Jill Zarin’s Hamptons: Memorial Day Prep

Jill Zarin at home in Southampton
Jill Zarin at home in Southampton, Photo: Courtesy Jill Zarin

What are you doing this weekend?

I can’t believe it is Memorial Day weekend 2015! Where did the year go?

I will tell you where—we were in the freezing cold buried under many feet of snow for most of it. As if the cold Hamptons wasn’t enough, Bobby took me on a “bucket list” trip. Antarctica. Bobby and I spend two days traveling to the most southern city in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina, and two days crossing the “dreaded” Drake’s Passage to spend another 10 days with Exclusive Resorts on the National Geographic Orion expedition ship.

It happened to be the 100th anniversary of British explorer Ernest Shackleton’s infamous expedition that was supposed to last months and ended up lasting over two years “lost.” If you are interested in Antarctica and what it was like to be an explorer in the early 20th century, I highly recommend reading Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.

We have literally been counting down the days to “officially” open the house for Memorial Day weekend this year. There are so many things involved, like calling Nardy to spray for ticks (this year is going to be particularly bad—Ginger already brought two into my bed!), opening the pool (only to find broken tiles that need to be replaced), re-grouting tiles and cleaning rugs. As for cleaning light fixtures, I have a trick for that: Buy a special chandelier cleaning spray at a local hardware store, like True Value in Southampton, put down a drop cloth and spray, spray, spray! All the dirt will fall off—so cool!

The plumber needs to open up all the water, the sprinklers need to be activated and the air conditioners need to be serviced. I hit Lynch’s for my plants, and Flowers By Topaz for my large centerpieces and to stock up on orchid plants. (Next week I’ll share tips on how to take care of your plants and cut flowers this season.) I know it is summer when Fresh Direct sends an email that delivery has started up again! I usually order the heavy stuff from them since they bring it into the house.

You’re probably thinking, where’s Bobby, right? Don’t worry. I keep him busy. He gets to check the smoke detectors and write a list of the light bulbs that need replacing. Oh, did I mention he gets to pay all the bills?

It’s all worth it. Our families arrive starting Friday morning and it’s food, food and more food until the last person leaves Monday night. We have five children and three grandchildren, plus sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and their kids.

I set up multiple tables with all the new tabletop I bought over the past three weeks from Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn and Hildreth’s. Yes, I do overdo it, but I wouldn’t do it any other way.

From our BBQ to yours…


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