This time of year has traditionally been quite slow for me. My parents and my sister's family live nearby, so we have one gathering on the 25th for brunch and that's it. I normally work pretty much all the days around the this time because I don't have kids or need to travel, which makes it easier for me to cover for my coworkers who do, and besides I prefer to take my time off when other peopled do not. Talk about Win-Win.
The big and recurring change is Penny. She has a sister and a brother in Chicago, and another sister in Atlanta, but her "kids" (son, daughter-in-law, and grandson) are also local. Her Atlanta sister came to stay with her and I had a total of three different activities with all or some of Penny's clan between Wednesday and Friday.
At the same time, my longtime friends Pete & Shaw (1986) were staying with me. They were in town to do family stuff, but it can get a bit crowded when everyone stays at family houses and I live about two miles from Shaw's brother, so my spare room with its own full bath make a great crash option. We did manage to go to dinner the day they arrived and breakfast this morning before they left, but other than that it was a brief hello first thing in the morning and around 10 at night. I owe them a visit and I didn't even have a chance to introduce them to Penny since their visit overlapped Penny's sister's visit. I foresee a weekend ride to Cleveland (or as I like to call it, "The Land of the Cleves") this season.
Because the above would have been too easy to coordinate, my friend Karen is back in the area for a few days. We spent five or six hours together yesterday one on one, which represents a significant percentage of her available time. Tomorrow we'll be having lunch with one person I met when I visited Karen in Germany a few years back, and a bird colonel I've never met. That will be the sum of my time seeing her for this visit.
I am taking off tomorrow because my company has a vacation plan I do not like, where I get all of my leave on January 1st, but must use or lose the year's allotment by the end of the year. I have been nursing along my last 10 hours so I'd be ready in case of a last minute snow storm. Note that this makes scheduling coverage around this time of year even more of a treat than usual.