So, it's here. My vacation. I'm officially on it. I'm officially FREE! Well, sort of. The plan is, my mom and my aunt are driving up here from south of the Mason-Dixon line, to arrive here sometime on Wednesday. Then they will spend a glorious week here at Chateau Marcheline et Bear, and then drive home. I will have a few days after their departure to decompress before returning to work.
Sounds like fun, right? I'm sure it will be... but the insecurities that go along with this woke me up at 4:30 this morning, and I wasn't able to get back to sleep until Bear got up at 6:30 to get ready for work.
I do have a rational, reasonable side to my brain. I also have an unreasonable, worrying side that whines and interrupts. Here is a typical conversation between the two of them.
WORRY: Oh, ye gods and little fishes. Three "alpha females" in one tiny cottage for a week - everyone is going to want to direct the activities!
REASON: Don't worry about anything, just wait until they get here and roll with it, whatever happens. Really, it's about making them happy - they're the ones driving twelve hundred miles to see you. And bring you "stuff" your mom wants to give you.
REASON: Pile everything she brings you in your tiny living room, where they will have to step over and around it the rest of the week, proving what you have already told her - that you have nowhere to put any more stuff in your already-packed cottage.
WORRY: Your aunt is a woman who has bought old houses and refurbished them into palaces with her bare hands. What is she going to think when she sees your cat-shredded stair carpeting, your chipped, hollow luann doors, your grotty heat registers missing endcaps, and the rest?
WORRY: I wanted to take them to all these cool restaurants and be the hostess with the mostest, but all these dingity-dang BILLS keep coming in, and my credit card is maxed out. We're all going to be eating rice and beans this week.
REASON: Your mother always insists on paying the check every time you go out to eat. Your aunt will take one look at the condition of your carpets, your cheap luann doors, and the plumbing in your bathroom, and she'll chip in and help with the food, too. Meantime, get that crockpot working for you!
WORRY: You had all these visions of sitting out in the sunny afternoons on the patio, with drinks and snacks, enjoying the garden... and now the forecast is calling for rain!
WORRY: We're giving the two of them our bedroom, which is only slightly larger than the bed. Where are two women with suitcases going to PUT everything? We can't even offer them closet space, because there isn't any!
REASON: Go to one of the "Mart"s and buy an over-the-door clothing hanger, and put it on the outside of Bear's closet door so they can at least hang a couple of blouses up if they need to. As for suitcase space, they're on their own.
In my experience, having relatives over is way different from having "houseguests". Houseguests who are unrelated to you have the unspoken social pressure of not wanting to be too much of a bother, not wanting to complain, or just wanting to see how you do things. Not so with relatives. The women in my family (and I do include myself) are very opinionated, very forthcoming with said opinions, and they are not at all shy about inserting their habits/style preferences/suggestions into other people's households.
For example, I personally dislike coconut flavored/scented things. Which is not to say I don't like coconut in its pure form... I use coconut oil and coconut milk in cooking regularly. I just despise faux-coconut, the smells and tastes that don't really come from the shell. When my mother left my house the other day, I found a bottle of coconut scented hand soap sitting next to my kitchen sink (I always just use a drop of dish soap if I'm washing my hands in the kitchen), and a bottle of coconut-scented shampoo sitting in the shower caddy.
Granted, she could have put these items in place in view of the fact that she's going to be back up here in a few days and will use them herself, but the fact that she just bought and installed them without mentioning it to me makes my eyebrows furrow. She also bought heads of lettuce (we're not big salad eaters) and cottage cheese (uuuurrrrgh), which are not really going to be so great in a week.
It's little things like this that have me slightly anxious about the upcoming visit. Also, as our mega-deluxe air mattress has screwed the pooch (or, more likely, succumbed to the claws of our cats) and now loses air at an alarming rate, Bear and I will be sleeping on the floor with nothing but a mere futon mattress and a couple of yoga mats under us. Which means that my sunny disposition may be a bit... delicate.
I guess the up side to all of this is that even if this coming week is a horror show, it will make for some great blog posts!