Carol came to stay this weekend, arriving at about 10:00 on Saturday morning and staying until 3:30 this afternoon. She brought with her a bundle of about 400 photographs and a shoebox full of memoribilia from her parish's pilgrimage to Ireland last fall.
We had a scrapbooking extravaganza planned, which started out with me putting together my mom's fantastic spaghetti sauce and turning on the slow-cooker so that we'd be greeted later with the wonderful, rich smell of a thick ragú simmering away. The noodles and garlic bread were ready and it was very nice to be able to anticipate a yummy dinner with not much prep work when we arrived back home, eager to start on her book.
We had lunch in Fishers at Sahm's, home of the world's best shrimp cocktails and fiery homemade cocktail sauce. Carol and I got salads; Meelyn and Aisling got sandwiches. When we were all nearly foundered, we got up and dragged ourselves out of the restaurant and over to Carmel to meet Anne at her Creative Memories scrapbooking studio.
Anne was lovely, as always, and provided Carol (and me, incidentally) with a two hour scrapbooking class. Carol bought a bunch of stuff -- an album, pages, page protectors, a photo cropper, pens....it was wonderfully exciting. We promised Anne that we would go straight back home and get busy. We also met her new dog, a Bichon Frise named Bear, and heard the too-many-coincidences-to-be-a-coincidence story of his arrival in her life right before her first Christmas without Rich.
We went next to Scrapbook Corner in Noblesville, which is one of the most overwhelming places you could ever hope to go, if you are a scrapbooking kind of person. And I mean "overwhelming" in the most positive sense of the word - it's a lot of fun. We bought all kinds of fancy papers and plain papers there to decorate Carol's scrapbook, as well as a few stickers. Super cute!
We arrived home at about 4:00, and when I walked into the house, I sniffed the air eagerly for a whiff of spaghetti sauce but....whiff of spaghetti sauce....whiff of spaghetti sauce?...I HADN'T PLUGGED IN THE FRIKKIN' CROCK-POT. I plugged in the CD player instead. There was my beautiful sauce, calmly waiting for me at room temperature for six hours on a 60o day. I had to pour every single bit of it right down the garbage disposal. It was so off, it didn't even smell right. We made an alternative plan to go get a pizza, since Carol and I felt that botulism and whatever unpleasant sort of food poisoning you get from spoiled food might possibly ruin the rest of the weekend.
The pizza was delish, but we hurried our way through it so that we could work on her scrapbook at top speed. We worked all evening until we went to bed and got some really nice pages done, including St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin (which doesn't mean what it sounds like it means) and the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate. Carol and I felt that the pages turned out very, very well; Meelyn was instrumental in laying down papers; Aisling was desolate that I didn't trust her to do cuts on Carol's paper. I should also probably add that we were eating cheeseball and crackers, chips and dill dip, brownies and sugar cookies while we were doing this. I thought I was going to have to be launched upstairs out of a cannon.
The next morning, we all got up to get ready for Mass, but I complicated matters by stepping on a blanket to get to the light switch in my bedroom, catching my heel in the blanket and falling down flat on my floor, managing to twist my ankle, injure my wrist and hurt my....pride. It was rather painful and made all that getting up and down during Mass a whole lotta fun.
When we got back home, Meelyn and Aisling set out a nice little spread that included turkey sandwiches, chips and dip, cheeseball, brownies and cookies. Carol and I ate and then got back to work, completing a number of other pages. We carried on until about 3:30, which is when Carol felt she ought to pack up and head south.
The rest of the afternoon seemed terribly empty and quiet after she left. "I miss Carol," Aisling said wistfully about an hour after she left. I did too, especially considering that it is going to be over a month before we see her again. My husband and Meelyn did a nine mile run in preparation for the Mini, which is coming up in two weeks, and when Meelyn got home, she came in and said, "I miss Carol."
We do have lots of memories of this whole weekend, though. Carol has her lovely scrapbook and I have assorted bruises from falling like a ton of bricks. I wish we didn't live so far apart, especially when only an overnight stay is involved. The good news is that by coming to our city on interstate 65 instead of the old traditional state-highway path -- and I do mean "path," since it is all too easy to get stuck behind everything from farm equipment to Amish buggies on that curvy, two-lane highway -- we've always used, Carol was able to cut half an hour off the journey.
It seems like a huge letdown to be back to Monday again tomorrow after such a lovely weekend.
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