Grand Nephew Trial Invasion Finale and Epilogue 2013 (with bonus Linger!)

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation (Special Monster-Truckin' Birthday Edition!!!!): The blight of working Auntiedom slowly releases its toxins straight to our heroin's nervous system... and boy did she get nervous. All was vanquished with a vroom and a roar of motors in Lynden! Nephews survived. Andrew may not quite have. Birthday cake wars were waged and nephews were damaged. All the while, the doomsday clock to trialbumpamageddon clicked ever onwards in perilous cheer!! 

Coming up: The FINAL CONCLUSION of Falconer invasion 2013. Did all survive? How much carnage, tears and bodily fluids were to saturate the back of the Mazda on T-Day?? Did Adella finally reunite with the Father of the Pink Beard or did trial insanity consume her. Was the opposing party in our ping-ponged trial ever found or was he consigned to wander the halls of the Whatcom County Courthouse for all eternity? All this and a double-epilogue coming up... 

Back to Abnormal - Crazy Madhouse Familial Litigious August The Grand Finale... or is it

Whoever said it never rains, but it pours, most certainly was not familiar with the weather patterns in our drizzly Evergreen state. But said individual might have been onto something in other less literal contexts. These last two weeks have, of course, been slack jaw full tilt insanely full of an embarrassing amount of riches and other stressors. Juggling work with family and friends is always a challenge, but it was something aspiring to Xtreme having a trial coming up, my oldest friend in town for just a bit, and three very energetic little nephew-ticking-time-bombs. 

Everything ended yesterday with one final fever pitch of a day. 

The Falconer August 2013 Invasion has ended. Dan Pink Father of The Beard has gone in search of more Easternly skies (Massachusetts may not be Jordan, but it is one step closer), and our Waiting for The Bald Birthday Party Soprano to Take us to a Zoo Where We Can Have Happy Days: The Musical  (the final installment of a very bumpy summer trial schedule) has had its big hurrah in a series of farcical judge-swaps and missed communications worthy of this trial for a dissolution that has officially outlasted the marriage that preceded it. 

First, the family: Monday, the boys had a testy final day in the 'ham with short bursts of elation. I was deemed "Best Aunt Ever" by Ian earlier in the day (we discussed the option of my taking prints of his commemorative picture and marketing them for a percentage of the profits - we are working on the contract). I'm not sure if I held onto that mantle after I ever so callously omitted announcing the rule that in the get back to the car in an orderly fashion competition, there is a five second penalty for body-checking other contestants so hard that they fall over and cry. I also had omitted to mention the additional penalties for lighting houses on fire on the way or for destroying the car upon reaching it. This did not console him. Too bad for him, because he definitely would have won if  he hadn't butt-checked Braden to the lawn. It is SO unfair that I "change" rules and don't tell him all the rules, when he so steadfastly tells me all of the rules of any game we ever play and never ever in a million years alters them in any way shape or form to ever favor him. But, hey, life is unfair and there are no take-backs on "Best Auntie Ever" Plaques. 

After some very large plates of Mexican food and sheer wonderment at the large truck lodged a few feet shy of the roof, things settled down. And by "settled down"  I mean I went home and was incapable of speaking with any one for the rest of the evening. But presumably things were ok, since nobody was dead when I came to pick up the family for their escort to the airport the next morning. Dead tired, perhaps, but not dead.

It was a relatively uneventful (read successful) trek to Seatac with a few minor snags. I don't even count the random traffic jams or several times a car has nearly destroyed mine when illegally merging these days. I think just waving one's hand and saying "I hate driving in Seattle" about wraps it up well enough.

