Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chez Harrison

A dear friend is coming to visit who has never been in my neck of the midwest. She offered to stay in a know, the Ritz Carlton, the Hilton, the Hyatt....but, ala William Shatner, I said, "You could......BUT WHY?" The Chez Harrison can offer you accomodations and amenities that you CLEARLY can not get anywhere else, even at a 5-Star hotel. I told her this....and emphatically stated she absolutely cannot enjoy the sheer class of Chicago unless she stays at my bed-and-sometimes-breakfast.

For starters...see the above picture? The serene colors, comforting furniture, the neat, open and airy rooms? Well, my place doesn't look anything like that at all.

However, here at the Chez Harrison, we offer so much more! For instance -- luxurious surroundings: a double wide driveway, shared with the cranky 90 year old neighbor and his 40-something "housemate" who gets arrested every month or so for treating him like an old shoe. Also, on the other side, separated, unfortunately by a big brown fence, is the neighborhood junk collector, who at last count, has about 75 old, unused lawn mowers in his back yard. Lucky for us, he and my 90 year old neighbor are brothers who hate each other. Excitement abounds in this fast-paced geriatric triad.

What else at Chez Harrison? Exquisite cuisine. Unsurpassed in fast food heaven. We have: Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, 35 pizza places within walking distance, about 7 Starbucks and 5 bagel joints. Delivery is always an option at our establishment, as I am registered with each and every one of them and taste-tested all the options for my guests' comfort. And please, it goes without saying, an abundance of liquor stores that can satisfy your every alcohol fueled whim.

Still having trouble deciding? Well, how about THIS for the clincher? An all exclusive, magnificent collection of stray cats, coming from as far as the inner city, Wisconsin and County Animal Control (when I couldn't control myself) to cover you and your possessions with an array of cat hair from gold to white to black. Depending on the length of your stay, you may have enough for a fur-friendly winter coat.

I cannot see WHY Chez Harrison wouldn't be your choice to pull up some lumber, throw your luggage down and take a load off.

However, a disclaimer if you will....Chez Harrison is also permanent residence of Hurricane Erin, who no matter what the season, is always active. You never know when she will strike, leaving the living room in a state of emergency. Forewarned is fair play. Should Hurricane Erin strike, it is the option of the owner to stay with you in whatever hotel you escape to.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Love and Fur

I have literally NO time on my hands, between the merger my office is going through, school ending and accompanying my son to traffic court, but tonight is unusual in that the only living beings in the house are me and the cats, Mouse, Kalli and Mena. Daughter is staying overnight at her dad's (which happens about 4 times a year) and Son is at an all night bon-fire with several school mates (fortunately, it's close to home and I'm a light sleeper -- when I hear the fire engines roaring by, I'll know exactly where they are going). However, I thought I'd take a moment to salute my silent partners, those whose company I have come to need almost as much as air.

I've always had cats, mostly because I grew up in an apartment. Where I am now is the only HOUSE I've ever lived in that I remember. But growing up, being an only child living in an apartment, it was a cat or nothing. So I became a cat person.

I've heard that cats are independent and stand-offish and only come around when they are hungry or want affection. In other words, they make the rules. However, I don't find that necessarily true (except for Mena, who can be a 25 pound force all her own). Mouse and Kalli can have full tummies and still manage to crowd me whether I'm on the couch or sitting at the table or reading in bed. They are very offended and put off if I have to get up to do something. They follow me to see what is so important that I needed to disturb them -- going so far as to accompany me into the bathroom. They will sometimes sit outside the door and wait, but that is a rare occurance. They must think I am going to do something absolutely riveting in that room....which they must not miss for all the catnip in China.

But as my house is uncommonly quiet right now, I find the Triad of Furballs quite comforting. Kalli remains on my left, Mena at my right, and Mouse at my feet, although Mena and Mouse change spots frequently. Kalli, however, is my citadel. Always stationed at my left, either paws in or paws out.

I've said before that I carry the devotion of all my pets with me, and I do. For all the hairballs I've cleaned up, for all the vet visits, for all the expensive food I've needed to buy, for all the litter pans I've scooped, for all the times I've cried when I've had to watch one get old and die, I wouldn't give it up for anything. The love of a pet cannot be explained, either from the furry view or the human view. All I know is....I'm a better person for the animals I've cared for and they have taught me amazing lessons on unconditional love and unwavering devotion.

Here's to all the furry, feathered, scaled friends that make our lives richer.