By ALEXI VENICE-
Guru Bill’s Convention Center is finally finished! Well, almost. Construction is never complete. There’s always that one last thing a carpenter has to finish. A slice of floor here. A small wall sconce there. The actual front door. You know, the basics.
I’ve been so tied up with finishing the new house, packing stuff at our current house, madly writing the fifth book in The San Francisco Mystery Series (keeping the title under wraps for now), and learning yoga, that I’ve neglected my blog posts. I deeply apologize. I’ll aim to redeem myself in this post.
Let’s talk about the new construction. From the street, the columns along the garage—in the shape of W’s—advertise that this is Guru Bill’s, where homemade yogurt and BoneBreaker’s Hot Sauce are elevated figures worthy of veneration and devotion. The growing popularity of Guru Bill’s cult is rivaling that of, well…youth hockey, the most popular and well-entrenched cult in the northern hinterlands.
Some people conjectured that these red columns were a “V” for Venice. Ha. Not in a million years. We know this is Bill’s Center by the W-shaped columns. Okay, arguably, they could spell “VW,” but we have no affiliation. Likewise, “WV” doesn’t mean anything to us.
You’ll also notice that the color theme for this modern (kind-of) house is wine and grey, both inside and out. I thought I was picking out “African Grey” on the color sample for the living/dining areas, but it turned out sort of powder blue. Oh well, I don’t have anything against blue, so we will survive in a mostly blue interior.
Last weekend, we chose a record-breaking day of snowfall to continue moving into Bill’s Center. Several inches of snow covered the solar panel that will produce electricity for the cult.
Here’s Guru Bill shoveling in front of the garage.
As a member of the cult, picture yourself in this space for daily cult activities. The schedule below is tentative and under development. Remember, class size is limited because this is our retirement house with limited square footage. As a result, you can come to only one class per week. Don’t be greedy and think you’re going to attend all the classes, every single day of the week. (Bill and I don’t want to see the same people that many days per week. We don’t even like to see each other that many days of the week.)
Monday – Yoga (teaching men how to pull their belly button toward their spine without farting). We aren’t moving any equipment into the workout room, so we can use it as a “hot yoga room,” keeping the temp at a cool 90 degrees F. Bring your own yoga mat and foam blocks.
Tuesday – Dream catcher art and poetry on the sun porch. We will have a live #PoetrySlam night once in a while. This might include adult beverages and bingo. Notice the ship-lap on one wall of the sun porch. (Joanna Gaines would be proud!)
Wednesday – Paper-making for greeting cards. Bill is a pro at making paper from scratch — almost as good as he is at making butter-cream frosting. Come to think of it, he could teach a class on that, too. This important work will be done at the kitchen island below. (See half a dog ready to walk out in the lower left?!)
Thursday – Wilderness survival techniques, including a special on splinting broken bones. Bill just attended a course out West, so he now knows everything about treating stuff in the field, from hypothermia to anti-venoms for scorpion stings. This kitchen sink can double as a laboratory!
Friday – Ukulele lessons and card games on the sun porch. Hawaiian shirts required. Bring your own ukulele. (If you don’t own one, Amazon has a number of specials. I recommend the “Mahalo Rainbow Series” for $34.99.) The lineup of card games will be 500 and King’s Cup. No substitutions and drinking is encouraged. Guru Bill’s punch is out-of-this-world good. Also, Guru Bill is ridiculously competitive at King’s Cup. Next time you seen him, ask him what the days of the week are! (Marnie, if you are reading this, please feel free to comment below.)
Saturday – Beer-making (bring your own hops) and wood-splitting (bring your own maul). Bill cut down a mighty white oak at our farm that was used to make this dining room table.
Sunday – Soup-making workshop (bring your own pork and barley). An unnamed guest speaker will provide an in-depth analysis of writing lesfic murder mysteries.
No cult convention center is complete without a sliding barn door, and Guru Bill’s doesn’t disappoint. Notice the distressed wood and wine theme. You can’t have a barn door without a three-legged dog standing guard, deciding whether she’s in or out. She stood there for five minutes!
With respect to the bathrooms in this house, I like our new master bath (which shall henceforth be known as “my bathroom”). Bill and I aren’t into large master baths. We’re practical people, but this one has enough space for a wheelchair to turn around in front of the shower because Bill is convinced that one of us going to break our hip soon. Probably doing yoga. We recently discovered yoga, and you know Bill and me: when we decide to get into something, WE REALLY GET INTO IT! Stay tuned for the inside scoop on what really happens at yoga retreats.
Compare and contrast my bathroom to the below bathroom, which is connected to the workout room (henceforth known as “Bill’s bathroom”). I’m pretty sure a yoga guru—Patanjali or someone—said, “The path to marital harmony begins with separate bathrooms”).
Coincidentally, Guru Bill’s bathroom will also be available for use by the cult while here for workshops. (For obvious reasons, my bathroom is OFF LIMITS to the cult.)
Here’s a pic of one of the bathroom toilets, not that you were particularly curious about it, but I feel the need to share my epiphany this week. My not-so-startling discovery was: My favorite toilets to clean are those that have not been used yet by humans. Duh! Or, as Bootie Pepper would say, “Doi!” I’ve been scrubbing this new toilet lately because there was a lot of iron in the water before we installed a water softener and treatment. (There’s a new product that removes iron stains, but it’s very caustic, so you have to be careful that you don’t get it on your skin.)
Anyway, I don’t mind scrubbing all kinds of toilets and do so willingly and often. I have to admit that I have an en suite toilet in my office at the hospital, only because my office is an old Labor & Delivery patient room from 1910. Frankly, I don’t consider it a perk to have a bathroom in your office. There’s a certain protocol you should follow while using it, and if you don’t, business meetings can be waaay awkward if your boss walks in and you’re tinkling, then flushing, then washing your hands while your boss is sitting two feet away at your conference table.
Awhile back, I didn’t realize that the hospital housekeeping staff wasn’t cleaning my office toilet until orange and blue mold started growing in the bowl. I asked the Chief Nursing Officer—whose office is across the hall—if she was cleaning her own toilet, and she smiled in her polite nurse-way and nodded. I asked if I could borrow her toilet cleaner that evening before I left, and she nodded again. (I have a toilet brush under the sink.) HOWEVER, and this is a big deal, I forgot about my cleaning mission and left work that night without cleaning my toilet.
So, you know what the Chief Nursing Officer did? Yes. You guessed it. How embarrassing. She braved my bathroom, confronted the furry orange/blue toilet bowl and cleaned my toilet for me! On Monday morning, I exclaimed my shock to her, telling her it must’ve been so gross! She said, “I. Am. A. Nurse.” Well, I guess that says it all. Nurses are used to confronting gross stuff. (BTW—never, ever play the “gross out game” of exchanging gross stories with a nurse. They will beat you every time!)
Since the orange/blue toilet bowl incident, I think I’ve offered to clean her toilet a few times, but she won’t let me. (Secretly, just between us girls, I’m sort of glad.) On the other hand, I think it would be good for me. If gardening is good for the soul, then cleaning toilets is good for building character! Anyone I’ve ever met who’s cleaned his/her share of toilets is a compassionate and understanding person.
People who clean toilets rock! So, rock on, brothers and sisters! We clean in solidarity and no one can ever take our inner wisdom and peace away from us. Stand proud! Stand together! #ToiletBowl #MarchOnWashington #BetTrumpHasNeverCleanedAToilet
For all of you in the Guru Bill Cult, stay tuned and Happy Spring!
The snowfall on our deck last weekend.