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Part One: Establish a Timeline

After careful observation of my own family’s Thanksgiving holiday celebration (which was fun, by the way) I’ve discovered a fact about my own extended family (extended in this case being anybody not my parents or sister).  We all do very well together in four hour increments.  Anything beyond that is pushing it.  I’m not sure why it took so long to figure that out, actually – it’s also true with most of my friends.  After about four hours you’re usually stretched for something to talk about, and starting to sort of wilt, which can then cause all of your rough edges to show.  After four hours the uncomfortable topics start to come up, people start to make the snide-because-they’re-tired remarks about things like “how can you watch football, it’s so violent” in the middle of the game that you had to change rooms to be able to see anyway, or start to boss somebody around over their cooking.  At three and a half hours everything is all hunky-dory, and at four hours and fifteen minutes somebody decides to take a phone call on their cell phone in the middle of the room where there’s already conversation going on instead of stepping into the next room. You know, the fun family things.

So, first lesson learned:  After four hours everybody either has to go home, or take a nap.

Part Two: Figure out who is actually going to be there

So my friend Matt was nice enough to invite me out with his friends to see a band he was running sound for so that I wouldn’t get sucked into the whole ‘going-to-see-my-exs-band-play deal (as mentioned previously).  Which was a good time (aside from the smokiness of Indiana bars) – only, I didn’t know anybody.  My incorrect assumption was that when he said “we” he meant the usual group of friends with which I associate Matt, which includes my sister, our friend Beth, and various others.  Nope, he meant him and his new girlfriend and his sister and a cousin and family friend. Wow. Awkward. I got over it though, mostly because Matt’s sister and their cousin are HILARIOUS.

In addition, this year I didn’t bother to check to see who was going to be at mom and dad’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I was assuming (there I go again) that my sister and her husband would be joining us. NOPE. Dinner for seven, not dinner for nine. Arg.

Second lesson learned: Ask who is actually a part of any group in advance so that you’re not blindsided when you walk through the door.

Part Three: obligations at home are okay, too

This holiday was a bit different for me because typically when I go home for Thanksgiving I’m there for the whole weekend long.  Which is fun, but sometimes isn’t the most ideal of plans.  This year a friend had her birthday party on Friday night, and then I had a show to attend on Saturday, and then a shopping excursion planned for Sunday, so I needed to return home on Friday.  This worked out especially well because my sister was home from her in-law’s in time to take me to the train.  So we had a mini shopping trip (does a comic shop and then six minutes in Burlington Coat Factory count as shopping?) and a Taco Bell run before she dropped me off at the Metra station.  It was good to get some sister time in – during the school year she’s pretty busy so any stolen time is good time.

Third lesson learned: have an exit strategy.

Part four: the more things you enjoy, the more you can enjoy them!

I had a good time out on Wednesday night.  Matt’s new girlfriend seems nice (but quiet) and his sister and cousin had some really good and fun stories.  Emisis played a bunch of covers (welcome to the jungle is ALWAYS a welcome addition to a setlist) so that was really enjoyable. Also, I got to show my mom how to use WordPress (you’re welcome) and may help her help her boss set up a blog for the foundation.  Plus I got to knit the whole day of Thanksgiving, which was good because I finally finished dad’s scarf! The damned thing is like, seven feet long, but he seemed to REALLY like it so that’s good. Plus then on Friday I bought the Watchmen hardcover and some Batman comics and some more Pirates cards so that helped to feed ANOTHER addiction. And Friday night I met a guy who knows all the people I fangirl over in Chicago (the world certainly is small, isn’t it?).  Saturday was the 3 Floors of Ska show. MAN.  I love the bands around here.  Got to see Flatfood 56, the Green Room Rockers, Lord Mike (and the dirty calypsonians), Deals Gone Bad, and the Toasters.  There were some other bands too who I can’t remember right now, but did I meantion the Toasters? And Deals Gone Bad? And the Toasters?  I’m still totally happy about how that show turned out.  Sunday I bought more yarn and needles – mom ordered her own scarf now that dad’s got one.

Fourth lesson learned: Even the most random interests have other people interested in them – you’ll make new friends or have stories to tell old ones (or both!).

So those are the lessons thus far.   Nothing too earth shattering, but they seem to work for this wayward pirate.   Now you’ll have to excuse me while I finish reading the Watchmen and listening to the Dropkick Murphys. And then I have to find a good scarf pattern for mom.  Enjoy!

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