Or at least mayhem. Tomorrow the in-laws come for dinner. This is a first in almost eight years of marriage. We’ve had my father-in-law over for dinner a couple of times, but I’m pretty sure that I could feed him sawdust and he’d be gracious. The rest of the family I’m not so sure about. But let me back up.
Friday night was another in a long string of "that’s not quite how I planned it" evenings. For starters, I didn’t get done as much as I had intended to, but that’s par for the course. The long power outage however, was not usual. I was in the mess that will be my sewing room someday when it went very, very dark. I did the only intelligent thing one can do at that point – froze. Bob and I then had a conversation regarding where we were and our respective approximate proximities to flashlights. He got to one first, so I held still and let him come get me. Once I had a lantern, he went off to explore the neighborhood while I lit candles. My candle addiction comes in handy occasionally. I couldn’t figure out why it was still so dark until I remembered that I have not yet hung any of the candle chandeliers because I haven’t decided where I want them yet. The thing I was most irked about was my washing machine full of water, soap, and red linen. I’d gotten the house fairly well illuminated (despite the need to go to the basement to find the *candles* to go with all my candle holders), and just as I was putting batteries into my Pennsic fan... of course the power came back on. I continued locating fabric for the Saturday sewing date, switched over the wash, and didn’t get anything cut out.
Saturday was a landmark occasion: I was on time!vynehornjust knew I was going to have to crow about this, but I got to her house at the crack of when I was supposed to be there and caught her still cleaning the bathroom. I’m turning over a new leaf. My loving husband has gotten me into the habit of being late – I used to be 15 minutes early for everything, and I want to get back there. I got a fair bit done: I got the tunic I cut and pinned last time sewn, and got a second one cut out. This is even with a visit from some friends and their infant daughter, AND with a field trip to Home Goods. My husband having successfully completed installation of the screen door joined us for Chinese buffet and a movie. I highly recommend "Ratatouille," not just because I work for the Mouse, but because it is one of the cutest movies I’ve seen in a while. If you go, give some attention to the sound track – the music is marvelous.
Sunday was icky, and less than 50% as productive as I needed it to be. First we slept in – aggressively. After that there was light housekeeping followed by a trip to the Despot for crushed stone. We spread five bags along the back of the garage, laid down the pressure treated 2x4’s, and moved the woodpile. Note to anyone who cares: I do not recommend moving a cord of wood in July in 92 degree heat and high humidity. Especially if you’re middle-aged, fat, out of shape, and terrified of stinging insects and large spiders. That said, one does what one needs to do. There was a REALLY bad moment when I identified several pieces of wood with obvious termite damage. That necessitated rethinking putting the stack in close proximity to the house. Further investigation (with a small mattock) revealed no actual insects, and the pieces were not contiguous within the pile. I decided that the wood had arrived that way last fall, those went WAY back in the woods, and the stack proceeded to take shape near the garage. We worked on it until I was so overtired and overheated that I was feeling sick. Unfortunately, that was with a quarter to a third of the pile still to go. So we have a six foot tall stack behind the garage, and a large pile that probably won’t fit on top of it. I need to find a location for the supplemental wood pile post haste. That’s the down side, though. On the bright side, all the wood is off the deck, and we can see the whole thing again for the first time since last December. That’s very exciting. Now we just need deck furniture. I think that’s probably a purchase for next year. I’ve also made some executive decisions about the back yard. I’ve moved the Siberian iris. I’ve moved some black-eyed susans, and I’ve moved some very pretty things that I don’t know what they are. I’m planning to move the bearded iris and some sort of lily that I haven’t identified yet. Everything else in that area gets plowed under. Whatever day lilies my friends don’t dig out, whatever else hasn’t made a case for the effort required to relocate it – gone. Come spring we’ll plant grass and whatever plants I’ve decided that *I* want. But the effort required to revise someone else’s garden as compared to the effort required to put one in from scratch is overwhelming. I also realized that I’m agonizing over moving things I don’t really want just because of a disinclination to kill things that are already there. That needs to stop.
Anyone know when the right time of year is to prune back a crab apple tree?
In other news Bob has acquired an archery backstop. We’ll make a stand for it out of lumber from the disassembled cage bar, go back on the property with lopping shears, and lay out a range. We can get thirty yards with no trouble, maybe forty. We were supposed to have that up and running by now, but the person who was going to get a backstop for us has been unresponsive. So we’ve taken care of it, and Bob will have someplace to practice. If we can find me a lowish weight crossbow, it might be something for everyone.
Tomorrow, Bob’s family comes over for dinner. All of them. To my house. I actually countenanced this – what was I thinking? So tonight will be the marathon of cleaning. It was supposed to be yesterday, but yesterday the wood took longer than I had hoped because the heat slowed us down. Luckily it’s not as complicated these days, because there are actually places to put things away. It’s mostly just a matter of straightening up the clutter and vacuuming up the cat hair. I can’t believe how much hair the little buggers produce, probably because I haven’t lived anyplace that isn’t carpeted since the mid ‘80’s. I took Nishka outside and brushed her out yesterday, and was actually shocked by the amount of undercoat that came out. She’s a much svelter little girl now. There was a whole lot of purring involved, so I have to think she’s more comfortable. But prior to the brushing she left cat hair tumbleweeds everywhere. Company is also good incentive to move some of the painting supplies back down to the basement. I’m done with a lot of them for the moment, so they don’t really need to be in the kitchen. Hopefully this visit will go well and won’t turn into a condemnation of our lives, lifestyle, decor, and cooking. Wishful thinking will get you everywhere. But we’re going to put our best foot forward, and serve them a nice dinner. We’re making my Mom’s chicken in wine sauce recipe. It’s easy, it’s really yummy and everyone loves it. People who don’t like chicken like it. Unfortunately, I have this premonition:
IL’s: "What’s this *stuff* on the chicken?"
IL’s: "What kind of spices?"
Me: "Tarragon and chervil."
IL’s: "What are those? We don’t usually eat things like this."
Me (internally): "That’s because you’re cultureless heathens who live on pasta that you’ve rinsed all the starch off of, and probably don’t like sauce and things because it actually has TASTE. Unlike you."
Me (externally): "Well I hope you like it. It’s a recipe that we make for guests because everyone seems to love it. Will you excuse me?"
Me (in upstairs bathroom): "AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!! WHY did I think this was a good idea?"
My husband (later): "I love you hon."
Me: "Keep reminding me."
Hopefully I’m just being pessimistic. The current menu is chicken in wine sauce, wild rice, mixed vegetables (playing it safe, there), and I’ll pick up one of the nice artisan breads at the store on the way home tomorrow. We don’t generally have bread with dinner, but Bob’s family always does. However I’ll be damned if I’m going to make a nice meal and then serve slices of Arnold’s sandwich bread with it. If the store has some of my favorite potato scallion bread, that would be perfect. I just need to remember to have soft butter on hand.
Family is difficult. The interactions are interesting. The side of the family that I don’t mesh terribly well with I’m going to tons of effort to clean, cook, and generally make a good impression, even though I already know that there’s nothing I can do to make them approve of me (I’m the second wife, and I’m not saved.) My family, whose opinion matters to me, I’ll pick up as I can, and I’ll point them to the fridge. "Cups are over there." Very odd