 Ian is prone to carsickness, so we had the air conditioning on sub-arctic blast the entire way down. I may have some minor frostbite, but no appendages required actual removal, and my hands worked well enough to grip the steering wheel, so I'd call it a win. Between the a/c and the anti-nausea medication, Ian managed to keep it all in until we pulled to the curb at the airport... at which point he spewed several leftover burrito fragments and cinnamon toast crunches into the bag Rachel had prudently kept on standby. Braden was totally gone in Scooby Doo land the entire trip and barely peeped. And, aside from insisting on keeping tight possession of all three of the boys' bags of cereal on peril of meltdown, Sam held up well. Oh yeah, I guess he threw a pretty full-body tantrum upon realizing the his car seat was being checked as luggage, but just as that was revving up, I was informed by traffic control that if I was not in the process of moving a bag out of my car I needed to LEAVE immediately. I am told the flight home with him was not quite as breezily serene as our car ride to the flight. There may have been some sobbing, some kicking, and a triumphant confrontation with a disgruntled passenger who either raises robots and thus has no memory of the impossibility of actually travelling with real toddlers or who has fully embraced a regime of threats and drugging to succeed in keeping them "in compliance." I am proud to say that my sister led a soft serve revolt for the chagrined parents (who, trust me, feel worse about their children's behavior than any of the other passengers) for a few awkward but polite applause-worthy moments. 

For my final feat of "brilliant" auntiedom, I did manage to close Sam's fingers in the window on the drive hom. See, I knew I hated automatic window controls. Rachel saw it happening mid-swig of water. Her eyes grew anime-sized and stunned as she swished the water about her mouth with increasingly strident pointing, before bursting out laughing. Sam, found the whole thing less funny, but only cried for about fifteen minutes. I may never operate an electric window switch again. Just glad nobody was decapitated. 

Upon returning, I was supposed to have a little time to help with some last minute trial stuff and spend the afternoon with Dan Pink Father of the Beard. But, as foreshadowed, things got weird. 

On Monday, or as we in the office like to call it BUMP DAY, we were informed - as we almost always are - that our judge had just had a criminal case come up and couldn't take the case. BUT, there was a twist this time. An excruciatingly tantalizingly, promising, and agonizing twist. Another judge might be able to take it. Judge Garret was out, because she could only do two of our five scheduled days (how a case like this could ever require five days is a whole 'nother story). Judge Uhrig might maybe be able to take it. Maybe. If this other case he had didn't go. They'd let us know "as soon as possible" and continued to call us several times to keep us informed that they still had no idea. I feel like this is the trial version of He's Just Not That Into You. Don't we have more self-respect than to hang around for the trial-booty call at 2:00 a.m. in the morning?? But hope springs eternal and we remained suckers on the hook. 

By Monday afternoon, we hadn't heard much of anything definite but were told that we could probably start at 1:30 on Tuesday IF the mother in this termination case did not show up. They should know by 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and would let us know - say it with me now! - "as soon as possible." After a mad witness shuffle square dance and a few abysmally deep breaths, we adjusted to this new surreality of abeyance. 

On Tuesday we were informed that the trial could go ahead with our new judge at our new time. Unfortunately the other party was not informed of this due to some appropriately inconceivable cock up at the clerk's office. A message had been left for him, but he apparently did not receive it. When he showed up rabid and ready to argue at 9:30 a.m., he was merely told that he wasn't with Judge Snyder anymore. He wandered around the halls for a while, appreciably confused, never finding the actually informed people who might have updated him on the status. Upon realizing this had happened, the actual Judge's clerks spent all morning attempting to reach Mr. Crazy-Pants on the other side, but since he has about twenty different phone numbers and switches from them daily for reasons that are not quite yet on public record, nobody could reach him. 

So we waited, trying to figure out what to do next, while the clerks scampered about in a furious funk. I eventually left to see Dan PFOB and just stayed on fidgety standby while we wandered in the park. Finally, at around 2:15 p.m. somebody caught our AWOL OP (Lawyer-talk for "opposing party," but I always read it as Omniscient Panda... to each their own) on the telephone at a number he'd only given to our office and only just a few days ago. He insisted on arguing about his motion for continuance (to get all that evidence on the criminal charges he was totally going to prove against my client... don't ask, it's too confusing and hurts my head... needless to say if our client were really as well-connected, clever, and devious as he makes her out to be, she probably would have managed a divorce years ago and probably would actually be able to pay us). After figuring out that there was no way the trial could happen now, my mom and the poor judge's clerk were consigned to a beffudling half hour of schedule shuffle and babbling non-sequitor contretemps. 

