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visit from Mom and Bob

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visit from Mom and Bob

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*Note* This is the first of three posts related to this weekend. Please poke and nudge me if the other two are not forthcoming.

Friday evening Mom and Bob hit town, to help me prepare for my move and check out how I've been living while here. After settling in at their hotel (I have a one bedroom without a foldout couch, and Mom has a mild allergy to cats), they came over to the apartment. Since this was their first (and I'm 99.99% sure only) visit here, I gave Mom the nickel tour, and then we talked for a while, partly outlaying the general plan for the weekend but mostly just general talk... we were reminiscing about how Mom used to cause scenes in restaurants over poor service, kind of odd really. It's funny - now that she doesn't do it any more. It hasn't been that long since it was still something she did, and I am glad to see that the woman who raised me can still grow in good ways in her fifth decade. I hope I will still be at that age too.

We started trying to decide where to eat, and that was somewhat difficult since no one had any clear wants other than "Need food." I said we should go down to the Haymarket and see what we can see, so we did, and found parking near the post office - someone pulling out of a space just as we were looking for one, communicated with hand signals, which was fun.

We tried Lazlo's but there was an hour wait, so after peeking in the windows at the brewing equipment we walked around the corner to El Potrero, where there was immediate seating. We had some difficulties - the most spectacular being that Bob had a total of three meals brought to him, the first two wrong - but it turned out to be our server's second night, so we took that into account and paid with no commentary to the server - ironic, considering the topic of conversation earlier that evening.

Afterwards, we went into an antique shop and walked around for 17 minutes (I don't know why but that is how long Mom wanted to stay - my guess is that it was because that was how long it would be before an hour had passed after the beer she drank so that she could drive us home, but I didn't ask). There were many sparkly things there in tall glass cabinets. In contrast to my personality, I seem to lean toward conservative color choices in handbags and clothing (except for socks), and on the rare occasions I wear any jewelry at all, I choose often bright but universally tiny earrings and small simple pendants. In spite of that, though, I am extremely attracted to brightly colored costume jewelry that I would not wear, which led me to remind Mom of her long ago comparison between me and Jeremy Crow from Secret of NIMH. It is especially apt in regards to purple things, and the growing call of purpurescence continues to consume me a bit at a time. I know a surprising number of like-minded females who also hear the call - a person could get to suspecting a conspiracy, except for how NO.

I was exhibiting some pretty severe exhaustion by this time, so instead of coming back with me to start working on the task at hand, they dropped me off at home and went back to their hotel. I read a little in bed, but went to sleep pretty quickly.

Nona woke me up bright and early, which she had been doing, then stopped for a while, and now is again for about the last three weeks. It is a contributing factor to the exhaustion, I am pretty sure. Anyhow, I had not argued about the check for dinner on the grounds that I intended to cook for Saturday's dinner, the second time I have made Tuscan Bean Soup, here seen on the wonderfully named cooking blog of the daughter of the coworker who gave it to me. I had forgotten to soak the beans, however, so I put them in at 7:30 - 6 to 8 hours should have meant that they might be ready by 3:30, and that would be plenty of time. I tried calling Mom, which she had said to do, but could not get ahold of her right away, so I went about my morning for a bit - finished a book (I'm on a rereading kick) and I think chatted for a bit and watched some TV before I started really wondering where they were. It turned out she wasn't hearing my calls because her phone was on vibrate, but I eventually got them by calling Bob's 800 number, which was forwarded to his cell, so go me. They came over and between the three of us, we:

--gathered the bins I had never unpacked upon moving here
--opened them
--repacked them as necessary
--numbered them and listed their contents, along with the few boxes I've packed recently
--loaded the trunk of the car with packed boxes and a couple of offsize items
--went through all the clothes in the closet to pull out discards, about 1/3 of my clothes
--cleared half the shelves in the bedroom closet

This was just about everything I had on my list to do with them. Mission actually accomplished, for once, and in its original timeframe even, which was pretty damn cool.

3:30 rolled around and I started my food prep. One glitch with my plan turned out to be the beans - as it happens, the minimum soak time was not nearly enough for the doubled amount of beans, and I should have done the faster heat method. It's only the second time I've ever soaked dried beans to use in cooking, though, so live and learn. However, even Mom's idea of starting them in hot broth while the rest of the soup ingredients were prepared didn't soften them enough, and the soup was still not ready for dinner by the time it was time to eat. Maybe if I'd boiled them during my cooking prep... Alas, it was not to ben and with soup not ready for dinner time and me having evening plans, we changed our evening around slightly. Mom and Bob picked a restaurant, the Cracker Barrel, and I did my food prep for the party. Then I picked up Fella, who was already in costume, and brought him back here so I could get in mine and Mom and Bob took pictures of us both. Then we went our separate ways for the evening.

Sunday, morning was slow. Ikd said I might be out late and they considered attending a local church service. We had plans to meet for lunch and get them on the road after. Fella was invited but let me know he was not up for it, so it was a pretty simple affair - I set up the finishing touches on the soup and served it round the coffeetable. The beans were still fairly firm - not enough to make one sick but I for one have definitely been aware afterwards that I've ingested beans (I gotta work on this soaking thing). Mom and Bob really enjoyed the soup, and Bob said that it encouraged them to rekindle their interest in home cooking - hard to do when you are busy like they are, but not impossible with planning. I said I hoped it would last up to the time when they actually got home.

We spent a little while wrestling in the windy noonday sun with a borrowed bike rack, and actually gave up on the bike transport, since none of us were familiar enough to be really certain it wouldn't fly off in transit - and who knows, maybe I will actually utilize it on one of these last nice days of '08. It's possible. I jumped for them, which is our incredibly goony traditional family sendoff of floppy halfassed jumping jacks for people leaving on a long trip. It seemed strangely appropriate, and they made it in safely last night, so they were not a failure even if I don't really credit them foir the success.

It was a wonderful visit, and I'm really glad we made it happen. It was half of what made my weekend so lovely.
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