Friday morning came early….very early! One Thanksgiving tradition I had previously heard of but never partaken in was that of the post-Thanksgiving sales in the wee hours of Friday morning…as in 5:00am or earlier! Typically, 5am has two uses for me…it is either the best sign that you’ve stayed up too late playing video games and its time to turn off the computer and head to bed, or you’re getting up to make an early flight and need to get the to airport. This was certainly a new use for the hour that shall not be named. The shopping train (driven by Jenny) was leaving at 4:45am to give time enough to pick up Mandy and Chris. Meaghan and I firmly missed that deadline but were able to meet up with everyone at around 5:15am as they were just leaving Gottschalks. We had already missed an entire sale and the sun had not yet even begun to stir. Managing to take part in the action at WalMart, Fred Meyer, and several other doorbuster-vertising venues, we actually had a fairly good time. There were crowds in most places but they weren’t anything like the insane socially-retarded mongrel gatherings that line the aisles nearer Christmas…these people, whilst numerous, were actually in fairly good spirits and had not yet abandoned all social grace. Meaghan and I didn’t purchase anything of note per se, but we had a lot of fun looking at household items, continuing the quest for the perfect set of purple towels, and admiring all manner of shiny things at jewelry counters. We returned from our adventure at around 8:30 to find that breakfast and another round of inviting mochas all ready to go. I could get used to this!
Everyone was pretty worn out from the morning’s excursion and many declared that it was naptime. Being generally unable to nap during the day, I sat in the kitchen, finished off my second mocha and took the chance for a good conversation with Meaghan’s parents Greg and Jenny. I’d been hoping for an opportunity to get to know them both better without the hubbub of a larger social group. They are both really great people and we ended up talking for several hours. Meaghan and I took another walk around the neighborhood before getting ready for the evening of carolling. I had requested that we run through the carols at least once before joining the Chorale. Not only was I feeling a little rusty, but I have found that several of the American versions of the Christmas carols I grew up with have a different melody and in some cases slightly varied lyrics. I can still sight-read music pretty well, especially for bass parts that occupy only the first, third, fifth, and sixth notes on either minims or crotchets. However, when singing something intrinsically familiar that has only a few subtle changes it is really, really easy to make mistakes by going purely from memory and instinct instead of reading the dots. Fortunately the selection of music was fairly easy to sight-read and, while some of the arrangements were a little obscure, we were able to pound through most of them on the first try. I miss singing carols at Christmas because its something I used to do every year with my family, so it was really nice to get the chance to play through some of them on piano and sing the harmony parts to Meaghan singing the melody. The chorale performance was fun, although we ducked out about thirty minutes early because it was getting quite chilly. The crowds enjoyed listening to the the carols and I ended up having a lot of fun. So ended another great day.
Saturday involved shopping, another walk around the neighborhood and a general relaxation from the busy days that preceded it. Jenny had bought tickets for a local theatre performance that evening and Mandy had invited us all over for dinner beforehand. Meaghan and I spent the afternoon looking at photo albums and trading stories from our youth. It was nice to just sit around for a day. Mandy did a fantastic job of entertaining (her first hosted party) and served a great dinner of a roast, vegetables, potatoes, and applesauce side, followed by a chocolate mousse dessert. Accompanied by a Cabernet, candlelight, and a jovial atmosphere, it was yet another great evening dinner in a line that followed the theme of “I could get used to this.” The play, Apocalyptic Butterflies, was in a small theatre and told the story of a couple who needed to learn appreciation for each other and see the love they had despite the woes of their current situation. It was a story about not taking people for granted and seeing truly how much they bring to you. Fairly well acted (although the lead sometimes lost his meter), it was a great way to end the weekend. It has been a while since I had seen a local performance and it reminded me that Meaghan and I should make more time for this sort of thing. We were all pretty worn out from the excitement, dining, and partying of the weekend and it wasn’t long before everyone headed to bed.
Sunday! The journey home. It snowed only two days in November this year. The first day was during our journey down on Wednesday. The second was in preparation for our journey back. We awoke to see thick snowflakes both falling and settling on the road outside our window on Sunday morning. Meaghan arose to the sound of Stu uttering “Buggerin ‘ell, of all the days to snow again!” We were still in great spirits and were laughing about it as much as we were mad. Nonetheless….come on….both days?!? After a brief but very welcome breakfast, we hit the road shortly after 10:00am. It was light enough outside to make the road a lot more visible than on the way down and we still had a fair amount of work to do in Eugene. Meaghan and I had decided that we wanted to move in together in early November and had planned to make the final trip and move on the way back from Thanksgiving. That meant that the stop in Eugene would be more than a pedestrian appearance to say hi to the kitties. The kitties were coming with us along with the last of her stuff! More about the move later. For now, let me share two photographs of the return journey. The first is a view from inside the car as we were driving up route 97 (roughly here), ostensibly the easier of the two parts of our journey as it was primarily flat. Fortunately, the snow was fairly well packed and we didn’t need to put the chains back on. The only tricky parts came because we were driving in the tracks melted by the big trucks that lined the highway. Every so often we would find a popular point for the trucks to pull off and take a break or check their tires. This left large snow berms in the road that we had to push our way over. Inevitably the car would end up drifting and sliding to the right and the tires wanted to follow the tracks left by the exiting trucks. Fortunately, once we reached route 58 (the pass over the mountains; ~5,000ft) the weather improved significantly and we even saw some sun. ODOT had done a fairly good job of dropping dirt and sand on the road too, which mean that a lot of the snow had melted off. The second photo was taken while we were driving across the pass (roughly here), looking back down the road we had just driven.
A great Thanksgiving drew to a close and we entered Eugene around 2:30pm, ready to begin the final parts of the move-out process. More about that later. For now, enjoy this evidence that it does indeed snow in Oregon. I sure missed having my Jeep on that trip!