Tag Archives: Daughter

A lesson learned

The past few weeks have been full of family. I spent a week with my mom in Elgin then my mom and nephew visited us for a week (they drove back with me). Clare flew in from Olympia a couple days before my mom and nephew left, then Andrew, who is working in Boston this summer, visited a few days later. This story begins the afternoon after Andrew left.

Clare offered to drive Andrew back to Boston. They left Monday morning and got to Boston by 3:30 in the afternoon. At 3:45 I received a telephone call from Andrew asking me to check his old backpack for his keys. I found them and told him I’d send them right away.

I packed up the keys in a small Amazon box and drove to the post office. I hate going to the post office so I was grumpy about it. Plus Andrew interrupted me from working and I was grumpy about that — I’d hoped to put in lots of hours the first half of the week so I could spend time with Clare when she returned from the Northeast so I was grumpy about that too. Also I was just plain cranky for no real reason.

The post office we go to is about 20 minutes away and traffic was starting to build up. The parking lot was nearly full, so I expected a long line, but there were only a few customers in the building. Three or four workers were behind the counter and I was seen in about a minute by a woman who was sitting down and didn’t return my smile when I approached her. When I explained that I needed the package to be sent “next day postage she asked sullenly, you mean overnight? I said yes. She handed me a cardboard envelope and told me I needed to fill out a form. I took the envelope and form and walked back to the work station but could not find a pen. The woman behind the desk asked me what I was looking for and when I told her I needed a pen she said I could use hers but not to walk off with it. Because I was in a grumpy mood I said that she seemed to be in a bad mood.She said that any time she gave anyone a pen they walked off with it and postal workers had to buy their own. While I filled out the form she helped another customer, but that person had many packages so I went back in line (longer now) in hopes of getting someone else which I did and this person was not at all sullen. She was very nice in fact.

I felt bad for being unkind to the first woman and even thought about apologizing to her, but ended up just going home, feeling bad the whole way home and into the evening.

Fast forward to this afternoon around 1:30 when my phone rang again. This time it was Clare who I’d dropped off at Dulles Airport this morning to go back to Olympia.

“Mom! Guess what I forgot!” she said either cheerfully or nervously — it was hard to tell.

“I don’t know, what did you forget?” I asked.

“My keys!” she said.

“Oh no! Not you too!” I said. (secretly annoyed)

“Can you send them priority like you did for Andrew?” she asked.

I could have argued that Andrew’s situation was different — he was new to Boston and lived in a boarding house whereas Clare lived with a roommate and friend who had a set of keys — but I told her that I would send the keys today.

That’s how I found myself at the post office again on a Monday afternoon. This time, however, I knew better. I picked up a mailing envelope and form and filled the form out as I stood in line. I’d not pre-wrapped the package — but did put it in a bundled up pair of socks so the keys would not rattle around in the envelope. I secretly prayed that the woman that I was rude to (because she was rude to me is not an excuse) had the day off, but no, there she was, sitting in the same spot she sat in a week ago. And as luck would have it, she was the one open when it was my turn.

This time I didn’t try to smile, but was courteous. She started out sullen, but became almost warm by the time I was finished. The fact that I’d already filled out the form was good, the fact that I was not as grumpy as the last time was probably a positive as well. The socks (heavy SmartWool(TM) hiking socks) were too big for the envelope and I explained that I was only using them so the keys would not rattle. She wouldn’t touch the socks but explained that I should take them apart, place the keys in one sock and fold it over and place it in the envelope along with the other sock. They fit, I thanked her and left. This time I didn’t feel bad and was secretly happy Clare left her keys behind.

I think I will save this in my list of life lessons. Just because someone is rude — appearing to be having a bad day — you don’t need to be rude back even though you may want to be.

 

The Inn at Mallard Cove

Because Dean had a meeting in Seattle earlier this month and I had some vacation time left, we decided to spend some time with Clare who recently moved to Olympia, Washington. We knew it would not make sense to try to stay with Clare and Bennett so I was tasked with finding a place to stay in the area. At first I thought we’d simply stay at a local motel (although not this one).

