Monday, August 22, 2011

Post-Visit Stress Disorder

So my dad, step-mom and sister made it to Virginia on Friday, visited, and headed home on Sunday and everyone survived without any major blow-ups or freakouts. It would be nice to be able to append “not that I was expecting any!” to the end of the previous sentence, but that would be a big lie, undeniable even now in more than 24 hours of hindsight. I woke up both Saturday and Sunday mornings just feeling exhausted and sore with the full-body equivalent of a tension headache, because apparently my default mode of being around my father these days is “waiting for the other shoe to drop” whether or not it ever actually happens. I’m in a much better place mentally and emotionally as of today but my muscles are still a little tender (especially my forearms, which is a new phenomenon for me; was I really making fists all weekend long?) and those occasional twinges are reminder enough that keeping the peace in my extended family is not entirely without cost.

Aiming to the left, landing on the right
In lieu of major calamities there were a few minor drama-traumas. The little guy fell, as little ones often do, on the hardwood floor and split his lip open pretty good Saturday night, but that was a truly no-fault accident. My sister got a little woe-is-me over her fifth wheel status, too, but she is thirteen and pity parties kind of come with the territory. (And honestly I sympathize, I really do, but between having small children of my own and trying to play host to everybody I really couldn’t deal directly with that in any productive way.) My dad is still more than a little oblivious toward other people in various ways; he’ll talk about himself or offer unsolicited advice but rarely seems to just want to hear or learn about his kids (or their spouses); he’ll agree to a schedule in principle and then run late and botch it completely with no acknowledgement that his might inconvenience people; he’ll do things for himself at the expense of things that might actually make the most of the first time our respective families have spent visiting each other in over a year; etc. But all of that is more eye-rollingly annoying than egregiously hurtful, so huzzah for lower standards, I guess?

At any rate, I’m sure my dad thought it was a great visit which means at least I’m not the black sheep of his children for a little while. From my perspective, at least it’s over, except for the after-effects. The funny thing about that is that Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the rest of my contracting colleagues are finally catching up and moving over to the new office space. I think that if I were so inclined, I could volunteer to help them pack up today or tomorrow, and even get away with wearing blue jeans and t-shirts to work those days because of the physical nature of the tasks that need doing. But as I mentioned, I’m still all kinds of stiff and sore from holding my breath for most of the weekend, so I’ll just dress up and sit quietly in my cubicle and recuperate as best I can.

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