Those were literally the first words out my mouth to my in-laws. I know they knew Ryan married a classy lady, they just didn’t know how classy.
It all started with their anniversary present. 40 years! Can I get a what-what?! I would’ve loved to throw them a party like we did for my parents (see here), but I didn’t think it’d be feasible. So if we couldn’t bring them to a party, why not bring the party to them? Enter our Party in a Box.
In a box full of streamers and feathers we stacked a series of gifts. The feathers were from Ruthie’s boas that I’ve been picking up all over the house and saving in a plastic bag. I knew they’d come in handy one day. I guess I figured I’d make myself a new swimsuit for the summer…
but the box will do instead. The pool patrons thank you, in-laws.
First in the party box were our toasts (aka letters).
Then the confetti from Ruthie:
The party-goers:I sent out postcards to their friends and family to write a note and they sent them back to me so I could send them all at once. There was a good turn out to the party! I’d say 40+ sent the card back.
I think I was a stalker in my past life, because I had no qualms contacting their friends I’d never met and asking for addresses. Where was this confidence in 7th grade talking to boys? Strike that, in college talking to boys. I guess it’d be weird asking for their addresses though. “Hey, aren’t you in my Psych 101 class? Yeah, so what’s your address?”
But this is where things turned. For the worse, if you asked Ryan. For the better, if you asked me.
Ah, the After Party.
For my in-laws.
Yeah, I went for it.I blatantly disregarded the phallic shape of the bottle and giggly wrapped the presents. Giggling mostly because of Ryan’s mortification. In discussing anything even remotely sexual with parents in general, he said “Carrie, guys are visual, okay? Girls are disgusting.”
But those cigarettes. I’ve hung onto that pack for two years now. They were originally during a first-time dinner date with a girl I’d met at a Hip Mamas meet-up and her husband. Did you catch that? It was basically our first time meeting them, and I laid out cigarettes next to our salad plates. It was an experiment based on a chapter from the Emily Post of Etiquette book. I never expected the turn it took. Wanna read it? Click here.
The leftover pack of cigs have been moved from mobile home to townhome to house and miraculously none were broken. Or smoked. How one was not placed in my hand after my 2 hour delivery of Annie, I have no clue. I could’ve just hung out in the birthing pool with a cigarette and bottle of Cristal while everyone bustled around me that first hour afterwards.
The night before we headed back to visit his parents, Ryan went to a fashion show to support his friend from KC who was showing his collection. His texts that night cracked me up. He said he wish he’d had a friend with him who’d actually laugh at what was coming down the runway. Because everyone took it way too seriously.
You know, when a girl walked down holding a shelving unit around her face.
Or wearing a doile around her head.
My friend, Jesyka, said, “You don’t question fashion, Carolyn. I will be wearing a doile on my face this spring.” She should’ve gone with Ryan.
After the show, he met up with his friend Christian (from ChristianMicaheal) who incidentally also does historical reeanctments, one of which we visited several years ago. At some point Ryan offered up our home for them to stay at that weekend since we’d be out of town. No big deal, I’d have done the same thing.
But when did he tell me this info? The day we were to leave for Wichita and only after I’d convinced myself to just leave the house a wreck because who cares, it’ll be a mess as soon as we walk back in the house. For some reason, I have to leave the house immaculate so that we can walk in the door to a clean home. Not this time though. It was a busy week working on a trip for my dad and I wasn’t in the mood to clean.
After hearing the news that our little home might be hosting some guests, I then had to go in overdrive to make every room look decent. Ruth watched about 12 hours of Barney and who knows where Annie was. By the time Ryan got home, I was frazzled, unkempt, and tired of hearing “I’m hungry” all day long. We got into our van and drove an hour longer to get to Wichita because one had to pee and then the other had to eat and the other had pee and the other had a blowout and then our van only drives 65 at the most and I couldn’t sleep because I have this asinine idea that if I fall asleep so will the driver and I was already tired from Annie getting up in the night and and and and. You people with young kids get it.
I was done.
And then we pulled up, was thanked heartily for our gift and I remembered.
“Don’t judge me, I need a cigarette now.” Julie must have seen a look in my eye because she ran to her bedroom and brought them out. I took one, went onto their back deck, stared into the dark acreage with the wind in my hair, and listened to… nothing. Nothing except me smoking that thing like it was made of gold. I closed my eyes and just inhaled. It was kinda like Clark Griswold’s wife, but more peaceful.
I feel like I should now start a DARE program so Ruthie and Annie don’t think I’m advocating it, but dang. It was darn near perfect that night.
Thank you ornery After Party gift.
The rest of the weekend was really nice too. That night we stayed up until after midnight talking and tried sleeping in the next day. Actually, now that I think about it, I did! 8:30! Boo-yah. We lounged around some more until we met up with Ryan’s grandma.
I wish Ruth would feel comfortable at their place. I mean, don’t be a wallflower, jeez. She was so busy. I think she ran circles around the kitchen and living room for 3 hours straight.
Then she ran circles around the couch.
They were both wore out and took good naps before going out to eat and then onto the nursing home.
I know I’m going to eat these words, but I’m never afraid taking Ruth out to eat. She normally does really well, probably because food is involved. And that night was no exception. The stars were all aligned for everyone. Dinner went well. Annie ate, then nursed right before going in to see his grandma. No one was fussing, everyone was happy.
We waited in the lobby for her to come out and when she did, she first saw Julie, then me, then Annie and she almost started crying. Later she would say, “I hope you didn’t get a photo of me going crazy. I was just so happy.”
His grandma (“maw-maw”) cracks me up. She asked if she could take ruthie back to pick out a stuffed animal from her closet. When they returned Ruth was carrying a huge panda bear, bigger than her almost. One time Ryan walked with her down the hallway because she wanted to show off Ruth, and he said she saw someone she wanted to talk to and rammed her scooter into his, almost pushing him backwards down the hall. Julie said she had to have her scooter taken away at one point because she was being too aggressive with it. Along the side you could see skid marks from who knows how many victims.
Ah, that made me smile. She’s still spunky as ever, even in her 90s.
It was a good visit and solidified my love of elderly people. My mom is thinking of volunteering at a retirement/nursing home. I might copy her and do the same. I just want to love on all these people and hear their stories!
The next morning we had a really good bible study and service around the dining room table. When I went on and on about fighting the same shortcomings every single day, Randy hit me with this verse:
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning
They are new every morning. And that changed my outlook. God is good. God is love. He gives me grace every day. And I’m so thankful.
Afterwards we hopped back in the van to head home. The sun was shining, the girls were happy. It was just a 180 from the Friday before. Plus, we had a friend come along!
Shady! The girls are in heaven.
Shady is not. She’s exhausted. I think she’s used to sleeping all day and ain’t none of that is happening around these parts. Trust me, I’ve tried.
In other news:
…and on that note, I bid you adieu.