Yesterday, Mom had laid down the law. "If we're all coming over, then you'd better have the house warm," she told my Dad.
"I'll make sure I turn up the heat so it's comfortable for me," replied Dad.
Like a serpent striking, she whipped her head around to glare at him. Dad should have seriously known better. In fact, I'm sure he did know better, but it just popped out. I think the temperature in the house is one of those ancient battles for which there could never be a victor. Dad keeps it at maybe 60 or so, while Mom is more comfortable around at least 65 or 70. I think at one time they may have had thermostat wars, where my Mom would go turn it up, and the next time Dad walked by he'd turn it down, etc. etc.
I can't prove that, though.
Hoping to avoid bloodshed, I quickly put in, "I'll turn it up so it's comfortable for ME, how's that?"
Mom waved away the whole issue without speaking, but she still looked a bit miffed.
Really, Dad should have known better.
Anyway, I turned the heat up. After some coffee, I puttered around on the computer for awhile, did some writing, finished some correspondence, and did routine maintenance on my websites. I was trying to be optimistic about the day.
No, that's not entirely true. I was trying not to think about the day to come at all. I spent a couple of blissful hours alone in the quiet of my office, happily lost among the vast tubes of the Internet, until I heard the front door open and close. In the back of my mind, it registered that either Dad had gone out, or someone had come in, but I figured if it was the latter, someone would tell me.
Yes, I stayed in my office, but I was NOT cowering. Not a bit, I tell you. I didn't even bolt the doors. That is because, as you know, I am a very brave person. After awhile, however, I couldn't stand the suspense, and I had to go see what was happening. After all, I felt a certain responsibility as hostess to make sure that my guests didn't destroy one another with the grumpiness of mass destruction.
I poked my head out from my office, and saw Nick and Taylor hanging out in the front room in front of the fire, Taylor playing his video game, while Nick flipped through a catalog of some sort.
"Hey, hey! My Sister!" exclaimed Nick with a big grin. "How you doing?"
He came over and gave me a big hug, but I was still suspicious. "Hey, how are you feeling?" I asked him. "You seem a lot better."
"Oh, yeah, well I'm still a little sick, but it's not bad," he said.
"Is Mom here yet?" I hadn't seen her, but I'd expected her about a half hour ago.
"No, I don't know where she is," he replied.
"Okay, well, look," I told him seriously, "there needs to be no sniping today. We just want this to be a nice, peaceful get together, all right? Any sniping, and I'm sending people to their rooms, you, Mom, I don't care. Got it?"
Nick looked at me like I was crazy. "Why would there be any sniping? You know, Dad seemed kind of worried last night too. What's going on? I think this is great!"
I stared at him. "Well ... I mean, you were sick, and you know, sometimes when you're sick you get a little, you know, grumpy. And then, it's not like a whole big Thanksgiving. We're just having the turkey breast thing and not a whole turkey, and it's not really what we're all used to and ... well ... " I trailed off.
He looked a bit taken aback. "No, no," he said seriously, "I'm just happy to all be together as a family. I mean, we could have ordered pizza or something, you know? It'll be fine."
Ohhhhhkay. This was a welcome occurrence, although somewhat unexpected. Nick must be feeling better -- I didn't see any trace of grumpiness at all. I decided to put him to the real test.
"Okay, cool. But listen, Mom's been really sick, and she's feeling down, and she may not be in a good mood," I explained. "So if she snaps at you or anything, just don't take it personally, okay? And, I mean, don't escalate it, you know? I mean, you know how people get when they're not feeling good." I waited for his reaction.
"Of course!" he said, as though shocked that there could be any doubt. "I heard yesterday wasn't a really good day for Mom, so yeah, I just want everyone to have a good time."
Hm. Well. Goodness. That was awfully promising. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad after all.
Of course, Mom hadn't shown up yet.
[to be concluded ...]