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I am happy to report that once again we have emerged safely on the other side of Family Vacation.  Not that I really had any doubt of this, though there have been some Family Vacations of the past that were, shall we say, a tad traumatic.  Anytime you get that many people crammed into that tight of quarters, you have to expect a little drama.  Thankfully, this year was almost completely drama-free.  Instead we were able to get on with the good parts of Family Vacation: reading each others’ books, cooking and eating meals together, getting tossed around the pool by Boy-O (he seems to consider his sisters his own personal water toys), and generally relaxing.  It was a good vacation, and a deeply needed one.

Unfortunately, any emotional trauma we might have been missing out on through the lack of drama was amply supplied by finally taking care of a family chore that has been looming over us for over a year: going through and portioning out the inventory of Jacob’s stuff (for backstory on this, click here).  Mariah, Sae, and our parents had undertaken the truly massive (and emotionally draining) job of making a list of everything Jacob left behind, from sheets and pillowcases to his Baptismal candle, to the warthog hand puppet I gave him for his birthday years ago.  Mariah compiled this list into one big Excel spreadsheet, which each of us was then supposed to go through marking what things we wanted, and how much we wanted them (e.g. Really Want, Want, Want If No One Else Wants, Don’t Want).

Although Mariah distributed these lists over a year ago, it was enormously difficult for us to actually go through them.  I know that I tried a couple of times, and would only get a few pages in before I had to close the document and go find a corner to cry in for a little.  However, sometime last May I finally decided that I had to just do it and be done, and was finally able to get through.

At some point, The Duchess decided that this Family Vacation was the perfect time for us to finish this job up, so she rounded up the few people who still hadn’t gone through the inventory, and chivvied them into getting it done (she’s very good at that sort of thing).  When Mariah, AP and I joined the family on Wednesday, Mariah brought up her computer, which she used to compile all the lists into one, showing which things each person got outright, and which ones they were going to have to negotiate with other family members about.  So Saturday afternoon and evening was taken up with each of us carrying around our own little sheaf of paper, and saying things like, “If I let you have the food processor, will you let me have A Mighty Wind, and maybe the Smiley Bone figurine?”

All in all it went extremely amicably, which all things considered, is rather a miracle.  I’ve heard so many horror stories about families trying to parcel out inheritances.  These situations, when you’re distributing stuff that’s valuable, not only sometimes for its intrinsic value, but because of its personal significance, are fraught with emotion.  Tempers get frayed, feelings get hurt, and before you know it, Aunt Petunia and Aunt Gladys aren’t talking anymore because Aunt Petunia got Grandma’s flowered china instead of it going to Aunt Gladys’ daughter Elaine, who clearly needed it more.  There are still a few hotly contested items (the Boo doll from Monsters, Inc. that Jacob loved so much) that haven’t yet been decided, but 90% of the list has been assigned.  Now we just have to distribute it.

Also on the bittersweet side of things, at the end of the weekend we said good-bye to AnniPotts.  She left us early Monday morning, and is currently driving herself down to San Antonio, TX, where she will be teaching Kindergarten this year.  I was a little worried about her driving such a long way by herself, but she called this evening from her motel room near Little Rock, Arkasas.  She’s safe and sound so far, and pray God, will stay that way.  It’s been great having her around this summer.  We won’t get to see her again until Christmas, which can’t come soon enough for me!

Also, tonight Rosie pointed out that it’s now over six months that I’ve lived with her and Johnnycakes, and we haven’t killed each other, and in fact, still like each other pretty well.  This is pretty cool, so I think we’re going out Friday to celebrate.  Woohoo!

Oh, and I should mention that I’m applying for another part-time job tomorrow, so if you could send up a little prayer for me, I’d appreciate it!  It would kinda be wonderful to be able to actually pay all my bills…