what? you didn't even know i was gone?
where's the resurrected mood icon?
i spent the weekend in michigan. my aunt and uncle from sweden were doing their once-every-ten-years citizenship visit, and my mom decided that we needed to go up there. all of us. well, i wasn't pleased; my grandmother's house always gives me that slight feeling of trepidation held over from when i was like 8 and got yelled at for running in the house. now that i'm older of course, i realize there's really no reason to feel like that-- o wait. let's take stock, shall we? 5 hour drive up there w/ gas money no one in the family has, away from my bed for 2 nights while i sleep in the living room on the hardest sleeper sofa yet contrived, stuffed w/ 8 other people in a one-story 4-room 4-bedroom antique store, and my grandmother's the sort of person who says things like, "young people these days..." and "the world really has gone downhill" and "well your feet wouldn't grow so big if you'd wear some shoes." that last one? verbatim from a visit 6 years ago. it's like an entire weekend of having to be on your best behaviour for no real reason. it's like being stuck in the boonies w/ people who find everyone under 30 vulgar and unworthy. plus, i'm a city girl. there really needs to be a million people between me and the next cow.
so we go 5 hours, and actually the drive up wasn't bad. if you discount that nagging sense of NO NO NO STOP STOP rumbling around in my head. i don't think i've ever minded long car rides, and in fact occassionally find them quite relaxing. we get there, and things are basically alright, there's all that <shudder>hugging</shudder> but basically i knew that was coming, so i'm just gonna have to get over it. it is at this point that i make an important discovery: my cousin Mickey is HOT. he's rae and lars's son, and he's like 16. and hot. and of course all 3 of em have that oh-so-cool svenska accent.
then we're putting our stuff in the rooms we're about to sleep in, and it is at this point that carolyn and i learn we're sleeping in the living room on the sleeper sofa. now, a) there's one large-ass window in the living room and b) i normally sleep in the basement, where there are a grand total of 0 (zero) windows, a fact that has allowed me to continue that habit often associated w/ teenagers, namely sleeping till noon. those last two facts don't really mesh well, but i have not a lot of say in the matter, as in, none at all, so it's sleeping in the living room for me.
then comes dinner. among the things i hate are the following: chicken, rice, and small talk. three things that came together at that evening's meal. none of us really sees each other more than once or twice a decade, and so there's not that much to talk about, and the human race's natural hatred of silence kicks in, and there's a lot of, "how's school?" and "where do you work again?" and "here's a list of old people who've died since your last visit." it's really that first one that bothered me this time around. relatives are not as understanding as one might hope when one's answer is, "well i dropped out and i really don't have any interest in going back." it was during this first dinner that i spent most of my time surreptitiously staring at mickey. something about goatees, i just like em.
after dinner i was rewarded w/ my mother's set of swedish language learning books from back in her school days. they're like SERIOUSLY old, but still good, and in fact one of them seems to have been designed w/ self-studiers in mind, so i'm really quite pleased w/ those. there are like 2 dozen of them. so far i've learned that the word for ugly is ful, pronounced sort of like fool.
then came my worst nightmare. boredum. it continued long into the night. it was long about this point when i finished vampire hunter d. that novel? is so awesome. far too many adjectives from a western point of view, but in japan they don't share our fear and loathing of overused adjectives.
when carolyn and i went to bed, we soon discovered that the sleeper sofa was more of a sleeper loveseat, and that is was not big enough for the both of us by half. i went to the couch, which turned out to be rather comfy. until my step-grandfather turned up in the recliner across the room from me and started snoring. maybe he has something against dead people, or perhaps he hates the living, coz i got a grand total of 2 hours of sleep on that couch, and i SWEAR i saw a zombie come by looking for some ear-plugs. after half an hour of hoping he'd give it up and just die already, i decided a change of venue was in order. the only room left was the computer/craft room, where i laid down on the floor in the blessed silence and was asleep in minutes. on a side note, my grandparents do have a computer, but its specs could make baby jesus cry. a celeron 400 processor, an 6.4 gig hard drive, and a label which purports the device to be y2k compliant.
the next day, we went to a train museum. it was cool. there was a huge model in one of the back rooms, which i can hopefully reconstruct from my many photos of the place. we got to ride in an actual caboose, and the train upon which the Polar Express was based was there. the following was seen on the end of one of the train cars:
i ended up w/ a 50 cent copy of the old train schedule/newspaper/flyer thingies they used to hand out. coz i heart old paper, that's why.
then it was off to one of aunt rae's old school friend's homes for a visit. for some reason, we all ended up getting out of the car to go see this woman. it was like a gang toidy gone hideously awry. on the way back, we stopped at the grocery store.
and then it was back to the house and the interminable boredum. i beat zelda: the minish cap. i played some fire emblem. i bemoaned my fate, delivered into the hands of my arch enemy, boredum, right in the middle of a great swath of story-writing. coz i find it quite impossible to write w/ the energies of 8 other people swirling around my head. there was a bright spot when i was told i was going to play spoons, and mickey and i ended up alone at the table w/ carolyn, and it was almost like a normal social gathering there for a minute. his laugh is quite pleasant. then grandma came out in her victorian-style quilted house coat and implied that eleven o clock was plenty late enough and that we needed to go to bed.
well, nuts to her, coz it turned out they had cable after all and carolyn and i stayed up till about 1.30 watching anime. -long live fluffy-sama!- then it was back to the floor in the back room for a night of heat. oh? i didn't mention grandma doesn't have central air?
well, sunday finally came along, and i would have been pleased, except that i had also been informed that i was going to church. let this be a lesson to ye: specifically NOT bringing church clothes in an effort not to have to go? doesn't work. then it turned out to be a methodist church. now, i haven't been to church in about 9 months, mostly coz i hate mornings, but also for reasons that would earn me hate mail where i to list them. when i did go, i went to the episcopal church, which for those of you unfamiliar w/ it, is basically the english church in yank's clothing. incense, robes, chanting, all that good showing off and dressing up. none of this baptist-style "praise the lord," none of this swaying, not even any of this whole impromptu crying out w/ the spirit stuff. a nice, proper, british service. so as far as i'm concerned, methodists are suspiciously baptist-like. then it turned out it was their pastor's last sunday, so there was a receiving/hand-shaking/hugging/crying line like a mile long.
so then it was back to the house for another round of hugs -this time including one from mickey- and finally we got back in the car. we went 80 the whole way back and shaved almost 45 minutes off our time.
...whew, that was a whole autobiography right there, huh? you can check my scraps and what i'm sure will be several new submissions for pics of the episode.
by the way, thumbnails in journals? the embodiment of cool.