Posted by Erin B.
I’m writing this quickly from the slow computer at the hotel our family has been staying at for the last two days in Miami. Shortly, we will go eat breakfast and then board a ship for the next 7 days. Whoo hoo! We left town Thursday morning, and the last two nights dinner together has been really fun and carefree. I’m much looking forward to dinner together these next 7 nights. Even though it will be back to normal schedule wise for me after we get back (meaning I’ll be missing a lot of family dinners), I’ve really enjoyed doing this experiment.
I’ll be missing the first week of it due to lack of interweb, but make sure to check out March’s experiment, The Eyes of March. Bon Voyage!
By Erin H.
Whew! February is almost over and I still don’t know where the time went. Weekend #1, we drove to northern Indiana for some weekend camping. Weekend #2, we drove to Ann Arbor/Detroit to visit family. Three days later I was back in the car headed to Kalamazoo for my dad’s birthday. I came back the next day to get ready for our final move. During the day and a half that I had to pack and get ready, I developed aches, chills, a fever and a killer headache. So, not much packing got done and bedtime was early. That already brings us to last Friday night. My parents and father-in-law came in to help us with the move. I sat like a bum on the couch, glassy-eyed and with a little moaning, while everybody else enjoyed pizza and made a game-plan for Saturday. The big day arrived (as did a winter storm) and we hauled and schlepped and heaved all day. My parents took off that night and we went out to dinner with my father-in-law where we all sat around eating in silence, wallowing in our exhaustion. Bright and early the next morning Evan drove to Lansing to visit his grandmother who has been in the hospital for over a week. He returned home that night only to have to go over to our well-meaning new neighbor’s house for dinner. Needless to say, life has been busy. (Though, through it all we’ve had every dinner at a table without much thought.)
Last night was Evan and Erin’s first night alone in the new house. No guests, no dinner invitations, no deadlines pressing. We met at the old house as Evan was coming home from work. As we packed up the cars with our remaining odds and ends we made grand plans to get X, Y and Z done that night. When we pulled up to the new house, Evan began unpacking the cars and I started dinner. Dinner wasn’t fancy; I broke into our emergency supply of spaghetti. When the pasta was ready and the faux-garlic bread done baking, I remembered the bottle of celebratory champagne that was still in our fridge. Clearing off our small kitchen table we sat down with our warm, comforting spaghetti and glasses of bubbly. We talked about the evolution of our housing together, how having cable after two months almost seems foreign, and a million other things that had nothingto do with moving. We were slow to get up from the table. Our plans of X, Y and Z became whittled down to: let’s just clear a path up the stairs before we go to bed. The rest of our evening was slow, spontaneous and wonderful. We both realized that though we had been in each other’s presence the past few days…weeks…month, we haven’t actually spent that much quality time together. Last night’s dinner gave us a little bit of that TLC that we individually needed and that we needed together. It’s amazing what a good meal (even a quick, easy one) can make you become aware of.
This week has been a pretty strong 28 tables week. I mentioned in my deal-io that we as a family wouldn’t be able to eat dinner together on Tuesdays, so this Tuesday I went over to co-experimenter Robeeno‘s house for pizza with her fam. It was quite delightful. When you mix pineapple pizza, good conversation, and a three year old (with a fondness for other people’s drinks), then you’re bound to have a good time. Wednesday was num num num, Thursday I could not eat with the family which was super unfortunate. Family from New York called late Wednesday night and let us know that they would be passing thorough. I had to work at 7, and they literally were turning into our street as I was turning out of our street to go to work. I was super bummed out. Though, that day I really needed a nap and that freed up some nap-time. And, after dinner they all stopped by my work to get some free ice cream (and to say hello, I’m sure). Friday night my dad returned from out of town and we all got pizza right before I worked. That brings us to tonight.
Tonight we had pancakes. I said in one of my last posts that pancakes are redemptive. I still hold this to be true, however, my big brother was eating with us tonight, and dinner ended with me angrily getting up from the table early, storming upstairs muttering foul words under my breath, and leaving for work without saying goodbye. He can be so infuriating, and the pancakes could not redeem him. Not tonight.
Next week we leave for our cruise where we will have happy and lovely dinners together every night. I will sadly have to skip out on dinner Monday because I will be shopping for clothes for said cruise.
By Erin H.
Warning: This starts out a little sad, and I’m sorry for it, but I promise that the ending is happy.