I got a text about a half hour after Dan PFOB and I had set off for our heavily interrupted "quality time." The text apprised me of the current semi-status (trial is now theoretically in November) and asking for help getting the five hundred tons of paper and exhibits back to the office. Hey, bright side: Dad PFOB got to see my mom and vice versa. She was quite happy to see him, having a soft spot for my long-term friends in general and him in particular (something I think about the fact that he's doggedly cynical, or has been, and yet clearly has a very good heart and a surprising kindness towards those he cares about). Plus he helped us move the damned trial crap back to the office. 

After another brief walk back to his car, Dan PFOB dropped me back at the office and is now off on his own plane. As he did in my schedule this last week, he continues to get short shrift in my retelling.

So here we are: normalcy in its most abnormal quietude has set upon us. The other cases have are hastily rushing to fill the three days of void with their own exigencies. Appropriate melt-downs have been had by all the very tired denizens of the office and home life. Clean up ... well, that will happen after just a few more blessed downtime hours of staring and vital vapidity. Habits and routines are starting to debouch, blinking in the glare of daylight.

Was it all one grand dream? Oh no, I've got the Best Auntie Certificate to prove it. It was real. And it will come again. Except next time, we are so closing the office before the munchkins arrive. 

Happy whateverthehelldayisis!! May your week be pleasant and peaceful with smiles where applicable. 

Adella and the very merry emotional hangover
Well, like all intense experiences, there is often a coming down time when things get quiet again. And by "coming down" I may mean "down and then up and then down and then up and so on like a hyperactive basketball." In essence, I believe have embraced the hair of the nephew that bit me by reverting to the same sort of emotional regulatory incapacity characteristic of children. I'm not sure if this is what is meant by channeling one's inner child, but rendered childless after a dog-pile of heavy childing, this is as close as I can get.

Yesterday was a fantastic day. And an awful day (best of times, worst of times and something something something). Everything was been quite funny, until it isn't (and then perhaps was again) and the slightest snag was enough for soul-crushing despair and possibly a good screaming fit. With interim moments of simply passing out.

To begin the morning, I christened the day quite early with a large cup of warm coffee. It probably didn't help that this was decaff coffee and I actually had only a small sip of genuinely caffeinated joe earlier that day. If anyone asks why I spent most of said-well-christened day in workout clothes, well... I know I work at a treadmill, but usually I don't take myself quite that seriously. Still coffee and khaki don't go together quite as well as you'd imagine. My mom's poor office is quite the mess still - coffee and chocolate really went flying from wall to carpet.

For my part, I literally leapt from my clothes (there may be video footage to prove that one can actually swan dive out of one's own pants at this point), knowing from prior experience how quickly hot things seep through fabric things onto fleshy things. Fortunately this was prior to business hours and I had the momentary sagacity to lock all office doors before continuing on the half-clad clean up.

I'm sure that was a lovely surprise for her, my redecoration, to go perfectly with her horribly upset stomach and headache. Yes, it was kind of a hangover day for all involved!

I subsequently meandered may way into discovering that a once-close friend with whom I don't really have a relationship anymore (time marches on and sometimes the past wants to stay in the past despite the sad understanding that our present selves would likely have gotten on swimmingly in different circumstances) - who had long thought herself incapable, is pregnant and expecting in October. This revelation dominoed several thousand bajillion different emotions that would take more words than Tolstoy had up his sleeve to express. They came in waves throughout the day. The high notes included some vicarious happy, some profound regrets, some of that vertigo one feels when contemplating the passage of time and persistent velocity of ever-pressing change, and a little dash of "why not me?" mixed with "am I nuts? I'm barely holding on after a week of being an aunt! Why would I even go there??" And probably some other creative contortions of frazzled and fried brain waves along the way. 

