Eep! It's been so long since I had five consecutive days off that I almost forgot what it's like to be devoid of computer contact for so long. A few more days and I might have never posted again... Ok, at least not until I got back to the comfort of my desk at work.
Tuesday night I headed out of Birmingham and headed due west toward Atlanta, where I met B and his parents for a delicious dinner at our favorite, um, ethnic restaurant. Malaya, off Howell Mill, serves Thai, Indian, Chinese, and just about everything else you can think of that can be made with coconut milk.
After a delicious dinner, we headed home then met up with a few of B's good friends from high school who mostly live in Atlanta and, I have to say, I love them. I love that he has such great guy friends and that they've managed to attach themselves to the best girls ever, thereby making any hang out time equally fabulous for the both of us.
Wednesday, I got B up pretty early and we decided to conquer our to-do list, meaning we got to the mall by 9:30 to look at everyday plates. For what it's worth, I think he got a much better picture of why I'd been so overwhelmed the weekend before; all we wanted were white plates and there had to have been 15 different kinds. Luckily, the store was empty and the sales people negligent, so we could poke around and move the plates from section to section to our hearts' content. A plate picked, we headed off to visit my ring's birthplace: the diamond playground.
We'd planned to pick out our wedding bands and see if we could get my ring sized. When R, the man who helped B before, saw the ring on my finger, he eagerly agreed to get it sized. Right now. Back by Friday. So, feeling totally naked (how does something become "normal" so quickly??), we picked out bands, which was much easier for me (oooh, sparkles) than for B (think? thin? lined? bling? er, no.). By noon we were back in the car and on the way home, eager to get started on the Great Thanksgiving Cooking Session of 2008. A quick stop by the grocery store and we were on our way.
Back at home, I got to work making a candy bar pie and a pumpkin pie with meringue topping while B's mom worked on, well, just about every dish you can imagine. Thanksgiving at B's house is, as he puts it, akin to the British soccer league; if a dish doesn't hold its weight, it gets bumped out of the lineup and a new dish comes in. This year, the classics included the much raved about pea salad (for which there is no recipe), squash casserole, stuffing, two kinds of cranberries, and a 22-pound turkey. There was more, but I'd need more server space to go on.
She prepped Wednesday and then Thursday launched the real marathon cooking day, during which B and I mostly watched as his parents fluttered around the kitchen pulling everything together just in time for us to sit down to a late afternoon meal with his parents, his brothers, and his dear next door neighbor. Sufficiently stuffed, that night we watched football and chick flicks (compromise, yes?) before turning in.
Friday we avoided the crowds at the mall and slept in before heading over to pick up my ring (perfectly sized!) and place the order for our bands. We stopped by Tiffany's in the mall first to browse other band types, which is always a hoot to me. Seriously, you sell jewelry. Nice jewelry, but still. Be nice to me! The lady that helped us was nice, but it was almost like she didn't believe us. It was great when B guided me straight to the exact section of the rings. I looked at him quizzically and he just shrugged and said, "I've been here before." Love it.
We met up with his friends that afternoon for a fantastic game of touch football (from which I am still sore) before grabbing dinner and meeting up with them again that night at Mr. C's for some beer and catching up. We turned in early to hit the Alabama game the next morning.
Saturday, we headed for Tuscaloosa for what would turn out to be an epic day. We met up with his aunt, uncle, and cousins for a preliminary house party ("tailgate" just doesn't do it justice), then headed closer to the stadium to see my family, including the crew from North Carolina. Mom and dad graciously let B and I sit in the Zone seats with my sister and her husband and it was fantastic. Sure, the shrimp and grits and scalloped potatoes were nice, but the company was what made it. That and the amazing, long-awaited victory over Auburn. Roll Tide!
We got home early Sunday morning, around 12:15, totally exhausted and super happy. What a perfect end to a great weekend. I'm still so impressed with us-- we managed to see three sides of the family this weekend: his parents, my parents, and his aunt and uncle. That's got to be a record for a first Thanksgiving together!