Friday afternoon arrived and so did Raechelle, with her change of clothes for the dinner/comedy show evening. We headed downtown in pouring rain, met Doug & Ann and a few of Ann's work friends at Il Fornaio. Had some good food and good wine. Then we walked over to the Paramount and had a blast at Marty Reimer's :20 Festival. Greg Behrendt was especially good. Megan Mooney was my second favorite. Greg Geraldo was funny, but came off looking stoned (or drunk). And there were cookies!
Raechelle was a big hit with both Doug and Ann - major question mark resolved! We headed home to relieve Katherine from childcare duty, and Raechelle and I had some tea and chatted well into the night. It's becoming more and more difficult to separate at the end of an evening.
Saturday brought with it the first STIFF screenings for our crowd. Raechelle came back out to the house, this time prepared with (gasp!) an overnight bag. Here was the logic: it made more sense to use my place as the base of operations, as the venue (in Belltown) is a bit closer to West Seattle; we had a packed schedule of screenings; and we cleared it with the kids beforehand so it wasn't a surprise (in fact, they were giddy). So yeah, Raechelle spent the night on Saturday. Backing up a bit, we headed out to drop the kids at Gavin's place, and Raechelle was a hit with my little bro. Big surprise there. Then we headed over to the Rendezvous/Jewel Box, where we met up with Dan and Valentina Humphrey (of Rectify fame), hung out a bit, then sat in on the first block, which included (among other films) Shawn Telford's Gimme Music, Gimme Shelter (a very charming and well-made short). Took a break for some dinner, then returned to screen Dan & Val's Rectify. Came home and watched Run Ronnie Run over a bottle of Coppola Malbec. Raechelle got goodnight hugs from both kids!
In the morning, Kayleigh climbed onto the bed with a bunch of fun facts from her Discovery Kids magazine. Then Raechelle made French toast for everyone - another big hit. And the kids were *on*. They were performing something fierce for their house guest, and it was hilarious and really endearing to see. Somehow having this sort of alpha female energy in the house balances out the alpha male from me, and she is able to draw Tyler out of his shell.
Edit: I would like to add here that on Friday as Tyler was heading off to bed, he came into the family room to give me a hug, then he smiled at Raechelle and said, "I guess I can give you a hug too." And he did.
Back to Sunday. Gavin picked the kids up at 11, and Raechelle and I got ready to go to STIFF day 2 (for us). We got a superb parking spot right in front of the Rendezvous (free parking Sunday!), and bummed around a bit, grabbing a coffee and then some Thai for lunch before meeting Dan & Trish and Jesse in front of the Rendezvous just prior to opening. Once inside, my peeps kept arriving in droves. Dan Humphrey, Ron, Natasha (with mom in tow), Dennis, Marcio, Aaron, and Katherine's brother Luther and his wife (and their boy). Darlene snuck in there too, as did Steve Miller from Rotten Tomatoes, and my old housemate Erica, who had acted in one of my earlier local TV productions back in the '90s. I won't offer any personal opinions on the other films in the block with OA, except to say that my friend Beth would have been horrified at Jack the Vomiter. There was a Q&A afterwards with the three filmmakers in the block, and I got some "celebrity director" time. Each time I looked out into the audience, I caught a glimpse of Raechelle with a big grin on her face.
We headed over to Mama's Mexican cafe afterwards for some early dinner and conversation. It was good schmooze time, good postmortem discussion on the Gigi project, and yet more opportunity for Raechelle to get a glimpse of my world, and she told me on the way home how much she loved the experience of hanging out with my film cronies all weekend and watching me interact in that world. In fact, she likes my friends universally, calling them "good people", without exception.
And, as explained above, the end of the day arrived and neither one of us wanted her to have to go home. But go home she did, amidst more plans for next weekend, a Wednesday night screening of Behind Closed Doors, and possible Thursday lunch with my mom and stepdad (who will be in town for Bob's surgical follow-up at UW). We're screening Control here on Friday night, and Raechelle has offered to help me organize the remaining fire salvage boxes on Saturday. I know it's shocking, but there will probably be one or two more overnights in there. I figure if we spent a whole weekend together without running away in opposite directions, and actually feel sad at the prospect of being apart, it feels entirely natural to have her stay here now and again. The kids love it, I love it, she loves it... 'nuff said, really.
So yeah, good weekend. Very good weekend indeed. And it's primed us for some really good times to come.