It's day five, and I've witnessed yelling, hugging, giving and taking. It's not Thanksgiving yet.
Kea and Janet both know me because Kea's daughter, Jenn, is one of my best friends. Jenn normally isn't around here, as she lives four hours away in Ojai, where she goes to Brooks Institute of Photography. Jenn has spent since Sunday with us in her family's five bedroom mansion (am I using that term correctly? It IS a mansion--The halls echo when you talk, there is a coartyard with fountains, a heated pool, and original Thomas Kincaide paintings in the guest bedroom I am staying in).
This is my first stay on this adventure, as well as my first stay in a house so, well, pretty.
Kea and Janet are sweet and silly and I am almost overwhelmed by how willing they are to share. Kea, especially, seems to want desperately to connect with Jenn (their relationship is tumultuous and you can often feel the tension between them, but it doesn't make you uncomfortable so much as making you want to hug it out with them cuz life is RUFF). On Labor Day, I am up before anyone else in the family, and I go into one of the living rooms to camp out on the couch with my computer. Janet is the next to get up and she heats up a Jenny Craig meal for the two of us for breakfast.
Janet and I sit down at the dining room table and she tells me story after story. They are good stories about her father, about living in San Francisco (the second world war and Tony Bennett changed the way the city is now, she says). I have to wonder how much of this the rest of the family knows. Though there is contention between family members in different ways, they do seem close on the level that they realize they are "stuck" with each other, and that realization motivates caring.
Janet and Kea are perpetually dieting. Other than a huge barbeque on Labor Day, we eat Jenny Craig meals.
Jenn is tense all the time.
Chris, her 20 year old brother (whose birthday is today!) teases me. He's quick, and though he's only joking, the guy makes my brain feel so slow.
Fox news is the t.v. channel of choice. I break a Christmas themed wine glass, but Kea insists its no big deal and fills it up promptly with white wine for me.
I have to take three different freeways to get to work. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn to navagate a new area.