Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

Today was frustrating. Jim's brother is in town from Seattle, and he wanted to spend some time with the boys while he's here. This is the first time I've seen him show that much interest in them. I don't mean this in a negative way, I just think that he's a little bit intimidated by younger kids. Now the boys are old enough to play with. The original plan was to take them to Sunsplash. He & Jim bought tickets online, but when they got there, they found that it was closed except on weekends (presumably because most kids have started school already, although my boys don't start until next week. Thank God, it's barely August, for Pete's sake! But I digress...). So they took the boys to the free Tempe splash area for about an hour, then dropped by the house to change clothes and head out to Bahama Buck's. Afterwards, they headed out to go bowling. The original plan was to go a little later in the day (on another day) and I would go along, too. I was even strongly considering cutting out of work a little early this time, but probably half an hour before I would have left, I got The Email.

The Email asked me and some other to submit our MRs (basically software bug fixes) to be built later today for our client. Which would have been find except, well, I still have more work to do and I kinda sorta forgot. Maybe forgot isn't the exact word. I've been trying to work on two projects at once, and I just don't seem to multitask at work as well as I used to. I don't know if it's me, or that the work I'm doing doesn't lend itself as well to task switching, but the end result was that I didn't get it done. I had done the work initially, but then found some problems in test and hadn't gone back and fixed them.

So I talked to my manager about it (he was cool) and we agreed that I'd finish up today, tomorrow at the latest. And I delved into it and found that I have no freaking clue how this software has ever worked. I'm seeing problems way beyond the code I changed and now I've got to backtrack who knows how far back to find out what the problem is.

So I decided I'd work on it after dinner, and off I went to make baked chicken & bacon/rosemary risotto. Since one of our guests tonight (did I mention we were having people over? Yeah, we were. And I had taken food out of the freezer that we would never eat before we go camping this weekend, so I didn't want to just get takeout and waste the food) has diabetes, I decided to use brown arborio to make the risotto. I knew it would take longer, but holy hell, I had no idea how long. I think I started cutting the veggies at 5:15, had everything in the pot around 5:45 (this took a while because I had forgotten to thaw the bacon...yeah, you can see how this is going). That risotto wasn't done until 7:30. Yep, that's right. An hour and 45 minutes spent standing over the hot stove, stirring, knowing that everyone is starving and my kids are cranky because they've been out and about and over-sugared today.

On the up side, the risotto *was* good. The chicken was...ok. I don't know what my deal is with chicken, but it usually seems to come out either bland, dry, or both. This time it wasn't dry, but it *was* bland, in spite of the seasonings I had smothered it in . Oh, well, at least there was risotto. And bacon. The kids were practically falling asleep at the table, but didn't want to give up on eating. I had to make them leave, which was yet another fiasco (particularly with Nathan). I knew he was just overtired so I tried to ignore his wails, but boy, was it hard. When he gets like that, he just can't stop and I know this about him, but it's so hard to listen to. I left in his bed sobbing quietly (but on a good note on my part, with lots of love and hugs and understanding). Good parenting moment for me (for once), but still a sucky experience.

Then we sat down to watch Gran Turino. I had already seen it at my dad's house, and I was glad, because that meant I could doze in and out of the movie and still know what was going on. That's exactly what I did.

I hope tomorrow goes smoother with the software bug finding, and with the kids at meal and bed time.

Have you ever met someone who, from the very start, you just really connected with?

That's how it was with my husband. When we met, he lived in Arizona and I in Texas, but we were on vacation in Colorado. We hardly spoke...a mutual friend (who I also met quite by accident there) introduced us. I thought he was cute, I guess he liked my smile, but I was shy and he was involved with someone else and it didn't go any farther than that.

A few months later he tracked down my phone number and called me. My dad answered the phone, but I *knew* it was him. My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't believe he had actually called. We talked for a bit, but then we mostly wrote letters. Long distance wasn't cheap and we were both students, so lengthy phone calls weren't an option. We "dated" via snail mail...got to know each other and as crazy as it sounded, I felt myself falling in love with the man behind the paper. A few months later we met in person for the first time. I worried that the chemistry wouldn't be there, or that he would think I was ugly, or something. But when he showed up at the door, it was like that final piece of the puzzle fell into place. A couple of months later we met again, and got engaged. And the rest is history.

Now, I have met friends in just as unlikely of a manner, and feel just as strong of a bond with them (although not in a romantic sense). I wrote before about my World of Warcraft friend. They visited in March, and the visit went fabulously. Everyone got along beautifully, better than I could have ever expected. I wondered what Henry would think about this weird group of gamers, or if he and Jim would get along. I wondered if their son, Matt, would think we were a boring group of dorks. As it turned out, I think we bonded really closely in a really short period of time. It just felt so easy with them, like we had all known each other forever. No pretenses, no awkward moments, no feeling of having to hold back or worry if someone was going to offend anyone. No feeling of "this has been nice, but I'll be ready to have the house back to ourselves when they leave". No "well I love her, but her husband is a little off". I truly love the whole family with all my heart and feel completely at ease with all of them, and I think we were all sad when it was time for them to go. I knew the week would fly by, but I had no idea the emptiness I would feel after they were gone. I hadn't felt like this since Jim and I were dating long distance and had to be apart. I spent hours mooning over the pictures of our trip and reminiscing. What the heck was wrong with me?

I talked to Dawn about it, and she felt the same way, too. *Whew*, at least I'm not the only crazy one! I wanted for us all to go out and visit them during the summer, but my job has been too sketchy for me to commit the finances. However Dawn couldn't stand it and offered to fly me out. I felt bad after they had just paid to come down here, but then I thought that if the tables were switched, I'd do the exact same thing. How could I refuse? So I just got back from spending a fabulous week with them. As I told Dawn, just when I thought I couldn't feel any closer to them, I do. They treated me like royalty and while the camping and sightseeing were absolutely spectacular, I have to say that the very best part of all, by far, was spending time with them. I feel kind of crazy saying it, but it just feels like we were meant to be together. I feel guilty that I can't say that about my friends here, some of whom I've known for 15 or 20 years. I didn't even realize it, but Dawn and Henry (and Jim) are the only people who I don't feel like I have to hold anything back from. They accept me completely for who I am, and don't judge me when my opinions differ from theirs. I can only hope that I've conveyed the same sort of feeling to them, because that's exactly how I feel. I love them with all my heart and feel like something is missing when I'm away from them. As much as I love and missed Jim and the boys, leaving their house to come home was truly one of the hardest things I've ever done. And here I am, yet again, mooning over pictures from our visit, reveling in the wonderful memories.

So now I'm trying very hard to plan a visit to their house (for the whole family) at Christmas time. My job is still up in the air so finances are still an issue. But I really, really want to make it work (and am probably willing to be more risky about it than Jim is, and than I normally would be for anything else). That's how much they mean to me. Aside from Jim, Dawn is my best friend in the world. I certainly didn't mean to become best friends with people who live 1500 miles away, in another country, even. But just as I felt when Jim had our long distance relationship, I wouldn't do it any differently. I'd like to be closer and hope to make that happen some day, but until then our friendship will remain strong from right where we are.