December 1, 2002
Here I am as usual on the day before returning to work, wondering where the time went. It’s like a normal weekend, but more so, because I feel like with four days I should have gotten twice as much done. My brain seems to have forgotten that the extra time this weekend was devoted to the holiday itself. It’s not like I came home on Wednesday night and dove right into my to do list.
The weekend started with my boss’s grand tour of good cheer on Wednesday evening. I’d forgotten he does this—walks around the building before he leaves for a holiday and wishes each of us who’s still there a happy *insert appropriate phrase here* and makes a little small talk. I don’t know if he waits until very late in the day (in this case, 6:30) so his rounds won’t take as long or so he can keep track of “stays late before holidays” brownie points or because he just doesn’t think of it until he himself is leaving. I’m guessing it’s the latter; 6:30 is pretty early for him to head home. If my day had gone as I’d planned, I wouldn’t have been there for him to wish well, but a customer request came in late in the day and I really wanted to get those billable hours into November. I guess if it was a brownie points tour, I at least deserved them.
The drive on Thursday morning was pretty uneventful. We did have to make more bathroom breaks than usual, since my fibroid and my bladder are fighting for the same space in my abdomen, but that didn’t slow us down too much. Traffic just past downtown Chicago did add some time to our trip. I never thought we’d be stopped dead on the freeway on midday on a holiday, but we were. When we got to Mom’s house, she said, “those were all the people leaving the parade”. Oh. Parade. Wish we’d thought about that. Still, we arrived about when we’d planned to.
There was the usual confusion about what the next step in the plan was, but I ignored that and ate appetizers. My diet strategy was just to write everything down. Not even track the points, just write it down. My hope was I’d get tired of writing and stop eating. This might have worked better if I’d forced myself to write down each multiple of each item, instead of resorting to hash marks. Another piece of cheese? Just one more stroke on the paper. That barely even slowed me down. Ah, well, it’s only one day.
After several phone calls to figure out where and when my nieces needed to be picked up, we headed off to my brother’s. We arrived to find that Scot was surprised to see us just then, since he’d been expecting a call ahead of time so he could get dinner ready. If I’d known that was the plan, I could have made the call—well, reminded my mom to make the call, since only she knew when we’d be ready to leave her house. At least he knew we were coming sometime that day; that’s better than things have worked out in the past.
My eldest niece had to leave about a half hour after we got there so she could go to work. Why we couldn’t have planned around her work schedule, I don’t know; no one asked me what should happen. She did at least get to eat a few appetizers and some salad before Mom took her off to work. When Mom got back, we sat down to dinner. My brother had done an amazing job cooking it. He not only made a turkey but also did a ham and a full complement of side dishes: mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, hot rolls, and the traditional jellied cranberry sauce in the shape of the can. He even did the cream of green beans casserole with the fried onions on top. I was very impressed. Seems my little brother is a real grown up now.
I regret not taking any pictures of the event. I had two cameras with me, but the time never felt right to start snapping photos. No one else had a camera, so I won’t be able to get reprints, either. I don’t know why I’m so shy about taking pictures sometimes. It’s not like anyone’s ever said “hey, cool it with the flash” to me. I haven’t ruined any family occasions due to my rude photography habits, yet I often end up not taking any pictures even when I think about it at the time. I feel like I’d be intruding or it would just be too awkward. I do take plenty of pictures on trips with Mr. Karen, so it’s not as if I have a general camera phobia. I’ll just have to remember this Thanksgiving with words instead of pictures and remember to do it differently next year.
Both Scot and his wife had to work on Friday, so our time together on Thursday was it for this trip. I really need to do a better job communicating with my brother directly, not letting Mom always be the go between. Maybe we would have planned our weekend differently if we’d known what everyone else’s schedules were. Again, I’ll have to make myself a note for next year.
We briefly considered stopping at IKEA on our way back to Michigan, since we still don’t have new bookshelves, but one look at the backup on the exit ramp to Woodfield Mall put me off that idea. I’m happy that the economy is healthy enough that lots of people were out shopping; I just didn’t want to be crowded in with them. I can look for shelves right here in Michigan once my schedule settles down a little. In the meantime, I inspected the old shelves and found that only one piece was really broken, so I put the rest back up and just balanced the broken piece on top, where it doesn’t have to support any weight. Not an ideal solution, but better than having the stacks of books on the office floor for several more months.
Work intruded on my time off when I got home; I had several messages that the scheduled jobs hadn’t run on the system I’m the account manager for. Crap. That meant that last night, instead of sleeping, I was dialed into the machines at their site, trying to figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t anything I knew how to fix, but I was able to kick off the jobs manually, and this morning I did the month end jobs the same way, so I won’t have an even bigger mess to deal with tomorrow morning. Sadly, the housekeeping elves did not stop by while we were gone, so instead of relaxing for the rest of the weekend, I’ll be participating in the festival of enough cleaning to make the house presentable if you don’t look too close. Yes, I know I should be thankful I have a house to keep, but that’s hard to remember when I’m dusting the same places I dusted just weeks ago—why can they not stay clean? Is that too much to ask? Evidently. Maybe Santa will bring me a house elf of my very own for Christmas.