I am not really one for romance. I would rather have Dan purchase and install an Elfa closet storage system than buy me a diamond necklace. When I see Elfa storage systems in magazines, movies, TV shows, at IKEA, I just about die imagining my collection of skirts and dresses hanging down nicely instead of getting crammed next to my assortment of t-shirts and button-down shirts in every color of the rainbow. I think about how lovely my belts and wraps and scarves would look hanging on individual hooks. I would also hang up my long necklaces that always get twisted into giant knots. And, my shoes would be lovingly displaced in see-through plastic boxes complete with a picture on the front indicating the type of shoe. Clearly, I have dreamed a lot about this Elfa system. I would positively swoon with glee if Dan bought and installed such a closet masterpiece. (Oh, the other important part of the dream would be that it only contained my clothes.)
I am much more comfortable in my pajamas at our kitchen table eating an easy meal we made ourselves and chatting about work, friends, family, etc…than putting on a black dress and eating dinner at a fancy-smancy restaurant with ever other lovey-dovey couple.
So, instead, I shared my Valentine, Dan, this weekend with my Mom, my sister Megan, Grandma Rosemary, and my friend Marie. And my parent’s two outrageous dogs, Belle and Baron. Seeing as my Dad was out of town, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a girlie get together, plus our mutual Valentine.
What a trouper. After spending so much time dining and hanging out at my parent?s house, I think now Dan truly fits in as ?one of us? in my Dad’s highly-selective “circle of trust.” My parent’s house is always good for a laugh and while we dine, all topics are open for discussion. When Dan first started eating at my parent?s house, I am pretty sure he did not get a word in edgewise. At my parent’s house, you sort of just need to toss yourself into the ring to be heard, and you better move quick because we change topics at warp speed. We range from Megan’s preference for Skintimate shave gel to how Belle succeeded in eating two sticks of butter on two separate occasions twice in one week to my update on the strange things my weird neighbor has done this week. Also, we use this time to drudge up anyone’s current crisis and work it through to a solution. No one and nothing is off limits. These dinners are not for the faint of heart.
Dan has become quite used to the Gatsos way and engages in the dinner-time discussions like a pro.
So, he claimed he was pleased to be a Valentine to his multiple ladies and took on the roll of corralling Baron and Belle from attacking everyone and counter surfacing while the girlies and I got dinner ready.
As with any family get together featuring Grandma Rosemary, hilarity ensued quite quickly. She strongly reminded everyone never to work for free and the best kinds of friends are those who are employed. She got mad at my Mom for disciplining Baron when he tried to get everyone to engage in a rousing game of “let me jump on you with my 60 pound body.” (Grandma Rosemary does not believe in discipline dogs – ever – which is why her two Boston Terriers rank right up there in the Bad Dog Hall of Fame). And she asked each of us individually why we thought her heating bill totaled some $400 last month. (I told her if she does not stop complaining, I would buy her the Snuggie and make her wear it.)
We shared a lovely meal of pasta and meatballs, Valentine cake, and some sort of Beyer’s M&M-cookie dough mixture Megan thoughtfully selected while the dumb dogs chased each other in and out of the dining room, bunking their heads on the underside of the table. Just another quiet dinner at my parent’s house. Good thing our Valentine does not mind