Today's Image
Nothing's Easy

You know, outside of the whole horrible reason for our precipitous trip down to West Virginia, the visit has been going pretty well.

Yeah, I know. That's not odd, considering that there's very little going on "outside" of that. What I mean to say is that the kids have been mostly well-behaved, or at least not much more wild than they get back home; the hotel room provides a nice refuge for us when things get really hectic; and everybody has been enjoying each other's company.

Today was a little harder than I thought it might be. The funeral home sent somebody over to the house with all the flowers, filling the living room to the edges, which was overwhelming for Ronnie. They also came with a bill that shouldn't have existed.

Eric and his brother are livid. It turns out that several years ago, a particular law changed, and when the contract Rita and Ronnie had purchased, which would have covered funeral and burial for whomever died first, was rewritten to cover the change, a mistake was made by the funeral home, and a loophole was created that resulted in a bill for several thousand dollars. Interestingly, the man who did the rewriting was fired in the interim, but that's apparently neither here nor there.

I won't get too much into the details, but Eric went to meet with the funeral home for a couple of hours this afternoon. They put him off repeatedly, first not wanting to show him certain documents ("They're confidential to your father." "Is verbal consent all right? Let me call him."), then only giving him parts of the documents, and finally objecting to him making copies. They offered ("out of the goodness of their hearts!" snarks Eric) to knock a few thousand off the final tab.

Eric's father, as is natural at a time like this, just wants to pay to end this. Also naturally, both Eric and his uncle are checking with lawyers. This is utterly ridiculous, and certainly not what anybody needed right now.

Like I mentioned, the finality of the flowers plus the money issue has hit Ronnie hard, and he asked Eric if we could just all check out of the hotel and come out to stay at the house. I'm really, really torn over that, because having a separate place to which I and Gabe can retreat has made me feel much more calm over our visit, but if he needs us to be there, I can't say no. We're checking out tomorrow morning, and I can only hope that it doesn't get weird after that. Honestly, I can't help but feel like company when I'm over there, and too much of that leads to seriously increased tension for me.

We're flying back home on Sunday, and then back on the twenty-third. Again, I'm sure we'll be staying at Ronnie's house for that stint. I'm nervous about it, but we're all worried about him and how he's handling things right now. He's lived for Rita for so long that the fear is that he'll simply retreat from life now that she's gone. I can put aside discomfort in the interest of keeping him with us, keeping him out of despair.

Christmas just gets crazier every year, it seems. Last year, we had two Christmases: one in Wisconsin, and one in West Virginia. This year, we'll have three: Mom and Dad brought up their gifts to us yesterday, since nobody had yet decided where we'd be for the holidays, so we had a mini-celebration then; we'll have a second little Christmas of our own back in Wisconsin (can't carry all the gifts on the plane!), and then a third down here, which is likely to be a somber observance. What wouldn't I give to live a more unified sort of life?

In the middle of everything, that whole Blog of the Year contest seems flightful and stupid, and it completely slipped my mind until I noticed a link in my referral stats from a very large political group weblog, in which one of the other site owners was begging for votes. I'm not a political blogger, and I don't frequent any sites like that, even if I felt like travelling about the web pimping for a win right now. (Heck, I can't even feel up to dealing with my email right now.) Nevertheless, despite that fact, I feel like I should probably mention that tomorrow's the last day to vote. You know, only if you feel like it. I've sort of lost my enthusiasm for now.

previous one year ago:
Gabe stares at the Christmas tree with hungry eyes. I wonder what he thinks it is.
two years ago:
I haven't been that comfy in a bed ever since, and I'd love to recreate the effect with high-thread-count sheets, soft-yet-firm good pillows, and a luxurious down comforter.
three years ago:
And now I'm typing, but Eric is vying for my attention, and Sam is caroming about the room on a manic sugar high, and my head hurts, and I'm tired.
four years ago:
He treats me very well - not because I always deserve it, but because he loves me.
five years ago:
If Carle wins a Caldecott next month, I'll be sorely disappointed.
six years ago:
Eric's company Christmas party was such a hoot last year that I swore he'd have to drag me there by my eyelids next time.
In the ears:
Christmas carols

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam

Extra Gabe

On hold until we get back


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