After the psycho-emotional hell of the past week, it was nice to get back into the groove over the weekend. Unfortunately, we suck at remembering to take pictures, so we have to rely on my professional illustration capabilities to show you what happened. I can see Mike and Hans chuckling even now (yes, guys, it's a joke - my drawing abilities have not declined THAT much).
Saturday was beautiful and sunny (and not even that cold), so we decided to hang the exterior Christmas lights. I was set to climb up on the moist moss farm I like to call my roof, but Raechelle persuaded me that the lighter, better insured person was a better candidate. We got the front porch lit, and will add another long string to the front gutters and carport when we next get a clear day (har har!). Here is Rae on the roof, stringing lights, with a shining sun and fluffy clouds in the sky...
We finished just before Rae's friends Kim & Tim came over for dinner. Here we all are...
Rae made the most delicious vegetarian enchiladas, Mexican rice and black beans. There was beer. There was wine. The guys bonded. The girls bonded. Then all four of us played Apples to Apples until the wee hours of the early evening, before Kim-n-Tim had to return to their little Milo (who apparently was sick during their absence, or that was what I gathered from Tim's side of the phone conversation). Here is us playing Apples to Apples...
Sunday we watched the Hawks play better than they have all season and STILL lose to New England. We also were able to drop by my friend Sharon's holiday open house, where I had the most surreal experience, of which I will just give the basics:
Linda is a former neighbor on our street, and she still owns her home here, which she rents out. She knew Sam, her daughter used to go to the same bus stop as Tyler. The usual neighbor stuff. But she moved from the block in about 2001 or 2002, just before Sam was diagnosed. She had no idea Sam was dead. She had no idea Sam had even been sick.
And there she was, at Sharon's party. And when Raechelle had gone to get some refreshments from the kitchen, Linda came over and sat down and asked, "So, are you still together with Samantha?"
I've been at this for almost four years, and I STILL don't know how to handle a situation like that. The hard part is not the delivery of the news. It's easy enough to say, "Sam died in 2005 - cancer - came out of nowhere." The hard part is watching their eyes get wide and their hearts sink and the disbelief flash across their faces. And you kind of have to hold their hands and guide them through the surface grief they experience, knowing that an old friend and neighbor has died.
Then there's the added elements to the story. My dad. The sewer flood. The fire. It's easy for me to talk about it now (in fact, I almost cringe when I have to tell it, because it's so incredibly unbelievable for most people).
So whenever that happens, it puts a really surreal spin on the day. Because I'm not sad. I'm not still actively grieving. I have a great home and two great kids and great friends and my health. And I can happily introduce my girlfriend Raechelle and tell these old friends how happy I am.
Then it was french bread pizza and Buffy, and everyone to bed. This week is jam-packed, and I really hope Raechelle and I can each find some "me" time during this insane schedule.