Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Thanksgiving with family
Kate had wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner at our place, but I was fortunately able to dissuade her. Even if we do have a dining room table that extends far enough for six people, we don't have six chairs to put at it. Besides, I said, nothing really says "home" like every room having at least one big box of stuff that hasn't been unpacked. Heck, the plastic tub in the living room is being used as an ottoman. It doesn't mean anything, other than "we're really lazy and busy and we'll get to it later", but somebody could take it to mean that we're just marking time or something silly like that.
I didn't think of that second bit at the time, of course - it was after spending a couple days at Kate's folk's place that it occurred to me that someone might interpret our partially unpacked state as having greater meaning. Kate kind of laughed when I told her that, saying it's a sign that even after four-plus years, I'm still not all girl in my head, but she knew that Friday if she hadn't known already.
But I'm getting ahead or behind or whatever. So, anyway, we drove out to the Cape, and had the big Thanksgiving meal: Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potato, and pie. I'm not a really big girl, but I can put away a good holiday meal with the best of them. Mrs. Jensen was kind of amused by that, asking if my appetite was the result of my still thinking like a man on some things. No, I said, I'm pretty aware of what this body can handle by this point. Maybe remembering my first life means I accept that I'll tend to put on a few extra pounds over the winter easier, I guess; I didn't have the same kind of peer pressure to look skinny growing up, even if I did have some other weight issues. But those helped me learn that to recognize when I'm carrying too much and need to buckle down. Besides, I said, the first few pounds I gain tend to settle in the boobs and butt, and people seem to like that. Kate blushed a little at that.
Of course, once I wake up from my tryptophan-induced nap, I can groan about how it hurts with the best of them, too. Lisette got a good chuckle out of that when they brought out the leftover pie during a game of Scrabble.
Mr. Jensen was more than a bit surprised to see me when he came out for breakfast the next morning and saw me flipping through channels on the TV. "I thought you'd be out shopping with the rest of the girls."
Nah, I said. I'd been invited, but I didn't want to potentially make their family activity weird, and, besides, rushed shopping is no fun. I've got a floating holiday left to use this year, so I'll make something up in early December and get stuff done then.
"Sounds sensible." Then he laughed, and said he half-thought I was going to give him the "used-to-be-a-guy, don't-like-shopping" thing. I laughed back, and said I used to be a guy and thus know better. Enjoying shopping is all about enjoying what you're shopping for, I figure. I'll spend hours in an electronics shop, or a bookstore, comparing features or browsing first chapters because I like the stuff. A lot of girls like clothes and shoes, so they enjoy looking at those and trying them on. Heck, I enjoy that a lot more now, because I've always liked looking at snazzy looking girls.
At that point, I probably would have liked it more if he'd asked why men don't like shopping with their wives and girlfriends, and then I could have said it's because they're not doing anything and all too often, requests for their opinion are traps and traps are no fun, and we'd laugh some more, but that's not what happened.
I think it almost was, but then the synapse between the brain cell that processed me saying how I liked looking at pretty girls and the one brain cell with an image of his daughter fired, and he got serious. "You and Kate have been seeing each other for a while. Longer than about she was with half of her boyfriends, at least."
"Yeah, I guess so."
He sighed again. "We all thought it was just a rebound thing."
I didn't know quite how to respond to that. I tried saying I was sorry, but it sounded inappropriate, to say the least.
He said it was okay, and that he kind of wished Kate had met the old me. We'd probably be married and he'd be a grandfather by now.
I told him I would have liked that, and he said this was probably as close as we were going to get, which was a shame. We played a lot of pool that afternoon, which was fun, but made him a little more melancholy - I think it's something he would have liked doing with Kate's hypothetical boyfriend Martin.
Well, at least at first. I think he got pretty cool with Kate's actual girlfriend Martina by the time the ladies returned from their retail assault. Deep down, he's a guy who just really wants his daughter to be happy.
The same's true with my mother. We had a good long talk on the phone the other night. Of course, now that we've got a house, she's making noises about coming up for Christmas.
Which, I think, would be pretty cool. Although if she and Kate's family are ever around at the same time, it will be very interesting to see what they each think of our relationship.