three p.m. (Yes, I know it is much worse every single day in Boston or New York City or almost all of California, etc. -- but I don't live in those places for that very reason.)

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