Monday, December 01, 2003

Good grief. December already?

This is simply unacceptable. Where has the time gone? I have nothing to show for it. Weellll... that isn't strictly true. But there was very little in the way of personal accomplishment for me in 2003. I am no closer to having any sense of organization in my life, I haven't written anything (except for those 2500 words before I pooped out on NaNoWriMo), we've been in this apartment for nearly a year and it's still not the way I want it, and I am not wealthy, famous, or a member of Mensa. (Only one of those last three is an actual goal, so that's a relief. I'm 0 for 1, not 0 for 3.)

On the other hand, I am the happiest I've ever been. That's got to count for more than reaching 'life goals', doesn't it? Yes, I thought so.

I haven't updated all week due to being in Pittsburgh. Remarkably, we were there for 4 full days and didn't go anywhere near Primanti's. It's a good thing I can make a good Primanti Barranti Bros. sandwich myself. Which reminds me, must purchase cheese.

So we arrived on Tuesday evening and went straight to Will's parents' place, where we were fed a lovely chili and the largest steaks I have ever seen. Mary and Stephen gave me a bracelet that's been passed down from Stephen's grandmother Stella to his mother Lilly to Mary and now to me. I was very touched, and it's quite lovely and not like anything else I have. We had a drink and cozied up to the fireplace before going to bed in Will's old attic room. The bed up there is actually ours, but didn't come with us to California. It is the most comfortable bed in the universe, and I want it back.

Will's sister Sara and her boyfriend Jason arrived at about 7:30 Wednesday morning after driving from Maryland at the end of her shift (they're both police officers). We all went for a late breakfast at my favorite Pittsburgh diner, Tom's. (Incidentally, it is actually called Tom's Diner. Tom's Restaurant is at 101st and Broadway [unless it's Columbus] in New York City, and is the one that Suzanne Vega wrote the song about.) Later that afternoon we drove to a coffee shop to meet Darren. Will asked him to be our best man, and he (Darren) nearly cried. Then we went to Gooski's, the greatest bar on earth, and had a few before heading back to the house for a huge Italian dinner. It was fantastic, though I'm sure I make better sauce. Of course, I think I make better sauce than everyone, so that isn't saying anything.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Historically speaking, this is an appalling holiday. Traditionally speaking, however, it is one of the best. A time to gather with family and friends, eat until you burst, and truly live the things that you are grateful for. Jason's parents came, as did my father and sister. My stepmother didn't make it, because one of the kitties was ill.

The food was fantastic, as was the company. Much ado was made over our engagement, and I was only a little bit upset at the fact that it's taken 6 years and a diamond to be treated like a member of the family, whereas Jason was instantly accepted and is clearly totally adored by everyone.

Everyone got on fantastically. My sister won the whole family over (damn theater people) and my dad and Stephen talked for hours about their experiences in classical music over the last 25 years (and certainly about many other subjects, but I was full and tuned them out). Jason's parents, Jack and Kathy, were wonderful. I was terribly sad for the three of them, Kathy in particular - they lost their younger son last spring, and she was having a very rough time of it. At the same time, though, she was an absolute hoot - invited herself to the wedding, in a non-annoying way, told stories about Jack's years as a police officer, and was just generally a lovely person. Jack was...well, I could dedicate an entire entry to him and not do justice to the man, so let's just say he was a riot.

Friday started out very weird. We slept in, as neither of us was feeling well, and when we came downstairs for coffee we were bombarded with plans for the day. Keep in mind please that my entire extended family with very few exceptions live in the Pittsburgh area, and we had made it perfectly clear that we were going to, at the very least, visit with my grandmother. Everyone was aware of this, but as soon as we were awake we were told that we were going to the Strip, to the Theater (where Will's dad used to work), to Cannonsburgh for antiquing, to someplace called Bob's Garage, and to some jazz club. We were very stubborn and insisted that they leave us be for the day. I'm certain we offended someone, and frankly I don't care. My grandma is eighty-three, for crying out loud.

We had also made plans with Will's friend Ron, who he worked with when we lived in Pittsburgh 5 years ago, for that evening, which we switched to dinner plans to accommodate the Crazies (or In-Laws - take your pick).

So we drove to Best Buy, where we bought more memory for the camera, and then went to my aunt Chrissy's, where we saw my cousin Erin (who is also getting married next year), my uncle Tony and aunt Mary, my grandma, great-aunt Dot, and my cousin Mike. After a nice, relaxed visit we stole Mike and went to Mad Mex, where we had a few drinks and met Ron and his friend Ralph. We had a great time, and I want Mike to come live in LA. Are you reading this, Mike? The spare bed is waiting. I'll even wash the sheets. After dinner we had to go back, for fear of upsetting the family further.

At this point I should interject a little backstory. For the last two months, since we agreed to spend the holiday there, Will's mom has been telling us, every time we talk, that Sara and Jason are really looking forward to going out on the town with us. They want us, according to her, to take them to Gooski's and to hang out as couples. Wednesday and Thursday nights Sara and Jason spent in the basement, watching movies, and Friday morning, after we were so very stubborn about seeing my family, Mary actually pulled Will aside to make him promise to see Sara that night.

So we get back to the house, which is empty, and Will calls his dad's cell phone. He's told that they're just leaving Bob's Garage and will be home in a few. I was feeling positively wretched at this point, and put on my PJs and settled down in front of the fire with a Hot Toddy. I made it perfectly clear that Will was welcome to go out, but I wasn't moving. Sara and Jason arrived after a few minutes, with no sign of the "grown-ups." After a few minutes of awkward beating around the bush, we realize that none of us have any interest in going anywhere. Jason ran upstairs to change into sweats, and we all sat by the fire and had a few drinks. (I should probably point out that Stephen had bought about six cases of beer and innumerable amounts of wine and liquor. Jason had apparently spent all day trying to convince the parents that it would be wasteful to go out to a bar when we had one at home.)

It came out at this point that Mary has been telling Sara for two months that Will really really really wants to take her and Jason to Gooski's and hang out as couples. When Will called, they weren't about to leave at all, but were hustled out and deposited at the door of the house. They were actually followed here, despite having their own car, to make sure they'd be with us. We laughed about it for a bit and after a while all of the parents came home and we had a few more drinks and went to bed. It's funny - I can't decide whether to be amused or livid that this woman is convinced that her 28-year-old son and 25-year-old daughter, both successful in their fields and established as adults, cannot simply talk to one another. I guess I'd better be amused, since I'm marrying into this family.

We left on Saturday. The airport was shockingly empty, considering that it was a holiday weekend, and we were very early for our flight, so we went to O'Brien's pub for lunch. It was fantastic! I can't believe that there is such great airport food! The trip itself was fairly uneventful.

Yesterday our beloved Cassie took us out for sushi, which was so good that I am still recovering. We also watched Mucha Lucha, King of the Hill, and Alias. Oh, and The Practice, which was surprisingly good. I never liked it before. But maybe I just like James Spader.

Today I am trying to decide what to do first, so naturally I haven't done anything. I need to do the laundry, clean the kitchen, dust, upload the photos (after finding the camera), eat, buy milk, and test the old computer to see if it still works. Oh, and back up all of my files and upgrade to XP. Clearly I will not be doing all of this today...or in fact any of it, if I keep going at my current pace. Well, chances are I'll eat either way.