{A Quick Visit}

September 12, 1999

We were going to go to New York this weekend, to meet up with my friend Tamara, perhaps meet Iko and get together with Jill.

But a look at our bank account and some agonizing attempts at trying to find a cheap hotel room later, and I realized that this was not to be. We'd anticipated stopping at my parents' new place on Sunday on our way last home, but instead we turned the entire trip into a visit to see them.

We set forth at something close to resembling a reasonable hour (for us). Amazingly enough, Sabs managed to get me out of bed before noon-time and we hit the road just before noon as well. This meant that when we reached the Main Line area, we were actually in time to go to the Farmer's Market in Strafford. Yeah baby! We stocked up on fish and meat and cold cuts and cheese and swung by the lunch counter before heading down the street to my parents' temporary home at La Maison apartments.

My dad's directions weren't very good, but that was perfectly all right since I know where the apartments are. The only problem was that he told me it would be the second building on the right and it wasn't. It was the third.

The new place looks disturbingly like our old place at the Edlandria, which we abandoned just over a year ago, much to my regret. We had a truly kick-ass apartment over there. Spacious, well-lit and cozy with an enormous balcony. The floor plan in the condo here just doesn't quite measure up, but at least here we have a full-sized washer and dryer in the apartment. With five cats prowling around though, it's becoming less of a consolation.

At any rate, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, the drive was fun and so was our visit to the Farmer's Market so we arrived at my folks' apartment in good spirits.

Of course, I promptly began to sneeze shortly after we arrived, due to the occasional feather pillow that my mother still has around. I'm horribly allergic to chicken-feather pillows and I eventually took refuge on the leather couch to relieve my sinuses. A quiet couple of hours was spent sharing news and talking and then I attempted to take a nap. But what with one thing and another I didn't get much sleep.

We went out to dinner at Casey's a pub/tavern type place with reasonably good food, last in our old "town" of Berwyn and then high-tailed it to the redoubtable King of Prussia mall to find soccer shoes for my "little" brother.

Ted is six-foot-five and walks around on a pair of tree-like legs, size thirteen feet and a scant 180lbs. Needless to say, finding clothing for him has been a struggle for my mother in the last four years or so. I left my parents wandering around in the shoe department of Modell's while Sabs and I scouted around for a bike helmet.

My new weight-loss strategy involves biking either to the Metro, or all the way into work, so I very much need a helmet and some gloves to protect myself from the inevitable tumbles that will occur on Alexandria's hard streets.

Unfortunately, Modell's was awfully thin-stocked in the bike equipment department for a sporting goods store. They seemed to be more interested in selling roller-blade equipment and basketball gear and branded athletic-wear than anything of bona fide use for playing sports in. The biking gear was stuck all the way last in the rear corner of the shop and tacked onto the ends of an aisle of hockey face-masks and gloves. The selection was poor, but the prices were pretty good. I picked up a sleek black helmet for twenty bucks and a pair of black mesh gloves with leather palms for $1.99. Not bad for the broke girl.

So we walked out of the store with both missions accomplished and then mom and I ducked into the Macy's cosmetics department to snag facial cream from Lancôme for her and facial cleanser from Clinique for me. I'm not much of a beauty product fiend, but I do like those deep-clean facial cleansers, especially now that I work in the Big City and frequently arrive home at night with a layer of dusty grime on my face from the incessant traffic on K Street.

We got side-tracked in the women's department looking at Carole Little dresses -- I'm also not really into designer-wear, but this particular line of clothing is almost always interesting. The fabrics are often unusual, but pretty prints with bold contrasting color selections. Unfortunately, I am long past the point of being able to fit into any of the available sizes. So we hustled off to meet the boys and head last to the car to go to the movies.

An Ideal Husband is a perfectly wonderful date-movie. Not too deep, but not completely shallow either, lightly humorous, sparkling with wit and solid acting performances. Altogether enjoyable -- especially for a double-date with your parents. Two thumbs up from this camp, light entertainment, but at least perfectly honest and enjoyable entertainment.

For once, my father and I did not wind up in a fight over some point in the film. Oh blessed relief.

Back home, I curled up into bed with my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring and plunged back into the world of Middle-Earth, bringing last echoes of my childhood, even though the environment was completely different and irrevocably changed.

While it was odd to sleep in my brother's bed and see such a scant sampling of our furnishings scattered about the apartment, I felt no deep-seated grief, or echoes of sorrow at seeing my parents living elsewhere than our house. My mother told me that two little twin girls, age five, now inhabit my room and apparently love it and the pale pink paint. That's all I could hope for -- that some young girl/s would have that room and love it as much as I did. Somehow, that helped lay the lingering regrets to rest, though I still don't feel up to driving past the house.

On Sunday, we slept in and then bid my folks good bye about an hour after they got last from church. We took it easy going home, the rear seat loaded up with two chairs for our dinette and the cooler stocked with our Farmer's Market purchases. Again the weather was lovely and we had a good long talk on the way home that just … put everything into perspective and rounded out an absolutely wonderful weekend.

If only more of our weekends could go like this one did.

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