Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Suburbia

So far so good. The housecleaning appears to have eliminated the cat dander as long as I don't dig in the mess of extension cords behind the desk. Which was necessary to connect the wireless router to the internet, not the failure mechanism I was expecting. Fortunately my brother is less allergic to dust and more willing to track down cables than I am so here we are. Yep.

Everyone made it to town ok - me, my brother, and my grandma and pop. Good thing I resolved not to diet until after thanksgiving because this visit has been all about the food. My parents are getting crazier by the day but mom's nose and tastebuds have no equal. We ate the first night at The Blackbird Cafe. Maybe it's the bird in the name, but they know their way around a bird. I had the fabulous duck with wild rice topped with habanero cherry sauce. Grandma liked the London Broil (cooked to her medium raw taste). They had a reasonably priced riesling, and some sake beer so both I and my brother were happy with the drinks too.

Today, I spent the afternoon with my friend who spent a month backpacking around Europe with me back in the day. She's trying to raise her boy bilingually, so she speaks Norwegian and her husband speaks English when the talk to him. Some of her family also comes over to supplement and he seems to be doing well when my brother doesn't bang his head into the wall. Their dog is very tolerant of random bursts of chaos - so tolerant the he didn't move out of the way when my brother stepped on him... My brother was just supposed to drop me off, but wound up staying as well and aside from that one little incident we all had a good time.

Then we drove all over the back of beyond to hit up the buffet at the dry casino. We were fortunate in that pop and my mom are both using canes right now (pop is 89 and mom had surgery on her feet) and that got us into the handicapped line. Turns out that seafood night has all you can eat crab legs and half the asian population of minneapolis turns out to gorge themselves most wednesdays. (My brother partially developed his crab cracking superskills dining there with his Laotian ex-girlfriend's family who only liked the big meat parts. My brother found that wasteful and got really good at extracting meat from the smaller segments at lightning speed.) Myself I had three and a half knucklesful of crablegs, and I was out-eaten by about 8 dozen people who might weigh half of me after the meal. Unreal. They put out piles and piles of delicious crablegs. We all ate our fill of those, grandma tried the prime rib and found it to her taste too. Whew! (we asked, they go through 32 of them in a night!) So we were all happy and full. The tummies are all stretched out in prep for thanksgiving and my brother has fixed both the cable and the TV reciever.

I have not yet written the paper abstract I need to do for work. Nor have I gone through the small pile of crap my parents put out for me to dig through to see if I want to save any of it. I think I noticed some softball award that can't be for anything but participation unless my childhood is different from what I remember. The pile has doubled since I arrived - I need to get through it before it overwhelms the place.

One thing is clear, though. My parents have very odd priorities. I really don't think they think in terms of goals and priorities. Mom had two goals today: get the special whipped cream from the natural foods co-op and buy a couple extra turkey legs. It's possible she got the whipped cream around 4:40 or so as the co-op was closing. My brother and I picked up some turkey legs around 8pm after our early bird dinner when they were out of fresh and so we went with whatever pre-cooked ones were leftover. I'm sure mom'll mention something, but we had 2 days to get that stuff at least. We just didn't. I understand myself a lot better after coming home. And am feeling good that I'm leaving tomorrow night so I have 2 full days to go home and throw stuff out when I get home.

We're only expecting to have around 8 or so for dinner tomorrow, about half of the usual, but it's early yet. The upside to my parents weird prioritizing and oddball planning is that it doesn't phase them in the slightest when 10 extra people show for dinner at the last minute. And having a ton of crap in the basement and garage means there are either extra chairs or the makings of more benches and tables at the ready. I'd be up for that if I threw out more stuff... soon.

But first, the feasting. Happy Thanksgiving all!

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