Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Smooth Visit

Well, as smooth as anything ever goes around FAR Manor, anyway. There were no episodes of Daughter Dearest committing mayhem on Snippet, or even a heated argument. But it wasn’t completely uneventful…

The Boy and Snippet arrived Christmas Eve, almost exactly when expected. I got to talk with The Boy a while outside that afternoon. He seems to really like Manitowoc; he said he plans to stay there two or three years. He’s been working at a snow blower factory, which seems like a pretty steady job in Wisconsin although they haven’t had much snow there this year. He texted me a pic last week (before arriving) of a dusting of snow, with the comment “this is the first snow that stuck for more than five minutes.” It’s been a pretty mild winter so far, north as well as south. But he thinks he has a better job lined up when he gets back… one with good benefits and better pay. That would be good!

Of course, they were off visiting friends pretty much every evening except the last. Mason mostly enjoyed having them around, although he seemed relieved when they were gone. Toddlers do like their routines, and don’t like having them disrupted.

Snippet was mostly on her best behavior while she was here. Mrs. Fetched printed out several of these shots and included them in Christmas cards, including the one for The Boy and Snippet. She opened the card and squealed.

“What is it? A $100 bill?” our friend Jacob asked.

“No, it’s better!” She waved the picture around.

Okay… when someone says a photo I took is better than a $100 bill, it becomes rather difficult to say bad things about that person afterwards. Really, the only problem we had with Snippet is that she seemed to have an upset stomach. A lot.

You think she’s preg? Daughter Dearest texted me (from across the room) at one point. I really really don’t want to think about that possibility. Texting or IM’ing someone in the same room is a kind of telepathy, when you think about it… nobody else can hear what you say FARf! focus!


Anyway. She got better, good enough to go to iHop with us for lunch. One of her friends is working there, was on duty, and they had a nice chat. Snippet had a job at an ice cream factory (imagine that, a dairy job in Wisconsin… almost as strange as a poultry job in Georgia), but it melted away and now she’s at the local Applebee’s. So she told her friend, “If we move back, I could work at Applebee’s and Calvin Klein!” (she worked at the latter in the outlet mall before moving). Mrs. Fetched looked at Snippet, while I looked at The Boy. He didn’t show any reaction at all… like he just tuned her out.

Mason and I both got “happy place” presents. He got the train table shown here, and has left it only reluctantly since Christmas. Mrs. Fetched’s older sister, the sane one (because she lives like 90 miles away) got a new iPhone 4S, stuck her old iPhone 4 into its original box, and gave it to me. SCORE! Her daughter, Cousin Al (long story) gave me a hard-case for it. It doesn’t have Siri, but it works a HELL of a lot better than that crappy-ass Sony-Ericsson thing. I’m looking forward to no random crashes. I just need to get the photos off the old phone now.

There was much of the 3 Fs — friends, family, food — and that’s the part of Christmas I can get into. Of course, that meant I didn’t spend as much time with my online friends as I would have liked, but something’s gotta give when you only have a 24-hour day (and have to sleep for ⅓ of that). I would have liked more time with The Boy, and would have liked to see Snippet make an effort to spend more time with Mason, but overall I think things went much better than expected.

Then came Tuesday. It started out pretty good: I cashed the check that Dad sent, bought a Kindle 3 and a couple $5 CDs (Styx and Journey if you want to know)… and Daughter Dearest’s present for Dia de los Reyes, plus printer ink for her and Mrs. Fetched’s printers. Total: $300, and would have ran more if they’d had a Kindle case I liked. By the way, the Kindle 2 cases aren’t compatible with the Kindle 3. slaps Amazon upside If anyone has $50 that they want to throw away, you can buy me the lighted cover. I plan to de-register my old Kindle 2 and pass it (plus cover) to a friend of mine who wants an eReader. Of course, I’ll leave an ARC of White Pickups, plus Xenocide and a few Project Gutenberg goodies on it.

But I digress. The Boy and Snippet wanted to visit her dad, who is currently in Marietta, and take Mason with them. It’s one of those things that I haven’t managed to wrap my head around, the idea that Mason has another grandfather, but we got our act together and moved the car seat over so they could go. What they didn’t bother to mention was that they went about 40 miles out of the way to pick up a friend and take him along (some things never change). So… we were done with the “blow the Christmas money” spree, and on the way home, when The Boy called: “My car broke down at McFarland Road.”

Yee. Haw. Fortunately, we left the Civic near the freeway. We called our favorite towing service, and the girlies went on home while I went down to pick up the warm bodies — especially Mason. The tow truck was already there, so that was taken care of. That’s when I found out about the friend, but we crammed everyone into the car and got rolling. That’s when Snippet opined, “Maybe we should just stay here.” Again, The Boy gave no reaction. Snippet was less than enthusiastic about this whole “move north” thing to begin with, and she was hoping they’d just stay here once they got here. I had sort of expected them to stay, but they didn’t.

The car was a relatively easy fix: it mostly needed a major tune-up (and a valve cover gasket). So… $100 for the tow bill, $250 for the repairs, and they departed about seven hours behind their original schedule. And yes, we’re the ones who paid for it. Almost worth it to send Snippet on her way, although it would have been better if The Boy had sent her and stayed here. They departed with a car packed to the gills, plus a big carrier that somehow didn’t fall off the roof. Good thing they’re all skinny.

The interesting thing was Mason’s reaction. He seemed to think he was going to go with them, and was relieved when he stayed behind. He was happy to say “bye-bye” even if he enjoyed having his bioparents around for a few days. I hope that one day, not too far in the future, they’ll be able to give him the kind of attention he needs… I’ll miss Mason big-time, but for now he’s where he belongs.

3 comments:

  1. Sorry about the car, Larry. That is a rough haul any time of year.

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  2. Apart from the car I think it sounds like a grand Christmas. And score on the iPhone 4 for sure :). And I don't blame Mason that train set looks awesome :).

    Have a happy New Year Larry, I look forward to reading more of your superb fiction in the new year.

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  3. JohnW, that was a pain in the rear. But in the end, they ended up only 6 hours behind schedule. Not bad for a "stranded on the roadside" failure.

    Thanks much, Craig, and Happy New Year to you too! (and all my readers)

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