After Dr. Peterson tested positive for COVID, Maya decided to set up a bubble in the house until the worst of the COVID spike we’re having in California is over, and I was brought in to take care of the boys while their tutor was sick. Sandy, Ethan and a reduced film crew were moving in too, and I reckon the bubble was already in force when I got to the house with enough shit for 3½ weeks packed up in an equipment bag and a backpack.
Usually, you just buzzed Belen on the intercom from the front gate, she opened it for you, you drove up to the house and she took your temperature when you got to the door. Now there was a dude standing guard at the gate. I think he was armed, although I don’t know why that was necessary. He also had one of those temperature taking guns, and took mine through the window of my car.
“97.8,” he said. “You can go in.”
I didn’t bother explaining that I was there two hours ago and that I was the boys’ new…
What was I, exactly?
One thing I’ll say for the Sharpmans’ pool house: it’s comfortable. So far, it’s only been a place to change, but now I was moving in for a while, and had some of my own shit to unpack to help make the place feel more like home. Even when I was playing ball and we were staying in some pretty sketchy motels, the room always felt different once you had some of your own possessions around you.
I mentioned before that the pool house looked like a miniature of the main house, which means that both of them look kinda like Monticello…only the main house is bigger than Jefferson’s home and the pool house is a lot smaller. The “front” of the pool house, with the front door and the little garden with the bushes full of flies that we’re going to replace with the base path, is actually in what everyone thinks of as the back, since what everyone thinks of as the front is the part that faces the main house and has great big sliding glass doors along one wall that open right onto the pool deck. Personally I think it’s pretty cool being able to look out the living room windows and see a great big swimming pool that I can use any hour of the day or night (weather permitting…and we’re starting to have some cold nights.)
I haven’t told y’all about it thus far, since the boys don’t like to use it, but there’s also a jacuzzi next to the pool with room for probably 6 people. I’ve never seen anyone in it, but Sandy has assured me it’s in working order and that I can use it any time I want. (The only thing missing is a cold plunge like Justen has up in Santa Barbara, but, if they had one at the Sharpmans, I’d never get anything done because I’d keep getting in and out of it all day long lol.)
I’m not an expert on interior decorating, so I’m not gonna be too great at describing the inside of the pool house. There’s an entrance hall by the ‘front’ door, but nobody comes in that way. (At least no one ever has in the time I’ve been using it.) The real entrance from the pool deck leaves you in a big living room. Joyce has had a look around on Zoom and she says that I should say it’s done in earth tones and traditional décor that makes it look a little like a den. The color scheme and furniture aren’t too feminine and they aren’t too masculine. It’s pretty neutral, in other words. There’s some really nice furniture, but it’s not a room that makes you afraid of putting your feet up on the couch…once you’ve taken off your shoes.
Besides the couch, there are two easy chairs, a coffee table and a huge TV (which is why I watched some of the NLCS and World Series from there.) Against one wall there’s a small bar with a minifridge. There’s also a whole kitchenette with a coffeemaker behind folding doors on the other side of the living room, plus a nice little dining table and two chairs. There’s even a desk, which is a good place for my laptop and is where I’m sitting while I’m writing this. There’s also a bathroom off the living room. It doesn’t have a bathtub, but it’s got plenty of room to sit and change into your swimsuit without needing to go into the bedroom.
The bedroom is along the front of the house, so it’s away from any noise there might be from a pool party or something. It’s got a king size bed and plenty of dresser and closet space. (Robert was good as his word a few weeks ago, and now there are two white terrycloth robes in the closet.) Y’all know I’m not a great judge of paintings, but on one of the bedroom walls is a poster for a show of Sabrina’s paintings a few years back. No, it wasn’t a picture of another really good-looking dude…it was just some flowers, but you could tell it was by Sabrina. I guess that’s one of the things that makes famous artists famous: you can tell their work because it doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
The coolest part of the bedroom – but I’ve told y’all this already – is the bathroom. It’s got a super cool shower with 4 different shower heads pointed in all different directions. One’s overhead (like the one at Justen’s), one’s aimed at shoulder height, one’s closer to the small of your back and comes from a different direction, and one’s lower down and aimed at your feet from in front. I’ve never seen a shower like that, and, let me assure you, it’s totally awesome. There’s also a giant jacuzzi tub and double sinks. I’ve been using the bathroom to change into my boardshorts since I started swimming in the Sharpmans’ pool with Jacob, but I still can’t get over how cool it is. It does make you feel like a movie star when you use it.
So I’m gonna be pretty dang comfortable for the next 3½ weeks.
“Settling in?,” Sandy said, coming into the living room from the pool side. One thing I’ve noticed is that no one ever knocks when they come in that way.
“I had Robert stock the bar fridge with beers for you. Any other drinks you want us to put by? You’re welcome to have a bottle of something if you want.”
“No thanks, ma’am…I don’t drink hard liquor. It does bad things to me.”
“You’ll have to tell me about them someday. What about soft drinks?”
“I like a Coke every once in a while.”
“That should be easy. But no sneaking soda to Matteo. He loves it. What about snacks? Chips? Nuts? Cookies?”
It’s been a while since I’ve had my pick of the snacks aisle (y’all might be surprised how much snacks cost when you’re on a tiny budget.) I finally asked Sandy for some Oreos, some Pringles (I don’t like regular chips all that much, but I do like a few Pringles every now and then) and something I’ve had a craving for for the past few weeks: Strawberry Newtons.
“With 11 of us here, it looks like I’m going to be ordering groceries every day, so, anything you need, just let me know. I’ll get you some pistachios too. You ought to have something healthy to snack on. Don’t forget that your suggestion of a six-pack is one of your moneymakers.”
Y’all know how much I hate it when parts of my body get discussed like they weren’t a part of the whole.
“What about ice cream?,” Sandy asked. “You can always walk over to the main house and get something from the kitchen freezer, but there’s a burglar alarm…and it’d be easier for you to have everything here. The rest of us aren’t so lucky and aren’t going to have our own little kitchens. You’ve never told me your favorite flavor.”
“Strawberry,” I said. “Pistachio’s my second favorite.”
“We can get those in. I think there’s room for two little containers of ice cream in the freezer in the kitchenette minifridge. Admittedly, it’s more designed for a couple ice cube trays, but I think we can manage. What brand?”
“Anything is good. I’ve been buying Thrifty’s…although I don’t care too much for their pistachio.”
“I think we can upgrade that to Haagen Dazs,” Sandy said with a smile. This was starting to feel like with the clothes…I think she enjoys ‘spoiling’ me…even if it is with Maya’s money.
“Oh…don’t let me forget…here’s the burglar alarm password for the main house and that’s the one for you. You’ve got your own alarm system here and you should arm it at night. And here’s the wifi password,” she said, handing me a little piece of paper. “The pool house has its own network. I figure you’re going to be doing some writing about your bubble adventure at Maya Bedrossian’s house.”
Before she could say anything else, Jacob slid open the screen and came into the room.