Letters to Holly

Friday, November 12

The Trouble with Good Intentions

As we sat in the parking lot of the local grocery store, sipping our Starbucks breakfast drinks and planning the rest of our day, we had the idea of treating Your Aunt. She had driven into town Wednesday and was staying with Your Parents for Veterans Day, and we were invited to have a meal with them. The boy would of course be in tow.

Our big idea was this: Ask the parents to watch the deputy while we take Your Aunt in town. We'll treat her to a dinner, if she wants, and stroll downtown. Your Parents are always saying they love watching the boy; it didn't feel like we were dumping him on them.

Your Mom cobbled together a meal of frozen lasagna, hummus, pita bread, and cranberry salad. It was fine. We had it for a late lunch not long after we arrived and fed the sidekick. We told Your Aunt of our notion, and she was relieved almost to the point of tears. I didn't know this, but apparently those sisters have very little diet in common, and she didn't want anything in the house. We were happy to be of service. I was with the deputy when Your Sister mentioned the idea to Your Mom. I didn't hear the sales pitch, but initially Your Mom was OK with it. We fed the baby again and left with him sleeping on the floor. We said we'd be back soon, maybe a few hours. All seemed well.

We ate at Tupelo Honey. None had eaten their before, and we enjoyed it. Your Sister got shrimp and grits, which made her very happy. Your Aunt wanted to duck inside Urban Outfitters, and we did. Back home we went. And the bottom fell out. Your Mom was insulted that we went somewhere else to eat. She was crying. She appeared drained to the point of exhaustion.

As I made a beeline to the boy and Your Dad, I missed what the womenfolk were saying, but I caught up later. Your Mom took our excursion as a comment on her food. I assume she was told that we thought of the invite before we even got to their house. I dunno. Again, I was with the baby. The back-and-forth went on a while. Your Aunt commented to Your Dad that when they visit her house, Your Mom brings all their food with them. They don't eat the same, she said. I stayed back. I minded the sidekick. This was based on a family dynamic I'm not a part of. I did mention to Your Aunt later that, as far as we knew, there was no dinner planned. And as I type this, I have no idea what, if anything, Your Parents ate last night. We packed up the boy and drove home after reassurance was attempted. When we got home, Your Mom and Sister talked on the phone for about an hour.

It was goofy and awkward, but I still think the invite was correct: Your Aunt drove a long way, and should have had the chance to sight-see. Which is what we did in a very small amount of time.

Your Mom is also trying to convince Your Sister that the boy prefers bottle and formula over nursing. We understand that bottles let everyone feed the baby, but if Your Sister needs to be milked, why not use this handy, new milking machine? Formula is for emergencies. Earlier this week, she threw away an entire bag of milk over concerns of contamination, and she used formula instead to feed him. Are these items related? I'm not sure. But I found a handful of Tums in the diaper bag last night, and one was the exact same color of green that he pooped out a few weeks back. I couldn't figure out why he made that strange color. I'm forced to wonder (until I hear back from Your Sister for confirmation) if they've given their grandson non-prescribed medicine. I hope this is a misunderstanding. I hope I'm very wrong. If not, I'm going nuclear. Until I hear anything, my angry brain is tightly leashed.

Your Aunt said Your Parents won't go to her house for Thanksgiving for the same reasons they won't go to Alabama. We appear to be going there.

Picture of the Day
Seriously this stuff is confusing.

Tuesday, November 9

Or Maybe Not

Your Sister is cool to the idea of staying in NC for Thanksgiving. She's concerned the Birmingham contingent has already budgeted for the food and may already have it in storage. As it stands now, we're driving down there. But I continue to worry.

As I warned her, if we're resolved to do it, we'll do it. But we need to warn everyone what we're dealing with on this drive. And My Mom will have to be content with staying down there longer than one night. I don't relish the idea of making that drive again the very next day.

I intend to mention to her that the Alabama family couldn't make our wedding because of their baby. I don't begrudge them that. At all. But I think that will temper their temptation to begrudge us the desire to stay home.

A while back, I offered to join a buddy in her AIDS walk 5k this weekend, but she hasn't chimed in to say if we're still a go. It's in Asheville, the same day as Asheville Pizza and Brewing's Superhero 5k Race. The latter is very tempting, but I can't spend two consecutive Saturdays in town and leave Your Sister with His Highness. I'm still working on core exercised to ensure my recent 5k disaster doesn't repeat.

Speaking of Asheville, two things I forgot to mention about roller derby:

1) The singer forgot the lyrics to the national anthem, and started every lyric with "so," making it sound conversational. So, you know, I was watching the rockets glaring red and stuff. So, there I was, with bombs and stuff bursting as bombs are wont to do.

2) The halftime show was interpretive juggling set to '80s rock music. That's a tough sell, but the crowd was into it by the second verse of "Don't Stop Believin'."

Picture of the Day
Some days are like that.

Monday, November 8

We May Wimp Out

Since last we typed, the deputy has learned to roll over.

He rolled over for the first time Thursday night. He was trying to look at the TV while on my lap, and I set him on his mat facing away from the screen. He arched to find and stare at it and eventually rolled completely over to -- and this is most important -- get up on both elbows. He did it again Friday while she was watching, and he was a rolling-over machine this weekend. He moves in one direction -- to his left -- and he once accidentally rolled onto his back again. It's a new trick, and he enjoys doing it. He and I had lots of face time Sunday while Your Sister backed. She made cookies for the carpentry class, who just finished the deck, and made another upside down cake for us.

She and I had another dust up Saturday over the boy. She picked lunch at the local pad thai restaurant and specifically ordered crispy tofu. Just after the food arrived, the deputy wailed, and she began to move to take him outside to settle him. I leapt up and took him instead. She objected hard. I argued that she should enjoy her food while I care for him. He always acts up when our food arrives, and I always grab him first. I see it as courtesy. She saw Saturday's move as a rude veto of her gesture. This debate went on for a while even after I apologized and promised to let her grab him first the next time it happened. When we had lunch out on Sunday, I positioned myself in the corner of a booth so I couldn't get to him. She got him first, and that seemed to settle it. We get frazzled. We chafe. We grumble through it and let it go.

I especially felt Saturday afternoon that I needed to let her sit and eat in peace because I planned to go to roller derby that night. And I did. It was another blow-out win for our gals, and I have yet to hear anything about the team logo I made. I did ask a "fearleader" if they plan to have a B-team to use that logo, and she said yes.

It was a cold walk back to the car as fall gives way to winter in Asheville. My town didn't get the snow that fell near the Tennessee border, but the cold did kill off my remaining pepper plants. I yanked them up Sunday evening, officially closing the garden this year. We did not plant any cold-weather crops.

We are considering staying in town for Thanksgiving this year. We're wary of taking the deputy on his first long car ride, through Atlanta no less and speeding to Alabama to make a lunch date. We hesitate about this. It is our turn to go down there, and we always like the food and company. But ... It feels daunting. We're daunted. The idea dauntifies us. And Your Parents claim they're holding out to save money, but they always say that and they always break down and go. Feels like we should too. If we do stay in town, we'll make dinner for whoever wants to come by. Maybe we could set up webcams on our laptops and have a virtual dinner with the Alabama folks.

Speaking of plans, I'm going to write the first draft of my new convention comic this week. I must give myself more time to make that comic now that we have a mobile fire alarm in onesies.

Picture of the Day
How fresh was that bundle of kale we got from a neighbor? This fresh:

He didn't survive the night in the fridge. We didn't discover him until after.