Two days behind, and a busy weekend to cover, so brace yourselves.
Wednesday night we had dinner at Taco Bueno, with my sister’s family, K– and N–, and D–. The girls ran amok, we ate cheap Mexican food, and we discussed idle frustrations. Then, in perfect consensus, we all decided not to go to church.
I spent the evening in the office, scanning paperwork to throw away and rearranging the closet so I could store some crates and file folders that had been sitting out next to my desk ever since we swapped the office and the nursery.
That took all night, but it left me with the cleanest-looking office I’ve had in forever, which is something we did in anticipation of guests living there for a weekend.
Thursday I took a late lunch, planning for it to be a little bit of a long one, because I had a training session out at OC for using their online classroom tool, Blackboard. When I double-checked the schedule, though (after I’d left work and gone home to pick up my laptop), I discovered the class was an hour later than I’d thought. So I called in to work, had lunch with T– at T. G. I. Friday’s, and then spent a leisurely afternoon up at the university.
D– brought us dinner — Buffalo Wild Wings — then he headed home relatively early to work on a project for his mom, and T– and I spent the evening watching TV shows.
Friday was my RDO, so Friday morning when T– woke up early to run the garage sale again, I stayed in bed. I finally got up just in time to go grab some Little Caesar’s for lunch. I took AB up there with me, and then we ate together while T– was still manning the sales position outside. A few minutes before one she finally closed the sale down and came in to eat, and I headed out for a haircut.
When I got back home AB was taking a nap, so T– and I took the opportunity to work out in the garage, cleaning and rearranging all the stuff that had been used for the sale so that we could park both cars in the garage again. Then I brought my XBox and laptop out of the office (in anticipation of it being occupied for the weekend), and played some Magic while T– napped, and then switched to WoW on my laptop when AB woke up and needed the TV.
The thing about WoW…after being out of the game for six month, none of my characters are specced anymore. “Specced,” in this sense, means I haven’t spent the skill points acquired through the leveling process to customize them (choosing from among the talents that make your characters the most powerful). It’s a complicated process, and an unspecced character is essentially worthless. I’ve got three characters at 80 (maximum level), and unspecced they’re about as tough as 70s. The point of all this is that I logged into WoW Friday night, and discovered that I couldn’t really play it. To get my specs right would require literally hours of research into the newest changes to the skill trees and the most effective ways to spec to fit my playstyle. I looked around some, I logged in each of my characters just to see where they were, and then I spent about half an hour mining. That’s like logging into WoW to do chores.
So that was sobering and disappointing, after a week I’d spent gradually getting more and more excited about playing WoW again. It was not indicative of my evening, though.
T– made some fantastic barbecue chicken sandwiches for dinner. We watched some Lie to Me, and then just after we put AB to bed at nine, Julie and Carlos got in from Topeka!
Julie had a boxful of youth group photos (which I just realized I never actually looked through! Ack!), so she and T– went through those and commented while I chatted with Carlos. They’d also brought with them a couple bottles of wine from their recent trip to Napa, and we managed to empty both of those Friday night.
We got a late start, and though T– went to bed relatively early (albeit after midnight), the rest of us were up talking until after four.
Saturday morning T– got up early and discovered some of the veggies she’d bought for her special brunch dish had frozen in their drawer, so she had to go buy replacements. She took AB with her, ran up to Homeland, did some shopping, and got back to the house before any of the rest of us woke up. Then she made a goat cheese tart which tempted Carlos and Julie enough to wake them up, but I slept right through it. By all accounts, it was incredible.
I got up around noon, then ran up to McDonalds to grab some lunch for AB and me. I know, so tragic. The chicken sandwich was good, the fries weren’t. AB really enjoyed the Lego race car that came with her Happy Meal, though.
Then she went down for a nap, and T– and Julie went out in the back yard to shoot some cute maternity photos, and I showed off the XBox Magic game to Carlos. Or…used it to bore Carlos. Whatever.
When AB woke up, we all packed into the car and headed up to Guthrie for our big photoshoot. Julie’s in the process of becoming a professional photographer (although that “in the process” bit is something you’d have a hard time believing from the quality of her work), and the excuse we’d all used for their trip was to have her come shoot some maternity photos of T– and some profile photos of me for my website.