In between, I had a fantastic and perhaps expectedly vigorous workout and workout chitchat with Azita, some lovely chitter chats with myself while walking around a beautiful day, and a good bit of progress with a new client. But all in all, as I even knew at the time was inevitable, there was the recovery day of isolation and minor despondency. And yes, I may have officially lost it when I couldn't find my keys after coming home. 

Apparently, what I wanted what I really really wanted (other than to zig a zig ha) was just to be held, to nuzzle into my husband's arms and feel safe and warm and maybe a little silly, and to say nothing while listening to two heart beats slowly pacing themselves together. Rather happy that +Andrew Wright  obliged before I even realized this was exactly what could turn a day around. Having gotten my evening dose of oxytocin and a reminder of what my inner DINK really does love, I think  I am starting to emerge from the caverns of deep despondency into the light (blinking like a mole rat).

But nonetheless, the legacy of my hangover shall remain on the floor for some time... at least until somebody breaks out the Oxy Clean.  

Linger a while - What do you linger over?

Yesterday morning, I was warming my icy hands on Mr. (W)right's soporific belly, as I am wont to do if he does not stir in time to take defensive measures. I should note that, being a sporting ice-queen, I do give him a decent head start first. I don't simply burst into the bedroom gelid hands outstretched and stalk up to the bedside. Oh no, I come upstairs holding a cup of coffee, dally for a while by the lamp, open up the windows, adjust two fans, and sweetly croon a good morning or two. Even after this, I ordinarily fuss with the bedsheets (a fruitless battle to reassemble the boyfrianceband's thoroughly deconstructed bed art of the prior night) a bit. Maybe even stroke his hair gently and coo a few more sweet words.

But he is my morning loris, so his reaction times are a bit stunted. I often get to the point of hand warming. It's interesting to gauge his increasing presence in the waking world as the cool sensation begins to sink in and his reactions evolve from a groggy nil to a feint dopey moan of protest. We tend to settle upon an agreement that I have preternaturally cold hands (I may be an X-Man with a very lame mutation) and that by now they really ought to have warmed up under all applicable laws of science.

On this particular morning, I mentioned that the delayed responsiveness to heat my body experienced was one of the reasons I tended to take much longer and even hotter showers in the winter (+Andrew Wright and I valiantly attempted to shower together in some semblance of romantic sentiment before realizing that to him my preferred temperature is scalding and to me his preferred temperature is like swishing about in tap water). Still semi-stuporous he murmured in bonhommie that my showers were still quite short comparatively. I agreed that I tended to be "efficient" about showers, as I was with many tasks. He further burbles in half-jest that he thought I just didn't like to linger over anything pleasurable. I said "oh really?" in my sauciest voice, and he admitted sometimes I lingered over crosswords.

Of course I've been toying with this thought of lingering for the following while. I am a timely, schedule-driven person. Given my druthers, I would prefer to get everything done as quickly as possible and really earn my uninterrupted downtime. Based on that I would say I actually really like to hurry up and linger, more than I don't like to linger. In fact, I've long thought of myself as a lingerer, so perhaps this is why the comment took me aback a little.

I then thought that was certain a modicum of veracity to the statement regardless. I believe in diminishing marginal returns. I'd rather have that delightful ecstasy of the first bite in my memory than the indifferent blurg of a fiftieth. I am aware that things lose pleasure over time and consciously cut things down to the perfect sip. Additionally, at parties and with friends, I lose steam after a certain amount of time and have learned to schedule natural ending points to my social events. When working, I'm aware that my productivity is limited and schedule my workday to occur in two hour chunks with breaks in between. I will pull myself away rather than finish something with only half the focus necessary to do the job well.

I'm not sure if that means that I value the memory of an experience more than the present sensation of it, or that I'm simply constantly aware of an experience's shifting utility in ratio to its opportunity cost. I'm also persistently aware that any pleasure is experienced as more pleasurable when it is intermittently interrupted. Given these things, perhaps I purposefully do not linger much after all?

