Monday, November 29, 2010

You can dress her up, but you can't take her out

Ah, home.

Last Sunday, we piled the kids in the car and drove south to my ancestral state of Tennessee where we stayed at my parents' home for just under a week. Nearly every time we have done this in the past, someone has been ill, either succumbing just prior to departure or shortly thereafter. Last year, David was recovering from pneumonia and Devon had an ear infection. Devon was also sick the year before that, as was David. In fact, it's almost always a small child or David or both, but never me. This time, miraculously, no one had even a sniffle and Devon, bless her heart, was sunny, sweet, and pleasant almost the entire time.

But it was still incredibly stressful, as family visits always are.

Arrangements had been made for us to drive on Thursday to Franklin, where my brother lives, to meet up at his house for a couple hours with my sister and her family and then go to a restaurant that they recommended for Thanksgiving dinner. Sparta, where my parents live, is about 2 hours away from Franklin, and there is nothing in between the two. NOTHING. Miles and miles and miles of NOTHING. And while getting there was long and boring, coming back was worse because you know what's out your window when you drive through nothing at night? INFINITE, IMPENETRABLE BLACKNESS. Driving down windy, two-lane highways in a thick, dense shroud of negative nothing is not exactly boring. IT'S TERRIFYING. I was absolutely sure that either a huge, 20-point deer was going to leap out of the void and impale us all or some crazy redneck, blurry-eyed from a case of Bud Light and too much family togetherness, would cross the median and we'd all be obliterated in a greasy smear on the pavement in the middle of NOWHERE. As it was, we nearly hit a dog and an albino skunk. Seriously. It probably plays banjo and owns a still.

As I have done all my life, and will probably continue to do even after I am dead, I overdressed myself and my family for the occasion. For me, that is still not saying much, since I don't own any decent clothes, but I did wear real shoes with heels (stacked heels, but still) and the girls had on dresses. David was going to wear a tie, but I actually managed to think clearly just long enough to tell him to just bring it and put it on if he felt he needed it. Naturally, everyone else was in jeans and t-shirts. I do this all the time. I always assume that if I go casual, no one else will, and I'll look like the idiot who has no respect for others and can't dress properly. But instead, I always look like the idiot who dresses like a grandma: pearls and pumps just to buy a can of tuna.

Dinner itself was pretty sad, at least for me. I have a...ahem...condition, resulting from having my gall bladder removed about 10 years ago. Most people live without a gall bladder just fine, but others - five percent, maybe - can't tolerate the bile just being dumped into their intestines constantly. I won't go into all the details, but I will say that it is rather painful. How painful? People wonder why I was willing to give birth twice without pain medication, and it is because, even though labor lasts longer and is certainly more exhausting, it doesn't actually hurt as much as the cramps this condition produces.

Naturally, it happened on the way to Franklin, and though it eased up a bit throughout the visit and dinner, I knew it wasn't over (and hoo, boy it wasn't - at certain points on the ride home I was hoping that deer would show up and put me out of my misery). So I wasn't too willing to stuff my face at dinner. Not that I would have anyway, probably, since it was all buffet style and I have a deep-seated dislike of buffets. Besides the fact that you just have no clue what some of the dishes actually are (Oh, that's undercooked possum with jellied phlegm and mule hoof gravy! Specialty of the house!) there's also the bacteria-loving semi-warm temperature and the blatant lack of even a sneeze guard (at least there wasn't one at this joint, and I don't believe they help anyway). You just know people are picking up every roll and individual pecan pie and setting it back down, even though they pulled something long and green out of their nose only moments before. Gaaack.

But even if it had been made by my own hands and served on bone china, I couldn't have eaten it. The trip back was bad enough, and if I had stuffed myself on top of it, we would have had to pull over somewhere in the pitch black and I would have taken my chances in the dark with the albino vermin.

I did not sew a stitch while I was there, mainly because it was time to upgrade my phone and I got a good deal on a refurbished Droid X, so I spent a lot of time just playing with that. I do love a new gadget. When I wasn't doing that, I was reading. I'm on the fifth book of the Outlander series, and oh, poor Roger! I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when I am through with the last book. Probably start all over and read them again. Or die. That seems not unlikely, considering the depth of my addiction and the potential withdrawal symptoms an end to the series will no doubt cause.

So I have nothing stitchy to show you, but I will show you a few photos I managed to take while we were there. Sadly, there were no albinos willing to pause long enough to be photographed.

My parents' house.

The view from the back.

Happy to be out of the car.

12 comments:

Patti said...

That is a beautiful house with a beautiful view. Sorry you had the gastric upset attack. Maybe you were lucky, though, that you did not have to eat possum slime on toast.

Traci said...

I have read the Outlander series and I have to say it felt like lossing my best friends! They were so good! Might I suggest the next series you read as the Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo? There are 3 books total and they are very good!

Megan said...

Oh, I've read those! Twice!

Mrs A said...

hmm sounds rather familiar to a long drive through the aussie outback, where cows kangaroos and other noctural/ drunks make a journey very scary, we seriously made a point to not travel at night there, its too dangerous, a bit like buffets too-yuk!

QuiltSwissy said...

What a beautiful view! And I love the house. So different from the aligators that crawl around in our woods.
If you get out of the car on some of those dark roads they never find you again.......

glen in the Swamps of Louisiana

Stormy Days said...

I've never really liked buffets, but now I will have your words in my head and a really creative visual to go with them if I do end up at one. Your parents view is amazing.

Dragon Lady said...

My husband's family is from the Franklin area. That's a beautiful part of the country, and I love visiting there. Hate getting there, though...

Monica said...

Only 2 hours of nothing? Come on - in Montana it is fricking 8 hours of nothing, unless you hit the antelope which are playing sissy on the freeway with you. No speed limits of any note. Set cruise control for 105 once, just to get things over with as quickly as possible.

Love the albino skunk story!

The view from your parents' house is awesome - worthy of a landscape quilt. What body if water is that in the background?

Bummer about your digestive issues - eating is just so much fun and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because of that. So glad you and yours were otherwise healthy.

Zany Quilter said...

OK...so on your recommendation I checked it out from the library! Outlander really does rock. This from a gal who hasn't read a trashy romance in 25 years. Definitely a good book. Nice choice...already have book 2 from the library! Thanks. Sorry about the bile issues...that sucks. ;-D

Sarah Craig said...

Is that Center Hill Lake out back of your parents' house? We have property there with a similar view, now we just need to build something there....

The wonderful thing about the Outlander series is that you can go back and re-read them and it's like going home to a family that isn't annoying! I've read them about seven times now.....

Teresa Jane said...

Thanks for a good laugh this am. I could just see you chasing down that albino skunk. Did it have black stripes? Just kidding.
Keep your head up. There's only 31 more days until the holiday nightmare is over.
By the way, my word verification is plyme - awfully close to phlegm don't you think?

Mariella said...

You have ruined my life by introducing me to the Outlander series.....Yikes....it's all I can do --- read and pant and pant and read....no sewing....no interacting with the rest of humanity....I just want to lock myself away with Jamie for the rest of my life!!!! I'm sick - but loving it!!!

BTW sorry about your tummy troubles and all the pain a suffering that causes....and yes nice looking kids and house of parents.