If you check the post for December, you’ll see the weekend Colleen and Jay visited Fern Forest was the coldest of the winter. On their second visit in March, they had no snow to contend with, and the mud stayed out from under their wheels as they drove down from Brooklyn. We would have been thrilled to see them even if Colleen had not unearthed a bottle of Basil Hayden’s bourbon from her bag as she walked through the door that Friday night. H and I had eaten, but we broke out leftover Boboli and cheese and crackers, and we all dipped into the bourbon. It was a promising start to the weekend.
On Saturday Colleen came from the treehouse early because Jay had intended to get a head start on a day at the mountain. She thought he’d be right along, and we gave her coffee while we waited for him. We sat and talked about the Garden & Gun magazine she brought. After twenty minutes, still no Jay. I looked out the back, saw him at the door inside the treehouse, and figured he’d be in pronto. Colleen poured a second cup of coffee—still no Jay. H looked out the back and saw Jay on the treehouse deck—probably enjoying the crisp morning, H assumed. Colleen sipped her coffee and talked about her job as a television producer, about her stint at VH1 and her work on a documentary about Sunny’s Side, a waterfront oasis in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Finally Jay came in, looking a little hassled. “Colleen locked me in,” he said. There’s a latch on both the inside and outside of the door, and Colleen had fastened the outer latch to keep the door from swinging open and letting in the cold, not thinking that Jay couldn’t unlatch it from the inside. Jay is a hefty guy, and I’m glad I didn’t witness him climbing over the deck railing thirty feet up in the trees and monkeying around the corner of the treehouse to spring the latch. When we were sure he was unscathed, Colleen powdered him with kisses and apologies. He doesn’t hold a grudge and sat down to breakfast as if he hadn’t performed a high-wire act to earn his scones and blueberries.
It was noon when H and Jay hit the slopes at Sugarloaf for a half day of skiing. Colleen wanted to Nordic ski, but the fields were bare so we motored to Burlington and spent an hour at the gym. Colleen is a water rat and swam for 45 minutes (in the bikini she’d brought for the Fern Forest spa) while I worked in the weight room. Afterward, we had some successful retail therapy at my favorite shop, Second Time Around, where she won a pair of Jordache jeans that looked ‘80-ish and a pair of plaid trousers, tres Soho. I couldn’t resist a couple of Irish linen pencil skirts for summer and an adorable pair of deerskin Gentle Souls sandals with ankle strap. Cappuccinos and a shared peanut butter cookie put a happy bonnet on a fine afternoon.
When we got back to Fern Forest, the boys had returned from skiing, and we modeled our new (used, actually) treasures. Then Colleen started dinner, chicken marsala with oyster mushrooms and shallots. I concocted a salad, rice and asparagus while we sipped wine and the Guinness the boys had picked up. Usually we serve breakfast to the treehouse guests and leave them on their own for the other meals, but Colleen and Jay seemed to want to hang with us, even though we’re old enough to be their parents. But the age difference melted away with the candles hovering over our dinner, and the conversation never faltered.
Late that night, they had a soak in the spa before bedding down in the treehouse. Colleen likes to change the underwater colors, giving them names—seaworld blue, bordello red, ecto cooler lime and gay night club —and we heard them giggling all the way upstairs.
I tried to think of reasons to delay their leaving on Sunday, but Jay had to get back to his Monday morning job in production at VH1, where he schmoozes with some of the most famous musicians alive. But we’ll entice them back. I told Colleen she can work off the rent by helping me landscape around the spa. We’ll find something for Jay to do, too—maybe entertaining us with another acrobatic act.