I’ve been back home for a week, after spending the week of Victoria Day at Tim’s parent’s place in Manistee Michigan. Oh my goodness, what a BEAUTIFUL little town!!! I’m talking quaint little, friendly fishing town, where the people are nice and actually smile and say hello to you as you walk by, kind of town. The whole area of Manistee are surrounded by woods, and many of the houses are older Victorian styled, well maintained, and gorgeously designed. There are no big malls or large consumer industries. In fact I was told that when an attempt to bring a Wall-Mart into the town was made, the residents actually fought it tooth and nail! ;) So totally awesome!
Everything in town is small and individually owned. Tim brought me buy a friend of the family’s store, and she runs an art gallery/wine shop. Absolutely beautiful stuff, and she lives in an upstairs apartment/studio right in her shop! Everything smelled of old wood and just had a very nice homey feeling to it. In fact, many of the local neighbors made a lot of the artwork in her gallery. Tim showed me one guy’s wood sculpture work, and another lady’s glasswork, and both people live right by his parent’s place. :)
He also brought me by the old theatre where his grandfather used to put on stage performances, stuff like Showboat. It was closed that day, so I didn’t get a chance to see inside, but it was a very old and stylish looking building. We also went walking along the harbor, and spent some time playing in the old playground that has been there since Tim was a kid. It’s so nice to see old playgrounds where it’s just a simple swings, slide, and monkey-bars set-up, and when everything was still made out of metal and wood!
Tim’s parents are retired, and live in a very nice duplex condominium. Holy smokes, I have never seen such a neat and tidy place in all my life! O.x Extremely stylish, since his parents are very much into the arts and Jazz stuff. They have framed artwork all over the walls. It’s a very spacious place, with very few dividing walls. I’ve always liked the more open concept look. Amazing marble-colored ceramic tiled floors in the kitchen. Nice family dining area, with a rec room and pool table in the basement. Four bedrooms, and three bathrooms (with a friggin’ HUGE glass shower on the main floor… murrrrrrr!). There are two fireplaces, one upstairs and one downstairs, and a sliding door that leads out to the deck/porch, where they have lovely deck furniture and a barbeque laid out. Tim and I had pancakes for breakfast outside the first morning, and as you look out into their “backyard” of woods, you see deer grazing about 30 feet away from you! It was totally breathtaking! :)
A lot happened during my week there, and it all more or less kind of became one big blur of events, but I’ll describe the highlights of my visit. We left from my place on Sunday afternoon, when I was done work. The first thing we did was drive to Tim’s friend Pam’s place, where his dogs are staying, since she owns a kennel and offered to take care of his dogs until we can get our own place in the country where having a lot of dogs won’t be an issue. His dogs are very sweet indeed. He has six very wonderful sled dogs. Rascal: very gentle and affectionate. Strawberry: very proper, like an Elizabethan lady. Wolf: an old timer with a good sense of humor. Peter Pan: very sweet, quiet and shy. Mojo: extremely hyper and happy, and runs like a jet engine! Toby: young and bright, and full of spirit. We could only visit for a little while, since it was starting to get dark, but I look very forward to the day where we can blend both his pack and mine together. :)
By the time we got to his parent’s place it was well past midnight, and so we pretty much just went to bed in one of the spare bedrooms in the basement. We had the whole house to ourselves for the first two nights, because Tim’s parents were off in Mexico on vacation at the time, and didn’t get back until Tuesday. So the first morning was spent eating pancakes and fruit for breakfast, followed by a walk on the beach. The lake is about a 5-10 minute walk away from the condo. It was really pretty! I especially loved picking at the stones that shone like tiny jewels on the beach. I brought home a few of the more pretty stones I picked up, and some little pieces of broken pottery that washed up onto the shore.
