And the house is empty again

Well, Justin and I have the house back to ourselves again, so I figured I’d take a few minutes to write about what’s happened over the last couple weeks.

Is it already the 14th of January? Dang.

Okay, Justin’s grandma (Rose) got into town late in the evening on December 18th. We spent the days leading up to that getting the house all ready for her visit, which included cleaning and decorating, but also included making bookshelves and a bed and actually setting up a guest bedroom (another post about that yet to come — with pictures!) for her to use while she visited.

Justin’s mom (Wendy) and his sister (Jess) flew into town the next day. Jess had gone home for a few weeks after her classes let out for the holiday. And since Jess has her own apartment in Savannah and her roommate was out of town for the holiday, Wendy spent her time down there mostly — which worked out really well because everybody got a bed! Well, until Jess’ ┬ároommate came back, but for most of the time, anyway.

It was a pleasant visit with people. Wendy and Jess came up to Bluffton a couple times, and Rose, Justin and I went down to Savannah a few times. Wendy spent a lot of time helping Jess with her apartment — repainting the treads on the stairs, revarnishing the kitchen table, weeding the yard — so we got to keep Jasper, Wendy’s Bichon, so he’d stay out of the way.

Everybody came up here for Christmas day, and I already wrote about that. I did another spatchcocked turkey and it was once again delicious. It’s not a super-easy thing to cut the backbone out of a turkey, but our 10 pound turkey cooked in about 2 hours and was amazingly tender. Can’t say anything bad about that!

And, honestly, the rest of my vacation (2 whole weeks!) was a bit of a blur.

New Years Eve was tame — Justin played video games and I roasted marshmallows over a fire in the backyard.

Our friend Becky stopped into town on her way from Kansas to Florida, where she’s spending this half of the winter and start of the spring. So we spent some time with her. Girl’s day out shopping at the thrift stores! Yea!

Rose hemmed the pants that Justin got for Christmas that were too long and adjusted a pair of his pajama pants. We chatted about sewing projects and things. We had hopes to work on other sewing projects, but never managed to find the time.

There was a lot of baking. I ended up making 4 batches of banana bread with bananas that kept going overripe before they could get eaten. Rose made a small mountain of chocolate chip cookies. Justin is a very happy man.

Justin helped Rose with her iPad, making it more accessible and fixing some problems that were going on with it, which made her very happy.

I saw several movies — Walking with Dinosaurs and Frozen with Julie at the drive-in, the Hobbit in the theatre with Becky and Julie, Frozen and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Becky and Julie again at the drive-in, Silver Linings Playbook with Rose and Justin here at home. (Justin and I actually went to the drive-in together this past weekend so he could see Frozen and the Hobbit, since he hadn’t seen either one yet. I do, in fact, have huge amounts of that delightful little cartoon memorized now.) I like movies.

And Wendy fought with the weather and the airlines to get back up to Vermont. It turned out to be really good that she brought the dog because Tony (Jess’ dad) got stuck near work for 3 days when the arctic vortex came through — work actually put a bunch of people up in hotels so they wouldn’t have to drive. But the dog would have been stuck at home alone. This way, he got to spend time in the warm southern weather with all of us. And for a 15-pound dog that pooch is an impressive bed-hog.

So Wendy was supposed to fly out on the 31st, but called to put that back a few days so she could finish up work on Jess’ apartment . . . or actually take a few days to relax, I’m really not sure which. Her new flight was supposed to be on the 4th but then there was trouble with the dog getting onto the flight and because of flights being grounded with the cold. She finally managed to get on a flight on the 7th, after trying unsuccessfully every day after the 4th. (Just in case you’re wondering, that’s 19 days, but originally was going be 12 days.)

I had to go back to work on the 6th. It’s always a little brutal getting back into the 5:00 A.M. wake-up schedule again after spending many days staying up late and sleeping in. Rose is actually a night-owl like us, so there were nights spent sitting at the dining room table, just talking, until we realized it was after 1:00 in the morning. So we’d all go to bed and not get back out of bed until after 10:00. It was great!

5:00 A.M. is not so great after that.

Rose flew back home on the 10th (that’s 24 days). And suddenly, after more than 3 weeks, we are alone in the house again. Which means it’s not nearly as tidy, for one thing. But it’s also really quiet. I enjoyed Rose’s company. We chatted a lot about her family growing up and about Justin’s growing up and other bits of news and ramblings. There was a lot of time spent not talking, too, just sitting and reading or working on little projects. It was very nice.

But now it’s back to two of us. And I’m back at work — starting out the year with long hours and frustrating problems already.

We’ll take down the Christmas tree this coming weekend. We stopped watering it after the new year and it’s getting more and more odoriferous as it dries up. There’s this curtain of PINE!! smell as you walk into the house. It’s kind of impressive, actually.

And sometime soon, I guess, we’ll figure out what 2014 is going to be all about! Justin and I have several trips we’d like to make this year and plans and projects to map out. I think it’s going to be a good year!