I’ve really been enjoying taking a laid back few days, while my wife’s family visit us for a couple of weeks. They were due to be nine visitors originally, but my mother-in-law was suddenly taken ill, and needed to have some emergency surgery. So, she was obliged to stay at home, and my father-in-law also stayed behind, as did one of my wife’s sisters. So, that left a group of six. My wife’s family is very tight and what that means a lot of the time is that decisions and actions only happen when the whole group is good and ready for them to happen. Add to the mix an eleven month-old child and the timing of activities is not something about which you can place too much precision. You go with the flow, and even if it seems that the flow is not moving far or fast, it’s not a good idea to try to go against the tide. I’ve learned over the years to just make sure that I am ready to go and if I have to wait a little or a long while, then I try not to get ruffled.
When you have a houseful of visitors you have to accept that ‘normal’ life has to change for the duration of their stay. It’s a test of tolerance on many levels, as elements of different lifestyles and attitudes brush up against each other. Fortunately, we do not have to jostle too much for some space, and little groups find a place to suit them. The ‘office’ space I use is acting as a bedroom for one of the pre-teen children, so I have accepted that I cannot have any routine if I want to work, and have just checked in on markets for a short while in the early morning. After midmorning, the area gets taken over by whoever wants to use my computers so I have to cede access, anyway. That has made it a bit harder to try to write. But, I’m really more inclined to be in vacation-mode and not get too much into the financial or writing side for a few days. But, it’s less easy to step back if you are still at home and that is where you usually work. A lesson there may be that times like this are for a full-fledged disconnection from my usual activities. But, so far, I have given myself until about 10am to do what I want to and then see what the group may want to do. I’ve spent a good amount of time on the deck, and read or amused myself with crosswords, Scrabble and Sudoku puzzles, and just tried to hang loose.
We drove to Annapolis on Monday and then some of us spent that evening watching tennis at the Legg Mason tournament. After a long day driving around in traffic, Tuesday was an easy not-do-much day, with trips to the movies. I stayed behind to manage some grilling. The family like to shop and had a good time at an outlet mall in Leesburg last Saturday. But, my wife wont let them do just that, even though they are hankering for more shopping trips and she had a group at the ice skating rink yesterday, though I heard that some slipped off to nearby Montgomery Mall. I had spent the morning having some oral surgery, so was laid low for the afternoon. Today, most of us went for a nice walk and bike ride near the C&O Canal today, enjoying the cooler air. We will head out for a dinner with some friends later in the afternoon. Preparing, cooking and eating meals is also another part of the fun of having the family group together: they say that an army marches on its stomach.
Late July and early August can be brutally hot in this area, and I’m thankful for the cooler days or evenings, so that the space to occupy can be extended to the yard. Our visitors, however, like the cool, but don’t like the bugs. I suspect the bugs know that they have a fresh supply of humans to annoy :-).
The days roll along and the family ‘boat’ steers its course, making its slow turns. I will stand on its deck and let it take me along to whatever destination is on its course.