Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Visit

J&R and D&P, my in-laws, came over to visit for the weekend, on their own plane, no less. How cool is that? I think not having to deal with airports, which are enough of a deterrent to discourage even the most seasoned travelers, and not driving for two days will make it easier for visits to occur. It was really nice seeing them because there are huge gaps in time when we do, and everyone has a good time just hanging out.

And while a visit from the in-laws is cause for stress and anxiety, that doesn't reduce the fact that we love seeing them. In fact, I like seeing them more than my own family, and it seems like years since we've seen D&P (maybe because it has been years). After giving everyone a tour of the house and the multitude of projects that are in limbo and may never get finished, R and I settled into our routines of playing host and hostess, which in the end is really no different than what our daily life is like - I cook, she cleans. Tag team parenting, except this time with guests.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that entertaining adults is light years easier than watching over other people's children, which we've done. Often it entails more than one child, and the difficulty lies not so much in quotidian logistics like food and shelter, but from a neurotic parent's POV, entertaining them. Adults can find something to do, or in the absence of anything interesting, they can get in their cars and go find something to do. Kids don't have that luxury and therefore rely on whichever adult happens to be present, i.e., yours truly. It is at these times that you have your backup plans all lined up (crafts, cooking, Legos), which of course need to be enriching and educational or else incur the wrath of their parents (Asians live for approval), who I know don't care in the end, because they just grateful that they have a place to leave their kids while they deal with the rigors of daily life. You begin to realize why Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are so successful.

Anyway, we assumed our stations and went to work. I think the Martha Stewart in both us finds satisfaction in doing an adequate job, and our in-laws are always kind enough to give us the proverbial pat on the back to feed our need for external validation (did I mention Asians live for approval?).

It really was a wonderful weekend, our in-laws are very low maintenance and since it was only a couple of days, it was easy to sit around and relax and pretty much do nothing. However, there is so much to do and see around this area that a longer visit would be nice at some point, but we'll take what we can get for now. Unfortunately, the weather turned sour for most of Saturday, and that contributed to our holing up at home, which again, I don't mind, but for people on vacation, it can get monotonous. If we had cable, the guys could have sat around drinking beer and watching fishing programs on TV, but no such luck.

However, from the perspective of a real man in training, I benefited greatly from talking at length to P and B about various construction projects in progress. I got loads of amazingly good advice, and kudos to P in particular about his wealth of knowledge, which is fabulously extensive, if not unbelievable. The guy knows building. In fact, I felt like I was talking to PD (they have the same first name, go figure), our previous contractor, because they know and talk the same language. I kept thinking it would have been nice if P had stayed for about a week and helped me. He could build that barn with his eyes closed, though in true contractor fashion, his approach to equipment different from mine (though I'm learning). Like all real builders that I know, including PD and my Mentor, they believe in buying good equipment and getting quality for their money, while I use one guiding principle: buy cheap! It comes back to haunt me constantly and you'd think I'd have learned by now.

The weekend flew by like a whirlwind, and before we knew it, they had to leave, and early in Sunday morning, no less. While it was sad to see them go, it was nice knowing that they have a great way to travel and will hopefully go a long way to increasing the frequency of our time together. I think it will happen since the impetus lies with, as well.

AND, we got to go to the airport, which is always exciting, especially when your family are the ones flying the plane. Best of all, we got to get up close and personal with the aircraft, which is beautiful. P was great in letting the kids get close and even check out the cockpit, and everyone got a kick out of it. Takeoff was fun to watch, and we went crazy as it took off into the sky. I'm no expert, but I could detect a slight wave from P, the pilot.

Just as a sidenote, it was interesting being at the airport surrounded by all those corporate jets. In retrospect, we realized that it was homecoming weekend at Dartmouth, so all those CEOs were coming back to the alma mater in their favorite toys. We actually were there to see the passengers of the biggest of the jets (we were told they run about $30 million). It's hilarious because they roll out a little red carpet in front of the stairwell, and when the car showed up, they got to drive right onto the runway and up to the plane (we weren't allowed to do that!). What's crazy is that only two people got on, and the jet could have easily held 40 people. How's that for corporate excess? It makes you realize that nothing's changed in the world of corporate hubris and waste, but that's a discussion for another time.

In closing, just wanted to mention that R did a fabulous job of cleaning up the house, especially since she was riding solo, but she was working overtime, and she ended up catching a bit of cold by the end. We all chipped in to help, with me on meals, and the kids on "being-cute" duty, which they excel at. They also helped out around the house, making beds and cleaning up, so things were, at the very least, entertaining, if not a bit exhausting.

Now that they are gone, it's time to get back in the swing of things, which means I cook and she cleans and the kids just go about being kids. What else is new?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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