This has been a jam-packed holiday weekend:
- My brother Oliver is in town, who is a Real Artist, but whenever we get together I pester him to do sketches of me in various ridiculous outfits. I know, it’s kind of embarassing, but if your brother had the magical ability to conjure pictures of you as a haughty, clueless World War I officer carrying a bone-handled riding crop, what would you do? Besides, they come in very handy as online avatars — I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the Mighty Caesar I pestered Oliver for last time.
- Oliver is also painting a mural in our downstairs bathroom, because he’s just really nice like that. After some bathroom-mural jokes (“Atlantis sinking beneath the waves! Poseidon jabbing a mortal in the ass with a flaming trident, yuk yuk yuk!”), Oliver is doing a kind of a Chinese export porcelain scene, with mountains and calming waters. It’s really going to be quite a nice bathroom to spend time in.
- Kate’s brother Matt and his girlfriend Kristen were in town; Kate contributed a tofurkey to the Thanksgiving meal for them, and we made a gingerbread house, complete with an icing elf exhorting the masses from a back balcony.
- Kate and I agreed to be on the YWCA West Chester Holiday House Tour this year, which is a friendly, low-key fund-raising event. That is, the tour-goers are low-key. Since the tour is next Saturday, we’ve switched into full-on Xmas Overdrive, with the help of a high-school friend that has a floral decoration business. Mindy is AWESOME, and the house is now full of: bowls of lemons, rhododendron leaves, boxwood balls, and pine garlands on the banisters. It’s like a freaking Bavarian hunting lodge in here now. I mean that as a good thing.
- Incidentally, getting a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving has some huge advantages. Walk on to the lot, and it’s “do you want this tall, beautiful, symmetrical tree right here, or this other tall, beautiful, symmetrical one next to it? Hey, we got fifty more nice ones on the truck.” The attendants are relaxed, the jokes are fresh (“Look at him cut the stem! I send this kid to private school every year, and they still won’t tell me where it is!”) and I feel righteous vindication on behalf of my nine-year-old self, who was UTTERLY CONVINCED that every day that elapsed between Thanksgiving and the day we eventually got a tree was a day wasted; gone forever.
- The 2005 Turkey Pro National was today, Sunday, near Allentown, PA. I put on three pairs of pants (no joke), my heaviest jacket, and rode the sidecar outfit fifty miles up to the event. Kate, Oliver, Lydia and Barb drove. My bike decided this would be a good time to teach me about carburetor maintenance (apparently, it’s a good idea to, you know, pay some attention to your carb every once in a while), so I spent the last twenty miles up staggering along at thirty miles an hour. But family friend Jimmy Coll taught me how to drop the jets and clean them, and a field repair is always more glamorous than a garage repair. So now I know how to clear a carburetor, and I’m slowly reaching “advanced beginner” stage with my bike.
- Whew, that’s it! What a weekend. It was really wonderful having the house full of family and friends, and we feel really loved to have so much help with: bathrooms, gingerbread houses, decorations, and carburetors.
PS. the country-western bar up the road has had its sign rearranged to say “COME DIONYSUS”, which either means they’ve been pranked or there’s a Wiccan line-dancing movement I didn’t know about.