January 17, 2005

Our House, In the Middle of Our Street

I work for a software company that deals exclusively with banks. Bank employees are off today for MLK Day. We, however, have to come in, with nothing to do but fill up the client's Inboxes with enough e-mail to make their morning a living hell when they return tomorrow. Now, a cleansing breath...ahhhh...and that's out of my system. On to your regularly scheduled blog.

Life is about to get (more) hectic (than usual) in the Kern household. Our friend Miho arrives tomorrow from Japan for her annual visit. Her English is pretty good, but conversation is the hardest language skill to master. She works at Tokyo Disneyland, and wants to transfer to Walt Disney World in Orlando, to work at Epcot, and in order to do so, her English needs to improve. To this end, we are to speak normally to her, and not fall into the oh-so-useful tactic of speaking LOUDER and SLOWER.

Usually her visit has us taking her on a tour of Southern culture, but she is most fascinated with how Americans eat. Wherever we take her out, she snaps a picture of her food, with her hand next to the plate for size comparison. Coming from Japan, I can imagine how huge the average American dinner portions are. Her favorite restaurant is Joe's Crab Shack, since it's so loud and gaudy, and the wait staff occasionally dance to "Cotton Eyed Joe". Then there's the Cheesecake Factory. She loves cheesecake, so when we told her that in America, there's a restaurant that serves about 20 varieties, her head nearly exploded.

This year, however, will be different. In September, Melissa and I went to Dragon*Con and hooked up with a Lord of the Rings fan group called "Arms of Middle Earth".
These people love dressing up as the characters and going to conventions, and who could blame them. (Costuming as characters and role-playing as them is called "CosPlay") As fate would have it, the next convention is "ChattaCon" in (where else) Chattanooga, TN, January 21-23, and Miho is tagging along. To fit in, she's bought herself an "Arwen" costume (Children's size, since she's a 5-foot-nothing Size Zero). Of course the Japanese are no strangers to CosPlay.

But in addition to attending the Convention, Mel and I will be hosting a number of the denizens of Middle Earth in the days leading up to it. So here's the schedule:

  • Tuesday - Miho Arrives from Japan. Traditional huge dinner at Cracker Barrel to follow.
  • Wednesday - Dustin ("Aragorn") arrives from Chicago. He's dating Merry ("Merry"), who lives near Six Flags.
  • Thursday - David ("Samwise Gamgee") arrives from North Carolina. (Versus games of Dance Dance Revolution to follow.) Maddy ("Rosie Cotton") and Gayle ("The Balrog") drive up from Savannah in the blue Mini.
  • Friday - We drop Matthew at the Grandparents for the weekend and all of us caravan up to Chattanooga.

    Miho gets the futon in the den, not only because she's our primary guest, but also because she will likely require a place to retreat when things get too crazy with the Hobbit-folk. So Thursday night, we will have Miho on the futon, Matthew in his bed (staying up too late because he loves guests), Mel, Maddy and Gayle in the bedroom, and David, Dustin and I on the couches in the living room. Sounds like a sitcom waiting to happen. (Suggestions so far: "Just the Seven of Us", "Me, My Elf, and I", and "Hard Hobbit to Break")
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