Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Family time

I took last Fri off work in order to spend some family time with some of my relatives. My cousins Jeni and Hilleary were coming, and I had not seen them in 2 years.

The day started with housecleaning - for 4 hours! We definitely aren't your typical queens whose house always looks like a model home. We live in our house and normally vacuum and dust once a week. Since we have company so often on the weekends, we usually clean on Thurs evening and Fri before our peeps arrive.

But I guess we kind of 'let things go' the last few weekends since we didn't have any company. The house was seriously overdue for a good cleaning, so that's what I gave it on Fri.

About 2:30 my cousin Jeni arrived with her son Tristin and her recent boyfriend Dave, whom I'd never met before. Jeni and Tristan used to be Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) so they were not allowed to associate with me for almost 15 years, until they too decided to leave the religion. Jeni also left her husband in the process, but that was long overdue. Jeni and Dave met during a charity bicycle ride. They now live on a small farm outside Columbia, MD, complete with chickens. They brought me some fresh eggs and a gift basket with wine, cheese, crackers, and chocolate.

We talked until 4:00 when Hilleary (Jeni's older brother) arrived with his sons Ollie who is 19, Ben who is 16, and Theo who is 9. Hilleary was raised as a JW but decided in his late teens that it was not the spiritual path for him. A few years later he moved to Mendocino, CA where he has lived since. His wife Mindy is a musician and travels a lot so she did not accompany him and the boys on their east coast trip.

Since this was everyone's 1st time here they wanted to see our house. While giving 'tours' of our home always makes me feel a little uneasy (as if our house were a museum), doing such does give me an opportunity to tell little stories that arise when people comment on some of our unusual furnishings. My favorite story is about the small, 1960s, Dick Van Dyke-style sectional sofa that was left behind in a rental unit our friend was moving into. It definitely wasn't his style so he was going to place it on the curb. We offered to take it off his hands for him, and it is a great conversation piece.

Spouse came home from work shortly after the tour so I introduced him to everyone. He'd not met any of them before, but quickly got along with everyone as I knew he would. We talked for a few hours about the present and the past. I was impressed with the way Ollie, Ben, Tristin, and Theo stayed engaged in the conversation with us old folks. It felt really good to be with my family.

At nearly 7:00 we decided to walk to Striper Bites for dinner. Everyone enjoyed looking at the historic homes and churches along the way. Amazingly, the only table that could seat 9 people in the small restaurant was available, so we had no wait! Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and I was relieved, since Jeni's boyfriend Dave is a chef. I got blackened tuna over pasta in a fennel cream sauce, and Dave got asiago scallops. We traded bites.

Two hours later we walked back to the house, chatted for a few minutes more, and everyone began saying their goodbyes. They drove back to MD that night.

After they left I sat for a few minutes and reflected on the day. My heart was full of joy and appreciation, for this has not always been my life.

For many years I had no contact with these family members, nor did I have any reason to believe I would in the future. Hence, the joy. The appreciation came from the fact that Hilleary would take a day of his vacation at the beach, and Jeni would drive 6 hours round trip to spend the day with me. I couldn't think of a better way to have spent the day.

It was a wonderful, wonderful day.

Crush du Jour: Casper Van Dien


Lewis said...

sounds like a good time was had by all. i'm still trying to get over the fact that you actually LIVE in your house. tsk. tsk. how could you?

Jeff said...

Sounds like a super way to spend a day! And Casper's hawt!

Java said...

How wonderful that your family can get together and enjoy each other again. I guess not having that for a long time helps you appreciate it more.

Bugsy said...

I'm glad you had a good visit! Sorry we couldn't make it this weekend! ;-(

tornwordo said...

I hope you got some dirt on the rest of the family too. That's always my favorite part of hooking up with the cousins.

RAD said...

Fun weekend with family! We had the husbands 11 year old all last weekend...He was/is alot of fun and whats funny is we watched Starship Troopers ...I ADORE Casper and this pic of him makes me crazy!!!