Monday, November 14, 2005
My hands hurt.
I spent about 24 hours in the car over the weekend. No, not in the car. In Willem's Jeep. My car is nice to me. It has a comfortable seat. It has a nice, smooth steering system. It runs quietly. Willem's Jeep is LOUD and BIG and MANLY and its steering system is really stiff and vibrate-y and difficult. All of which might be desireable attributes for certain things and certain activities, none of which I was doing in the Jeep this weekend.

But my car has almost 160,000 miles on it and I just don't wanna be that person you see on the side of the road, banging my head on the steering wheel and swearing. So it was a lot of uncomfortable driving, and my wrists and hands hurt now. Wah.

But overall it was a fun weekend. The drive there, I was all by my lonesome in the Jeep, which was an amazing experience. People without children don't get to have that particular contrast, whereby 99.9% of the time you listen to the music quietly with frequent interruptions for the latest news bulletin from the backseat: "Look, Mom, it's a cow!" "I'm hungry." "Where's Jacob's toy?" "How much longer?" (Emily has long since learned not to ask, "Are we there yet?" since my answer is always, "Yes. Get out.") Anyway, being the only person in the car, I could argue with talk radio, pick whichever CD's I wanted, play the radio as loud as I want... it was wild.

I arrived at my mother's just in time to collapse in a big drooling pile on the couch. I did have time to appreciate that the house is almost entirely different inside - amazing what some paint and reorganization will do - so I remembered not to get up in the middle of the night lest my shins pay for my new unfamiliarity with the layout. And I noticed that her new dog, which she named after me and can't figure out why I'm not thrilled to pieces over it, likes to sniff my nether regions more than the old dog did. Another good reason not to wander around in the dark.

The next morning the girls and I got packed up and on the road in what must be record time for them... 10:00. It seems to be a family gift that early starts and on-time arrivals are not overly common occurences. I know that I used to be in that particular club until I married a man who can't stand being late - peer pressure ain't all bad, says I.

We drove to my great-grandmother's house first, which had the potential to be a very melancholy experience. She died in June, and I loved her to pieces. But her son and his longtime fiancee were there, just on their way out but decided to stay while we were there. So the process of moving things out into and onto the Jeep, from her nearly empty house, ended up being more comical than maudlin given their gentle background music of sniping and ignoring each other in the way that only long-term couples can.

Aunt Shirley - they've been engaged longer than I've been alive, she gets the title of Aunt regardless of paperwork - spent the time offering up really odd bits and pieces of things that we could take with us "but only if you want to." Like partial rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, mismatched glassware, and this enormous electric convection oven that "Grandma used this once to cook a turkey and she didn't like it, maybe you could take it?" No, thanks. "Wasn't it on your list of things you wanted?" Nope, didn't know it existed. I just wanted the roasting pan. "But I was sure you wanted this too. I thought that's why we didn't sell it at the yard sale." Well, there's a price tag on it, maybe no one wanted it. "No, I'm sure it was on your list." Not likely, since I didn't know such a thing existed anywhere in the world, much less here at Grandma's house. But thanks.


And then Uncle Garry just sort of tagged along through the house while my sister Sarah and I loaded up the Jeep and my sister Mary shivered and looked pretty, with a constant ongoing bout of verbal diarrhea. I stopped listening after about 10 minutes, but both my sisters are inherently better human beings than I, and continued to make polite listening noises for the whole time. Though I did have to tune back in when *he* tried to get them to agree to take the convection oven.


But we had the Jeep loaded to the gills and were thereby safe from the oven, and idiosyncracies aside it was lovely to see Garry and Shirley, and off we drove. We had to make a stop in Manchester to get Jacob from Willem - Willem and Emily were going to a hockey game and I just didn't think Jacob was ready for that kind of overstimulation just yet. I know, mean Mommy. But he got to have a diaper emergency and a run through Toys backwards-R Us for new diapers and a new outfit, so it wasn't all bad.

And now we're back to normal, or the nearest approximation of normal I can do. I've inherited a blanket chest, a coat tree and a quilt rack, plus an enormous bucket of yarn and sewing notions to keep me busy for a while. But, I would hope, not too busy to find some chaos and ridiculousness out there somewhere.