On Friday, Caroline finally arrived after a whole series of plane delays and mix-ups. The good thing was that I was able to meet her at the airport. Lynne, my former volunteer and current friend, very graciously took me to the airport and waited with me. It was so good to see Caroline again, tired as she was.
From the airport, we went to my friend Brianna's place. Caroline is staying with Brianna while she's in Winnipeg. Bri made this wonderful lasagna, and there was Coke (which I brought). Caroline and I basically spent the evening together hugging and talking. I now have, by the way, one of those nifty combination braille/talking watches. What a really neat concept!
On Saturday morning, Caroline took Handi-Transit to my building, where I met her downstairs. For lunch - well, brunch, really - Rod (my roommate) made us pancakes and turkey bacon. After brunch, Caroline participated in a weekly phone conversation I have with a couple of American friends of mine, something to which we affectionately refer as Battery Talk, because one of the guys in the group seems to be obsessed with batteries. In the middle of Battery Talk, my roommate took off for the weekend, which meant that Caroline and I had the place to ourselves. Wonderful!
The afternoon was spent just being together, holding each other, talking, drinking Coke/Sprite, that sort of thing. The downside to the afternoon was that my last remaining hearing aid got stepped on. This means I am now forced to confront my fears about getting new aids. I am so afraid of being told that my hearing is too far gone for any kind of help, that it's all hopeless, or that it's going to cost more money than I could ever put together to make what will only be a marginal difference. It's a huge fear of mine.
Saturday dinner consisted of KFC delivery. Caroline had the Chicken Bowl, I had a couple of Big Crunch Sandwiches. We spent Saturday evening talking, listening to some radio drama, and so on and so forth.
Caroline made breakfast for me on Sunday: sausage biscuits, yummy! I took a nap for part of Sunday afternoon, while Caroline was on the computer, and then we switched places and she took a nap while I computed. Sunday dinner was from a local place called Dianna's Gourmet Pizzaria. I didn't feel like eating pizza, so I had chicken fingers and fries, while Caroline went the pizza route. It took forever for the food to get here, so it wasn't exactly warm when we got to it. But it was still good stuff. Sunday evening was more talking, e-mail, holding each other, that good stuff.
On Monday morning we got ready to head out to Altona, where my mom lives. My brother Harv picked us up. For dinner, my mom made potatoes with Schmauntfatt (a Mennonite cream gravy) and Farmer's Sausage, something I don't know how to describe but which seems to be almost unheard of outside of this area. That evening we watched TV, read, and talked at my mom's place.
Christmas Day was wonderful. Of all the gifts I received, the chance to spend that special day with Caroline was the most wonderful, most precious gift of them all. On Christmas morning we basically ate breakfast and relaxed, watching those classic Christmas TV shows, The Price Is Right and Family Feud. Then the family started arriving, and we prepared for Christmas lunch, which was meatballs or chicken with potatoes. In the afternoon, we all trooped downstairs and did the Christmas carol thing, followed by the younger kids performing for Grandma (i.e. my mom). Then came the gifts. From the lovely Caroline I got a hand-knitted blanket and a cellphone earpiece. From me, she got the Little House on the Prairie pilot movie on DVD, as well as a season on DVD of The Red Green Show. My mom gave me a deep fryer, and I gave her a necklace with a timepiece on it. My brother Harv and his wife Sandra gave me a set of Fibber McGee and Molly CD's, and I gave Harv a book about Nascar. My brother Irv and his wife Yvonne gave me a box of chocolates, and from me got a collection of western movies on DVD. I gave my brother Brian a DVD set with a documentary about World War II, and his wife Leona gave me some delicious cream cheese cupcakes.
We spent the rest of Christmas playing games, doing word puzzles, eating, talking, watching TV, whatever. It was a good family time. Christmas dinner was the traditional, my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup, the Christmas dinner tradition that no one understands until they've tried it.
Yesterday, Wednesday, was Caroline's birthday. Wishing Caroline good morning on her birthday was a special treat for me. I gave her season 1 of Corner Gas on DVD. We spent the rest of the morning in the living room, watching TV, dozing, playing word puzzles. Lunch consisted of potatoes with Schmauntfatt and ham. In the afternoon, Harv drove Rod, Caroline and me back to the city. Caroline and I caught up on some much need holding-each-other time, which we hadn't been able to get enough of at my mom's. Then she cabbed it back to Brianna's at around 10:00.
The downside of yesterday was that I got a letter from my insurance company, happily reminding me that my premiums are due. There's another couple of hundred bucks I wasn't expecting to spend. Cash is going to be at a premium until after incom tax time. I'm also trying to save up for a trip to Milwaukee in April. Anyone wanting to contribute to this trip may paypal firstname.lastname@example.org. *SMILE*
But that brings us to the present. It feels really, really odd to be here at work while Caroline's in Winnipeg. But what can you do? She's a couple of blocks away from me and I miss her. But the nice thing is she'll be joining me on my way home.
All in all, this has been a very, very special holiday for me. Caroline's presence has made it so. How wonderful can it get?