Don't get me wrong, being in a dual-introvert marriage is a wonderful thing. There are as many quiet evenings and sleepy Sunday afternoons as our children will allow. Neither of us is overly perturbed if the other picks up a book or a magazine (or even a laptop), and no one feels like a party pooper for using a Friday night to work late, catch up on laundry in front of the TV, or take a bath with a novel. On the other hand, we often have to count the months since our last date and catch ourselves saying, "Remember those friends of ours? We should, like, see them or something." So, a couple weeks ago, as Murphy would have it, we did it all: about a month's worth of an average couple's social life crammed into a mere seven days, with a long-term commitment to follow.
It started out innocently enough; we'd gone to a children's birthday party a few weeks back, one of those lovely ones where the birthday child is still young enough that their parents can get away with inviting their own friends and serving beer along with the hotdogs. We have a neat little community of friends our own age with kids around our kids' ages, and it had been too long since we'd last gotten together. The afternoon had ran into the evening as we snacked and chatted while the kids ran around outside. It was such a good time that my melancholic husband was inspired to suggest having such a gathering ourselves in honour of his own birthday - not because it was a milestone occasion, but just the nearest excuse to visit with some of those friends we so enjoy. After a bit of thought, we settled on a Sunday afternoon the weekend following his birthday, along with a midweek dinner date to celebrate closer to the day, and looked forward to the break from our pedantic routine.
Enter Rachel's impulsive billeting: we are blessed with a couple of extra bedrooms and beds, and, no, we do not plan to fill them all with children. I have, however, been itching to fill them with company.
Back when I was young and collecting a student debt, I had the pleasure of billeting my way through northern BC, from Edmonton up to Prince Rupert as part of a university choir tour. Despite the early mornings our grueling ten-day schedule required, my billet partner and I found ourselves talking late into the night with those who'd opened their homes to us each evening, just for the sheer pleasure of meeting so many interesting people. The stories that came out of these one-night encounters displayed an amazing variety of life experience from town to town, mountain to valley, household to household. No two lives are alike, and we all have stories worth hearing. I have such fond memories of that trip that I wanted to be on the other end: offering a meal and a bed to other travelers in exchange for scintillating conversation. No plans of opening a bed and breakfast (see first paragraph), but I did acquire an aspiration for a the type of Old World hospitality where a friend of friend's distant relative can be a back-packer's next stop. So when I heard of a couple of people that needed a place to crash, we offered...and then it happened again.
Long story short, I'm temporarily living in a two-family household: two stay-at-home moms, to working dads, two preschool girls, and two toddler boys. Twice the fun, twice the help, twice the noise, and twice the mess. And the arrangement began, naturally, the day after our last set of house guest left, which was the same day we had planned for Micah's birthday date, and the same week as the party. Oh, and James Ehnes came to town that Saturday so we decided to squeeze in a concert as well.
Definitely all worth it, but by the time Monday came around, I was holed up in my office, hiding from my longer-term company, writing about how nice it is to have company. Oh, the irony. And then, naturally, life intervened again and my half-finished blog post was set aside for the rest of the week. Now that my family and I are settled at my parents' for the weekend (for more socializing), I have a moment to write - and a stolen one at that (technically, my daughter's naps are set aside for research work, but there's only so much Schopenhauer this mommy's brain can take in one sitting). And here I was worried that my blog might take over my life. Clearly, my life has taken over my blog.
But it's all good. The sun has returned, the leaves are ablaze, and a certain timer has just signaled the end of the "nap". Which means it's time to make pumpkin pie. :)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.