I’m writing this in my outdoor office at Carpe Vino in the garden/employee lounge behind our world headquarters building in Old Town Auburn. It’s very cool. . .and secluded. . .you can’t be observed here from street level, but the views of Old Town are one-of-a-kind, especially in the evening.
Surrounded by tomato plants and herbs thriving in eight raised beds, I’m sitting at a concrete table and seating arrangement that Drew found years ago on Craigslist for just $400. Because it weighs no less than two tons, it is nearly impossible to steal. . .unlike the pair of Bose speakers that were bolted to the fence separating us from our neighbors (and friends), The California Club.
This year, I took full responsibility for the garden after it was planted, and it is flourishing beyond my wildest hopes. I haven’t been here for a couple of days because of unusual rain in late June, and I’m amazed at the growth of our 25 tomato plants. I’ve tended them faithfully—cultivating the soil, pruning and fertilizing—and they will clearly respond with a bumper crop of delicious juicy orbs that you will enjoy in the restaurant.
Working here in the early morning makes me feel good, and Moose enjoys it, too, chasing staff moving between the shop and our office/warehouse on Court St. I’ve got high-speed access, my music and a latte, and since I can smoke a cigar whenever I please with nobody bitching about it, who could ask for more?
People often ask me if I’m living my dream, owning a wine shop and restaurant in a small town in California. My answer has always been, “No, it’s just my job, but okay, it’s a lot better than doing piecework in a factory.”
Sitting here, though, and thinking about it—bathed in the warmth of the Sierra sun—I know I would be a fool not to embrace and relish the fact that after 11 years, there is a dream-like quality to all that has happened to me. Moving here from Chicago was truly a random act that has unwittingly shaped and defined the last stanza of my life.
And I can live with that. . .very happily. . .as long as I don’t wake up.
Now enjoy your July wines!