Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Put the Wife and Kiddies in the Family Car

Tomorrow we're off to visit my brother and his wife in Washington state, for our first ever American Thanksgiving. It's weird that they have it so close to Christmas, but it does rather kick off the season.

And by the way, I've only just realised, like two weeks ago, why Americans say "the holidays" - I always thought they meant Christmas, but I think they mean Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's all very integrated.

It's exciting - I've never been to my brother's house. Like - not just this actual house, but to his home - ever. He lived in North Carolina for the last 14 years, and I just didn't get there. So I'm very much looking forward to making up for lost time.

But there's a complication. We have always been more or less footloose and fancy-free, in terms of going away for weekends or whatever, but this past spring we bought ourselves a $1,000 ball and chain:

So I had to find someone to come stay here with Piper, and spent an hour meticulously writing notes that say things like "Don't use two heat-based appliances at the same time on the east wall of the kitchen - the breaker will blow" and "Bleach under the utility sink in the laundry room for potential dog-related poo disasters (knock on wood)" and "for TV audio select 'VCR' on Pioneer 'input' panel". It's exhausting. When you live in your house, everything works just fine, but when you take a step back and view it through another's eyes, all of a sudden everything is crap and you have to stand on your left leg and close one eye to get the bathroom door to open. But only in damp weather.

Now it's 11.30 PM, and we're leaving at 7.30 AM, and the only thing left to pack is the knitting. I should have done that first, before all the trivial stuff like underpants and contact solution. Now I need a whole 'nother suitcase just for the projects.

Which reminds me I should update you. I started (and have almost finished) the Cross-Country Chullo for a Christmas present (recipient doesn't read blog). It's in two shades of denim blue, which I think should be subdued enough for a guy. Can't wait to block it. Can you see the little Nordic skiers there?

And Jaali is coming along - here's the front:

And the Kauni Christmas stocking continues, though I'm at the heel turn (I opted for a short-row heel to preserve the seeding pattern) and it's taking FOR FREAKING EVER.

So I guess I'll be packing those, plus yarn to finish off the hat-mitt advent calendar. I also need to bring Charlotte's Xmas stocking, which is starting to make me feel a bit panicky because I am nowhere, but nowhere, near done.

You know what's odd? Ten years ago, if I was off somewhere I just put my clothes into a duffel bag and left. Now, before I go anywhere I spend an entire day running around madly charging all this bloody technology that is supposed to make my life more enjoyable. Cell phone, iPod, camera batteries, extra camera batteries, video camera batteries, memory cards and cases for everything. Then you have to remember to take the chargers too, in case your batteries need charging AGAIN while you're away.

By the way, see that message there? I think that's a subtle command from the Matrix. They've got us right where they want us - dependent on technology to live.

But I am also bringing a Rummoli set, and this, which is the most fantastic game ever invented:

Whaddya know! A completely SCREEN-FREE activity! I hardly know how to work it. Where's the mouse? Does it come with a trackpad? Is this the most current version? Are there automatic upgrades?

Cheerio, my beauties. I'll be in touch.


Stace' said...

Have a blast. I know you will.

Happy Holidays! That's Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall for this visit.

knititch said...

have fun. i think it sounds lovely. and i have been wondering about the holiday expression too.

Kristine said...

Totally right about "The Holidays" and we lump them together like that because they leave us dizzy and feeling ill. One wishes the Pilgrims had gotten their act together and made friends with the local indigenous peoples just a wee bit earlier so we could have spread out the festivities, ya know? But with retailers putting out Chistmas product before we're even done with Halloween (really? SERIOUSLY??), it's all kind of moot anyway.

I have completely avoided discussing "football" and "soccer" for 24 hours; at this point, I am fairly sure that Robb even remembers that I was going to find a Representative of the Canadian People to Settle An Argument. Success!

Have fun on your trip!

Bethro said...

Have a good American Thanksgiving and eat way too much. "The Holidays" also refers to Hanukah and Kwanzaa. I sometimes forget this in my very Catholic upbringing and embarrass myself in front of my predominantly Jewish coworkers.

Jodi said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Ticket to Ride is fun -- what a great way to spend time together.

I often say "happy holidays" b/c it's an all-encompassing wish - not just Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year, but also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Solstice. I know quite a few secular people who celebrate Solstice/Yule with a tree and a Yule log.

Gwen said...

Damn, I meant to call you before you left. Call me when you get home.

I was lying (laying?) in bed thinking about instructions for Christmas house sitters just yesterday. I, too, realized that my house is nearly falling down and nothing works unless the wind is in the right quarter.

Knitting looks good. Have fun in WA.

Susie Hewer said...

Have a wonderful time!

kate said...

Nice knitting. Will miss you tonight. Have fun in the U.S. of A.

Linda said...

Yes - it's why we all (Americans, that is) dread "the holidays." Halloween through New Years and everything in between. Waaaay too much. Have gun in WA.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I didn't know the board game you pictured on your blog, so I looked it up. Guess what ... there is a computer game version, how great is that. I feel your steely eyes looking at me with disapproval somehow. Anyway, I hope Linda's just made a slip of the tongue when she wished you a gun for the state of washington. But maybe you are packing a rod.

Gena said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoyed it.

The holidays tend to include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. It makes for a very busy 2 months.

mel said...

I hope you had an excellent holiday :) Thanksgiving's usually my favorite - none of the commercial pressure, just good friends & family, good food and drinks, and good times! So glad you got to spend it with your brother - I'm really missing mine.

The tech thing - yes, yes - I've been whining to Tad to unplug while we're away on trips and such... but that sentiment doesn't apply to my camera or my music! Guess I can't really have it both ways eh?

I hope piper did ok while you were away!

Tabatha said...

Hey, how was Thankgiving with the Family?

Hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

awwww Piper is soooooooooo gorgeous! If you are ever in Toronto, make sure we meet (and bring Piper so I can ooh and aah him/her?) :) You're sooo amazing Shan! :)
Night Owl