We then went to a nice restaurant for lunch, where I got some really tasty stuffed salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies. Tim showed me around town a bit, and when we got back to the house we decided to curl up with the movie Moulin Rouge. The day actually went by rather quickly, and was over before I knew it. But before we went to bed, we spent about an hour sitting in front of the fireplace, chatting and sipping Bailey’s Irish Cream. :) We had to get up early the next morning so that I could meet his folks for the first time ever! O.x
Tim’s parents are really nice folks. His dad is very cool and laid back, and has a really great sense of humor. In fact, he looks a lot like Leslie Nielson, and was saying how during their vacation a few people actually ran up to him because they thought he was someone famous. :-P Tim’s mom is very chatty, and definitely very opinionated and set in her ways, but also very generous and warm. Actually, she went out to the store to buy me Cocoa Puffs cereal, (because the ones we have in Canada suck…) which apparently is a big deal, since when Tim was growing up, his mom totally didn’t allow either of her kids to eat any kind of sugared cereal at all! So that was very flattering that his mom liked me enough to buy me chocolatey goodness for breakfast. :)
I thought I was going to be extremely nervous meeting his parents for the first time, since “meeting the folks” is like one of the super most major deals in any relationship, and there is a lot of pressure there not to fumble and do something stupid in front of them that might make them see you as an inadequate partner for their child. So I was very, very grateful when I found that talking with the both of them was extremely easy, and I spent a good couple of hours chatting with Tim’s mom about school, and family, and work, and plans for the future stuff. Tim told me that after I left he and his folks had a good long talk about me, and the general consensus is that they like me and think that I am pretty mature for 24, since I was a bit worried about what they might think of the age gap of 12 years between Tim and I.
Likewise, I am absolutely ecstatic that my mom really likes Tim as well, which is a HUGE deal, considering mom is very choosy about who she likes and dislikes. She’s always been polite and generous, but I always find out what she really thinks of person X later on. The fact that she’s never really been fond of any of my past boyfriends just has me tickled pink that she gets along with Tim so very well, and even had good things to say about the Claddagh ring that he bought me for Valentine’s day! It’s really very nice to see the support of the parents on both sides, and has put me in a much more relaxed state in the relationship.
So yeah, getting to hang out with Tim and his parents, and meeting the neighbors and friends of the family, and going out to dinner together, and walking on the beach together was great. Tim’s dad brought his digicam and took some pictures of us by the lake, during the sunset. :) I don’t normally think of myself as photogenic at all, but I really like the way that these turned out, and had a few printed out and put in a frame by my computer desk. ^^
The week ended with a visit from Tim’s sister Kristina, her husband Kurt, and their two toddlers. She has a four-year-old son named Spencer who is a bit of a wild child, and a two-year old daughter named Ava who is just the sweetest little thing ever! When I have a kid, I hope that my kid is as good as that little girl is. :-P But Kristina was very smiley and cheery, and Kurt was just awesome. We had a really good BBQ shish-kabob dinner, with wild rice and salad that last night. It was really nice to actually feel like a part of the family, which is something I’ve never really had a chance to experience at home, since my sister and I don’t get along at all, and my dad has just never really been around much, and now he’s getting married and moving to Japan for goodness knows how long. The only real good family relationship I’ve ever had, up until now, has been with my mom, and I am very thankful for the good relationship that she and I have. Now I just wonder how my mom and Tim’s parents will get along when they meet!
So the trip was wonderful, despite me catching some sort of bug near the end and spending the last few days feeling rather ill… As far as how things are looking now, Tim just recently got offered a job in Vancouver, working for the studio that produces Battlestar Galactica, and will be lead animator for two fully CG characters in the series. He got his work visa from Canadian Immigration, and drove his truck out there late this past week, and he starts work on Monday. He just got himself a temporary apartment today, and will be saving up until he can afford to put a good down payment on a house in the country/mountain area where we can keep the dogs. So hopefully, if all goes well, by sometime next year I just may end up in Vancouver. And naturally we still have plans to work on the second episode of Kaze Ghost Warrior on the side, though it will take a bit longer than we were hoping for with all of the recent changes. We will have a Kaze card game available for purchase at Anthrocon this year, though, so if anyone’s interested, feel free to swing by our table in the Dealer’s Room. :)
Speaking of Anthrocon, I’m still frantically rushing to get a bunch of last minute stuff done before the con rolls around! I’ll be handing out new gift badges, and I’ll also be selling embroidered patches this year. The new website, http://www.jessie-t-wolf.com is still in the process of being built, as we’ve been having difficulty in transferring the domain name to the new web host… I’ll have brand new business cards made up for the con, but the website might not actually be up and running until a little while after AC is over, but hopefully the new e-mail address will be working so that anyone who buys a commission from me will still be able to get a hold of me, and send me their description info.
So… that is all for now. Here’s a pretty picture. :) See you at Anthrocon in just under two weeks!!