: views from the Hill

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The last fling

I talked about a quarter of a century of Flings last May, after the Spring Fling. At that point in time we weren't sure whether Dale would be sold by the time of the Fall Fling -- whether the Spring Fling was "the last fling."

It wasn't.

We haven't cleared out Dale to the point that we can even start patching and painting in preparation for sale, let alone put it on the market yet. We do intend to have it on the market after the new year and hope to have it sold by the date of what would be Spring Fling 2005.

Consequently, last night's fling was advertised as "The Last Fling."

Last night's party was swell. Yoko flew in from Japan. Several people hurried back from business trips in Japan and Europe. Antoine and Victoria flew in from Bucks County, PA. Bit made sure he was back from Shanghai. Jim and Sandy flew down from Seattle. There were regrets: KJ couldn't make the Fling having just got out of the hospital on Thursday. Jim and Lee were in Washington, DC, on their way to Paris to visit mutual friends. Marilyn was in Texas for a reunion but Al and Nicholas made it. Ron and Ginny were down in LA for the UCLA football game.

Several people, including a younger sib, didn't make it because they were feeling sick-ish and didn't want to infect everyone, but the turnout was good. Old friends. Quarter of a century friends. More than quarter of a century friends and old workmates and children and more.

The prep for this Fling had me stressed more than usual because rain delays extended the four-day paint job at Telegraph Hill into a nine-day paint job. My usual week plus time window prior to the party for pickup and cleanup was not to be, with me fifty-plus miles to the north of what needed picking up and cleaning.

We squeezed the time in. I'd dash back to Dale after the painters left and work and then get up at 5:30 a.m. and get back to Hill in time to unlock for the painters. With a final push yesterday, we got Dale cleared and setup with at least fifteen minutes to spare, before the party started last night.

In the past couple weeks, when we'd have a load ready, my run up to San Francisco to check on the painters would include loading the Mini back quarters full of boxes of prints, posters, paintings, and LPs to drop off at the loft annex. In all during the back and forth, I dropped off four loads worth of "stuff" which needed moving at some point anyway. Why not now?

We also shifted boxes of books to the warehouse, dropped a couple loads of stuff at the Goodwill and left bags of recycle magazine and papers at the road's edge for pickup. Fling prep resulted, as it has for a quarter century, in a cleaner and less cluttered home.

The party itself, though ... the foodstuffs brought for the party excelled, as usual: pork with bittersweet cherries, shrimp with sauce, lasagna, pad thai, and more ... potstickers, chicken wings, chili ... pies and cakes of all descriptions, including a chocolate cake with chocolate chips and rum, lemon squares, snacks and snips.

In the week before the party, his nibs went to the usual sources and loaded up on a variety of sodas, flavored sparkling waters and beer, which we stashed in the old refrigerator in the garage. We also bought a half-dozen bottles of white wine and left them to chill in the refrigerator. Nine bottles of red rounded out the beverage selection. Napkins, plates, forks, bowls. We were ready.

Two or three hours into the party, Pat brought us to the fore where we were feted for a quarter century of flings. The gifting and speeching began with presentation of matching T-shirts with a logo saying, "FUTS 1978-2004" -- blue lettering on a white background, the Measurex corporate colors.

Pat's presentation, interrupted with much joshing and kidding, included a gift certificate for dinner at Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, American Express gift certificates to use for San Francisco restaurants, cash to use for cab rides for those nights when we don't want to walk to and fro to a restaurant, a pedometer to track our mileage and a pair of globe bookends (books! travel! geddit?!??) with the areas detailed in semiprecious stones and mounted on solid lapis.

(Beautiful, eh?) The bookends came along with a book to put between them -- an edition of Black Beauty to add to my collection of Black Beauty editions.

Parviz, Tom, and Bit came forward to harangue the crowd before his nibs said our thank-yous. Last night, his nibs revised the name of the party to "The Last Fling ... at this location" and attendees mulled over several possibilities for keeping the twice-yearly Fling tradition, including having the hosting duties rotate from person to person or somehow changing the venue to Hill.

The last party goers left around 3:30 a.m. and we spent an hour or so doing the first round of cleaning, then woke up this morning to continue cleaning and returning the house to its usual (but cleaner! and less cluttered!) state.

his nibs just finished his typical post-FUTS morning chore, sorting through the trash from the party, stacking disposable plates and disposable glasses and retrieving the recyclables from the trash in order to fit the detritus into the single can of garbage we are allowed each week. Next! it's off to the recycle center with a load of recyclable glass -- six six-packs of beer bottles, thirty empty wine bottles -- and soda cans.

Mission accomplished. Party cleaned up. A quarter century of good times ... with promises that the party won't end but will continue in some manner.


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