Well, kids, it turns out I'm not immune to friendly (read: highly aggressive) persuasion.
You might remember that back in the dead of winter or a tad after, my not-terribly-dear father departed this earth at the ripe old age of 91. Because our hometown is Arctic, the decision was made by those members of the family still speaking to him (a hardy subset of which I was not a part) to delay his actual interment to mid-summer.
My Dear Sister has spent the better part of the time since then arranging an extravaganza the evident purpose of which is apparently to Put the Fun Back in Funeral, and she's made it clear over the past six weeks that my presence was very important to her indeed. I had no intention of coming, but she resorted to the lowest form of guilt-tripping (yes, she was good to me indeed when I was under the knife last year, but I had no idea she would cash in her chips so vigorously I must say).
So here I am, back in Dying Post-Industrial City on the Lake, about to head up to a festive family reunion. Believe me, I would far rather be upstairs at Aunt Pittypat's with the Widow Hamilton, swigging toilet water and ragging on that wet blanket Melanie. I drove up, my first long solo outing by car since open-heart, and it seems to have gone well. I'm lodged in a motel Sister found, part of a chain of which I've never heard - nice enough, I suppose, although the large inscription "KOCKSUCKER" carved into the stainless steel of the elevator door makes for something of a contrast with the faux-federal décor.
Pray for me. If you don't hear from me in a day or two, either I stabbed the Evil Stepmother or vice versa...