DeVos: Visiting the Red Lobster
The Friday Report
For years my wife has said, “We should check out the fall colors in New England.” I totally agreed. She wanted to watch leaves turn red and I wanted to watch lobsters turn red. We compromised by planning a seven-day leaf-peeping, crustacean-eating contest along the north Atlantic Coast.
The problem is that our dogs are borderline psychotic and we have two screaming feathered pigs that some would charitably call parrots. It’s easy to get someone to house-sit for us once. Not twice.
We went through our contact list, searching for someone who hadn’t changed their number or weren’t blocking ours. Then I remembered a pal who’d moved to Boulder several years ago. I’m sure he’d love to re-visit old friends in Fraser! Just maybe … so I called him up, “Dan! Great to hear your voice, Ol’ Buddy. How’d you like to spend a week up here? No, no, right here at our place. Yeah, we’re participating in a big competition in Boston next week and you can have the run of our house. What? Uh, no, not The Marathon,” I said, glancing down at my waistline, “it’s a swimming event.” I didn’t mention the pool of clarified garlic-butter.
“Hey, I just thought of something, Dan. Would it be any problem for you to take care of our animals while we’re gone? They’re hardly any bother,” I said, holding my hand over the phone to block out the shrieking parrots and the snarling dogs who were engaged in a savage custody battle over a purple dinosaur squeak-toy. My wife’s jaw dropped at my bold-faced lie.
Dan asked if we had cable. “I think so,” I said, “but back in 2008 we wanted to watch the Westminster Dog Show but I couldn’t find the channel and shut it off.”
“I really want to watch …” and then he said some gibberish about the Fatal Four or the Futile Five, whatever, some sporting event. We think all professional sports are a stupid butt-patting waste of time, but I bit my tongue, not needing another former house-sitter.
“No,” I said, “We don’t watch TV, but I think we’ve got basic cable, you know, Fox News and 61 shopping channels. Why don’t you go watch it at a sports bar? There are two of them at every intersection in town. I’ll pick up your tab.”
“Uh-uh. It’d be nice to have beer, wings, chips, my famous clam dip, and a few old friends over to watch the game. That wouldn’t be a problem, would it?”
Shiny red lobsters danced through my head, “Not a problem at all,” I said, “I’ll be sure our TV gets the, uh … what was it you wanted to watch?”
I hung up and hurried over to the TV cabinet, blew dust off the cable box and pushed all the buttons twice, checked the plug but no signs of life. Comcast promised to have someone there sometime between 8 and 12 on the calendar. Upgrading to the “All Sports Package” cost like a 3-year lease on a small, luxury sedan.
The Comcast guy said in some wonder, “I’ve never seen a cable box this old, did it really work?” I had no idea. He proudly announced, “This new box will allow you to record up to eight programs simultaneously.”
“We haven’t watched eight programs in five years. What would I record?”
“Why have cable?” he asked.
“It attracts house sitters.”
The dust from the Comcast truck had not settled before the phone rang. It was Dan. Something unavoidable had come up and he wasn’t coming after all.
If a Major Sports Event falls in October, and everyone but our house is watching, is it still pointless?
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The business and tourism prognosticators from across the country are saying it loud and clear: This summer will be very busy and most businesses won’t be able staff-up or expand to handle the increased demand.