T– had recently found an old trainyard in Guthrie with some old, abandoned-looking buildings nearby that she thought might work as a good backdrop. When we got there, Julie fell instantly in love. She took three hundred photos of the three of us in just a couple hours. The settings were great, the lighting was good, and AB was remarkably cooperative. She and I finally started getting restless as the afternoon wore on, though, and between the two of us we convinced T– to take a dinner break.
We headed back to town, and took our guests to our new favorite restaurant — Mama Roja on the lake! So, yeah, that’s three times in nine days. What of it? It was fabulous, and everyone left happy.
Julie was able to point out to us the perfect lighting for photography that occurs just around dusk. That is, she was able to point it out through the window next to our booth, because there’d been something of a wait to be seated. So we watched the sun set, and didn’t get any more shots on Saturday night.
As soon as we got back to the house, Julie pulled out her laptop and got started editing. While she did that, we played them an episode of Lie to Me, and then T– regretfully admitted she was too tired to stay up, and she headed to bed.
Carlos and I spent a while talking band stuff, writing stuff, and whatnot. Then we broke into the scotch he’d brought along, and ended up sitting out on the porch sipping scotch and smoking cigars for several hours. Julie put away the laptop for a while to join us. We talked some about old times (as we’d done pretty much constantly up until that point), and then Carlos asked casually if I ever wrote any lyrics.
That became a proposition. He’s just started playing bass in a new band, and they perform only original stuff, but they don’t have a lot of songs written yet, so he was wondering if I would supply some material. By utter coincidence, I’ve been thinking much recently about trying my hand at writing songs again. So we talked about what sort of stuff he’s looking for and what sort of stuff I can do, and then I brought my laptop out on the porch and he showed me some videos of bands he’s been in and I showed him some of my best (and worst) material. When all was said and done, we both ended up incredibly excited about the opportunity to work together.
Then it got cold, and the laptop battery died, and Julie felt the itch to get back to work, so we went back inside. I put on Uncorked (or At Satchem Farm), which neither of them had seen, and fell in love with that movie all over again. Carlos was impressed with the guitar work.
It was after two when the movie ended and we went to bed. An improvement on the night before, but nothing approaching reasonable.
Sunday morning T– and AB went to church, but the rest of us slept through it.
We were all awake by the time she got home, though. She started working on lunch — her famous Tuscan chicken ring — and I ran up to the grocery store to grab some soda. By the time I got back, food was on the table.
We ate, and then we had plans to watch Nacho Libre (which our guests had never seen), but while we were waiting for T– to load the dishwasher I turned on the Rifftrax version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, just so Julie and Carlos could see how funny it was, and then by common consent we ended up watching all of that.
By the time that was done, Julie was finished with her marathon editing session, and we got to check out the photos on the TV. So good! You can see a bunch of them on T–‘s Facebook album. Julie will also do a blog post on her portfolio site sometime soon, and of course I’ll provide a link when that happens.
Anyway, we watched a slideshow of all 83 pictures (to a terribly appropriate soundtrack by Sting), and then T– decided to show Julie how Smugmug works (using my sister’s site as an example), so I put on the Cowboys preseason game from Saturday night and watched Romo tear up San Francisco.
I’m so ready for football season.
Around six we started decorating our French bread pizzas for dinner, and as soon as we were done eating we performed a quick costume change, and then headed back out to the lake for another photoshoot — this one in the prime dusk light. It went really well, and I think AB adored getting to spend so much time outside this weekend. It shows in all her smiles.
After that we drove back home and said lots of goodbyes, then Julie and Carlos got on the road back to Topeka, T– and I crashed on the couches, and we watched Psych and Leverage and Lie to Me while I tried to play WoW again. This time I focused on my Warlock, specced him on guesses (but I know my Warlock best, so they were probably pretty good guesses), and actually had a lot of fun. I ran a couple dungeons, checked out the new castle-defense battleground (way cool), and then picked up where I’d left off in questing. In that last, I remembered just how great the storyline is in Northrend (the most recent expansion), and I got excited about playing again all over again.
I finally tore myself out of that as midnight crept close, and I lay in bed for another hour before I fell asleep. This morning came too soon, and work with it, but even with the weird hours and the packed schedule, it was an awesome weekend. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.