The "fall party" was in September of 2005. Typically, we host around 200-300 people on the estate for a day of food, wine, socializing, industry gossip, and whatever other trouble people can get in. Before the main party there is always a little party "ex ante." Since all the outdoor tents, the tables, the liquor, and a good bit of the food are already present, Armin takes advantage of the infrastructure to entertain 30-40 people the night before. Armin is all about extracting value.
Armin's wife had been making some changes to the landscaping around the Estate's driveway all that week. Apparently, one has to make these particular changes before frost sets in so there is a huge demand for landscapers just before the winter months. I have no idea if this is true, but one of the associates, who seems to regard himself as an authority on every subject that might potentially enter into a conversation, mostly I think by liberal use of bullshit, made this claim when I asked why a huge part of the hedges bordering the driveway had been removed and covered with gravel.
I wanted to catch him on his bullshit (I've been wanting to do that for a long time) but as with any of his claims, this one was impossible to verify without obtaining an advanced degree in landscape design and by the time two hours had passed I'd forgotten all about the little promise I made to myself (probably when I was a bit more sober) to look up the latest little stinking tidbit he had offered up.
As it was, I was walking into the main house for a glass of wine right around 5:00 or so. I had just found the bottle and was starting to pour my first glass of the day when I heard the most alarming scraping sound from outside and then a loud splash.
The teenage daughter of the head of one of the largest hedge funds in the country had driven her brand new Saab straight through the gap in the hedges and right into the swimming pool.