Monday, June 25, 2007

A Brief Visit "Back Home"

In an unexpected turn of events, I'm in South Carolina visiting my family this weekend. It's not very often that I get on a flight booked less than 48 hours earlier. Nothing bad, but I don't really know yet why I agreed to come... more on that later.

Now, as I've not lived here for many years, and I only visit two or three times a year, I have gotten used to the house being slightly different on each return: new refrigerator, new truck, new camper, my dad's new motorcycle, the upstairs area where my mother used to tutor now set up as a "home fitness" area, my old desk moved downstairs to be my parent's computer workstation, pictures on the walls changed, all of the beds re-arranged for a complicated set of reasons only my mother can be hoped to understand, and so on. This visit certainly has the biggest change yet, but at least I was warned about it—my dad even called and asked my permission before doing the Severe Rearrangement.

You see, my old bedroom, the one I lived in from the summer I turned 5 until the summer I turned 17, is now a massage parlor. This is because my father is in the process of becoming a licensed massage therapist, and for a complicated set of reasons only my father can be hoped to understand, my bedroom is the only room in the house suitable for being transformed into a massage parlor. So I now sleep in the guest bedroom when I visit, which is strange as it is a room I know fairly well, but (until a few nights ago) had never slept in.

I spent some time today cleaning out my old beside table, as my dad now wants to use it as a place to stash massage equipment. This was an entertaining exercise as the bottom drawer of this particular piece of furniture seems to be where I stashed every single note I passed (or was passed) in middle or high school, along with pretty much every letter I received during the same time period. Meanwhile, my mother and my brother have been unpacking all of his stuff from his two years as a graduate student, and preparing him for starting basic training (and then officer candidate school [OCS]) tomorrow morning. The army has sent him nice little informational booklets about both of these ventures. For example, the future soldier handbook is quite explicit that future soldiers should not show up with a thong in their posession. Just in case you were wondering.

It is really difficult to get work done here. You know, real work. I was supposed to give the oral portion of my general exam tomorrow, but well, as my mother wanted me here instead, I was able to get it moved to Thursday. After less than 48 hours of preparation. So, I've been trying in vain to actually prepare for it while here, but the only place in the house even remotely acceptable for working happens to be right outside of my brother's room ... and therefore directly in the floodpath for all of the ruckus that is my mother and brother trying to "get organized." It's been a good visit so far and we've had a lot of fun together, but I'm still rather, ah, antsy about Thursday ...

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