I still miss watching TV with my mom, but I’m not gonna lie: I am so, so happy to be sleeping in my own bed again.
- This past Saturday was my yearly Big Bourré Game Night, and all the usual suspects (read: mostly my old university coworkers) showed up. I had a fantastic time despite coming down with a head cold Friday that made me snotty all evening, and that fantastic time wasn’t just because I had what I’m pretty sure was my biggest night in bourré ever, nearly doubling my stake. (Yes, we play for money. No, the amounts aren’t significant.) Mostly it was a fantastic evening of hanging out with old friends, lots of trash talk, and even a little boardgaming earlier in the day.
- Speaking of boardgaming, I managed to fit in even more before I left on Tuesday. There was a final game night at my neighbors’ house; I had the new-to-me experience of watching other people set up a complicated board game–in this case, Concordia–and it was grand. I learned on Saturday that four-player Evil High Priest is much, much harsher than the two-player experience. And just today I got to play games back here in North Carolina, including one I had never played before, Grifters. I expect to be sad for the next eleven months or so about how much less tabletop gaming I’m experiencing after the glut of the last few weeks.
- Tuesday was my big travel day, and it suuuuuuucked. But I made it. I listened to a bunch more episodes of The Dollop, so that was nice, at least?
- My mother and I did some last-minute TV cramming, watching all of Homecoming on Monday. It was good but not great, but it has the benefits of being short and having both an amazing cast and gorgeous cinematography. Back home, I’ve watched a few episodes of Castle Rock and am not yet sold on the show. The fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place are both back makes my heart warm, though.
- The diet starts again tomorrow, promise.
I’m still settling into being back home again, and I don’t expect for it to really feel “normal” until early next week But I am glad to be back, and am looking forward to what the next few weeks and months will bring, as my one-year anniversary of Not Doing That Work Thing Any More approaches.
Just a very quick note that I made it back to Lenoir safe and sound. It was a very long day, and I already miss hanging out and watching television with my Mom like I did basically every evening for the last three weeks. Sigh. But I am very, very looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight. Which I will be doing in about ten minutes, give or take. Woo!
Sorry about the lack of a mid-week post. On the other hand: holidays.
- Lots of time spent with family over the last week. My oldest sister and uncle stayed over at Mom’s for Christmas Eve, and we added my nephew and his SO for Christmas night, so it was a pleasantly packed house in the evenings. My younger-older sister and her spouse showed up for Christmas Day, and various other friends and extended family members drifted in and out of the house over the days. This is one of the nicest things about being “back home:” seeing everyone.
- I’ve also played a metric ton of board games, mostly with the neighbors (and in particular their youngest son, who now works at the same place where I did as a student at LSU). He and I have played a bunch of two-player stuff, and we’ve played bigger games with more of his family. Some highlights are:
- the new Dominion expansion (Renaissance), which I got for Christmas, and which feels like another Adventures/Empires level endeavor;
- Evil High Priest, which came in right before I left to come home, and which is a solid take on worker placement with some take-that mechanics added in;
- Spirit Island, a serious step up for my neighbors, but one that went over surprisingly well despite its length. (I’ve played it before, but am always happy to play it more frequently.)
- I’ve also been watching TV with my mother, a long-standing tradition. We just finished the third season of Travelers last night, which left me really, really hoping they get renewed for a fourth season. We’re also watching the last season of The Americans together and are almost done with it as well. (If you read what I wrote before, you understand why I don’t mind watching it again.)
- There’s been a bit of a puzzle/videogame combination thing going, in that what gaming I’ve done has been on my DS and 3DS; specifically, the Nikoli Nurikabe game on the former, where I only have ~15 puzzles (out of 300) before I’m finally done, and Picross 3D Round 2 on the latter, where I’m deep in the postgame. I’m on weirdly difficult puzzles in both, though, and have put them down for the last few days.
- Food. So much food. A lot of it has been delicious junk food–I ordered a ton of stuff from the Tootsie company direct (link withheld so that I’m at least less responsible for your irresponsibility) and the usual Airheads and Gold-n-Chees)–but my mother is a fantastic cook and I’ve been taking heavy advantage of her culinary skills. I’ve actually only eaten out twice since I’ve been here, which has got to be a record low. There are too many tasty things to eat at the house to leave.
