Tuesday, April 30, 2013

LOFT LIFE - A few of my favorite things

Hey, if Oprah can list her favorite things, why not moi? The difference: well, the obvious that I have about 300 in my audience, albeit, I seem to be gaining quite a few in Germany for some reason, and she has millions, and I do not have financial gain from my touting of my favs (unless you count Google ads which haven't resulted in a check yet).

So here is my partial list and my reasons why:

Enterprise Rent-A-CarEnterprise. I want to say, I can’t really understand why any other car rental company is still in business. For decades we have used Avis, Budget, National, Alamo and the occasional lower budget ones. These were not usually positive experiences. I am not sure why we had never tried Enterprise, but now we have, and the difference is astounding! Not only do they pick you up and drop you off, their whole attitude is almost in the hard to believe category. Here’s an example:
I rented an Enterprise car in Rockford. They allow a grace period for returns of a generous one hour. I was two hours late. I got lost--yes, amazingly I turned on Harlem instead of Mulford going to State Street and somehow got as far as the Harlem TOLL ROAD before I realized I was not going to see State Street any time soon. I was shaking, looking at the clock, realizing this would add another day’s charge to my bill, and still not sure how to get back to State Street.

When I arrived at Enterprise, I was pretty rattled. My friend Gail was already in the parking lot, waiting for me to return my paperwork and pay up. Then she noticed me standing at the counter making gestures like throwing up my hands, looking like I was very, very upset. What I was actually saying was: “But, you have to charge me more, because I am two hours late.” To which John, the Enterprise fellow said, “No, no, it’s okay.” I continued ranting about how I owed them more and they didn’t need to be so generous. At that point Gail came in to comfort me. She’s a marriage and family therapist. She threw her arms around me and gave me a sustained calming hug, during which I said, “but I owe them for being late and they won’t let me pay.” She dropped her hug hands and said, “Is that why you’re upset?”  She started laughing. I started laughing. John started laughing. I didn’t pay more.

Now, tell me? Is that your typical car rental agency?

Bay State Hospital. As you all know, I don’t do interstates. So, every time I am a passenger riding through Springfield, MA, I try to envision what would happen if we had an emergency that required ME driving to the hospital for someone in trouble. Surface streets could work, but it is a roundabout way and very long, not good for emergencies.

Well, it happened. My dear hubby had an event that by 11:00 pm resulted in the need for a hospital. From all of the stories I have heard, the only hospital nearby I would risk allowing to treat someone I love is Bay State. But, even at 11:00 pm, I don’t do interstates. I paged through the church directory looking for someone somewhat close to Enfield, and landed happily on Joe’s name. He’s a professional driver and lives in West Springfield.

He was awake, happy to help, came to get us, and delivered us to the emergency area. I found out it could be a six hour wait (people tend to use emergency rooms for things they probably should have taken care of before 6:00 pm at an urgent care center--people like US), so I told Joe to go home, go to sleep, and I would call him in the morning.

In general, I hate hospitals, but when you need them, you want a good one.  

After hubby had his forms filled out, his vitals checked and we had waited about two hours, most of his symptoms had corrected--mostly he wasn’t doing the pernicious vomiting anymore, so even though we had gotten sort of checked in, I went to the desk and said, “We seem better. Can we change our minds?” The staff at Bay State ER is amazingly caring, friendly and professional. They said, “Sure, and if the symptoms return, be sure to come back.” I asked what the charges were, and they said, “Well, you haven’t officially been admitted, so nothing.” I called a cab at 2:00 am and we went home. Not one of the most fun dates hubby and I have had, but Bay State made it as pleasant as it could possibly have been. Thank you staff.

Bigelow Commons. We live in an old carpet mill factory that has been converted into loft apartments. The architecture is awesome, with exposed brick, 20 ft. ceilings, huge windows, lots of light, and a really pleasant layout. The office and maintenance staff are amazingly attentive, kind, thoughtful, and really try to respond to our requests as quickly and efficiently as they can. This is a carefree life. We have two swimming pools, an exercise room, a weight room, tennis court, racquetball court, and even exercise classes, if we want them.  

We never have to shovel snow, mow grass or even change a light bulb. They have community barbecues, chili cook-offs, parties and are open to suggestions for other events. They provide the beverages, the paper products, the large screen TV, and do all the planning. What’s not to like? We are very glad we moved here.

Mystic. We travel a lot. We go to Cape Cod, Sturbridge, Stockbridge, West Dover, VT, and many other New England treasures. But, we always come back to Mystic if we really are deciding on a great day trip. We just love it there. We like strolling through the town, having coffee at Bartleby’s Cafe, pizza at Mystic Pizza, and we love the Seaport, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill (the only remaining steam-powered cider mill in the U.S.), and we also love our walks around Old Mystic.

 Whether it’s the gorgeous New England fall foliage on the journey from our place to Mystic, or the sea breeze on a warm summer day, or the blossoming trees in the spring, or even the coziness of a B&B, and a wine tasting in the winter months, we love Mystic.

So there you are. Four of my favorite things.