I suppose my simpler response is that I don't find showers lingerably pleasurable, so it was a bit of a bum example. The first blast of water is refreshing, most definitely. I appreciate that showering is a reliable means of temperature regulation. I even enjoy the privacy and a good aria or two. I actually more enjoy the moment just fresh from the shower (and admittedly usually do take time air-drying in various stages of re-dressed). I also don't find sleeping in or hanging out in bed to be such, since I feel restless if I can't sleep and usually cannot once I've woken up, and I tend to get physically uncomfortable laying in one position for too long. Similarly, lingering over meals isn't necessarily all that pleasurable, as it usually means being surrounded by food that I don't care to eat in a louder and more overstimulating location than I'd care to be.

Perhaps the issues isn't whether I linger, but whether Mr. (W)right and I simply find differently things worth lingering over.

So where and when do I linger? On the dance floor. If it's a certain kind of dancer, I will stay in that final breath of the dance as long as the spell can hold. I barely breathe at those points for fear of piercing the bubble surrounding us.

When I travel, I love nothing more than to find a scenic location and sit there for hours at a time staring into the air without nterruptions. I love sitting by the water's edge and listening to the waves lick and lap and frolic.I love sitting in almost any public space with some magazine or even a piece of paper and letting thoughts come as they might.

I enjoy lingering on the couch in the evenings and some weekend mornings, and don't find myself as desperately drawn towards some form of stimulation (smart phone, chore, etc.) as most people seem to be. I linger on long meandering walks to nowhere. I linger walking around the grocery store, the wine shop, the candy store, and any store that does not require significantly interpersonal interaction (all that potential of things yet to be owned).

I linger over a good book - the kind that I just can't put down until I've read one more chapter (this is incidentally why I often go long spells without reading: once I'm sucked in, the book consumes me and I'm MIA from reality for a good comfortable while). One of my favorite things to do is to disappear for a while, hide out at an anonymous public location and throw myself into a book with some supplies to sustain me. When the prose is beautiful, I will palp and probe its every cadence, retreading the same passage several times until it is sticky and sweet like caramel for my mind.

I linger over certain conversations. These have to be the sort in which neither party holds the balance or the onus of the topic. If things veer into a lopsided lecture or some arena that I can't follow well enough to keep track of, then I grow impatient, but if it is me and another person simply tugging and poking at the world in all its insouciant irrelevancy and occasional profundity, I could chat for hours without once reaching for the smart phone. I have fallen madly in love in the past based entirely on our mutual ability to simply walk and talk for hours without ever feeling a dull lull, a minute of trite cliche, or an imbalance of conversation.

I linger over anything I am writing. Once I begin, it is physically challenging to pull myself away. I linger over research in a similar way.

I linger over alcohol and coffee. I can nurse a drink for several hours. If it's a hot drink, it probably will visit the interior of a microwave at least as often as the edge of my lips. A good glass of wine can last me a good hour or more. We need say no more about a splash of whiskey or the like. And I can take a half hour to eat a small square of chocolate or a bit of banana with peanut butter on certain days.

I linger at museums when a painting strikes me. Or at the edge of a street performance. Or when I hear a waft of music that grabs me. 

I linger over a thought in my head. Sometimes for hours once my brain grabs a topic, it may idly play with it to the detriment and exclusion of the outside world as the thought pullulates and flowers into a fully germinated garden of idle speculation and self-

I suppose what I realize is that I consider lingering to be a special treat and luxury as opposed to simply dalliance or procrastination. I don't necessarily think that the sort of mindless internet staring or tv watching I get pulled into when I'm procrastinating is quite the same thing as what I think of when I linger, although sometimes necessary for decompression. For me, lingering is a very engaged event even if it may appear to be vacant staring.

And, do I ever linger with my very gelid hands on my poor sweet husband's little belly! 
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