Family and Friends are what it’s all about, am I right?! And, there’s no better time than the Holiday Season to be with F&F… especially when they travel to you ;) As it should be… family should congregate at the home of the member living in the most desirable location – G’Vegas, baby!
So… the weekend before t’giving, Sally and Doug packed up their conversion van and trailer (like the rednecks they’ll soon be) and headed toward the SE region. Their first stop was at the new homestead in Franklin, NC. They unloaded what will be the 1st of many loads of… “stuff.”
After a brief stay at their new place, they continued to Greenville…. Arrived at my house Sunday evening. It was SO great to see them! We quickly did some catching up and headed to bed. The next morning, the smell of coffee filled my house (love ya, dad!) when I got up for a run.
Monday through Wednesday were working days for me… but, when I got home on Mon – Sarah was there! Ok, exciting times! This was the 1st time since Christmas 2006 that the 4 of us were under the same roof! Crazy how close we remain. “I’d like to thank text messaging, cell phones, email, blogs, our local mail carriers, etc… for keeping my family up to date on my happenings.”
On Monday night we walked downtown to a new, cool restaurant: The Lazy Goat (imagine Mediterranean tapas if you will). Great food, and even better conversation full of hilarious stories. We made friends with the waitress (Jennifer)… asked her for some t’giving food dish ideas. Her recipes sounded so good, I got her email address and have continued correspondence.
On Tuesday Dad and I got up at 4:50 for swim practice. It was great. We split a lane and did 24X50’s on :50 (alternating hard/recover). Then I coerced him into joining me for 8X200 (alternate IM and free… the last 3 were all-out). Over 4,500 yards when all was said and done. Yeah, I’d become a better swimmer if I had to swim with him every week… that’s for sure.
On Wednesday, my kitchen experienced more cooking that it’s seen in many, many years. Sarah and Mom were busy with baking casseroles (contributed via email by the Lazy Goat waitress, Jennifer), mixing things, chopping, blah, blah, blah. It all smelled really good. Wonderful job ladies! Thanks to Dad, my garbage disposal is working again… and thanks to Sally & Sarah, we know my oven does work!
Thursday – Ah, Thanksgiving. I decided to prepare for the meal by doing a longer run. While I was out enjoying the beautiful morning, running over crunching leaves, and going over the things I was thankful for (including the ability to run and the yummy smells in my kitchen)… Mom and Dad busted Granny out of Assisted Living.
We all met up at Aunt Libby’s (literally 1.5 miles from my house). So, the house included: Libby, Paul, Art, Al, Lea, Lea’s Boyfriend Anthony, Anthony’s brother Vincent (hum, who’s wondering about their heritage ;), Sarah, Sally, Doug, Granny Flo, and myself. While things heated up in the oven… we broke out Cranium, the game. Good way to weed out the “intellectually weak” family members, btw.
Finally, now starving from the long run, we sat down for THE MEAL of all meals. YUM: corn bread stuffing, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, cranberry sauce, broccoli casserole, dressing, cheesy potatoes (Thanks Aunt Carol!!), Turkey, apple pie… and then seconds of it all.
The rest of the day was spent digesting the above dishes. Another game of Cranium. Trying to learn a video game (Halo – some guy thing). Introducing my dad to youtube.com… hilarious. Meeting Al’s girlfriend (so cute).
Friday: Libby, Paul, Sally, Doug, Sarah, Art, and Myself headed up to Franklin to check out the cabin. It was truly a beautiful drive into the mountains (marking what would be the last weekend with leaves on the trees). Their new place is amazing. Seeing some of the “Long Family” items already unpacked in the living room made already feel like home. I think we’ve already scheduled t’giving ’08 at the Cabin!
The former owners came to show us around (and brought donuts & hot tea… so hospitable here in the South). Somehow the decision was made to “winterize” the cabin… many, many steps… which included using a shop-vac to suck water out of the toilets. Well, while the homeowners tackled that job… Sarah, Art, and I worked on getting a fire going (duh, we were in the mountains and it was getting COLD). Finally got some flames going and avoided hypothermia. Snacked on turkey sandwiches. It really was a fun day, and I’m already looking forward to family trips to the Franklin Cabin! (ps, will also be an amazing place to ride… ye-haw!)
All the while: Lea, Anthony, and Vinny were somewhere in the woods camping it out for the weekend! Good for y’all… Lea, I’m proud of you for sticking it out!
It’s true, I’ve got a pretty set routine going for myself in my little house. Having Mom, Dad, and Sarah was different… but, just having them there made it feel like home. When they left on Saturday, I suddenly felt a sense of emptiness (where did my couch buddies go?!). Can’t wait to see them over Christmas (in another very desirable location: Mexico!).
*Since Thanksgiving, I’ve heard GREAT family news from the other side (Dad’s). My cousin, Erica (Coeur D’Alene, ID), just got engaged! AND… she got into tri’s last year! Kip (the fiancé) has done IM CDA 3 times… and she signed up for 2008! Oh, athletes all over the family. Here’s a pic of the happy couple. Again, CONGRATS Erica! The Long’s are all excited for you! You guys are too cute.