Thanksvember 2012: Week One

November 1st: I am thankful for being part of a family full of storytellers. Even in our darkest moments, we can help each other smile.

November 2nd: I am thankful for my rockstar coworkers at Infuz (past and present). The business stuff is just the cusp of what I’ve learned from them, and many have become my closest friends.

November 3rd: I am thankful for being a two-parent household. The fun stuff is better when you have someone to share it with. The bad stuff is easier when there’s someone to shoulder the burden. Also, when you have too much whiskey, someone can manage the kids while you suffer your consequences.

People do that thing in November where they blog/tweet/post one thing every day that they are thankful for. I’m doing it, too.

a-Househunting We Will Go: The Forever Home

We are currently on a quest for a new home. Due to our family’s needs and financial …complications… we’re searching for a very specific kind of home in a very limited area. Since it’s hard to spot that “hidden gem” on paper, we see our share of houses. Sometimes these prospects make for interesting stories. These are those stories.

We knew before we looked at this house that it was probably a long shot. It had recently dropped into our range, but the description suggested it was going to need a significant of work. The room dimensions were irresistible, the location (although at a relatively high-traffic corner) was perfect. We had to take a look because if we’ve learned anything in this search it’s that you never know.

I fell in love the moment we crossed the threshold. Continue reading a-Househunting We Will Go: The Forever Home

a-Househunting We Will Go: The Haunted One

We are currently on a quest for a new home. Due to our family’s needs and financial …complications… we’re searching for a very specific kind of home in a very limited area. Since it’s hard to spot that “hidden gem” on paper, we see our share of houses. Sometimes these prospects make for interesting stories. These are those stories.

Our visit to this turn of the century victorian house started out better than most. This house was larger and older than others in the same general area and price range. It was 3 stories, and for the first two stories everything was fine. It needed a healthy amount of updates, but we really liked some of the features. While we were chatting, we made our way to the third floor: an attic that had been converted into two bedrooms. The first bedroom had an exposed seam along the wall, and Ryan, his dad and the agent set about figuring out why that might be. I have little to contribute to those conversations, so I wandered out and went into the next bedroom. Continue reading a-Househunting We Will Go: The Haunted One

A Look Ahead: 2011

2010 is officially over now. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about it for months, but life got in the way. It’ll be a bit more concise now. Lucky you.

If the second half of 2010 had a theme, it was Challenge is the New Black. A couple of months ago something snapped and I realized that who I think I am isn’t set in stone and even though I’m 33, I can still redefine the things about myself that I’m not down with. Continue reading A Look Ahead: 2011

the ghost of lobster dinners past

1993: as near as i can figure, lobster dinners started christmas of my junior year of high school. the original guests included my parents and me. the menu has changed little since that first meal: lobster, baked potato, and a salad, although the salad dropped off in the early 2000’s because it just got in the way of the lobster, and wine became a more prominent component once i reached legal-ish age. the dinners were designed as a way to welcome in the christmas season by taking a moment to be thankful and grateful as well as serve as a collective “introverted” moment for the immediate family. our extended family (which had grown crazier over the years) would soon be upon us, bringing with them all the stress and drama that turned the three of us into angry little balls of crankiness that we usually “spared” our family from by taking it out on each other. lobster dinner was just us and something to look forward to while we were preparing for anything else.

1998: 1998 was a big year of change for the dinners. the first guest at lobster dinner happened out of necessity. although there was some brief talk of making my new boyfriend sit in the other room while we feasted, he had travelled to dallas with me to visit my family and that seemed rude, even for us. there was much joking about the “outsider” while we ate, but it was clear to everyone that he was a permanent guest. this was also the first and only year that lobster dinner occurred on christmas eve instead of a week or so earlier, thanks to the timing of our visit.

1998 was also the year that the lobsters started growing in size. wanting to impress his guest (although he claimed this was all they had), my father bought slightly larger lobsters. the next year, when it was our turn to host, we didn’t want to “look bad” so we stepped up as well, likely with even larger lobsters. when it became my father’s opportunity again, he stepped up to show off, and so on and so on, until in recent years, one or more of us has been unable to finish our share. a decade later, the lobsters are a full pound larger than the original dinner, and that’s only because once you get over 2.5 pounds, they become hard to purchase and a logistical nightmare to cook (every year we tell the story of that one 5lb lobster my parents had back in the late 70’s).

2006: lobster dinners continued as an annual tradition for almost a decade without much changing except for the venue and the unfortunate animals startled by a confrontation with an angry lobster on their kitchen floor. In truth, there wasn’t much noteworthy about 2006, except in hindsight. The four of us lingered longer on how fortunate and healthy we all were. Although my dad was suffering from some strange pains in his stomach, this was not a particularly note-worthy event. He’d suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and the complications of the harsh treatments for almost 20 years, and was doing better than ever. i remarked that 10 years previous, when he was having heart attacks and the treatments for his RA weren’t doing much besides make him sick, that i hadn’t expected him to see 60 years old. “there’s still time,” my dad said, full of uncharacteristic mirth and optimism. “i don’t turn 61 for another 5 months.”

and because sometimes life is like a ridiculously contrived plot point in a “feel-good” christmas special, that strange pain in his stomach was pancreatic cancer and he died 5 months later. 10 days before his 61st birthday.

2007: lobster dinner added two more guests. the first was our daughter, who was less than 6 weeks old and might have been asleep before the bright red beasts made their way onto our plates. the second was my father-in-law. tragedy hung out for quite a while that year and my mother-in-law passed away as well. it just made sense to open the group up for him as well. i don’t remember much, thanks to the fog of new-parenthood, but i remember breaking a dish and finding it a few days later and generally being in a bad mood. i suppose it was understandable, given all the circumstances.

2008: tonight will be the first dinner back at my mom’s house since my father died. i didn’t really catch the significance of that until a few moments ago. while packing charlotte’s clothes for her over-night visit with grandma, i started telling her about lobster dinner and explaining some of it’s history to her. for a brief moment i couldn’t remember why her grandpa was coming. and then i did. and then suddenly i hated lobster dinner.

lobster dinner 2006 was the last night with my family before Everything Changed. it is the last moment before a wave of harsh anniversaries starts assaulting my family and although the intensity fades around june, it doesn’t really let up until september.

avoiding lobster dinner doesn’t avoid all of that, but there’s a small part of me that really wishes it would.