Four days somehow wasn't enough.
I and my extended family headed over to my (second) cousin Jeff's home. Hosting our family is no small task as with all the cousins we are 30+ strong. Side dishes and deserts were brought by all, so hopefully the hosts weren't overwhelmed.
It was my first time with the extended family since J asked for a divorce. It was also my first major holiday flying solo. I was dreading it a bit, not knowing how I would handle it. Five minutes in, a cousin who is my age asked "where's your better half?" "California" I replied. "What is she doing down there?" "Living" I replied. Then I told him what was going on. Most of the extended family had heard, but apparently he hadn't received the memo. He is the only one on that side of the family who has been divorced, so he could empathize. A few folks touched on the subject, but we didn't delve in to deep. We steered towards less volatile topics, like politics.
Overall it was a lovely evening. I have an awesome family and it had been far too long since I had seen them. I really missed out when I didn't make it to the family vacation this summer.
My friend Mark had some extra tickets to Saturday's Apple Cup between the Huskies and the Cougars, so he invited Scott and me along. Mark and his family have had season tickets for years, and there were three generations at the game.
We arrived three hours early for the tailgating party. The parking lot was packed with tables of food, canopies in case of rain, and lots of fans in purple and crimson. I can totally see the draw of tailgating. Even in a rival game like the Apple Cup, fans from both sides mingle in the pre-game excitement. I hadn't seen Mark in a couple of years, so it was great to hang out before the game and catch up on the years gone by.
The Huskies ended up winning the game 30-0. We haven't had a win like that in several years. When I was a student at the UW, we had a pretty dominant football team. I loved going to the games each Saturday with friends, and the student section was the place to be. You can't relive the past, but it was great to see another good game with friends some 15 years later.
Tami and I volunteered again this Sunday, continuing my tradition of either running or volunteering for the last five years. We ended up working as road marshals in the same spot as two years ago. The weather was perfect for the runners, if a bit chilly for those of us standing still. But no rain, which is pretty rare this November, so perfect.
It ends up being a bit boring duty in the beginning and end, but in the thick of the race it is great to be able to cheer the runners on. Having been on the other side, I know how a little spectator enthusiasm can make a huge difference. We were stationed at mile 18 of the marathon, so runner energy was flagging by then. I tried to throw out phrases I'd want to hear when I was running on empty.
With the sale set to close on Monday, I spent quite a bit of time this weekend at the house getting it ready to change hands. Thursday was the day for yard work, pulling nails, and gathering up all the things left behind after the big move. Trying to find a place that was open to eat lunch turned out to be the biggest challenge. Starbucks has a fine turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich in case you're wondering.
Friday it was another trip to storage, signing escrow papers, three trips to Goodwill, one trip to the dump, and trailering the motorcycle and taking it to storage. Lots of driving, but lots of progress.
Saturday I took off for the football game, but Sunday I headed back to the house after the marathon. I needed to pack up one last truckload of stuff to take to storage, and do the last bit of cleaning. I had also written a note to the new buyers to pass along some things about the house. Trying to be as good about this as possible.
After wiping everything down, sweeping and mopping, and tracking down the missing garage door opener, I was about out of things to do. With the accelerated close date, I've been flying around trying to get everything done on time. I've been dreading this day, but have kept my mind busy with the details. I've been hanging on to the thought that this is the right thing to do, but that bit of wisdom went right out the door as I sat on the hearth and stared at the empty house.
Not proud, not ashamed, but I sat there crying. All that was, all that could have been, all that will never be. It took me a little time to pull myself together, and a longer time to leave for the last time. The sale closed today, and now it belongs to someone else. I hope they enjoy the home as much as I did.
Time for me to find a new place and some new memories. And I'm really looking forward to a quiet weekend.