Speaking of overwhelming

I've been trying my best to have a quiet—almost boring—weekend. I think I've managed. Between laundry and cat care and visiting a few friends, what is there to tell? Not much.

I'm waiting on Ikea to fax me the information I need to make a decision about the black entertainment center that I found while shopping in Baltimore with Andy. I walked up to it and thought, ohmygosh, that's the one I've been looking for. Before plunking down nearly $400 for it, I need to verify that the shelving can hold our extraordinarily heavy stereo components, and that the center will fit in the area I've got for it. It would make the living room look a little less college-student-ish.I'm currently drooling over this item from the current Pottery Barn catalog. They call it an "apothecary console." Since our guest bedroom is rather small, I've been looking for something like a sideboard—like this—that will fit in the small space we've got, but allow me to dress up the room a bit and allow our guests to have some drawer space to place their things while they're here. I've also been looking at this wardrobe from PB, but it's much more expensive.

(You can guess what I was looking at when taking breaks from chores yesterday.)

Went out to eat with the wondergeeks last night to celebrate Gareth's birthday. I'm rather sad to see him go back home to the UK—I hadn't realized until last night how much he's part of the group. Judging by his utter lack of excitement about going home, my guess is that he doesn't have a group of friends like us back home to enrage and outrage and embarrass him.

Speaking of embarrass, Jess took several pictures of us mugging with our drinks at the restaurant. Whenever she finally posts those, I'll have to steal copies and post them here. (In other words, add them to the multitude of drinking-geeks pictures.)

Sigh—I'm just procrastinating, and I know it. I've not even gotten dressed yet. I really need to get up, get showered and dressed, and make my weekly grocery run. I was so incredibly productive yesterday, and I sense that today will be nothing of the sort.

Now that my birthday's passed, my thoughts turn to thoughts of Christmas. In my family, my late October birthday was always the last milestone before the holiday season began. I've got to decide whether to do paper or electronic Christmas cards this year, and whether they should be of my own design or if I should just buy cards. I need to make out my holiday baking list. I swear to God that I'm actually doing it this year, not just thinking about it and putting it off. I've still got Christmas shopping to do—my yearly dilemma of actual physical presents or gift certificates.

So many people to buy presents for. Ouch. There's Jeff, then the five people in his family. Then five for mine, eight if you count the new brother-in-law and stepnephews that I've not met yet. Then there are friends. Then there are the friends who have birthdays in the latter half of the year.

(To all of my friends born in November—bah! humbug! You are collectively a drain on my wallet, but I'd rather have friends and an empty wallet than a full wallet and an empty life. I'd just like to remind you that if you count back nine months from your birthday, you have Valentine's Day. Ever wonder if you were a Valentine's Day present to someone? *laugh*)

I'll manage; I always do. But when I think about it that way, it's a little bit overwhelming.

Man. Speaking of overwhelming, Christmas is going to be interesting. I generally only go stay with my parents twice a year now, because of the seven-hour drive. Factor in my sister's recent remarriage—good grief, I don't even know what my sister's surname is now!—and the two stepnephews I don't know at all plus the actual nephew that I don't know that well—and it's going to be interesting.

Most people who don't know me would presume that my emotional distance from my family began when I got married and moved to Alabama. That wouldn't be correct. It really started when I left for college. I was a very headstrong sixteen-year-old college freshman, and I had wanted to go out-of-state for college.

I had the scholarships, and had been heavily recruited by several out-of-state colleges; realistically, I probably would have gotten a full ride to almost any U.S. university. Every time I got flyers or information from out-of-state schools, my father would say, "Throw that away, because you're not going to school outside of Arkansas." I can't convey the threatening tone in his voice, but it was there.

So I knuckled under and went to an in-state school. However, I think my mother understands now that they made a mistake—they won the war, but lost their youngest daughter in the process. I email about once a month, come to Arkansas about every six months, but generally don't stay longer than a weekend.

When I do visit, I feel like a stranger. It's hard to go back.

all tags: