This year, I certainly wasn't expecting that I would have spent nearly the entire ten days before I left either at the hospital with my 86 year old mother or at her apartment making sure she was going to be OK. In a very small nutshell, she had leg pain bad enough that she was unable to walk or even move them, and the cause was spinal stenosis (an intrusion of bone into the spinal column or nerve bundles emanating from it). I won't elaborate in this post, but suffice to say that she is in good enough shape (and with enough support from other members of my family) that I feel I can attend the week. It was a little scary for a while, and I didn't get a lot of sleep, but I know she's in good hands and I also feel that I've done my part.
Needless to say, my prep suffered, but not as much as you might expect. I was smart enough to bring rulesets with me to the hospital and her home and I've gotten pretty much everything I needed to learn into my head with the exceptions of Kutuzov's rules and a couple of elements of the OCS system, although that's just the air rules. I did get War Galley read, although not played. I also got Flying Colors read *and* played, which was instructive (especially when Jesse sailed his French ships right between the ships in my line).
At this point, my primary goals are to get the Attrition and Morale rules for Kut read and give Sword of Rome a quick read through (as I need to give Alex the 30 minute tour as he's never played a CDG). That's good, because between now and when I leave, I have a few things to do - a four hour rehearsal and photo shoot with my blues/classic rock band Saturday morning, check in on Mom a few more times, set up my sister's PC so she'll be able to get internet access while she stays with my wife and looks after Mom, and we haven't gotten to Mother's Day and the party I'll go to just before leaving for Sunriver. Plus that thing with Alex. So I'm not expecting much, but fortunately these are the games that I know people who I'll be teamed with have a better sense of the game and it's rules. The trick is accepting that these are games I won't be the guy who knows the rules on. That's a little unusual for me.
I should note that I love my mother dearly. I left a great home in a great neighborhood with the best pizza in town two blocks away to move to Fossil Flats so that I could be very close by when exactly this sort of thing happened. At the same time, the past ten days have been exhausting for me, to the point where I wondered if my own body would give out. When a carefree day consists of trips to five different stores and coming and going from the house six times, you know that your frame of reference is seriously skewed. I couldn't walk into a room and just stand or sit until about 24 hours ago. At a time like this, if it's possible to change your environment in a positive way, you need to do it, and I'm looking forward to being somewhere else doing one of the things I love the most even if it means letting someone else take responsibility for one of the people I love the most for a little while.
I should also note that I have an awful lot of alcohol in the trunk of my car right now. I should be *really* entertaining on Sunday night...