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Boy, it has been one helluva weekend.

I went offline on Wednesday night to prepare for guests from out of town. gypsypet and her friend Charlie were flying in Thursday to visit. I've known Gypsy since.. 1999? We met online in the game EverQuest, and became really close friends. She's the only person from my heavy gaming days that bothered to stay in touch, and I love her like a sister. I think she knows me better than my mother does. So, anyway.

Wednesday night I puttered around doing last minute things to get ready. I discovered that the snazzy new air mattress we had bought for our *cough* guest room did not have any sort of AC power for the pump, and that it was battery only. As luck would have it, we didn't have any batteries of the appropriate size, and I really didn't feel like going out to get any. So that had to wait. I cleaned up mess I had left in the kitchen and did some dishes, finally taking the garbage out. As I was cleaning, I noticed all the little things Roho had done when I was out gaming Saturday- He took out the recycling, had mopped the floor most thoroughly, cleaned the stove.... Ahh, if only every woman was so lucky. Bren got home a little late, and we went to bed. Mm. Sleep.

I was a little nervous Thursday morning, as I was going to meet someone I've loved online for years, and well, these things don't always translate into RL interpersonal interaction very well. I got up with Bren so I could get a few last minute things done, went to CVS and obtained the batteries, put Bren's tax returns in the mail, and returned home to tidy up my car and to clean up the few remaining items that needed to be done. The air mattress was of particular interest to Marcus, who stared at it suspiciously the entire time it was inflating. Thursday was a stunningly gorgeous day, so I had the entire apartment opened up to air out. Mmmm. Fresh air. I chatted with Brendan a little online while I cleaned up our home and myself, made the bed up for our guests, and tried not to fret myself into a froth. I had never driven to Midway before, so that was extra stress on me. I wasn't 100% certain of my directions (although Bren gave me really good ones!), and I was nervous about meeting Gypsy... I was nervous that she wouldn't like Bren, I was afraid that Bren wouldn't like her, I was afraid that neither of us would like Charlie.... Alot of tension there. I eventually got in the car and started driving just out of sheer nerves. Being on the road gave me something to focus on, and I figured with traffic, I'd get to the airport right on time. I called my mother and spoke with her a while; She and my dad are having problems again, and there was talk of her leaving. The part of me that is still a child quails at the thought of my parents splitting up, but the adult in me says it's about time she stood up for herself and stopped being his punching bag (not literally. He's not physically abusive). Mom was taking a day to herself, so I hung up and puttered the rest of the way down.

I found the airport with no problem. I had more difficulty finding the damned parking garage than I did finding the airport. I managed to score a really close parking spot, which made me happy, since I knew that the last thing you want to do after getting off a plane is walk a mile and a half to the car. I lucked out, their flight was early, and it wasn't long before we were back on the road. I really didn't need to worry. They were wonderful. We all clicked really well. We tootled off to lunch at Portillos, then went shopping for snack items that we unfortunately wouldn't get to eat all weekend.

The whole weekend was full of laughter. We went to BD's, we had dinner at Gypsy's aunt's place in Lake Forest, Bren made a new fan out of her Aunt Nancy for fixing her computer. ;) I spoke with my mother on several occasions over the course of the weekend and made sure she was okay. We did downtown Chicago and went to the Art Institute. We had an absolute blast.

Gyps and Charlie have told us that it's our turn to go out to Charleston, SC next year. I think that it's going to be very very easy to make that. I was so sorry to put them back on the plane, and I miss them already.

It's great to have good friends.


On an unrelated note, last night we went to help Kim from AFA with the weekly chores of animal care. She gave us the grand tour of the place and introduced us to all the animals, which was a lot of fun. I had no idea miniature horses were so large, and no clue that genets were that small. It was definately informative! We played with Akira, the genet kit for a bit, and honestly, both of us fell in love. He was extremely social and friendly, which Kim tells us is not the norm for the species. She also hinted broadly that if we buy a place with the appropriate space, if she has kits that she needs to place, she might give us one with the proper personality type. I loved the idea, and Bren didn't seem to upset about it. ;)

Bren and I did get to talk a bit about life and expectations, which was good. Relationship reconnection is vital, and we're definately looking forward to some much-needed downtime. Tonight, we have a social gathering/fundraiser that Kim is hosting, and hopefully nothing for the rest of the week. I know we have a MFF Staff meeting on Sunday, but that should be fine. I need to have my department's rules and regs finalized by then and submitted for approval. Glrph. ;) Fortunately, I don't have much of a budget to worry about.

I got the good news at work today. I still haven't gotten my review, but I AM getting a merit raise. Ultimately, it's not much, but it's more than I got at any of my previous jobs, so I'm pretty pleased. And now, it's time for me to go home. Maybe I'll have time for a quick nap before we head out to Palos Park....

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