Last year on February 10th, my brother Adam was in a very bad car wreck. He was on his way home to meet my dad for a dinner event later that night and the Michigan roads were horrible. My Mom was out of town, and so it was my dad who got “the call” and had to deal with the first 24 hours alone. Looooong, awful story short, Adam was in the ICU for over a week and there were some very critical nights. But, on the 18th he came to – he wasn’t truly aware of what was happening, but he was awake, talking and his body was functioning. That day was also my dad’s birthday. And while we may not have celebrated had the outcome been different, we made sure to have a small celebration that night because we knew Adam was going to be okay. For the next three weeks, Adam went through serious rehabilitation and brain tests.
So it’s been a year since that time. In that year, Adam got married to a Ukranian woman named Olga and they have been living in the same city as my parents. My youngest brother Ben just moved back home as a temporary spot before his new job starts. And I’ve moved from NC to Indianapolis – much closer. I think the accident has all been on our minds the past few days. So with my dad’s birthday coming around again, and me being so close, I made sure to drive home and surprise him so that this year he could have all of his family (+new daughter in law) home to celebrate.
We all gathered, very gratefully, around the table Wednesday night. We enjoyed homemade lasagna, garlic bread that Ben made and an amazing banana/carmel cake made by Olga. I “impressed” Olga with the new Russian words I’ve been learning. We talked about Ben’s upcoming trip to Calfornia and Adam and Olga’s work plans for the summer. We talked about everything but the accident and it was lovely.
Posted by Erin B.
My mom texted me midday today. “Dinner at 6?”
“Sure”, I replied.
“Peanut noodles ok?” she texted back. I replied with an enthusiastic “Hell yeah!”, and for the rest of the day was super excited for dinner. I’m a sucker for noodles.
They were totally yum. She free-balled it and added red onion and baby bok choy, which was quite well played. Bravo mother, bravo. And! Served with a side of strawberries!
The cruise is a week away and more than the beautiful tropical locals, I’m looking forward to our dinners together. We went on a family cruise 2 years ago, and dinner together every night was one of the major highlights. That and pure cream in our coffee every night. You know, the important things in life.
Posted by Erin B.
This week has been a blur of animal poop, dairy desserts, constant interaction with the public, warm weather jubilance, and consistent meals with the fam. A very excellent blur, as blurs go. Last Monday it was lovely and warm so my dad busted out the grill. Tuesday was my little brother’s 12th birthday so we had family friends over for pizza, chocolate coconut cream cake, and loud every-body-picks-their-own tune Happy Birthday song singing. Wednesday we all ate dinner at the Broad Street Café so I could take part in the open mic night they do. Thursday we ate together, but the details of our meal have gotten lost in the blur. Friday I was not in a good mood, and we were having leftovers. Our conversation was sparse and I left early for work. Saturday redeemed us: we had pancakes for dinner, and our conversation was interesting. Dinner felt too short and I left for work late. Pancakes, I’ve decided, are a redemptive thing. Sunday we had a bunch o’ peeps over for dinner (and hey—if you’re reading this, then you’re invited next week. Do come, and stay to watch the Oscars if you wish). Tonight I had to work until 6, and my dad had to leave for the airport by 6:30, so they went to a restaurant right near my work, and I rushed over as soon as I finished and we had a quick but lovely dinner together. We talked about 28 tables and how unexpectedly nice it is to have a set dinner time every day, but also how committing to a set time displaces things like social time and last minute dinner invites.
Outside of dinners with my family, I’ve been more conscious of how meals spent with people are way more satisfying than those spent without. On Sunday I had brunch at Parker and Otis in Durham with good friends, and it was the perfect kind of meal. We had no other agenda, so we ate without hurry, sat outside, and our conversation long outlasted our food. We had many laughs over empty plates and lukewarm coffee. Also: eating a salad in front of a computer for lunch doesn’t seem to change the workday up enough to feel like I actually got a break. It’s kind of my unexpressed goal (well, until now) to do something interesting for my lunches. My lunch hour is a sacred and full of potential, I like to spend it eating on the roof with co-workers, or at a restaurant with co-workers, or geocaching with co-workers, or sitting outside on benches with co-workers, instead of eating in the office or in front of the computer alone.
Posted by Morbo
Today my oldest son turned eight! My mother came down to visit for the weekend and made him a four layer cake. Tomorrow I have three exams and anticipating missing dinner we all enjoyed a big family breakfast of cake and other sugary sundries before presents. My son said, “It’s like something out of Garfield.” It was, indeed, an indulgent morning.
Pictures to follow of cake taller than my head when my eyes regain their ability to focus.