- I’ve even done a bit of writing. It’s awful and private, but it’s writing nevertheless.
I’ll be hanging out mostly by myself for the next couple of days, while the family is off elsewhere, which is a surprisingly pleasant break in the middle of my visit. But I’m looking forward to them being back as well. All in all, it’s been a nice, if a bit hectic, visit, and one I look forward to continuing. There are lots more board games to play, after all.
Nothing says “home for the holidays” like the fact that it’s going to be almost seventy degrees today. Louisiana, you do you.
- Much of the early part of this week was spent in preparation for the trip back home. I’ve got a terrible memory for that sort of thing, so Google Keep did me a solid by letting me make a list and check it twice, helping ensure I didn’t leave anything important back in Lenoir.
- Trip day was Wednesday. I woke up at 04:30, which the less said about the better, and hit the road a bit before 5am. To my delight, Bojangles’ was already open, so I snagged some delicious (chicken-fried) steak biscuits to get the day going. I also stopped at a couple of QTs along the way and had their spicy chicken taquitos. (I have a weakness for their roller grill.) It ended up being a 13-hour drive, putting me back in Baton Rouge at just after 5pm local time thanks to time zones. It was a long, exhausting trip, and it rained pretty bad for a short stretch near the Mississippi/Louisiana border, but was otherwise incident-free.
- I slept for almost twelve hours, then woke up Thursday and immediately hit up Dang’s, the best local Vietnamese place. It was still as delicious as I remembered.
- Both Wednesday and Thursday afternoon were spent watching some TV with my Mom; the third season of Travelers dropped on Netflix, and I decided that I was all right with rewatching the last season of The Americans with her (for obvious reasons).
- I also managed to already fit some boardgames in with the neighbors on Thursday night. (One of the distinct advantages of driving: I came with a fat stack of games.) We played Antike II, which was surprisingly good for three players, along with Tumult and Lost Cities Rivals. They seemed to enjoy all three.
- Friday was mostly spent as a family day, with my sisters, nephew, uncle, and assorted significant others. Good food, good laughs, although I did my back a disservice by sitting in a hard chair for most of it that put me in a not-great spot by the end of the night. Also, I ate like a pig.
- I also squeezed a bit of puzzling in here and there, continuing to work both on 3D Picross Round 2 and Nikoli’s DS Nurikabe game that I’ve been playing off and on for many years, plus some paper puzzles at my mom’s expansive kitchen table.
I probably won’t be doing my usual mid-week post this coming week, other than maybe a quick blip, so: happy holidays to you and yours!
Sorry for the lack of updates. I made it back to Baton Rouge safe and sound after a very, very long day of driving Saturday, and I’ve been choosing to spend my time elsewhere rather than staying at the computer so much.
Normally, when I come back home–and while I do think of Louisiana as “back home”, I think of my house in Lenoir as home, which is an interesting distinction I hadn’t really realized I made until recently–I try to pack in as many restaurants and as many visits with old friends as possible. Not so much this time around. I haven’t even made it to my favorite restaurant in the world; quelle horreur! Normally it’s the first stop when my mother picks me up from the airport, before we even go home to drop off the luggage.
Part of it is that I really want to take it easier than I usually do. Now that I’m retired, I suspect I’ll be coming back home twice a year rather than just once, and those stays are likely to be longer. So there’s less of a need to pack it all in, to make the experience the most time-efficient thing possible, to ensure maximum value.
Part of it is that I’ve also decided to take a more passive role this time; normally I do a lot of coordination to make visits and meals and all that jazz happen. I’m not doing that this year. I’ve let everyone know that I’m in town and available for meals; if they choose not to follow up on that, well, I’m just as content eating at home and solving some puzzles or watching a movie with Mom. I hung out with one of my old friends all day Monday, and will be doing so again this coming Saturday, interspersed with the usual family visits. If people really want to see me, they can put in some minimal effort to make it happen. I’m not going to force the issue.
So far it’s been an extremely pleasant trip. My timing was always meant to make sure I caught the tail end of the cool season, when it’s not too wet yet but the days aren’t face-meltingly hot either. It worked perfectly. I spent most of yesterday reading on a swing on the porch, a cool breeze sweeping through the whole time, and today is genuinely chilly. A month from now and Louisiana is going to be hot and sticky. No thanks.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to read.