Then I got the idea to make it even more special and thought we should stay in a bed and breakfast. It had been a while since we’d done that, not counting the pre-hurricane stay in Cape May last autumn.

Olympia doesn’t have a huge amount of bed and breakfast establishments, but it as a few. I first considered staying at the Swantown Inn which is  5 minute drive from Clare’s house. It had many great reviews on Trip Advisor and is located in a beautiful colorful Victorian mansion. I nearly made reservations there, but I ended up clicking on a link to the Washington Bed and Breakfast Web site and found that there was another B&B a little further away, but right on Puget Sound. According to Google Maps it was only a 20 minute drive from the Inn to Clare’s house and Dean said that was an okay distance to travel. I called the second inn to check if they had room for us and was treated to a delightful conversation with Don, one of the hosts of the Inn at Mallard Cove. As we talked he mentioned that an eagle just flew by. He also brought up the subject of kayaks and said that we could use his kayaks — even in winter. That settled it. I made reservations there because Dean loves to kayak and I love birds.

I spent much of my free between making the reservation and the actual visit to Olympia reading many of the reviews on Trip Advisor. Of the 139 reviews, 134 are 5 star reviews, 4 are 4 star reviews and only one is a negative review by someone that didn’t even stay there — she just complained about their two-day minimum stay in peak season.

Even prepared with the glowing reviews, I was astonished by the beauty of the house (and its location), the hospitality of the hosts, the awesomeness of the breakfasts and the attention do detail in every single thing about the Inn at Mallard Cove.

Don and Linda are simply wonderful hosts. Don is vivaciously friendly and is knowledgeable about almost anything you ask him — especially if it involves the inn or the area. Linda is more reserved, but also very friendly. She, as Don put it several times, is the “brains” behind the operation and it is her attention to detail that makes your stay go smoothly. She is also an amazing cook. Our breakfasts were so delicious and filling that I could have easily waited for dinner before I ate anything more.

On Friday Don took Clare and Dean kayaking on Puget Sound into the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve never kayaked and didn’t want to start kayaking in 30-something degree weather. They had a wonderful time and claim they didn’t even notice the cold.

I have stayed at dozens of bed and breakfasts in the US and in Europe, but I must say that the Inn at Mallard Cove may very well be the best B&B at which I have had the pleasure to stay.

An Unexpected Journey: Part 4 Missoula, MT to Olympia, Washington

Missoula to Olympia

The view out my window when I awoke after a wonderful night’s sleep, with the sound of the Clark Fork River as the backdrop of my dreams, was more than I could have imagined. A lone osprey sat on the topmost branch of the tree directly across the river from our room.

It was difficult to get any work done while the osprey sat there, but I managed a couple hours’ worth.

After packing up and loading up the car, Clare and I had a delicious (and decadently expensive) breakfast in the dining room of the hotel. Clare even got to see the osprey hover.

The drive to Olympia involved misty mountains, Idaho and an unexpectedly barren landscape of Eastern Washington state.

As we neared the Seattle area I expressed disappointment that I’d neglected to bring the Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The Tacoma area was much more built-up than I expected, but Olympia seemed more low-key.

Clare’s house is tiny and, strangely laid out, but a good match for her and her roommate, Bennett. The kitchen is wonderful, with lots of cupboard space and a nice view of the front yard.

We had a late dinner at a bar in Olympia. I must have not been as hungry as I thought because my wild salmon taco was unappetizing. Hopefully next time I am in Olympia I will have something worth eating.

Clare and Bennett had an event to attend, so I reluctantly stayed home. I got to meet one of Bennett’s friends who, when stopping by to pick up some of his stuff, assured me they found a great house in a safe area.

The next morning Clare and Bennett drove me to the airport where I bid Clare a fond adieu. I am pretty sure she is unaware of how much I appreciated the invitation to join her on her trip across the U. S. Someday she will understand, I’m sure.

Photos on page 2